ISR announces 2024 Junior Professional Researcher cohort

May 08, 2024

Contact: Jon Meerdink ([email protected])

ANN ARBOR — The Institute for Social Research is excited to announce the nine scholars joining us this summer for the second cohort of our Junior Professional Researcher program.
This group of burgeoning social scientists will spend two years working with faculty and staff mentors on research projects across all five of ISR’s centers. They represent both new graduates and established young professionals, hailing from nine different higher learning institutions. Between them, they hold degrees, minors, and concentrations in more than a dozen different courses of study, showcasing the complementary and interdisciplinary nature of the work that happens at ISR every day.

Read more about the 2024 cohort below and watch for more information about the projects they’ll be working on later this summer.

Elora Choudhury, a 2024 graduate of the University of Illinois Chicago, is passionate about research that drives civic engagement, increases economic mobility, and promotes positive health outcomes. Choudhury was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

In her own words: “I applied to the Junior Professional Researcher program to cultivate my research skills and explore my interests as I prepare for graduate school. After completing the JPR program, I hope to apply for economics Ph.D. programs.”

Ritsa Giannakas is a 2024 graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she completed degrees in political science and economics and minors in psychology, statistics, and mathematics. Her research interests and experience centers around social sciences and applied statistics as well as data science.

In her own words: “I chose the JPR program because I believed it would be the next best step in my education and research while also being an incredibly rewarding program. I intend on going to graduate school, and am excited to gain more research experience and skills that can be applied toward my future degrees.”

Malak Kalasho is a University of Michigan graduate, and brings previous experience conducting research for U-M in addition to interning for the federal government and working for a nonprofit. She majored in public policy and minored in economics.

In her own words: “As a recent graduate with a strong interest in pursuing a PhD in economics or public policy, I chose the JPR program to deepen my understanding of social science research methodologies and data analysis techniques. Over the past few years, I have really enjoyed engaging with academic research in my course work while also getting to work as a research assistant, and the JPR program is an ideal way to build on my experience.”

Isabella Kneeland, originally from Antigo, Wisconsin, is a graduate of St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. Her research focuses on substance abuse and social media addiction, which will dovetail with her work on an ISR project examining the various causes and risk factors affecting substance use over the lifecourse. .

In her own words: “I chose JPR because the University of Michigan has some of the most knowledgeable professors in the field and will be able to provide me with research resources that I did not have access to at my undergraduate institution. I hope that through this program I will be able to further explore her research interests
and gain a more in depth knowledge of statistics and the research process.”

Daniel Luce graduated from Columbia University in 2024. While there, he conducted quantitative research on independent redistricting commissions and partisan fairness. He also investigated the development of regional identity and its political expressions in Aragon, Spain using public opinion data and qualitative research methods.

In his own words: “I chose to participate in the JPR program to further my involvement in social science research. I hope to expand open data resources and facilitate robust quantitative analysis, providing policymakers with evidence-based insights to address the pressing issues facing our communities.”

Madelyn McLain, originally from Statesville, North Carolina, completed her undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research largely features rural sociology, especially its intersections with queerness, religion, and belonging.

In her own words: “I chose the JPR program because I am excited to begin exploring my research passions directly out of undergrad and work alongside peers and faculty of many disciplines doing the same!”

Juliana Obia graduated from the University of Chicago in 2023. Her research in the social sciences mainly focuses on using research to confront systemic disparities and create inclusive, equitable environments.

In her own words: “As someone interested in transitioning to a research-oriented career, the JPR program offers a great opportunity to acquire and develop skills essential for becoming a proficient researcher. I am excited to join a program dedicated to supporting the progress of and connecting aspiring social science researchers!”

Doug Rosin graduated from Middlebury College in 2023 with a degree in economics. He spent the next year teaching middle school physical education in Randolph, Vermont. His research interests include the economics of poverty, inequality, education, and mobility.

In his own words: “I chose the JPR program because of the joint opportunities for both research and learning. I look forward to sharpening my skills in economics and data science, contributing to meaningful work in the social sciences, and joining the
community that the JPR program offers.”

Angel Zhong graduated from the University of the Pacific in 2023 with majors in psychology and English and minors in writing and ethnic studies. Her interdisciplinary studies reflect her research interests; through an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach, they explore solutions to mental health disparities through substantial service-learning and research experience.

In their own words: “As a strong proponent of peer-to-peer professional development, I was immediately excited about the JPR program’s model upon finding it. In addition, the work I will be engaged with at ISR will advance community health through participatory research that is, at its core, community-driven/determined.”

Click here to read more about the Junior Professional Researcher program. ISR pairs each JPR with a mentor and provides training, professional development, and community throughout their two year term. More information about the 2025 cohort will be added to this page in the fall of 2024.