Institute for Intelligent Systems

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Leah Windsor

Faculty Mentor's Department: Institute for Intelligent Systems 

Email/Website: /

Project Description: What kind of language does a dictator use? Can language patterns reveal when rebel groups are getting stronger or weaker? How do leaders use speeches to send credible threats or effectively bluff adversaries in international politics? These questions are particularly important given the unpredictability and opaqueness of rogue political actors, including autocratic leaders, non-state actors, rebel groups, and terrorist groups, in international relations. Patterns of content, language, and discourse in speeches, documents, and social media can reveal important political information relevant to policymakers and national security strategists who are interested in predicting and responding to international events and crises. Through the Institute for Intelligent Systems at The University of Memphis, our research team has the capacity to conduct analyses of political texts in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and English using computational tools. We focus on three areas of investigation: (1) political crisis and language, (2) the distinction between credible threats and bluffs in national and international security, and (3) contentious political behavior among non-state actor groups.

Requirements for Student Applicants:  Honors student or GPA 3.5 or above

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer or academic credit

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Andrew Olney

Faculty Mentor's Department:  Institute for Intelligent Systems


Project Description:  My research involves natural language interfaces. These are typically interactive dialogue systems that use natural language processing, but I also do work in analyzing text. Much of my funded research involves building educational software that uses artificial intelligence to teach students.

Requirements for Student Applicants:  The student should have a 3.0 or above GPA, an interest in research, and some ability to write software (even at a basic level). Interested students should also be willing to minimally commit to a weekly meeting and 3-4 hours a week of work outside of meetings.

Start Date:  Immediately

Method of Compensation:  Volunteer or academic credit

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Art Graesser

Faculty Mentor's Department: Institute for Intelligent Systems


Project Description: AutoTutor for adult literacy is a new and innovative Intelligent Tutoring System that aids struggling adult readers on their quest to literacy.  We are looking for motivated undergraduate students to assist with experiments, data collection, and data analyses. Students will have opportunities to gain research experience for graduate school and earn authorship on scholarly papers. Dr. Graesser has an esteemed reputation in the cognitive science community and a track record of mentoring students who have gone on to successful careers in and out of psychology.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Any of the following interests: Cognitive Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Memory and Learning, Education.

Application or Interview Process:  Email Dr. Lippert (Dr. Graesser's postdoctoral student) at to schedule an interview.

Starting Date: Immediately.

Method of Compensation: Volunteer, academic credit. Potential for stipend if student completes tasks well.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Philip I. Pavlik Jr.

Faculty Mentor's Department: Institute for Intelligent Systems


Project Description: The Optimal Learning Lab conducts research that involves theories of human learning and how to apply them in educational contexts.  More specifically, our current research projects include: elaborative study methods (concept mapping), text comprehension strategies, and spaced practice.

Requirements for Student Applicants: The student should have a 3.0 or above GPA, successfully completed PSYC 3010 (Research and Statistics I), and have an interest in cognitive psychology, education, or computer science.  Interested students should also be willing to commit a minimum of 4 hours per week to lab projects. (Note: Some projects may require more or less time; thus, a flexible schedule is an added benefit)

Start Date: Immediately

Method of Compensation: Volunteer or academic credit.