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 Institute staff. 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 7 - August 13, 2021
  • Undergraduate Fellows: June 21 - August 13, 2021


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

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 12. Questions concerning the application process may be addressed to

Application deadline: February 28, 2021


Automating Data Quality Checks for International Census DataDr. 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; 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 Smith, Kelly Searle, Shalini 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 French, Dr. Alicia Kunin-Batson, Dave 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.



Summer 2020 projects

Summer 2019 projects

Summer 2018 projects

Summer 2017 projects

Summer 2016 projects

Summer 2015 projects