An internship program that provides students with hands-on experience designing, conducting and analyzing surveys is celebrating its 10th anniversary July 31 with a symposium showcasing the research of current interns and a dinner for alumni and friends.
The program, sponsored by the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research, was established in 2003 to build relationships with promising scholars and promote diversity. More than 50 students from around the nation have participated in the last decade, working with ISR research faculty in a variety of academic disciplines. The experience has kick-started scores of careers and kicked off a number of long-lasting friendships and professional collaborations between interns and faculty mentors.
“Many of our former interns are doing fantastic things — teaching, attending top-tier grad schools and helping to conduct surveys and other social science research around the world,” says George Myers, manager of diversity initiatives at the ISR Survey Research Center, and director of the internship program since its inception.
“I love working with interns from this program in the summers,” says Kira Birditt, a research assistant professor in the ISR Life Course Development Program, who has served as a mentor since the program began. “Because the interns work full-time, we have the chance to work on in-depth projects, and we get a lot done.”
Over the years, interns from the program have worked on coding and analyzing survey data, helped with grant-writing and even co-authored papers with Birditt.
Summer intern Monique Kelly who plans to attend graduate school at the University of California, Irvine, in the fall, has been working with ISR research professor Fred Conrad, who heads the Michigan Program in Survey Methodology. She has been helping to analyze data from Conrad’s iPhone study. The preliminary findings, presented this spring at the American Association for Public Opinion Research, received international media coverage.
“This internship was a great experience for me,” says former intern Lisa Marchiondo, who completed a Ph.D. in psychology at U-M this year and will be starting a position as assistant professor of psychology at Wayne State University later this summer.
Last summer, Marchiondo worked with Gwenith Fisher, an associate research scientist at ISR, merging the ISR Health and Retirement Study with a large national database of occupational information. Now Marchiondo and Fisher are continuing their collaboration, analyzing the rich dataset.
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