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.
Seven students worked as interns during the summer of 2017.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
“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!”
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.
Rachel Maller is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa with a major in sociology and double minor in communication studies and philosophy. She joined the project in Spring 2017 due to her passion of fighting for social justice and critically examining social structures that may perpetuate systematic inequalities. She has worked with youth for the last 10 years as a babysitter, day care worker and summer camp counselor at Horace Mann’s Before and After School Program. Her love for education and youth inspires her to advocate for equitable school experiences in the Iowa City Community School District. She continued her internship opportunity with the Public Policy Center over the summer. She is graduating in December 2017 and plans to have a career in public policy, advocacy or social services. She hopes to create powerful social change with the insights and education she has received and to shake up the status quo.
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.”
Interns Irvin Rodriguez and Nicole Nucaro presented at the annual Research in the Capitol event, hosted by the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU)
, on Tuesday, March 28. More information about Research in the Capitol is available here
Rodriguez and Nucaro presented a poster on the research partnership with the Iowa City Community School District. View the poster here.
Rachel Maller is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa with a major in sociology and double minor in communication studies and philosophy. She joined the project in Spring 2017 due to her passion of fighting for social justice and critically examining social structures that may perpetuate systematic inequalities. She has worked with youth for the last 10 years as a babysitter, day care worker and summer camp counselor at Horace Mann’s Before and After School Program. Her love for education and youth inspires her to advocate for equitable school experiences in the Iowa City Community School District. She plans to continue her internship opportunity with the Public Policy Center over the summer. She is graduating in December 2017 and plans to have a career in public policy, advocacy or social services. She hopes to create powerful social change with the insights and education she has received and to shake up the status quo.
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.
Nicole Nucaro is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Iowa with a double major in business management and social work. She is a member of the University Honors Program and is a 2016 Presidential Scholar. She was a student in Sarah Bruch’s Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America course first semester which sparked her interest in studying inequalities within education. Her goal over the course of the next three years is to take advantage of all the opportunities to get involved at Iowa, learn as much possible about social justice issues and discover how she can make difference. She hopes to study abroad, get involved in student organizations and eventually get accepted into law school.
"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!"
Justin is a psychology major at Virginia Commonwealth University, and participated in the Summer Research Opportunity Program at the University of Iowa in the summer of 2016. After graduation, Justin would like to have a career working as a guidance counselor in a middle or high school in a low income area, and eventually to become a principal. His passion is in helping children to explore their true potential and talents in education.
Alex is a recently graduated student from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He has a wide range of interests within the realm of public policy, with his most prominent being education. Prior to the summer of 2016, Alex had no previous experience doing research. His entrance into the Iowa Center for Undergraduate Research Program was initiated by Associate Professor Sarah Bruch while taking her Policy Matters course during his senior year. Following graduation, Alex has continued performing research with the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, and plans to return to Iowa in the coming year in order to pursue a Ph.D. in Schools, Culture, & Society.
"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."
HaYoung Jeong is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and a certificate in human rights. She is interested in using community-based research to improve social policy. She has previous research experience as a research fellow through the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates Fellowship program in the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa. HaYoung is now a candidate for a Masters of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
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.
Sana Naqvi is a graduate from the University of Iowa with a bachelors degree in ethics and public policy and a certificate in human rights. She was a student in Sarah Bruch’s Social Inequality and Policy Matters classes, which sparked her interest in educational inequality. She has had previous research experience working on the National Registry of Exonerations while interning at the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. She is a future J.D. candidate looking to practice law in the field of human rights.
"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."