Published: June 8, 2022
Haylie Schramm Presenting

The STUDIO Research Lab: What It Is and Where It Is Going

By Andrew Nonnemacher and Andy Baker

If ever there was a win-win initiative, the STUDIO Lab is it. STUDIO pairs CU undergraduate students with CU social science faculty to work as paid research assistants on research projects. In other words, students receive valuable research experience and mentorship by working directly with world-class research faculty, all while getting paid! Meanwhile, faculty members experience the joys of mentoring young people while also receiving valuable assistance and support for their research projects. A win-win indeed!

STUDIO began in the CU Political Science Department, as it is the brainchild of Political Science Professor Sarah Wilson Sokhey. When Wilson Sokhey envisioned and established the STUDIO lab in 2020, she had no idea how successful it would become. Initially working primarily with Political Science majors and faculty, Wilson Sokhey began by soliciting applications from students interested in working on faculty-led research projects, and she then decided whom to admit and how to pair them with faculty. Students who were accepted and participated benefited not only from the research experience and pay, but also from STUDIO's professional trainings, networking opportunities, and social events. In addition, although most of the collaborations and events occurred remotely because of COVID restrictions, STUDIO gave students a way to maintain steady contact with their professors during the pandemic. After just a few semesters, Divisional Dean David Brown caught wind of STUDIO's success and decided to scale up the idea to the entire Social Sciences Division, which is composed of ten departments. To no one's surprise, Dean Brown asked Wilson Sokhey to be the director of this much larger undertaking! 

Today, STUDIO is so popular among students that the number of applicants far outruns the amount of funding and thus the number of available slots. If you are interested in supporting STUDIO so that we can hire more undergraduate students, please click here.

STUDIO Projects and Outcomes

Our STUDIO students in the 2021-2022 academic year reflected a wide range of backgrounds and research interests. Projects have included research on the teaching of statistics in the social sciences, the Yoruba diaspora and anti-slavery legislation, presidential executive orders, the political behavior of single parent households, immigrants’ political participation, indigenous politics, environmental activism, and the European Union.

One STUDIO student, Haylie Schramm (pictured), presented her paper with Professor Svet Derderyan at the Midwest Political Science Association, one of the top Political Science conferences in the country!

Wilson Sokhey published an article, coauthored with Jeffrey Nonnemacher, about her experience of setting up STUDIO and her efforts to attract a diverse applicant pool and set of participants. Nonnemacher himself is a former CU undergraduate who helped to set up STUDIO! 

CU Political Science faculty members David Brown and Andy Philips published an article about statistical software in the classroom from their STUDIO project with CU undergraduate Katherine V. Bryant!

Former STUDIO students are already moving onto great things like founding their own businesses, studying languages abroad, and working for the private sector and the government.

Upcoming projects for 2022-2023

STUDIO is excited to welcome a diverse group of 42 students working with 25 faculty or advanced graduate student mentors from 10 different social science units for this coming academic year.  (Allowing us some pride of ownership, 18 of these 42 students are, ahem, Political Science majors!) The project topics include gang violence, air quality, transmasculine voices and singing, language discrimination, Latinx DJs, the loss of tribal languages, the prevention of violence and terrorism, Latina political leadership, theories of crime, European Union legislation, energy transitions, psycholinguistics, gender and political representation in India, international governance and its effect on domestic political and economic outcomes, and Christian nationalism in the US.  The social science units represented are Anthropology; Economics; Ethnic Studies; Geography; Prevention Science Program at the Institute of Behavioral Science; Linguistics; Political Science; Sociology; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; and Women & Gender Studies.

Incoming first year undergrads can apply here by Friday, August 5th to be considered for STUDIO for the 2022-23 academic year.

Studio Research Mentors for the 2022-23 academic year (Political Science faculty in bold)

  • Alexis Palmer, Linguistics
  • Anand Sokhey, Political Science
  • Bhuvana Narasimhan, Linguistics
  • Celeste Montoya, Political Science and Women & Gender Studies
  • Chase Raymond, Linguistics
  • Christine Brennan, Speech Language, and Hearing
  • Clara Park, Political Science
  • Colleen Reid, Geography
  • David Pyrooz, Sociology
  • Don Grant, Sociology
  • Francsica Antman, Economics
  • Hannah Haynie, Linguistics
  • Hyodong Sohn, Political Science
  • Joseph Jupille, Political Science
  • Joseph Dupris, Ethnic Studies & Linguistics
  • Karl Hill, Institute of Behavioral Science, Prevention Science Program
  • Kate Goldfarb, Anthropology
  • Kathryn Arehart, Speech, Language, and Hearing
  • Komal Kaur, Political Science
  • Kristie Soares, Women and Gender Studies
  • Kyle Thomas, Sociology
  • Lori Peek, Sociology
  • Pamela Buckley, Sociology and Institute of Behavioral Science
  • Sarah Goodrum, Institute of Behavioral Science, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence
  • Svetoslav Derderyan, Political Science

Our New Studio Students (Political Science students in bold)

  • Alina Lopo - Major: Political science; Minor: Data science 
  • Amanda Ruybal - Major: Political Science and International Affairs
  • Anushka Kathait - Major: Computer Science, Economics; Minors: Leadership Studies
  • Arjun Novotny-Shandas - Major: Political Science and Music (Piano)
  • August Guy Pomrenke - Major: Political Science; Minor: undecided
  • Blanca Cerda - Major: Neuroscience; Minor: sociology
  • Boniface Mwinyi - Major: Political Science
  • Carley Gaddis - Major: Linguistics and Art Practices; Minor: SLHS
  • Conner Moses -  Major: Linguistics
  • Elizabeth Cupp - Major: Political Science and International Affairs
  • Elizabeth Iverson - Major: Political Science and Philospohy
  • Emily Miller - Major: Political Science and Psychology; Minor: Philosophy
  • Emily Reynolds - Major: Anthropology, Linguistics; Minor: Spanish, Writing Certificate
  • Emmeline Nettles - Major: Computer Science, Int’l Affairs; Minors: Creative Tech, Chinese
  • Esteban Urbina - Major: Economics
  • Ethan Shea - Major: International Affairs & Japanese; Minor: Philosophy
  • Fabiola Flores - Major: Political Science and Spanish; Minor: Leadership studies
  • Fiona Nugent - Major: Political Science; Minors: Spanish and Economics
  • Giselle De Haro - Major: Political Science and English; Minor: Ethnic Studies.
  • Haylie Schramm - Major: Political Science and Psychology
  • Hima Kilaru - Major: Philosophy and Political science
  • Indi Wachtler - Major: International affairs; Minor: Business
  • Jackson Kessel - Major: Political Science & English Literature; Minor: Spanish
  • Jamesie Kaiʻaokamālie Spencer - Major: Psychology; Minor: Sociology; Certificate: Public Health
  • Jax Helmick - Major: Political Science, Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts
  • Jay (Jesse) Garnas - Major: Sociology, Psychology
  • Kaeli Franzen - Major: Strategy and Entrepreneurship; Certificates: Global Business and Social Responsibility and Ethics, Political Science
  • Katherina Mook - Major: Neuroscience and Sociology; Minors: Leadership
  • Lena Frank - Major: Psychology; Minor; Sociology
  • Lucy Friedman - Major: Political science
  • Luke Stumpfl - Major: International Affairs; Minor: Business 
  • Maelynn Terr - Major: Statistics and Data Science; Minor: Economics
  • Nadin Almilaify - Major: International Affairs; Minor: Philosophy 
  • Natalie Castro - Major: Sociology; Minor: Data Science
  • Nikhitha Garaga - Major: Political Science; Minor: Philosophy and Journalism
  • Paige Clippert - Major: Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; Minor: Linguistics
  • Remi Trauernicht - Major: Psychology; Minor: Sociology
  • Rylee Steen - Major: Psychology
  • Sibonelly Espitia Sanchez - Major: Psychology and Sociology
  • Sky Kelsey - Major: Political Science and Media production
  • Stacey Bui - Major: Political Science and Spanish; Minor: Ethnic Studies

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