Kim Voss, Professor

Closed (1) Worker Identities in a New Era of Immigration

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2018.

This project examines how immigrant and native-born workers understand social hierarchy in America, how they interpret their place in it, and how they perceive themselves vis a vis the race/ethnicity distinction that has shaped American politics for the last 100 years. Using in-depth interviews, it delves into how immigrant and native-born workers see themselves, their workplaces, and the larger world in order to discover their identities and the ways they measure similarity and difference.

Students will develop skills and experience doing interviews and in coding and analyzing interview data. Frequent meetings will be held with the entire research team so students will also gain experience in doing qualitative empirical analysis.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Fabiana Silva

Qualifications: This semester I am looking for applicants who are interested in interviewing and/or learning to code interview data. Interviews will be conducted with both native-born white workers and with Latino immigrant workers. Fluency in Spanish is a plus but others are welcome as well. There is also a role for students who are primarily interested in coding and analyzing interview transcripts. Prior experience with interviewing or transcription would be helpful. Students must be able to pay careful attention to detail.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website:

Closed (3) Building and Refining Text Analysis Tool to Discover Patterns in Police and Protester Interactions

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

This research examines how American police departments made decisions about allowing, discouraging, or evicting encampments of the Occupy movement in 2011. Because the Occupy movement spawned local movements across the country using a similar repertoire of tactics (e.g. encampments) a comparative study of cities will offer students of social movements a better understanding of how city governance structures, political climates, budgets, prior history of movement activity, and police organization (among other contextual variables) shape the outcomes of interactions between city governments/police and protesters.

But none of these questions are answerable without first reliably extracting data from over 8,000 news accounts describing Occupy events. Therefore, this project is developing a web-interface that direct humans in the process of extracting such data. Both EECS and social science students can contribute heavily to this project.

Undergraduates will build and test a web interface allowing citizen scientists to read newspaper articles and label their content to quantify the events of interaction between police and protesters during the Occupy movement. Students will be encouraged to learn more about the intersection between computer science and social science, and to engage in research relevant to both. EECS students will be encouraged to design user studies to improve the web interface. Social science students will engage as subjects in those studies and be encouraged to write sociological papers about the substantive findings revealed by large-scale analysis of textual data.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Nick Adams, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Seeking social science, computer science, electrical engineering, and data science students with a sense of initiative and good (online) collaboration and communication skills. Students must exhibit attention to detail and the ability to work independently. Students must be able to make and keep realistic time commitments without close external supervision.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website: