My Summer with ICPSR's Membership and Communications Team

Editor's note: Mi'Lisa Curtis is a rising high school senior in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is spending the summer of 2019 as an editorial assistant on ICPSR's Membership and Communications team. 

What is ICPSR (as I knew it on my first day ... in 100 words or less)?                                                                           

June 17, 2019: Today is my first day working at ICPSR! ICPSR stands for Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. The ICPSR works to obtain and maintain social science data, make sure this data is accessible to anyone that needs it and to encourage successful data use. One fun fact that I learned about the ICPSR is that they have data on everything including sharks, basketball and Africa.

Mi'Lisa sits at her new desk on day 1 at ICPSR


What is ICPSR (after meeting Anna)?

June 20, 2019: Today I had a meeting with Annalee Shelton, the Membership Experience Manager for ICPSR. Anna gave me a fascinating presentation regarding the ICPSR and its mission, purpose, and importance. The main thing I learned is that ICPSR is broken into three main pillars that help implement its goal/mission. One of the three goals is to share data. This includes maximizing access to research for data analysis and publications. The second goal is to educate and train current and future research curators (methodologists and data scientists). Last but not least, the third main goal the ICPSR has is to provide data management and curation services to satisfy grant requirements and persuade long-term viability of research data. I also learned that the ICPSR has 8,196 studies, 69,670 datasets and 205,873 files available for download on demand. Fun fact, did you know that the ICPSR is one of the oldest and largest social and behavioral science data archives!? I have definitely learned a lot about the ICPSR in this one presentation and am excited to learn more throughout the summer!

Mi'Lisa with Anna


What Are Some Resources at ICPSR that I Think Teachers Should Know About?

June 24, 2019: ICPSR has an endless amount of resources for the public. When I first learned about ICPSR, I thought that it was only helpful for students, but I’ve learned that ICPSR has resources for teachers as well. ICPSR offers plenty of videos and external resources for teaching undergraduates. There are videos that specifically focus on teaching students how to evaluate the data with which they come in contact, videos that instruct teachers how to spice up their lectures with inquiry-based learning, and videos that highlight the election and political polling studies that are available at ICPSR for secondary analysis and review. Numerous external resources for teaching undergraduates are also available for teachers. There are external resources on active learning and political science, which enable using active learning techniques in the political science classroom and promote general discussion about innovative teaching methods. There is also data on American and international religion, as well as features for educators. Teaching materials include learning modules to interactively explore religion topics. I certainly think it is important for teachers to be aware of these resources that ICPSR provides for them because they can be very beneficial when it comes to teaching other students.

Teacher teaching a class

What Are Some ICPSR Resources for Students Other Than Data?

June 26, 2019: ICPSR is well known for having a countless amount of resources that were created especially for undergraduate faculty and students. Any of ICPSR’s data and tools can be used in the classroom. The ones that caught my eye make it easy for instructors to set up data-driven learning experiences. The materials can be used as the basis for assignments, as an in-class or study exercise, for lecture content, or any way that fits. Learning support such as “How to Read a Journal Article,” “Data Citations” and “Data Management Plans” would be really helpful in the classroom for students. In addition, informing students about the ICPSR research paper competitions, ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, webinars, and tutorials that ICPSR provides would also be beneficial to students. Not only does the ICPSR implement research for data analysis and a publications, it also presents opportunities for students to expand their knowledge on reading, citing data, and effective data management. As a bonus, students can even earn money for winning research paper competitions for papers that use ICPSR data!  


Meeting John Garcia! 

July 11 ,2019: It was a privilege to meet ICPSR’s former director of the Resource Center for Minority Data and Director of Community Outreach, John Garcia at ICPSR’s Summer Program ice cream social. John Garcia has been involved with ICPSR for more than 40 years, and even participated in the Summer Program as a graduate student in 1969!


ICPSR Summer Program

July 25, 2019: Since 1963, ICPSR has offered the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research as a complement to its data services. The Summer Program provides rigorous, hands-on training in statistical techniques, research methodologies, and data analysis.The 2019 Summer Program offers over 80 courses on a broad range of methodologies and techniques that are relevant for research in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. This summer, the Summer Program received more than 550 applications, which made this year's applicant pool the largest and most competitive ever. Applicants included exemplary graduate students and pre-tenure scholars dedicated to the use and development of statistical and mathematical research methods in the fields of developmental psychology, education, electoral behavior, political science, public administration, public policy, quantitative history, and sociology. The impact of the Summer Program is one of the reasons why ICPSR was selected from 30 national finalists, to receive the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service! 

Summer Program students group photo

My First Tweetchat!

July 25, 2019: This week I experienced my first Tweetchat live in action with Anna and Dory!  Anna is ICPSR's Membership Experience Manager, and she was hosting a #DLFteach tweetchat about data in the classroom.

Ann, Dory and Mi'Lisa working during the Tweetchat


Working With The Summer Program!

August 12, 2019: Taking pictures for the ICPSR Summer Program has been a fantastic experience. I started off unfamiliar with how to work the professional Nikon DSLR camera, but I quickly caught on. I am still gradually learning more and more about using the camera and taking good pictures. I am very thankful for this opportunity to learn new things and expand my photography skills!



Signing Off 

August 22, 2019: I cannot put into words how thankful I am to have been given the opportunity to work at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research as an editorial assistant on ICPSR’s Membership and Communications team, and as a photographer for the ICPSR Summer Program. The many experiences, in addition to the confidence I have gained, will truly influence my future as I begin my senior year of high school and continue on to college! I am not certain what my future holds, but I know that this job has given me many necessary tools to aid me as I pursue my career goals. As I have only worked the summer with ICPSR, I have gained valuable insight about this organization, as well as learned many new skills. As a result of the amazing opportunity to work with ICPSR, I've participated in a variety of different things. I created my own blog, observed and gathered social media analytics, wrote Twitter posts on behalf of ICPSR, acted as a professional photographer while utilizing a Nikon DSLR camera, participated in my first Tweetchat, helped with website testing, and assisted with creating closed captions on YouTube! Wow! ...This summer has definitely been unforgettable and I have honestly enjoyed my time here! Saying goodbye will be tough, but I know that I will always have a wonderful group of professionals in my network that have helped me with encouragement, advice and support. I am confident that they will be here to offer me advice and support in the future.






Aug 22, 2019

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