CPL Undergraduate Summer Institute

We have finished selection of the 2021 Summer Institute cohort. We had over 200 applications for 10 slots.

We will run the CPL Summer Institute again in 2022.  Please check back here again around Feb 2022 for more information.


The Organization
The California Policy Lab (CPL) creates data-driven insights for the public good. Our mission is to improve the lives of Californians by generating evidence that transforms public policy. We do this by forming lasting partnerships between government and California’s flagship public universities to harness the power of research and administrative data.

This summer CPL is hiring a cohort of talented UC undergraduates to work on data-focused policy research projects. Applicants should have a background in data science, economics, statistics, or public policy, and should be well-equipped in coding and data analysis.

CPL seeks to encourage UC undergraduate students interested in using methods from data science, economics, statistics, and public policy analysis to help address California’s most urgent issues, including homelessness, poverty, criminal justice reform, and education inequality.

Instituters will have the opportunity to develop and execute a project to completion using the state’s most valuable data assets. The data is “big” and also sensitive, so we seek candidates who are adept at data wrangling and also those who demonstrate professionalism.

Past Instituters studied:
• The effect of minimum wage increases on financial well-being
• Student debt burdens in California
• Post-wildfire displacement
• Justice-involvement among the homelessness population

Instituters will meet at least weekly to discuss project progress with CPL staff. At the end of the summer, Instituters will write-up and present their findings to a group of CPL faculty affiliates, who will award a prize for the best project. CPL will also consider projects for potential publication.

Given uncertainty around the pandemic, we are planning for the Institute to take place remotely. Instituters must provide their own computer and internet access.

Length and Compensation
Undergraduates admitted to the Summer Institute will receive the following:
• A $3,000 stipend for the summer period
• A full-time research role from June 14th to August 20th, 2021 (dates are non-negotiable; please plan vacations before or after these dates)
• Guidance from UC faculty and CPL research staff on using administrative data for quantitative research
• Support to develop skills in research project planning and research methods

Who should apply to the Undergraduate Summer Institute?
• We encourage applications from undergraduate students currently enrolled at any of the UC campuses, or those who have just graduated in 2021, with a background in public policy, economics, statistics, public health, data science and an interest in CPL’s policy areas.
• CPL is committed to maintaining a diverse, multicultural working environment and we especially encourage applications from students of color and members of underrepresented and marginalized communities.
• We are seeking candidates with a strong sense of professionalism, solid quantitative and data skills, and a passion for data-driven government. Especially seeking students with prior experience doing data analysis in STATA, SAS, R, Python, or SQL.
• The Institute is a collaborative environment but your work will be largely independent, so candidates should be capable of managing their time and taking initiative.

How to apply?
Applications are due Friday, March 19th by 5pm PST. Please note, due to funding and administrative restrictions, the CPL Summer Institute is only open to students from UC campuses. To apply, please submit the following information to christina.mckay@berkeley.edu:
1. Resume (or curriculum vitae)
2. Short (< ½ page) cover letter, addressing your interest in CPL’s mission and what you would bring to the Summer Institute
3. Academic transcript (unofficial ok)

This program and other opportunities are promoted via the CPL newsletter www.capolicylab.org/newsletter-signup

CPL Undergraduate Summer Institute PDF

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