Hexuan interned for the Center for Survey Research contributing to a range of projects, including serving as the lead analyst on a social mission preferences survey, and as a project coordinator on numerous surveys from food security to cancer pain management in Nepal.
“I decided to pursue a career in the [survey] industry because of my great experience at CSR. I enjoyed working with clients and my teams. I realized what I have learned in graduate school can be applied to real-world projects and distill insights to help clients make better strategic decisions."
Research Analyst, Center for Survey Research
Hexuan was earning her PhD in Sociology when she completed her internship.
Why did you choose to intern with the Weldon Cooper Center, Center for Survey Research (CSR)?
I learned about CSR when I worked as a teaching assistant for Professor Tom Guterbock. He told me about the great survey projects conducted at CSR and how I can apply my research skills to real-world projects to make an impact. I also learned from Kara about the great work environment at CSR. That's why I applied for the graduate research analyst position at CSR.
What projects did you work on during your internship?
I've worked on a variety of projects covering health, education, public policy, and social services. For example, I was the lead analyst for the National Social Mission Metrics Survey that included over 200 US medical, dental, and nursing schools in a self-assessment of their social mission performance. I also worked as a project coordinator and lead analyst for the Social Mission Metrics Priorities Survey. Aside from that, I had worked on the local community food security survey, UVA climate survey, cancer pain management survey in Nepal, Virginia cancer center catchment survey, Virginia horse population survey, Covid impact community survey, etc.
What have you learned as a result of working at CSR?
As I said before, I learned so many things. To name a few, I learned survey methodology, statistical analysis, project management, and communication skills.
Has your experience in the CSR helped you in your academic studies, given you skills you can use in a future career or helped you to think differently about your academic and/or career path?
Definitely yes. I decided to pursue a career in the industry because of my great experience at CSR. I enjoyed working with clients and my teams. I realized what I have learned in graduate school can be applied to real-world projects and distill insights to help clients make better strategic decisions. Also, my survey research experience at CSR was directly applicable to the business world. Therefore, I decided to pursue a business degree after I got my PhD in Sociology and plan for a career in the industry.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
First and foremost, I enjoyed working with amazing people at CSR. My colleagues are also my friends and mentors. I learned a lot of things in the 3.8 years, not only about how to conduct survey research and statistical analysis, but also about how to manage a project and how to communicate with clients and colleagues. I enjoyed the collaborative and supportive work environment.
Second, I really enjoyed working on different projects for different clients. I had chances to work on a wide variety of topics for clients from local governments, non-profit institutions, academic researchers and so forth. It was great opportunities to learn new knowledge in new fields.
Would you recommend working at the CSR to future students?
Definitely yes. CSR is a great place with amazing people. Students can get trained in statistical analysis, survey methodology, project management and many other hard and soft skills. These skills will be directly transferrable to their future academic research or industrial jobs.
I'm always grateful to be able to work for CSR during and after my graduate study at UVA. CSR helped me find my new passion and career path. I would like to thank all my colleagues, friends and mentors at CSR who had empowered me and supported me along the process.