IRiSS honors 2021 RA interns of the year

IRiSS is very pleased that our Stanford-Foothill social science collaboration has been able to continue entirely online during the past year of adversity. We have reached 10 formal years of our Research Experience Program in the classroom, introducing students to research through participation in experiments. We are completing our 8th year of hosting student research assistants from Foothill at Stanford. The past year we piloted the Academic Transition Advising Program, matching a dozen Foothill students with Stanford alumni and staff for support during the transfer process. Despite shifting to virtual meetings, this new program received positive feedback from both advisors and advisees, and we hope to offer it again in the future.

For more information on the RA Internship Program, click here (for Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) and here (for community college students interested in internship opportunities).

Intern of the Year

These students were chosen as the top research assistants from among more than 40 community college interns who volunteered as Social Science Research Assistant Interns at Stanford this year, as part of the Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) collaborative Research Experience Program with Foothill College.

This year the committee chose four students. The independent reviewers chose two “Interns of the Year” and two “Intern of the Year Finalists.”


Ágnes Fejér

2021 Intern of the Year - Transferring to UC Berkeley

Supervisor – Sasha Shen Johfre, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, under Dr. Jeremy Freese

Sasha said: “Working with Ágnes has been the highlight of my graduate school experience thus far. One of the first research tasks Ágnes and I worked on together was to design a coding strategy for a set of historical magazine advertisements. One of the variables she suggested is proving to be one of the most important variables in the project. I was particularly moved by this experience because Ágnes’s intellectual enthusiasm is infectious. She joined the project in September, and within weeks was up to speed on the content, thinking hard about strategy and ideas, and engaging in high-level conversation about the social theory. Although I have been thinking about and working on this project for years, her excitement and creativity brought new life that has really helped push the research to the next level.

Ágnes is also an incredibly committed and effective worker. Her work on this project has been crucial to my own academic and research progress. Her ability to manage her own time, stay motivated, and communicate clearly with me has made the collaboration an incredible success. This level of dedication, thoughtfulness, and ingenuity has been consistent year-round from Ágnes. I am so excited for her next steps, as she will go so far; but I will certainly miss working with her!"


Martin (Alex) Luna

2021 Intern of the Year - Transferring to Stanford

Supervisor – Bethany Nichols, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, under Dr. Michelle Jackson

Bethany said: “As my research assistant, Alex has shown an unparalleled ability to engage with others with deep empathy, and he has shown a voracious appetite to develop new skills and take advantage of opportunities. Alex works alongside me to conduct in-depth qualitative interviews with survivors of sexual assault. These interviews are challenging, and they take an immense amount of empathy and focus. During these interviews, I have watched Alex deeply listen and gently question individuals with traumatic experiences of sexual assault, histories of substance addiction, or involvement with human trafficking and organized crime. Alex has shown a deep curiosity to understand people’s lives. He has mastered the ability to question, challenge, and think alongside others until these stories and opinions are brought into the light. Alex has also shown a voracious hunger for new skills and opportunities during our research project. At every research meeting, Alex continues to amaze me. I truly consider him more as an intellectual collaborator than as a research intern."


Pavel Savgira - Transferring to UCLA

Intern of the Year Finalist

Supervisor – Andrea Freund, PhD Candidate, Organizational Behavior Graduate School of Business, under Dr. Margaret Neale

Andrea said: “Throughout our time working together, Pavel has demonstrated such an enthusiasm for the research and a diligence in his work. Not only is he responsive, accurate, and reliable, he goes above and beyond when I ask him to do something. For instance, for one study I am running, I asked him to collect data online from companies about their diversity metrics. When he couldn't find the data easily, he went hunting for more information, tracking down federal forms like the EEO-1 form, and providing me with critically important context. For example, he would write in the notes that Company ABC is under investigation for its diversity practices, which is why no diversity data is publicly available after a certain date. Pavel also demonstrated patience and consideration when responding to assignments, setting goals and always achieving them. I'm thrilled to have had Pavel's support over this past year."


Iman Haq

Intern of the Year Finalist - Transferring to UCLA

Supervisor – Monique Harrison, PhD Candidate, Sociology of Education, Graduate School of Education, under Dr. Mitchell Stevens
Monique said: "Iman has spent the year contributing to our lab in multiple ways - transcribing interviews, coding transcripts, and helping with the logistics of interviews throughout the year. She has now stepped into a leadership role where she is designing and leading a training for the incoming interns this summer on coding transcripts based on her experience as an intern (and her expertise as a coder). She is a delight to work with and has made our research better! She is always reliable, thoughtful, and an excellent team member."

IRiSS is also pleased to welcome 25 new interns this summer, several of whom will continue into the academic year. IRiSS and all the social science departments at Stanford greatly appreciate the collaboration and the research assistance.