CPL Undergraduate Summer Institute

The Organization

The California Policy Lab (CPL) generates research insights for government impact. Through hands-on partnerships with government agencies, CPL performs rigorous research across issue silos and builds the data infrastructure necessary to improve programs and policies that millions of Californians rely on every day.

The California Policy Lab Undergraduate Summer Institute

Starting in 2021, the California Policy Lab began hosting its Undergraduate Summer Institute to provide an opportunity for a cohort of about 10 University of California students who are undergraduates (or recent graduates) to develop and deepen their data and policy analysis skill sets while working on some of the most pressing issues facing Californians. Students work with research staff at CPL to understand the data, scope out their projects, and conduct their research project. In addition to strengthening their data analysis sets, students also receive professional development training on policy analysis, including how to write for a policy audience, and communicating their findings. At the end of each summer, students present their findings to CPL staff. This opportunity is made possible through funding from the University of California Office of the President.

2023 Undergraduate Summer Institute

During the summer of 2023, twelve students from all 9 UC campuses were selected for CPL’s Undergraduate Summer Institute. The students conducted their research using the University of California Consumer Credit Panel and studied medical debt, financial distress, intergenerational links in household finance, student loan debt repayment, and so-called “credit invisibles.” The University of California Consumer Credit Panel (UC-CCP) is an anonymized 100% sample of credit records for Californians and an anonymized 2% sample of credit records nationally.

Using the UC-CCP, past Instituters have also studied:
• The effect of minimum wage increases on financial well-being
• Student debt burdens in California (later published as a CPL brief!)
• Post-wildfire displacement
• Measuring neighborhood change using households’ financial health

In addition, past Instituters have also studied other topics, including:
• The effect of minimum wage increases on financial well-being
• Justice-involvement among people experiencing homelessness
• Analyzing police stops using Racial and Identity Profiling Act data
• Targeting outreach for Housing Choice Vouchers application
• Safety net use by college students

Apply to the 2024 CPL Undergraduate Summer Institute

We anticipate posting the application form for the 2024 Institute in March 2024. The application will be posted on this page. We also share opportunities like this via CPL’s newsletter: www.capolicylab.org/newsletter-signup.

Former Summer Instituters 

Simon Alam, UC Berkeley, 2021
Michelle Belon, UC San Diego, 2021
Rohan Bijukumar, UC Riverside, 2023
Andrea Bizarro, UC Davis, 2023
Jong Wook Choe, UC Davis, 2022
Dickson Chung, UC Santa Cruz, 2023 – Recipient of the Maria X. Martinez Prize for Excellence in Data Analysis for Social Good
Niru Ghoshal-Datta, UC Santa Cruz, 2021
Shubham Gupta, UCLA, 2021
Elizabeth Hafen, UC Irvine, 2021
Benjamin Ho, UC Irvine, 2022
Helen Hoang, UC Berkeley, 2022
Helena Hu, UCLA, 2023
Quyen Le, UC Santa Barbara, 2023
Jiayi Li, UCSD, 2022
Daniel Lopez-Orozco, UC Berkeley, 2023
Diana Lua, UC Merced, 2021
Megan Ma, UCLA, 2022
Daniela Dula Mejia, UC Davis, 2021
Daniel Perez, UC Merced, 2023
Ramona Mukherji, UCLA, 2023
Kenny Morris, UC Santa Barbara, 2021
Pallavi Murthy, UC Berkeley, 2022
Trevan Nguyen, UCSD, 2023
Lindsey Sanchez, UC Merced, 2022 – Recipient of the Maria X. Martinez Prize for Excellence in Data Analysis for Social Good
Axel Morales Sanchez, UC Santa Cruz, 2022
Tamar Sasson, UC Santa Cruz, 2022
Sukham Sidhu, UC San Diego, 2023
Megan Son, UCLA, 2021 – Recipient of the Maria X. Martinez Prize for Excellence in Data Analysis for Social Good
Sean Tjoa, UCLA, 2022
Emily Wang, UC Irvine, 2023
Cindy Xu, UC Santa Barbara, 2023

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