REU Site: Research Institute in Sociology and Social Inequality
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This project is funded from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the SBE Directorate. It has both scientific and societal benefits, and integrates research and education. This REU site project immerses students in an 8-week summer research experience focused on Sociology and Social Inequality. The project actively recruits undergraduates to conduct research with faculty at Texas A&M University. Activities for each REU participant include: a course with practical, hands-on instruction in social science theory, methods, and practices; learning about graduate educational opportunities and careers in science; completing a research project with a faculty mentor; writing a research paper; and presenting their research findings at a professional academic conference the following school year. This program: (1) increases the social science research opportunities available to undergraduates from underrepresented groups; (2) increases the scientific literacy of participants to prepare a contemporary workforce trained in research skills; and (3) prepares students for careers with a research focus through education and intensive mentoring. The intended impact is to increase students'' understanding of social science research and increase the number of students pursuing graduate education and professional careers in social science research. This project involves participants in new and rigorous research projects focused on social inequality, with projects that span the breadth and depth of our doctoral program. The project provides students with hands-on experience in research, intensive mentoring, and independent research skills.Students participate in research that focuses on evaluating the nature and extent of inequality in the United States today, with a special emphasis on understanding how to conceptualize, operationalize, and measure concepts central to understanding social inequality. Each student is paired with a faculty mentor and research project before they start the summer institute. Examples of research projects include testing proposed changes to the survey measurement of race and ethnicity, investigating how status inequalities might be decreased or even eliminated in small group interactions using experimental methods, and investigating the impact of parental incarceration on youth and young adult outcomes. These example projects demonstrate the breadth of the program. Students will be matched to research projects based on their substantive research interests as well as the kinds of skills they are most interested in developing, from interview design, to conducting experiments, to the analysis of complex survey data.This award reflects NSF''s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation''s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.