The goal of the UNC Charlotte Crime Analytics Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CA-REU) site is to provide an innovative and interdisciplinary study of crime and analytics for a diverse pool of undergraduate students who will advance the need for developing a generation of employees prepared for the inter- and multidisciplinary challenges related to data science and analytics. This goal will be achieved via the following objectives.
1. Aggressively recruit a diverse subset of undergraduate students to actively participate in innovative research projects that apply analytic tools to make decisions about crime.
2. Expose students to foundational analytic methods early in their educational careers in hopes of encouraging their involvement in data science and an analytics-based field of study.
3. Expose and engage students to research opportunities that demand communication and cooperation across experts in traditional disciplinary boundaries.
4. Enhance students’ educational experiences by exposing them to workshops, seminars, and social activities that enrich their professional development and inspire them to pursue graduate school.
5. Foster shared interdisciplinary communication skills by offering opportunities to disseminate research findings via an annual undergraduate research symposium, annual professional conferences, and peer-reviewed journal outlets.
Students will have the opportunity to work closely with faculty from Charlotte’s Departments of Criminal Justice & Criminology, Geography & Earth Science, College of Computing and Informatics, and Data Science and Business Analytics program. The REU faculty members are nationally recognized for their expertise in working with large data sets, data mining and manipulation, quantitative data analysis, and data visualization.
Student teams will work with faculty mentors in their research track for 40 hours per week to complete one or more projects during the summer experience. In some cases students may work with a local criminal justice agency as part of their project. Students will present their research at a final luncheon and submit a manuscript for publication.
Students will be paid a $5,000 stipend for the 10-week period, and will have their housing provided on campus. Students will also visit industry leaders in data technology and the CMPD Crime Analysis lab, and participate in social events.
The CA-REU will fill a void in preparing students with experiential learning opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of how data can be used to solve problems related to crime, delinquency, and the criminal justice system.
The outcomes of this interdisciplinary project include:
1) Intense research experiences that motivate students to pursue graduate degrees in innovative Social Science and STEM disciplines
2) Focused inclusion of students of underrepresented groups engaged in research on crime analytics
3) Appreciation and understanding of how Social Science and STEM disciplines can converge to address significant social problems
4) A sense of community among REU students and faculty that results in socially supportive relationships and enhancing students’ educational experience
5) Enhanced collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte.