Published: June 3, 2024

Katie SpoonKatie Spoon, a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science and co-advised by professor Aaron Clauset and associate professor Dan Larremore, has received an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholarship. 

This unrestricted $7,500 award will allow Spoon to focus on her research for the final year of her PhD. 

What does it mean to have received this scholarship?

I had been seeking additional funding for the final year of PhD to allow me to focus on my research full-time, and this scholarship will help me to do that, which I am very grateful for. I have been funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship the past 3 years but my funding is up in August, so I had been searching for funding opportunities for my final year of my PhD in order to free up as much time as possible to finish my dissertation research. 

What will this funding allow you to pursue?

In the final year of my PhD, I will complete two projects relying on restricted-use government data. 

The first project encompasses in part the thesis for my master’s degree in education policy, which I have been working on concurrently during my PhD in computer science. I am leading a data linkage project with restricted-use data from the U.S. Census Bureau and college and careers data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics to measure how access to STEM careers differs for students from different geographic and demographic backgrounds, and for those who took different educational pathways to their jobs.

The second project is a collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies to link faculty employment records with detailed restricted-use demographic and earnings information over time to study earnings gaps in academia across gender, race, and institution.

I will also be helping with several collaborative projects in my lab group given my expertise in running large surveys of faculty through prior work. 

​What is the process like to receive this scholarship? 

The scholarship had a nomination process, but we could self-nominate, which is what I did. We wrote short answers about our research experiences, career plans, and motivations for applying for the scholarship.