Application Information

SSSRP 2023 Application Information

For Students 

A list of 2023 SSSRP projects appear below. Interested student applicants can apply on Workday starting on February 22, 2023.


The Political Lives of African First Ladies
Chipo Dendere, Africana Studies

Project overview: There has been very little academic work on the women behind the power in African governments beyond focusing on their fashion choices and corruption. I will argue in the book that some of the First Ladies have been very influential in policy making. I will study six first ladies, Grace Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Sarah Kyoloba Amin of Uganda, Bobi Ladawa Mobutu of Zaire, now DRC, Leïla Ben Ali of Tunisia, Maryam Abacha of Nigeria, and Simone Gbagbo of Ivory Coast. The actual list might change once I start doing work.

Experience with social science research is a plus. If students speak French that will be good as well.


Parenthood Postponed: Using the ARTS for Family-Building
Rosanna Hertz/ WGST

Making babies has become not only an achievement but an enterprise. The pursuit of parenthood has become more complicated and stratified, especially as people delay children. First births today are occurring at increasingly older ages for women, especially for those who have advanced education, in almost all North American and European countries. This is an empirically based study that is US/Canada based for a book project. The study includes people who conceived with assisted reproductive technologies and those who tried but did not succeed.

1. Familiarity with Atalis (a coding program) and having taken a methods/qualitative course preferably in WGST or SOC.
2. Having taken a family course or a course on reproduction.

Post-Policy System Evolution/Green Port Governance
Beth DeSombre, Environmental Studies


Project 1: Post-policy system evolution – book project that examines how environmental regulation, once adopted, sets up systemic changes that frequently make policies easier and cheaper to implement than initially predicted. General social science background necessary (economics and political science especially, helpful along knowledge of environmental issues); student will gain data searching and analysis skills, along with working on reviews of the relevant academic literature and working to identify and gather information on case studies.

Project 2: Green Port governance --This study examines environmental governance measures adopted or enforced by the busiest 200+ ports around the world. Student will help search for missing data (most is already collected) and work on literature reviews to support/frame analysis.

For both: Social science background (please specify courses taken) attention to detail, and research experience useful.


Imagining War: The Burning of the Kuwaiti Oil Fields
Britain Hopkins, Sociology

This project considers the geopolitics of war, oil, and ecological devastation through an examination of cultural representations of the burning of the Kuwaiti oil fields during the First Gulf War (1990-1991). The ecological toll of the war included the explosion of over nine-hundred oil wells, hundreds of which caught fire and dozens of which gushed oil to form extensive lakes. Additionally, over ten-million barrels worth of crude oil were released into the Persian Gulf, constituting the largest maritime oil release in history. In total, an estimated one billion barrels worth of crude oil were released into the environment during the war and in its aftermath. This project seeks to provoke memories and recognition of the event by asking how it was documented, depicted, and made sense of as it transpired. The student fellow will assist with three areas of the project’s development, contributing to a journal-length article on the topic. First, the student fellow will assist in the assembly and analysis of an archive of visual media depictions of the event. Second, the fellow will help compile an overview of the environmental footprint of the U.S. military, 1945 through present. Third, the fellow will read texts within the field of critical and feminist geopolitics which will help form the conceptual and historical framework of the project. Skills gained include experience compiling and analyzing archival sources, experience conducting visual and media analysis, and in-depth familiarity with the First Gulf War and field of critical/feminist geopolitics.

Interest in geopolitics (SOC 223 recommended), cultural theory, visual and media analysis, war and environment.


Long Covid: Science and human experience
Anastasia Karakasidou, Anthropology

Long Covid is still a puzzle for the medical community as is a burden for those who still suffer from it. Although the pandemic is considered to be at its tail end, there are still individuals who suffer from the long effects of the virus. This summer, I would like to work with a student who will research both the science and the human experience of long Covid. How much we do know about the ailment? Are there any medical treatments available? How do individuals cope given the uncertainty and ambiguity of the long disease? What are the symptoms? How are sufferers coping with them? How do families accommodate the needs of sufferers? What differences do we find along the lines of gender, race and socio-economic standing? These are only a few of the questions that my summer research would like to answer.

The student must have some background in anthropology and/or studies of epidemics and pandemics.


Project Title: (Re)Presenting Asian American Women in Diaspora (2 parts)
Andi Remoquillo, American Studies

The student fellow will work on two separate projects focusing on Asian American women in diaspora. In both projects, the student will help locate scholarly sources, put together literature reviews, conduct content/media analyses, transcribe interviews, and create bibliographies.

1. A book project that draws from ethnography and social histories to piece together a missing narrative of Filipina American women in mid-century Chicago and how they shaped the trajectory of the Fil-Am community today.

2.  An article that draws from data collected through (auto)ethnographic and content/media research to explore the ways in which Asian American women's conversations, relationships, and experiences with their mothers growing up impacted their current understanding of gendered racial identities and family structures. This project seeks to challenge previous research that emphasizes a strained intergenerational relationship between immigrant parents and American-born children by illustrating the ways that mother-daughter relationships can also function as protective and resistive spaces against heteropatriarchal violence and White supremacist institutions.

The student should have taken at least one Asian American Studies, American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, or Ethnic Studies course; be familiar with intersectionality in reading and writing; have some basic understanding of qualitative research (does not need to be in depth); an ability to read and write in an analytical manner.


Digital Wellbeing and Social Media Innovation
Linda Charmaraman, WCW/EDUC

The summer intern for the Youth, Media, and Wellbeing Research Lab at the Wellesley Centers for Women ( would have the opportunity to work on multiple ongoing projects, assisting with research literature reviews, coding & analyzing data from survey and/or qualitative datasets related to social media use, psychosocial and behavioral health, and digital citizenship across the lifespan. This may entail writing and copyediting reports, piloting surveys, conducting interviews or focus groups, and using NVivo to code qualitative data. In our applied research work this summer, we will be conducting a weeklong virtual workshop on designing positive social media spaces with approximately 25 middle school students from across the country. Collaborating with our teen Youth Advisory Board to shape the curriculum, the intern will co-facilitate the virtual workshop and mentor middle school students along with a team of Wellesley College student facilitators during the weeklong workshop in July. After the workshop, the intern will analyze the evaluation surveys and organize the Zoom transcript data. Throughout the summer, the intern will work with the WCW Communications team to help co-manage the lab’s Instagram account and external newsletter. In addition, the intern would be invited to attend a weekly writing group at WCW, potentially developing a blog or infographics to highlight research lab findings.

Ability to work both collaboratively and independently this summer is critical. We will work together on an interdisciplinary team (CS, Psych, MAS, data science) to figure out the best 3-4 days to meet in person at Cheever House (15-minute walk from campus or escort ride available) and when we would meet remotely. The following are helpful to mention when applying: a) interest in recruiting and mentoring middle school students for our virtual workshop dedicated to digital wellbeing, b) creative strategies to engage enthusiastically with teens over Zoom, c) experience/coursework in human-computer interactions, adolescent development, or media studies, and/or d) analyzing quantitative or qualitative data. Preference given to students who have either taken EDUC 328 or have experience with the Youth, Media, & Wellbeing research lab as a research assistant or volunteer.


The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations: Understanding Political Fatalism among White Democrats
Jennifer Chudy, Political Science

What assumptions do voters make about other voters’ racial attitudes? There are some white Democrats who worry that being actively attentive to issues of race and justice will turn off a sizable portion of their party. Implicit in their diagnoses is the expectation that large segments of their party object to these conversations, despite evidence that most white people with racially resentful views sifted out of the Democratic party in recent years (Engelhardt 2021; Jardina and Ollerenshaw 2022; Sides, Tesler, and Vavreck 2019), thus leaving the Democratic Party with a coalition of racially sympathetic white Americans and people of color (Sides, Tausanovitch, and Vavreck 2022). The topic, then, has the potential to motivate broad participation within the party, yet “identity politics” are still often characterized as a third rail. To be sure, Republicans may become mobilized in opposition, but I am more curious about the assumption that Democrats will be too. This project will explore the historical and psychological dimensions of this political fatalism. Historically, I want to identify other moments in American history where elites have underestimated voters’ preferences for racial progressivism. I am also interested in unpacking the psychological motivations undergirding these assumptions. In particular, I want to investigate whether assigning the blame on racist others provides a convenient scapegoat, allowing some Democrats shelter to promote a preferred political outcome without explicitly taking ownership of it.

Required: some coursework in American politics OR social psychology. Preferred: Completion of a statistics course, preferably POL 299 or ECON 203, and/or experience web scraping (specifically Twitter).

Culture, Stress, and Well-Being
Stephen Chen, Psychology

Project A: The Chinese American Family Experiences (CAFE) Study

Our lab is currently examining Chinese American parents' and adolescents' experiences with race and social mobility. We're currently recruiting students who are literate and/or fluent in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) to help recruit participants, conduct interviews with parents and adolescents, and process and analyze data.

Project B: (Tentative - pending collaborator availability)

The lab may also have a research opportunity for students who: (1) have experience conducting advanced statistical analyses (e.g., linear and logistic regressions, moderation and mediation analyses) with large, nationally-representative datasets; and (2) are interested in the intersections between psychosocial stressors and health outcomes.

Project A: Fluency in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese). Project B: Advanced statistical analyses skills with large datasets



For Faculty

The faculty application period is now closed.

The SSSRP at Wellesley College offers students a unique opportunity to conduct research in a
variety of social science fields, broadly defined, under the supervision of a Wellesley faculty
mentor selected to participate. The program also offers faculty members the chance to work
with a student whose time and work during the fellowship period is expressly dedicated to
supporting and advancing the faculty member's research.

Program Dates:  8.5 Week Research program: June 1 – July 28, 2023
Summer Research Poster Session: Thursday, July 27, 2023 (all students are expected to
participate in the poster session)

Program Features:
● Weekly seminars for student and faculty participants to present their work
● Opportunities for SSSRP fellows to connect with other Wellesley College students and
faculty, for instance through attending weekly seminars, and participating in other
workshops and activities throughout the summer program
● Poster presentation at end of program