The Social and Education Policy Program has a research internship program for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Iowa. The research internship program provides students with training, experience, and mentoring in the context of faculty-driven research projects. In this semester-long internship, students are matched based on interest and availability to a faculty project.
Learn more about the internship here. For questions, contact Social and Education Policy Research Program Director Sarah Bruch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three students have joined the PPC as summer interns of 2018. Two, Starr Davis and Chad Rhym, are here as part of the UI Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), and one, Conrad Kim, as part of the Iowa Center for Research for Undergraduates Program (ICRU).
Starr attends Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama and expects to graduate in May of 2020. Her research interest is in social policy. Her future plans consist of earning a Master’s of Social Work and a Doctor of Juridicial Science, and plans to use these degrees to advocate legislation that addresses problems for people that don’t have a voice.
While at the PPC, Starr will be analyzing survey data on the experiences of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Iowa, and researching ways to diversify, recruit, and retain minority teachers for the Iowa City schools and the University of Iowa.
Some fun facts about Starr - she loves watching classic black and white movies, and she shares a bunk bed with her black lab, Pepper, who sleeps in the bottom bunk, while she takes the top bunk.
Chad studies Sociology at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and expects to graduate in May of 2019. His research interest is in inequality in education. He hopes to pursue a career in academia or journalism.
While at the PPC, he will be working under the direction of Dr. Sarah Bruch, studying teachers' implicit racial biases and the effect it has on the academic progression of their minority students, specifically in public schools.
A fun fact about Chad - he has lived in the South for his entire life.
Conrad was born in Stony Brook, New York but grew up in Korea until the age of 14. He studies Sociology at the University of Iowa, and anticipates a graduation date of May 2019. He is interested in doing quantitative research in graduate school.
One fun fact about Conrad - he studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain.
Three students – Pearis Bellamy, Janee Harris and Aubria Myers – were part of the UI Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).
One student – Austin Adams – was part of the Iowa Center for Research for Undergraduates Program (ICRU).
Three students – Sean Finn, Kaelynn Heiberg and Rachel Maller – were part of the Social and Education Policy Research Program’s internship program.
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.
"I truly enjoyed my time working with Dr. Sarah Bruch in the Public Policy Center. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much about research and the Iowa City Community School District. I really appreciated the guidance of Dr. Bruch and Tessa Heeren as well as the opportunities they provided us with to engage with the community. I am so grateful for this opportunity and encourage other students participate in this internship."
“My experience working under the mentorship Dr. Sarah Bruch and Tessa Herren in the university’s Public Policy Center was a chapter in my academic career I will never forget. They’ve helped me so much in gaining insight towards my own potential research aspirations after working on the Iowa City Community School District Equity Project. I encourage any students who need help recognizing their future plans after undergrad, these two accomplished women will put you on the right path to success. Also, I admire that without pressure, Dr. Bruch and Tessa’s charisma motivates you to want to indulge in research!”
“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.”
Rodriguez and Nucaro presented a poster on the research partnership with the Iowa City Community School District. View the poster here.
Meredith McCaffrey is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa majoring in political science, as well as ethics and public policy with a concentration in sociology. In addition to her academic focus, she fostered a deeper interest in educational policy, school climate and equity after working as an assistant teacher in a preschool near campus. After she enrolled in Sarah Bruch’s Social Inequality and Big Ideas: Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America course, she became further inspired to pursue an opportunity to work directly with educational policy through an internship with the Public Policy Center. After graduation, she hopes to join the Teach for America Organization to further her involvement with public education and student experience.
"I loved interning at the PPC because I got the opportunity to explore my academic interests, learn research techniques and relate what I was learning in the classroom to real world situations."
Rhea Burns is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa with a major in Enterprise Leadership and a minor in Sociology. She was a student in Dr. Sarah Bruch’s Social Inequality course which inspired her to further her education regarding disparities and inequalities, especially within school systems. After graduation, Rhea plans to begin a graduate program to attain a Master of Business Administration degree.
Irvin Rodriguez is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa with a major in Sociology and Enterprise Leadership. Irvin was a student in Dr. Sarah Bruch’s Social Inequality and Big Ideas: Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America courses which initially spurred his interest in how inequality shapes society. Having no prior research experience, the internship offered by Dr. Bruch strongly influenced him and his future plans. Irvin plans to continue his internship opportunity with the Public Policy Center during the spring and after graduation, he plans pursue a career in the field of social work.
"The time I’ve spent so far with the Public Policy Center has been invaluable. Having the chance to work in an environment like this has been awesome! This is a great opportunity to transfer what you've learned and apply it to something tangible and meaningful. I can certainly say I've learned a lot in my short time here. I highly recommend an experience like this to any student!"
"I strongly believe that my time working with the Public Policy Center this summer was one of the most important and worthwhile experiences that I have had as an undergraduate. Being able to contribute to the meaningful work the Public Policy Center continues to do has been a great honor, and I would highly recommend a research internship experience such as this one to other undergraduate students."
During the project, HaYoung enjoyed learning about the unique process of social policy research and collaborating the work with a variety of members in the community. It was a meaningful experience for her to witness and participate in a research project that will bring a real-life change in the community.
"Working as a research assistant has been an invaluable experience as it not only gave me the opportunity to work with professors and graduate students who have an incredible wealth of knowledge and understanding in the field of sociology, but also allowed me to further my own research skills in ways that I could not have learned just inside a classroom."