DegreePublic Policy '22
For me, Bass Connections was an introduction to humanities and social sciences research projects.
In the past year, I worked on two Bass Connections projects. The first project I participated in was Developing the Political Citizen: Uncovering the Origins of Political Attitudes and Opinions. Our undergraduate team worked as research assistants during the year doing a variety of tasks. Over the summer, I researched nonverbal cues for discomfort or deception to be used in examining interviews on political beliefs and ideologies. In the fall, the team helped with survey work, curating survey questions on political participation. Then in the spring, we focused mainly on coding partisan political ads on Facebook for extremely close Senate races from 2018.
The other project I worked on was The Value of Love: Global Perspectives on the Economy of Care. During the spring semester, we worked with Yale-NUS Professor Anju Paul’s Global Care Index prototype. We conducted our own preliminary research on the scope of different care-related policies and how care workers are treated across different countries, and I focused on the North American and Central American regions. At the end of the semester, we offered feedback to Professor Paul on her project and offered guidance on how she could move forward with actually implementing the index. As a continuation of the project over the summer, I helped Professor Jocelyn Olcott with a podcast series called Revaluing Care in the Times of COVID-19.The particular webinar and podcast I organized related to the childcare crisis that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
For the Economies of Care project, our team engaged in a lot of collaborative work before COVID hit. While our research was already virtual because Professor Paul was based in Singapore, the pandemic shifted our timeline for deliverables. Instead of having as many checkpoints, we just had our final feedback presentation and a reflection essay. Generally, we adapted pretty well to more of a remote setting. If anything, I think there were more opportunities to connect one on one with the professors and the postdocs that were working on the project after we moved to remote learning.
During my work over the summer, what was originally supposed to be an in-person conference became a podcast and webinar series. The main challenge I encountered was trying to figure out how to adapt a Zoom webinar into a podcast episode. I also came first in the series, so it was up to me to figure out how to navigate Zoom, edit the content into a shorter podcast, and present the work to the public. Being a pioneer was pretty exciting as I ended up being the intro voice for all the podcasts.
I really enjoyed curating the podcast because I had a lot of leeway to select a topic that I was interested in as long as it tied back into the main product. The topic I picked, the childcare crisis, was something I became interested in from our Bass Connections class over the spring. Through cold emailing, I actually got Congresswoman Katherine Clark from Massachusetts to be one of our panelists, as well as the presidents of two nonprofit groups, Rhian Evans Allvin with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis with the Black Child Development Institute of Atlanta. The podcast is available to stream on Spotify.
Both projects have provided me different perspectives on something that I was interested in and wanted to learn more about. They gave me an in-depth view of what types of projects professors are working on and why their work was important. The Developing the Political Citizen project got me really interested in seeing how social media advertising affects the political process and how media plays a role in elections. When I took the Fall 2020 semester off to work on a Congressional campaign, I found it interesting to compare the ads I examined for Bass Connections and the digital ads that we ran ourselves.
Going forward, I’m hoping to go into politics and/or policy. Having the understanding of care policies and how they affect women and children in our country will be something I want carry with me into the future to inform my future projects and advocacy.