Research Teams and Projects: AY 2021/2022

If you are interested in a particular research area, please reach out directly to the faculty member(s) leading the work. They can tell you whether they have current opportunities available. 

  1. Lead researcher/mentor: Louise Seamster, PhD – Sociology & Criminology
  • Selveyah Gamblin

Project info:
The Flint Email Lab is a collaboration with the Digital Publishing and Scholarship Studio at the University of Iowa’s library. This project seeks to increase the accessibility of a unique and important publicly-available set of emails on the Flint Water Crisis released by Michigan’s then-governor Rick Snyder. In early 2016, Snyder published a large archive (around 455,000 pages) of emails relating to the crisis from multiple government agencies. Flint residents brought Flint’s water catastrophe to light by conducting their own research and collaborating with experts, an example of the role of “citizen science” in ensuring water quality and access. 

We seek to contribute to these efforts by making the contents of the archive easily searchable to members of the public, especially affected communities. We are prototyping a website and initial data visualizations and analyses, and will keep expanding the website’s capacity iteratively. This project has involved students in conceptualization and execution from its beginnings in 2017. Currently, student research fellows are cleaning data and removing duplicates, testing the database, and helping produce training material and workflows. 

  1. Lead researcher/mentor: Kajsa Dalrymple, PhD – Journalism and Mass Communication/ Fred Boehmke, PhD – Political Science
  • Alex Hefel
  • Molly Fischer
  • Lane  Shirrell
  • Dylan Harvey
  • Zoe Lagessie
  • Chloe Weidl
  • Rylee Wilson
  • Olivia Friederick
  • Dylan Hood
  • Makenna Gregurek
  • Thomas Dainty
  • Oskar Kaut
  • Natalie Leathers
  • Samantha Johnson
  • Stephanie Gutierrez
  • Marissa Good
  • Sam Avery
  • Sahithi Shankaiahgari
  • Michael May
  • Elisabeth Oster
  • Olivia Bull
  • Mariah McKenna
  • Caleb McCullough
  • Salma Almanza

Project info:
The Iowa Policy and Opinion Lab (IPOL) studies policy and representation in Iowa. Participants will collect and analyze data on state government policy activity, including legislation, regulation, and executive orders. We will compile and code a multi-year database of all Iowa bills, executive orders, and administrative rulemaking. IPOL will also regularly collect data on Iowans’ opinion on policy priorities and preferences on specific policies. We will use these data to examine the link between citizens’ stated priorities and preferences and state government’s activities. While we will collect data on the entire spectrum of policy topic areas, students are currently organized into four groups emphasizing specific topic areas: race and crime, health and COVID-19, the environment, and social and women’s issues. 

  1. Lead researcher/mentor: Elise Pizzi, PhD; Kajsa Dalrymple, PhD; Kylah Hedding, PhD – Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Chloe Clemenson
  • Damien Diaz
  • Isabella Mullins
  • Elizabeth Wagner

Project info:
Local communities are on the front lines in responding to natural disasters, climate events, and other social disasters such as pandemics. The goal of this project is to understand the variation in disaster preparedness and communication strategies at the local level across Iowa. The research team is currently addressing three research questions: (1) How do counties vary in the way that they develop, implement and communicate disaster preparedness plans in their community? (2) What communication best practices are incorporated into community response plans (e.g., speaking to local contexts and engaging local stakeholders)? (3) How do different audiences rely on government organizations, media outlets, and interpersonal networks for safety information in order to develop personalized plans for mitigating risk? We are currently gathering data on seven pilot counties and will expend to all 99 counties in the next phase.