Curtiss Engstrom and Ningyuan Ma, undergraduate students in the Sociology Department’s Concentration in Analysis and Research (CAR), had valuable internships this past summer which allowed them to apply knowledge and skills gained from CAR courses in research settings. Curtis was a fellow at the highly competitive University of Michigan-University of Maryland-Westat Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM). Ningyuan was one of seven research interns at NORC in Chicago.

A former Welton Fellow and Honors student, Curtiss Engstrom became the first UW-Madison undergraduate to be awarded the highly competitive Summer Fellow position sponsored by the University of Michigan-University of Maryland-Westat Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) ( Curtiss, who has a joint major in Political Science, worked as a research assistant for Stephanie Eckman at Research Triangle Institute (RTI International) in Washington, D.C.  He participated in a professional development and research seminar series with 15 other Junior Fellows from across the country.  Writing of his experience, Curtiss says, “It was one of the most rewarding experiences an undergraduate could have. Not only do you get the opportunity to work with some of the top people in your field of interest, you also get to interact with fellow students who share your research interests. And do all that while being in DC during the summer. Simply put, it was a life changing experience that gave me an opportunity to see what work life would be like after graduation and meet some spectacular people.”

Ningyuan Ma won a position as a research intern at NORC in Chicago, the only undergraduate among 7 participants in NORC’s summer internship program ( Ningyuan, who has a joint major in Journalism and Mass Communication, said of her experience, “Everything is as exciting as expected…. For the group project, we did twitter analytics looking at narratives around Hispanic population and immigration during the election, rescission of DACA and the State of the Union address….I got to meet people who specialize in different aspects of survey research…I am deeply inspired in terms of how I may turn the knowledge and skills I have into substantive contributions to this industry.”

Since the 1980s, Concentration in Analysis and Research (CAR) has been challenging motivated undergraduates to acquire the research skills and experience usually found among graduate students.  CAR students take courses in statistics and research methods, practice those skills in internships, and then cap their experience off with a practicum in which they write an original research paper under the mentorship of the CAR Director, Professor Jim Raymo.  In the spring semester of 2018, Curtiss and Ningyuan had taken the new undergraduate Sociology course in survey research methods and completed internships at the UW Survey Center ( ).  Both students’ summer internships further enhanced their experience in the field of survey research.

More information about CAR is here.