The Eads Family Undergraduate Research Endowment Fund provides funding to encourage undergraduate public policy majors to become involved in faculty research projects. 

To receive EADS funding over the summer, you must reside in NC. No exceptions can be made to this rule, as Duke policies dictate that EADS recipients live in NC. Summer positions begin the day after graduation.

Please apply directly to the person listed in the position description, providing a resume and explanation of your interest in the position.

Juniors or sophomores might have an opportunity to build on the experience by choosing to write an honors thesis. 

Fall 2022 Projects

Making sense of the global financial crisis: Analyzing oral histories of american legislatures, regulators, mortgage-sector participants, community activists, and lawyers

Faculty/Contact: Edward Balleisen

Through a 3-year Bass Connections project, we have conducted around 100 oral history interviews related to the state-level experience of the 2008 financial crisis. A team of 2-3 students will develop, iteratively, a framework for manual coding of these interviews, especially with regard to views about the causes of the crisis and its implications for policy and/or business practices. They will then code the interviews. Additional research in the scholarly literature on the crisis also possible. 

central american climate migration - position filled

Faculty: Sarah Bermeo

Contact: Gabriela Nagle Alverio

This project is investigating how parents working in the service industry have been faring during the COVID pandemic, and whether COVID-specific policy responses (such as providing cash in lieu of missed school meals) helped support families economically and psychologically. Our team has been collecting survey data from a sample of ~1100 families since Fall 2019, with several rounds of data collection focused on the pandemic specifically. Over the summer, we will be doing a substantial amount of data analysis, data presentation and writing. Student involvement could include creating tables, figures and other data visualizations, coding data, conducting additional research on the policy context, and/or data analysis using stata.

PPBE reform research

Faculty/Contact: Douglas Brook

Research in support of The Commission on Planning, Programming, Budget, and Execution (PPBE) Reform, established by the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2022. Research will focus on current PPBE processes and issues. Work will involve literature review, researching congressional appropriations and authorization for DoD, and other tasks as assigned. Must be able to work independently with regular check-ins.

climate politics research assistant - POSITION FILLED

Faculty/Contact: Nicholas Carnes

Assist with collecting data and reviewing literature for a new project on climate politics in the US.

analysis of who plays the north carolina lottery

Faculty/Contact: Charles Clotfelter

This research project will build upon prior research in two ways. First, it will redefine towns and cities based on census information to account for reporting anomalies of the N.C. Education Lottery. Second, it will utilize information on individual winners to determine how concentrated play is. This position will require a person with experience using STATA or a comparable programming language, or someone with strong statistical skills.

evaluation of shotspotter in durham - will this new program reduce gun violence? POSITION FILLED

Faculty/Contact: Philip Cook

This fall Durham will install Shotspotter over 3 square miles. The contract is for one year and the police have asked Professor Cook to evaluate its effects on policing gun violence. The student will assist with literature review, evaluation design, and data analysis.

research in child development

Faculty: Kenneth Dodge

Contact: Jennifer Godwin

The Fast Track and Child Development projects are longitudinal studies following cohorts of children over 30 years to understand how early experiences of adversity and trauma lead to adult outcomes of substance use and under-achievement. The RA will help update websites, process data, and write technical reports. This position is ideal for a student wishing to learn about epidemiological research and to advance career development.

platform accountability

Faculty/Contact: David Hoffman

This project will perform a comparative analysis of different government approaches to supervision and monitoring obligations in the areas of privacy, data protection and cybersecurity. The primary focus geographies/countries will be Singapore, the European Union and the United States.

public accountability for charter schools and voucher programs - POSITION FILLED

Faculty/Contact: Helen Ladd

Both charter schools and private schools that enroll students funded by vouchers require some form of public accountability to ensure that taxpayers dollars are well spent. This project will begin with a descriptive analysis of the public accountability practices for charters and voucher programs across U.S. states. The next stage will draw on prior research and experience in the U.S. and other countries to evaluate the current status of accountability for schools of choice and to make policy recommendations. The project requires the student to compile information and data, to write summary memos, and to use excel spreadsheets.

durham children's initiative and preschool development grant projects

Faculty/Contact: Nicole Lawrence

The selected student will have the opportunity to work on two different projects; the Durham Children's Initiative and the Preschool Development Grant. The goal of DCI is to create a continuum of supports and services that allow children ages 0-21 residing within Durham to become high academic achievers and successfully complete college or vocational training. CCFP leads the evaluation of this comprehensive initiative. Students could be involved in the evaluation in a number of ways including; data collection activities in the field, data entry, and the development of reports for various stakeholders.

The Preschool Development Grant is a partnership NC DCDEE and Child Trends aimed at exploring the feasibility of a large-scale, high-quality early learning program for children birth to three.  Students would be involved in helping with logistics for two statewide advisory panels and the development of materials and brief reports.


Faculty/Contact: Manoj Mohanan

SEHAT is actively collecting data from 44,000 households in India. New data will come in this fall. Student research assistant will be involved in the data linking, data visualization, other programming tasks, or policy brief production.

arts policy and leadership case studies

Faculty/Contact: Andrew Nurkin

Student researcher will assist the faculty supervisor in creating a portfolio of case studies of policy and leadership challenges within arts and cultural institutions. RA will identify and research relevant examples, consult with faculty supervisor on pedagogical interpretation, then draft and revise narrative case studies suitable for instructional use in an undergraduate course on arts policy and leadership to be offered in spring 2023. Project may include interviews with arts leaders in addition to policy research and media reviews. This project is ideal for a student interested in writing about arts policy, cultural institutions, or organizational leadership.

the evolution and consequences of 'conflict' as a news value - position filled

Faculty/Contact: Ken Rogerson

Student will help with research about news values and especially the news values of conflict. Student will also do some coding of news articles over time looking for news value. No specific background needed other than an interest in news, journalism and media.

duke university political history project

Faculty/Contact: Deondra Rose

Since its founding, Duke University has played a central role in the development of generations of student-citizens, providing access to educational credentials that open the doors to social, economic, and political opportunity. Moreover, many of Duke's students, faculty, and staff members have actively engaged in political leadership, activism, and democracy work. As part of a larger investigation of Duke's institutional history that grapples with the University's relationship with slavery and its posture toward racial justice, this project examines how Duke has shaped the development of citizens/politically engaged people over time. It also considers the role that the University has played in shaping the political landscape in Durham and North Carolina.

Duties will include helping with background research, assistance with original and primary data collection (e.g., archival research, gathering data from databases, helping with interviews), help with data processing (e.g., coding), fact checking, and more.

the diplomacy of the first world war

Faculty/Contact: Jennifer Siegel

I am writing a history of diplomacy during the first World War. I am seeking student RAs to help me process foreign-language archival materials. Students with language skills in French, German, or Flemish are especially encouraged to apply.

parenting across cultures

Faculty: Jennifer Lansford and Ann Skinner

Contact: Ann Skinner

Student will engage with researchers on a 9-country study of parenting, adolescent development and young adult competence. Responsibilities include assisting with data collection, processing data, preparing Qualtrics surveys and preparing data and literature for manuscripts. Project is located in the Erwin Square Mill Building, Bay C.

endangered species act: a road to recovery? POSITION FILLED

Faculty/Contact: Sara Sutherland

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the endangered species act (ESA). The purpose of the ESA is to "protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation." For many species listed as endangered by the ESA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service develops a recovery plan which contains management actions necessary for species recovery, a timeline for recovery, and measurable criteria that, if met, result in delisting or moving from endangered to threatened status. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of the ESA in terms of progress made towards species recovery as defined by recovery plans and how making progress on species recovery plans impacts subsequent delisting. 

The student research assistant will examine all species listed as endangered and as well as species previously listed as endangered that have been delisted to document which species have recovery plans and then build a dataset containing information on the criteria for recovery, the progress made by different species towards recovery, and species listing status over time.



Life as a Research Assistant

Camille Ampey really knows what it's like to be an undergraduate research assistant. She spent a summer conducting research for four different Sanford entities.

She traveled to courthouses in the area to do public records research for professor Beth Gifford. She created an interactive map of historically black colleges for professor Deondra Rose. She also collected data for professor Sarah Komisarow, and worked on anti-bias research for Sanford's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

Ampey says she especially liked being able to work closely with faculty members, building connections with them and finding out more about the wide variety of research that is happening at Sanford.