The program on Urban Studies is delighted to announce our Departmental Research Program for 2021. This program provides funding for selected undergraduates to work on faculty-led research projects. Students will receive mentorship and supervision from the faculty member overseeing their project.

Urban Studies Departmental Research Program 2021

Students will also participate in cohort events with the other student researchers to discuss their ongoing research, build their research skills, and enhance a sense of community.

Quarters Available:

Winter, Spring, or Summer Quarters.

Summer: June 22 – August 28. This is expected to be a full-time (40 hours per week), 10-week commitment. Participating students may not register for more than 5 units of summer coursework, and may not work for more than 10 hours per week outside of their project experience.

Stipend:

Part-time projects: $1500 per quarter; 10 hours / week.

Full-time projects: Dynamic stipend, based on financial need and location (i.e. expected cost of housing). Read more about stipends.

Eligibility:

The program is open to undergraduate Stanford students in all majors, as well as undeclared students. 

For part-time projects: Students may be actively enrolled, or on their flex quarter. Students may not be on leave of absence.

For full-time projects: Students must be on their flex quarter, AND must have been actively enrolled in two previous quarters during the 2020-2021 academic year. Full-time projects will only be available in spring and summer. 

Students participating in full-time projects may register for up to 5 units of coursework, OR may work, hold an internship, or volunteer up to 10 hours per week outside of their project experience (provided it is not with another VPUE funded research project). Students may not receive course credit and a stipend for the same VPUE project. A full-time project cannot be taken in the same quarter as another full-time experience, such as a Haas Summer Fellowship, a VPUE Major Grant, or a Chappell-Lougee Scholarship.

Housing:

Participating in projects (whether part-time or full-time) does NOT make a student eligible to live on campus. 

Deadline for Spring & Summer Quarter applications: 

The application for Spring and Summer Quarter opportunities has closed. 

For information, contact Michael Kahan at mkahan@stanford.edu

Winter Quarter Projects

Nudges in Financial Aid.
Faculty: Eric Bettinger, Graduate School of Education.

Nudges are increasingly used throughout the higher education in attempts to improve student success. Nudges have been used to provide academic counseling, to strengthen course planning, and to simplify financial aid applications among many other applications. In some settings, nudges seem to function well by themselves; however, many nudges when combined by human expertise generate long-run impacts. The literature review focuses on identifying the role of human expertise in reinforcing and strengthening nudge-based interventions.

Skills Emphasized: Programming skills in R or Stata.

Preferred Qualifications: Basic programming in R or Stata.

Schedule: Winter: Part-time.

Spring and Summer Quarter Projects

1. Gentrification and Residential Instability in the Bay Area.
Faculty: Jackelyn Hwang, Sociology

This project will examine how gentrification and declining housing affordability affect residential instability in the Bay Area. One component of the project will involve collecting survey and interview data on residential instability in the City of Oakland, and another component will involve analyzing existing data on patterns of residential displacement, financial stability, and housing conditions in relation to neighborhood changes and housing and development policies.

The research assistant will assist with the following activities: (1) implement surveys and/or conduct interviews and focus groups; (2) map and compile results as table and figures; (3) assist in developing policy reports, presentations, and academic publications; and (4) gather background information on specific policies, developments, and cities.

Desired skills: Strong communication skills; experience with R and data visualization is a plus.

Schedule: Spring: Part-time; Summer: Full-time

2. The Educational Opportunity Project (EOP).
Faculty: Sean Reardon, Graduate School of Education.

The Educational Opportunity Project (EOP) is a research project dedicated to using data to inform education policy and increase student opportunity. EOP’s analysis builds off of the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), a unique database that measures educational outcomes as well as student demographics and inequality. SEDA is the first nationwide archive of education test score data, now including over 300 million standardized test scores. Using these data, SEDA publishes annual data on student achievement and achievement gaps for every public school and school district in the United States. SEDA is designed to provide scholars, policymakers, educators, and journalists with detailed information on patterns of educational opportunity and outcomes across the U.S., with the expectation that such evidence will inform and improve educational policies and practices.

Research tasks: Research Assistants will be responsible for assisting the work of The Educational Opportunity Project (EOP), a research project dedicated to using data to inform education policy and increase student opportunity. RAs will specifically work on priorities related to accountability testing and school district boundaries. RA’s will learn about the landscape of accountability testing and proficiency measures in the United States, as well as gain exposure in the areas of psychometric and statistical research practice and data analysis. Example duties include: Conducting online background research on relevant topics - reviewing technical assessment manuals and appendixes, researching school district boundaries and changes in geo locations. Organizing targeted information and producing progress reports. Outreach (via email, phone, and conference calls) to stakeholders. Use of various tools to support project administration, including Microsoft Office suite and Google Drive.

Preferred Qualifications: Interest in education, education policy, and social and educational inequality is desirable. Strong ability to work independently, comfort taking initiative, and attention to detail is an asset.

Schedule: Spring and summer: Part-time.

3. Nudges in Financial Aid.
Faculty: Eric Bettinger, Graduate School of Education.

Nudges are increasingly used throughout the higher education in attempts to improve student success. Nudges have been used to provide academic counseling, to strengthen course planning, and to simplify financial aid applications among many other applications. In some settings, nudges seem to function well by themselves; however, many nudges when combined by human expertise generate long-run impacts. The literature review focuses on identifying the role of human expertise in reinforcing and strengthening nudge-based interventions.

Skills Emphasized: Programming skills in R or Stata.

Preferred Qualifications: Basic programming in R or Stata.

Schedule: Spring and Summer: Part-time.

4. Perceptions of Affordable Housing that Lead to Action.
Faculty: Sarah Billington, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

One reason for the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area, in particular for low- and very-low income families seems to be a result of communities perceiving affordable housing in a negative light and therefore taking action to prevent affordable housing from being built. Our collaborative research seeks to answer the following questions: (1) What are people’s perceptions of what counts as affordable housing projects? (2) Do certain perceptions of “what counts as affordable housing” differ between those who are motivated to take action (either support or resist) and those who do not? (3) How does the type of action vary based on what people know about affordable housing? (4) Are people more motivated to take action (either support or resist) given certain mediating factors such as who the affordable housing is for, the distance from one's own residence, and/or the extent to which the housing contributes to environmental sustainability or historic preservation? (5) Are people more motivated to take action (support or resist) if they have achieved a desired outcome previously and if they can withstand the length of time required to achieve a desired outcome? We will conduct online surveys as well as in-depth, in-person (likely virtual) interviews.

Research tasks: The RA will assist in collecting literature related to our research questions and provide summaries. The RA will also help prepare our online survey in Qualtrics while keeping track of the survey design and selected (or newly designed) instrument questions. The RA will also be asked to review descriptive statistics from the survey (or possibly assist with coding of interview transcripts) and possibly conduct statistical analyses using R.

Preferred qualifications: Preferred to have taken a statistics class. Having familiarity with Qualtrics would be a plus but not necessary.

Schedule: Summer: Full-time.