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Undergraduates

Undergraduate students are welcome to participate in the LAPOP research institute in order to gain knowledge of international survey methods and applied experience on policy-relevant projects. There are two principal ways in which students may get involved, via the  Fellows Program  and/or as  Research Assistants

AY 20-21 Research Assistants

Vanderbilt students with diverse majors work as research assistants alongside LAPOP staff, faculty, and graduate students. These undergraduate research assistants assist in many different tasks involved in the public opinion research design, processing, and reporting.

Nikka Aminmadani

NIKKA AMINMADANI
nikka.a.aminmadani@Vanderbilt.Edu

 

meyer

SAM CHAVEZ-SALINAS
samantha.chavez-salinas@vanderbilt.edu

Cameron Deal

CAMERON DEAL
cameron.h.deal@vanderbilt.edu

 

Brannen Dickson

BRANNEN DICKSON
brannen.dickson@vanderbilt.edu

Alyssa Dunsizer

ALYSSA DUNSIZER
alyssa.dunsizer@vanderbilt.edu

 

Michael Gallego

MICHAEL GALLEGO
michael.c.gallego@vanderbilt.edu

Maria Loaiza Bonilla

MARIA LOAIZA BONILLA
maria.c.loaiza.bonilla@vanderbilt.edu

 

Chase Mandell

CHASE MANDELL
chase.b.mandell@vanderbilt.edu

Paul McDougald

PAUL MCDOUGALD
paul.r.mcdougald@vanderbilt.edu

 

Pauline Mireles

PAULINE MIRELES
pauline.j.mireles@vanderbilt.edu

Jasmin Norford

JASMIN NORFORD
jasmin.a.norford@vanderbilt.edu

 

Joshua Peng

JOSHUA PENG
joshua.z.peng@vanderbilt.edu

 Annabelle

ANNABELLE MIRHASHEMI
annabelle.r.mirhashemi@vanderbilt.edu

AY 20-21 Research Fellows

Jasmin Norford

JASMIN NORFORD
jasmin.a.norford@vanderbilt.edu

 

Isabella Randle

ISABELLA RANDLE
isabella.m.randle@vanderbilt.edu

Amy

AMY ZHANG
xinxin.zhang@vanderbilt.edu

   

The LAPOP Undergraduate Research Fellows program offers selected students the opportunity to learn the science of surveys, while working to create an original research project. Fellows spend some time in the LAPOP institute working alongside research staff and graduate students to gain hands-on experience, while simultaneously working through assignments that transfer knowledge and build skills in survey analysis and report writing. 


Students may participate via independent study or via a seminar (PSCI 3218). Occasionally, an honors seminar is offered. Interested students should contact Professor Zechmeister or Professor Lupu to inquire about which channels are an option.

insights


Research Fellows conduct original research using LAPOP data. 2014 LAPOP Undergraduate Research Fellow, Emily Stewart, presented her research to LAPOP faculty, staff, and students. Her presentation, "Public Health Services use in Latin America and the Caribbean," can be found here.  This research led to the publication of an Insights that can be found here.

Research Fellows enrolled in seminars often participate in a poster session as a capstone to the course experience. To see a few pictures from the poster presentations for the Spring 2015 Honors 186 class using LAPOP data, click here. To read the Insights reports written by members of this class, see here and here

 

In Their Own Words

"My favorite project so far was one that included coding survey data to create a set of wordless to show US attitudes toward Mexico. I've also worked on literature reviews about non-response rates and public opinions about climate change. As a research assistant, I've learned how to manage and analyze data, and how to work with team. LAPOP has given me opportunities to use my Spanish language skills and to learn more about topics that interest me."
— Alexa Bussmann, Senior, LAPOP Advanced Undergraduate Research Assistant


“While working in LAPOP, I’ve had the opportunity to explore a variety of research methods. I’ve especially enjoyed the projects which allow me to work with AmericasBarometer questionnaires — such as a project I completed last year in which I translated questions to best match the vocabulary of each country in the survey round. From looking at question construction and translation, to auditing surveys and examining data, working at LAPOP has enabled me to see the whole process of carrying out a complex public opinion survey.”
— Grace Adcox, Senior, LAPOP Advanced Undergraduate Research Assistant


“I really enjoy how every task I do with LAPOP challenges and engages me in a distinct way that helps me further develop different skills. It's humbling to know that I can help with such an important project that has such a tremendous impact.”
— Sam Chavez-Salinas, Sophomore, LAPOP Undergraduate Research Assistant


“My first experience with LAPOP was through a Public Opinion and Democracy in LAC seminar I took with Dr. Zechmeister. I was fascinated by the AmericasBarometer survey implementation process, and the way that people’s voices could be collected and transformed into a comprehensive analysis of a broader situation. My favorite part of the class was writing an Insights report about human rights protection: it was so much fun! I love being a LAPOP research assistant because I know I am contributing to the body of knowledge academics and policymakers utilize to improve people’s lives.”

— Isabella Randle, Sophomore, LAPOP Undergraduate Research Assistant



Immersion in LAPOP Lab

LAPOP Lab offers multiple opportunities for hands-on training and experience in survey data collection, statistical analysis, and report writing. Lab-affiliated undergraduate students team with faculty, research professionals, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students and work on a variety of public opinion projects, including the award-winning AmericasBarometer survey.

The lab offers several pathways for immersion projects. A typical sequence is “learn-research-write”, in which students learn by taking a skills-based course; research by joining the lab’s Fellow program via a formal course, an independent study, or a summer research program; and write by developing an independent research paper or honor’s thesis.

Learn. Courses that offer relevant skills for analyzing survey data include, but are not limited to, the following: ANTH 3261 (Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing), DS 1000 (Intro to Data Science), DS 2100 (Statistics for Data Science), ECON 3035 (Econometric Methods), PSCI 2300 (Intro to Data Science for Politics), PSY-PC 2120 (Statistical Analysis), PSY-PC 3743 (Factor Analysis), PSY-PC 3746 (Multivariate Statistics), and PSY-PC 3737 (Structural Equation Modeling). LAPOP Lab also offers training in analyzing survey data via the Fellows program, PSCI 3218 (Public Opinion and Democracy in Latin America), and an occasional honors course.

Research. Undergraduates apply to be LAPOP Undergraduate Research Fellows via enrollment in a course (PSCI 3218), enrollment in an independent study (PSCI 3851/2), and/or successful application for a summer research opportunity that can be carried out within the lab (e.g., VUSRP, DSI-SRP).

Write. A typical immersion capstone project is an independent study research paper (PSCI 3851/2) or honor’s thesis (PSCI 4998/9), using data gathered via research in the lab. Information on requirements for the PSCI major honors program is available at www.vanderbilt.edu/psci.

Students interested in Immersion in LAPOP Lab are encouraged to send an email to both of the lab’s directors, Professor Zechmeister and Professor Lupu, to discuss options for immersion paths and projects. Email: liz.zechmeister@vanderbilt.edu and noam.lupu@vanderbilt.edu.

LAPOP Lab also welcomes student participation that is not part of the formal VU Immersion requirement. In to the above-noted ways to engage with LAPOP, the lab has opportunities for undergraduate students to gain experience working on public opinion research projects via paid Research Assistant positions. More information on LAPOP Research Assistant positions can be found on our website (www.vanderbilt.edu/lapop) or by emailing our Undergraduate Research Assistant Program Coordinator, Sebastian Larrea (sebastian.c.larrea@vanderbilt.edu).