Research Teams AY 2022-23

These are the teams active in academic year 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
  • Marissa Good
  • Darshaun Smith

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. Currently, student research fellows are cleaning data and expanding the dataset, testing the database, and helping design archive exhibits.

2. Lead researcher/mentor: Fred Boehmke, PhD – Political Science

  • Sam Avery
  • Makenna Gregurek
  • Alex Hefel
  • Kathleen Hubeli
  • Malvika Khadiya
  • Zoe Lagessie
  • Dylan Lane
  • Maryam Mohammed
  • Maxwell Oelmann
  • Emily Pazera
  • Samuel Rich
  • Sahithi Shankaiahgari
  • Samantha Villanueva

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. 

3. Lead researcher/mentor: Brian Lai, PhD – Political Science

  • Amelia Thoreson
  • Hiatt Holman
  • Chloe Clemenson
  • Kaiya Luethje
  • Regan Day 
  • Reese Bobbit
  • Karla Sierra
  • Elise Cagnard
  • Taylor Maas

Project info:
The international politics research team is engaging in two projects. The first is to collect data on all attempted peace negotiations in civil wars from 1980-2010. Our goal is to use this data to better understand when violence is likely to occur during a negotiation attempt and what factors influence the outcome of these attempts. We also plan to use this research to write about how to structure negotiations in a few current civil wars. The other project collects data on non-state actor control of territory during a civil war. We are collecting data on where rebels control territory during a civil war. This project will look at how territorial control influences settlement efforts with the government, the duration of a civil war, and the transformation of rebel groups into political parties after the war.