Kim worked for the Cooper Center for Survey Research as a research assistant on a range of projects from writing methods reports to doing statistical analysis to learning how to be an interview caller.
“The thing I enjoy most about CSR is being able to work with other people on projects that provide useful information with real-world application. "
Research Assistant, Center for Survey Research
Kim was a third-year undergraduate student in the Batten School, studying Leadership and Public Policy, when she started her internship.
Why did you choose to intern with the Cooper Center, Center for Survey Research?
I learned about the Center for Survey Research through the University of Virginia’s Career Center. They offer a program called the Internship Placement Program and they pair UVA students looking for experience with different organizations typically in Charlottesville.
What were some of the projects you worked on during your internship?
At CSR, there are multiple projects going on simultaneously with different timelines. As a research assistant, I often have to dabble with different tasks for each respective project that I’ve been assigned with. For example, during the fall semester of the academic year 2020-2021, I wrote a methods report, began learning and doing statistical analyses, and was trained to be an interview caller. So the range of responsibilities as an RA at CSR varies quite a bit.
What did you learn as a result of this work experience?
Through my time at CSR, I’ve been able to expand my hard skill set. I’m learning different things concerning project setup, data collection and post analysis. I’ve become more comfortable with platforms such as Qualtrics and SPSS, and am currently learning how to set up a relational database. Additionally, I’m able to experience what it’s like working in a team by attending monthly meetings and having regular correspondences with other staff members.
Has your experience at 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? If so, how?
My experience at CSR has given me skills that are definitely helpful for my future career. Before CSR, I didn’t have much experience with more technical skills . I’m very glad that I’m able to learn these statistical, analytical, and writing skills, as I think it strengthens what I have to offer. In the future, I see myself working in the humanitarian sector, and research is huge when it comes to helping people because we need the information from the people in need in order to help them effectively. Therefore, I do see these skills being applied to my future career path.
What was your favorite part of the internship?
The thing I enjoy most about CSR is being able to work with other people on projects that provide useful information with real-world application. The point is to gather data to inform the decision making process of CSR’s clients, and I’m able to learn about it in the process. I think it’s really important and interesting to work on these different projects and especially being able to work as a team makes it more exciting.
Would you recommend working at the Cooper Center to future students?
Most definitely I would recommend working at CSR to other students. If the student has an interest in survey research or just research concerning people, sociology, or wants to learn practical skills in research, then I would recommend it. Also, the work environment is very welcoming and relaxed. All of the staff members are so knowledgeable and helpful, and I truly feel like they want to see me learn, grow, and succeed.