Adina interned in the Center for Survey Research at the Weldon Cooper Center, assisting with all stages of the survey research process, from analyzing statistical data to researching survey questions.
“My experience has allowed me to evaluate my career further as I look toward my future in data analytics. Working with survey data gave me a unique perspective of working with human data and has allowed me to broaden my cultural and diversity understanding."
Adina was a third-year undergraduate student studying Statistics in the College of Arts and Sciences when she completed this internship.
Why did you choose the Wallerstein Scholars Program?
I chose the Wallerstein Scholars Program over other possible internships because I found that it relevant to my future career in national security consulting. The Wallerstein Scholars Program is designed for people interested in research, local governance, and public service. To me, the type of consulting I will be doing beginning this upcoming summer is an indispensable public service. As such I found that the Wallerstein Scholars Program was the internship path which best embodied my own interests.
What projects did you work on as a Wallerstein Scholar?
As an intern, I worked on many projects from all stages of the survey research process. I analyzed surveys with frequency tables and crosstabulations, programmed and initialized web and paper surveys, researched survey questions, and managed data cleaning. In addition, I learned how to program in SPSS and Qualtrics.
One of the most impactful projects of this internship was when I had a set of code that I was unfamiliar with and worked to understand and alter. The code was in R, a programming language I learned in many of my classes, but it was challenging to understand or run as intended. As I went through this code and spent hours figuring out what I was looking at, I learned more than I could have anticipated. I was able to apply my knowledge from my classes in a way I had never done before. This project introduced me to conceptually informed statistical modeling for qualitative data analysis and advanced visualization through this task.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
Throughout my internship, I enjoyed working in a professional setting where I learned new skills, received high-quality mentorship, and most importantly learned what I should look for in a career. The collaborative workplace at the Center for Survey Research allowed for a cohesive and positive environment. The hands-on research experience with person-focused data was invaluable. I enjoyed learning about different aspects of research with guidance from supervisors who cared about my education process.
What did you learn as a result of this internship?
CSR allowed me to explore topics of interest and expand on my technical skills, but I also gained a number of soft skills. So much of the work was sensitive, and being detail-oriented was imperative. I tested my skills in focusing, self-pacing, and time management. I became a better communicator and learned to convey myself efficiently over email. These soft skills have been the most beneficial as I think about my career aspirations.
Would you recommend the Wallerstein Scholars Program to future students?
I would recommend the Wallerstein Scholars Program because it allows for hands-on work experience in public service. Public service is a vital part of society, and this program introduced me to new career opportunities. Learning about helping others through service is essential to growth as a well-rounded student. This program paired me with fantastic mentors that have guided my career trajectory. I am happy that I am able to share my experiences with other students as a means of encouraging public service. My experience as a Wallerstein Scholar is one I will never forget.