Diversity Fellowship Program

Here's what we want.

At the Minnesota Population Center, we believe that the creation of a diverse and inclusive community is central to maintaining the excellence of all of our projects. Our definition of diversity extends beyond race and gender and includes socioeconomic status, religion, gender identity and expression, and more. As a center, we aspire to represent the diversity of our city, our region, and our world and to create a space that encourages and embraces inclusiveness, equal opportunity, and respect.

Here's how we live it.

In 2015, the MPC developed a diversity enrichment initiative with the goal of increasing the diversity of our community. Since then, we've been welcoming Diversity Fellows every summer. The Diversity Fellowship at the Minnesota Population Center is designed to help recruit underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students to work on IPUMS data infrastructure projects or with MPC member faculty on demographic research projects.

Become a Diversity Fellow at the MPC

We are seeking applications for the summer 2021 program! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will once again run this program 100% virtually in 2021.

Program details and application instructions 

Picture of the Diversity Fellows from Summer 2020


Automating Data Quality Checks for International Census Data |  Dr. Tracy Kugler and Dr. Eric Shook 
Fellows will work with Dr. Kugler and Dr. Shook to explore more robust data quality checks for tabular data from international population censuses. The new IPUMS IHGIS (International Historical Geographic Information System) project is assembling and processing tabular data from census results documents from published tables from over 100 countries. Fellows will conduct pilot work to develop automated procedures to check the internal consistency of processed data. For example, do counts add up appropriately across categories, such as married males + married females = married persons?

What Can High School Yearbooks Tell Us About People’s Lives Decades Ago?  |  Dr. Rob Warren and Dr. Nicole Schmidt
Fellows will work with Dr. Warren and Dr. Schmidt to create new exciting social contextual information to the High School & Beyond (HSB) cohort study. HSB has followed and interviewed approximately 25,000 Americans who were high school students in 1980; they are being re-interviewed in 2021. This summer, we will gather yearbooks from high schools across the country and develop protocols for coding contextual information from those yearbooks. As a fellow, you would help to obtain and keep track of yearbooks (primarily from classmates.com); gain experience in coding practices and various pieces of information; and do enough of that coding to yield good estimates of how much time and money it will take to complete the work.

Uncovering the True Effectiveness of Government Interventions to Control COVID-19  |  Drs. Kumi SmithKelly SearleShalini Kulasingam
As the world waits for broader access to vaccines against COVID-19, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as masking, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders remain the only line of defense. But we need accurate estimates of the effectiveness these interventions. Fellows will work with Drs. Kulasingam, Searle, and Smith to prepare datasets on NPIs and excess mortality at the national and subnational levels for the 41 countries. Students will work with several large-scale and publicly available datasets to develop a consistent set of definitions for each of the candidate NPI strategies and determine the reliability of data provided for each NPI in each administrative unit.

How Can IPUMS Data be Used to Measure Diversity and Equity?   |  Kari Williams and Dr. Jamie Slaughter-Acey
Fellows will work with Kari Williams and Dr. Jamie Slaughter-Acey to write a series of blog posts that demonstrate how IPUMS data can be leveraged to measure diversity and/or equity for research. Fellows will explore IPUMS vast data to study equity, representation, and demographic measures that capture diversity and equity. Fellows will research and write 2-3 blog posts on how diversity and/or equity are captured in IPUMS datasets.

COVID-19 and Childhood Obesity  |  Dr. Simone FrenchDr. Alicia Kunin-BatsonDave VanRiper
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented environmental stressor in the lives of families, and may be exacerbating disparities in health, including childhood obesity. Fellows will partner with UMN researchers to examine the prospective influences of the cohort's exposure to social and economic disparities and how these may be exacerbated through and following the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows will work with researchers to create neighborhood-level data such as the Child Opportunity Index, poverty, race/ethnicity, and crime, and green space.

Diversity Fellowship in the News