Willamette politics major lands Stanford data fellowship

by University Communications,

Paige Morrisey ’19, politics major, will travel across part of the U.S. this year with another researcher for a first-of-its-kind study through Stanford University.

She’s among 80 research fellows selected from a pool of more than 1,500 applicants for the American Voices Project, a fact-finding census.

The project’s goal is to investigate the lives, relationships, jobs, health and well-being of people in 200 rural, suburban and urban communities.

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“This is a very unique study that has the potential to capture a comprehensive portrait of American life,” she said.  

On June 23, Morrisey will head to Johns Hopkins University for an intensive training in public policy, qualitative interviewing and ethnographic and survey methods. She’ll spend a year with a researcher conducting in-person interviews with families and reconvene for a second training in data analysis.

Data from the project — a joint initiative of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, and Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and the American Institutes for Research — will inform federal lawmakers to change policies.

Morrisey, who is writing her senior thesis on hate speech and its respective harms, was a Sexual Assault Response Ally (SARA) for three years. She learned valuable skills during that time that will inform her work on the project, such as how to be an active listener, hold someone’s story responsibly and build community.

“SARA has taught me the power in listening, believing and validation, as well as storytelling,” she said. “I really believe that healing begins when someone knows their story is real and has value. In this way, SARA has positioned me in a unique way to prepare me for this program.”

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