Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Friday, July 31, 2020

Collins leads week-long workshop for junior scholars

J. Michael Collins, Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Lindsay Jacobs J. Michael Collins, Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Lindsay Jacobs

Three La Follette School faculty members, including Professor J. Michael Collins, served as instructors and mentors during the second Junior Scholar Intensive Training (JSIT) Summer Workshop in June.

The Center for Financial Security’s Retirement and Disability Research Center (CFS RDRC) at UW–Madison collaborated with Howard University’s Center on Race and Wealth (CRW) on the workshop. Collins is CFS’s faculty director and is the research center’s principal investigator.

Twelve scholars from various disciplines completed the week-long virtual training at UW–Madison with support from the Social Security Administration.

Yvonne Hampton, an economist and doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia, attended the workshop and said, "This workshop was life-changing for me. I’ve been stuck; and in one week, this workshop reignited my excitement for research and was exactly what I needed."

La Follette School associate professor Sarah Halpern-Meekin spoke about project management, and assistant professor Lindsay Jacobs answered questions about the Survey of Consumer Finances. Four La Follette School faculty affiliates also served as instructors:  Fenaba Addo, associate professor of consumer science; Marcy Carlson, professor of sociology; and Justin Sydnor, associate professor of business.  Collins, Sydnor, and associate professor of economics Mary Hamman from UW–La Crosse were the core faculty.

Topics covered included identifying social insurance research questions, identifying data sources, grant writing, working with data sets, communicating and translating research, and building a mentor relationship. Scholars came away with well-developed ideas for research proposals that they will work on with their mentors, culminating in an opportunity to submit research proposals for a JSIT Research Award competition. Last year’s JSIT research awards and abstracts are here.

The goal of JSIT is to provide a mentored training that builds and diversifies the research pipeline within RDRC topic areas. JSIT scholars will hopefully be well-positioned to submit a full proposal in the next round of funding for the CFS RDRC.