Social & Education Policy

PPC welcomes 2017 summer interns

A group of young people sit around a table with a laptop and research materials.

Six students will work as interns at the Public Policy Center this summer with Sarah Bruch, Director of the Public Policy Center’s Social and Education Policy Research Program and assistant professor in the Department of Sociology in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Three students – Pearis Bellamy, Janee Harris and Aubria Myers – are part of the UI Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).

Pearis Bellamy
Pearis Bellamy is a senior psychology major and leadership studies minor from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. This summer, she is a research fellow with the Summer Research Opportunities Program at University of Iowa and is working with Sarah Bruch in the Public Policy Center. After she graduates from Hampton University, she would like to pursue her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and be a marriage and family counselor. 


Janee Harris
Janee Harris is a fourth-year undergraduate student attending the historically black college of Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana. Harris is a double major in criminal justice and psychology. This summer, she is a part of the 2017 Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) working alongside Sarah Burch and Public Policy Center colleagues. Bruch’s current Equity Project has furthered Harris' interest in identifying racial disparities within society and has opened her eyes to racial issues that stem from secondary education as well. Upon graduation, Harris aspires to receive her master’s degree in criminology and use her knowledge to attack pressing societal issues through law enforcement.

Aubria Myers
Aubria Myers is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, who is a participant in the Summer Research Opportunities Program. She is a double major in sociology: criminology, law and deviance and communication: public relations. This is her first time participating in any formal research project, but she values the topic due to personal educational experiences. After graduating in May 2018 she plans to pursue an M.A. in any topic that pertains to community development - the specific one still being unknown.

“So far working in the PPC has been a one of a kind experience. Everyone here is so nice, and working on the Equity Implemented Project with Sarah and Tessa has helped me shape my future plans.” 

SROP is an award-winning program designed to provide promising underrepresented undergraduate students with in-depth research experiences. The SROP program strives to prepare young investigators to achieve their goals of pursuing graduate work and of becoming tomorrow's academic leaders as faculty, or to pursue successful careers in government, business and non-profit agencies. Students receive first-hand exposure to the graduate school experience and to faculty life by being paired with a faculty mentor whose work is closely related to their academic interests and career goals. More information about SROP is available at

Three students – Austin Adams, Sean Finn and Kaelynn Heiberg – are part of the Social and Education Policy Research Program’s internship program.

Austin Adams
Austin Adams (he/him/his) is a senior at the University of Iowa triple-majoring in political science, economics and ethics and public policy – minoring in philosophy.

During his time as an undergraduate, he has pursued his interests in policymaking and public service through both his studies and his out-of-class work. While here, he has conducted research on racial disparities in the State of Iowa’s County Jail System, worked on a team of researchers to study effective political communication on Twitter, and studied Policy Diffusion Theory in the context of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. He served for two years as the President of the Hawkeye Optimist Chapter, a service-based organization which serves the disadvantaged youth of Iowa City. He has also held positions on the executive board of Delta Lambda Phi and the University of Iowa Service Council. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Adams will pursue a master’s degree in public policy.

Sean Finn
Sean Finn is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa pursuing degrees in economics and ethics and public policy. His interest in policy and its relationship with social justice and equity, especially for marginalized communities, guided him towards Sarah Bruch's work with the Public Policy Center. After graduation, he hopes to continue and strengthen his advocacy work and pursue a Master of Public Policy degree.

Kaelynn Heiberg
Kaelynn Heiberg will be a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa this fall. She is pursuing majors in sociology and ethics and public policy. During her internship, Heiberg is interested in learning how policy is created, and how it can create positive changes in the community. She will complete an Honors thesis project in the subject area of implicit bias and cultural competency in the classroom, and her experiences with Bruch will be foundational in exploring these interests in the fall.

The research internship program is for undergraduate and graduate students at the UI. It provides students with training, experience and mentoring in the context of faculty-driven research projects. Students are matched based on interest and availability to a faculty project. More information about the internship program is available here