Program Details


Fellows will work extensively with data of various types, including historical census and survey data from the U.S. as well as spatial data. They may interpret, edit, and format technical documentation. They also may analyze data in statistical packages and record the findings systematically. Some fellows help to prepare data for distribution through IPUMS’data dissemination websites. Fellows are expected to carry out a variety of other tasks including data preparation, data dissemination, and data analysis. Fellows will be expected to be trained in new software and techniques as necessary, perform work in a timely manner while being attentive to details, and show initiative in solving problems.

Fellows will report to and be mentored by research scientists, senior data analysts, faculty, software developers, or other professional staff working on the assigned project. They may collaborate with principal investigators, other research assistants, post-doctoral associates, and other and Institutestaff. Graduate fellows will be asked to be a peer mentor to an undergraduate fellows team member.


  • Professional Mentorship: Each fellow is paired with two mentors working on the assigned project. Graduate fellows will gain mentorship experience. Undergraduate Fellows will gain peer mentorship from graduate fellow team members.
  • Professional Development: Fellows will participate in professional development workshops over the course of the summer, in addition to weekly cohort meetings.
  • Paid Summer Stipend: Graduate students — 10 weeks, 20 hours per week, $23.94/hr; undergraduate students — 8 weeks, 20 hours per week, $11.17/hr.


  • Graduate Fellows: June 8 - August 14, 2020
  • Undergraduate Fellows: June 22 - August 14, 2020


Required: Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. The MPC works with students from many disciplines across campus. Students must have: excellent written and oral communication skills, excellent computer skills and ability to work in a technical environment, good interpersonal skills, reliability and attention to detail, and the ability to act independently and as part of a diverse team environment. Students must be willing to embrace new technologies and skills.

Additional Selection Criteria: Students should self-identify with a historically underrepresented group which includes, but is not limited to: African Americans, American Indians, Hispanic/Latino/a Americans, Asian Americans. We also consider first-generation students, women students in tech fields, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities. Students may have: knowledge of a major statistical package (Stata, SAS, R, or SPSS), experience analyzing census or survey microdata, experience with HTML and XML metadata, and/or use and knowledge of ArcGIS or other GIS software packages. We are especially eager to recruit students who are interested in learning new skills and who could use MPC resources and/or IPUMS data in their own research.

Application Instructions

Please apply by emailing a cover letter and resume/CV to Mia Riza, Diversity Fellowship Director, at

Your cover letter should indicate which project/s you have a special interest in and for which you are most qualified. Projects described below. Please also include in your cover letter why a summer fellowship with a concentration on diversity is of interest to you.

The cover letter should address the following

  1. The project(s) you are interested in applying for with an explanation

    1. If applying for more than one project, please providing reasoning for both.

  2. A diversity statement. Please explain how your past experiences make you a diverse candidate and why that is important to you and for this program.

The search committee will begin its review of applications immediately upon receipt; interviews will take place in March and early April. Applicants will be notified of selection or non-selection on or before April 10. Questions concerning the application process may be addressed to

Application deadline: February 28, 2020


Building a Multi-dimensional Measure of Structural Racism
Staff mentor: Sula Sarkar
Faculty mentor: Rachel Hardeman

Fellows will work with Dr. Hardeman and Dr. Sarkar to develop a Multi-dimensional Measure of Structural Racism. Structural racism is defined as the totality of ways in which societies foster racial discrimination. Structural racism is perpetuated through mutually reinforcing systems (i.e., housing, education, employment, earnings, benefits, credit, media, health care, and criminal justice). While several one-dimensional measures of structural racism exist, all of them are unable to account for the complexity of intersecting systems of oppression. Students will use data from IPUMS NHGIS, IPUMS USA and the Vera Institute of Justice to develop the MSSR. Students will be expected to use statistical and geospatial software to link datasets and create measures of inequities. The goal of this project is to develop preliminary results that could be shaped into articles for submission to academic journals.

Developing and Visualizing New Types of U.S. Census Mapping Data
Staff mentor: Jonathan Schroeder
Faculty mentor: Ying Song

Fellows will work with Dr. Song and Dr. Schroeder to develop new mapping data products and craft online visualizations that use the new data to illustrate interesting features of U.S. population. The new data will add to the existing collection of IPUMS NHGIS, which includes GIS mapping files for U.S. census geography (counties, census tracts, etc.) from 1790 to the present. We are interested in adding several new types of data: water bodies, roads, centers of population, generalized boundaries (providing less detail than our existing data), and/or line data for boundaries and coastlines (to complement our existing polygon data). You will derive the new data from original Census Bureau sources using GIS tools. You will help to identify interesting subjects for visualizations that combine the new mapping data with census summary data (e.g., changes in neighborhood race and ethnicity throughout the U.S., etc.). You will generate the visualizations and integrate them into a blog post on the IPUMS website.

International Census Geography
Staff mentor: Tracy Kugler
Faculty mentor: Steve Manson

Fellows will work with Dr. Kugler and Dr. Manson to prepare geographic data on administrative and statistical unit boundaries to complement data tables from international population and agricultural censuses. The new IPUMS IHGIS (International Historical Geographic Information System) project is assembling, processing, and documenting tabular data from census results documents from over 100 countries. These data tables describe population and agricultural characteristics of geographic units. To enable users to map and conduct spatial analysis using the data, we must assemble geographic data defining the boundaries of units described in the data tables. Fellows will use and extend workflows and tools developed by IPUMS Terra and IPUMS International to edit shapefiles and link them to tabular data. A particular area of focus will be units finer than the second administrative level. (In the U.S., counties are the second administrative level.)

Mass Probation in the U.S.: Understanding Supervision’s Impact on Wellbeing
Staff mentor: TBD
Faculty mentor: Michelle Phelps

Fellows will work with Dr. Phelps to examine the effect of supervision on wellbeing. Over the past two decades, scholars, policymakers have become increasingly aware of the harms of mass incarceration and the challenges facing adults returning to communities from prison. Yet mass probation rates are higher, with one in 68 adults under supervision in 2016. Dr. Phelps recently completed one of the largest studies of adults on probation ever conducted in the U.S., interviewing 170 adults currently on probation in Hennepin County, MN, in 2019. The students’ primary responsibility would be to assist in the data linkage process with administrative records and to analyze our mixed-methods interview data. The goal of this project is to develop preliminary results that could be shaped into articles for submission to academic journals.

Who benefitted the most: Epidemiological Transition in the United States, 1900-1950
Staff mentor: Dave Van Riper
Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Infectious mortality declined dramatically during the first decades of the twentieth century. This decline transformed death from a common experience that was unpredictable to one that occurs predictably late in life. Fellows will work with Dr. Wrigley-Field and Mr. Van Riper to examine the relationship between race and mortality in the first half of the 19th century. Dr. Wrigley-Field’s current research shows that mortality disparities between white and non-white populations. However, during this time the concept of “white” was different as people of Italian, Irish and Polish descents were considered non-white. Students will examine if there was a mortality penalty associated with stigmatized immigrant populations. Students will use image recognition software to digitize mortality record data. Students will use statistical software to link and compare historic records with US Vital states. Students will pioneer the development of reproducible workflows and work closely with mentors to develop materials suitable for publication.


Summer 2019 projects

Summer 2018 projects

Summer 2017 projects

Summer 2016 projects

Summer 2015 projects