Research Assistant (CS major) for big data research

Position Information

We are seeking an advanced undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science, or graduate student in Computer Science to assist ongoing research pioneered by Dr. Chau Tong and her research lab in the School of Journalism. The research lab is at the forefront of cutting-edge research in Social Media Analytics & Communication Technology, and this is a unique opportunity for a talented and motivated student to work on cutting-edge research projects involving the collection, cleaning, and analysis of large-scale social media data.

Job Duties

As a Research Assistant, you will play a crucial role in supporting our research efforts in big data and data science. Your primary responsibilities will include performing data collection, data cleaning, data wrangling, and data analysis, with a focus on gathering and analyzing large-scale social media data, including text and images. Proficiency in web scraping using Selenium is a key requirement for this role.

Required Skills

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

Data Collection: Collaborate with the research team to collect large-scale social media data from various platforms. This includes web scraping using Selenium and other data collection techniques.

Data Cleaning and Wrangling: Prepare and clean collected data to ensure its quality and suitability for analysis. Perform data wrangling tasks to transform and structure the data appropriately.

Data Analysis: Utilize your skills in Java, Python, R, and other relevant languages to conduct data analysis tasks. Apply statistical and machine learning techniques to extract insights from the data.

Collaborative Teamwork: Work closely with other team members to set and implement project goals. Collaborate in debugging code, optimizing functions, and ensuring the overall success of research projects.

Insight Generation: Use your analytical skills to identify patterns and trends in large datasets. Communicate findings effectively to non-technical audiences through reports, presentations, or visualizations.

Preferred Qualifications

Junior standing in Computer Science or a related field.

Relevant coursework in Object-Oriented Programming & Data Structures, Linear Algebra, Calculus III, Statistics, Learning Analytics, Data Science, Networks, Design & Programming for the Web, and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

Proficiency in programming languages, including Java, Python, R, HTML, CSS, C++, and SQL.

Familiarity with supervised and unsupervised learning, algorithms, and Git/version control.

Strong problem-solving skills and ability to collaborate effectively in a team.

Capacity to generate actionable insights from big data patterns and convey them to non-technical audiences.

Other Comments


Gain hands-on research experience in big data and data science.

Collaborate with faculty and graduate students on cutting-edge research projects.

Enhance your programming and data analysis skills.

Opportunity to contribute to research publications and presentations.

Potential for academic credit or stipend, if available.

Application Instructions:

Interested candidates should submit the following application materials to Dr. Chau Tong (

  1. Cover letter expressing your interest and qualifications for the position.
  2. Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
  3. Unofficial transcript(s) showing relevant coursework.
  4. Code samples or projects demonstrating your programming and data analysis skills, if applicable.
  5. Contact information for two academic or professional references.

Please use the subject line “Advanced Undergraduate Research Assistant Application – [Your Name]” in your email. Applications will be reviewed immediately, and position is open until filled.

For inquiries or more information about the position, please contact Dr. Chau Tong at

We encourage students to include a resume or transcript when e-mailing a faculty mentor to apply for a posted position.