Exploring Research Opportunities at the Brown School

Many graduate students choose to engage in research during their time at the Brown School. I knew I was interested in securing a part-time research job during my own application process, even though I wasn’t certain if I would pursue research as a career. I figured that a research role would allow me to deepen my knowledge in my field of interest beyond coursework and prepare me to confront the field’s major challenges throughout micro, mezzo and macro practice.

So, when I didn’t get accepted for an exciting fellowship I applied to with Dr. Lindsay Stark, I was a little disappointed. Her work around gender norms, violence prevention, and displaced populations was a major reason I was interested in attending the Brown School. I decided to reach out to Dr. Stark directly. I expressed my interest in her projects, attached my resume and cover letter, and asked if she knew of any similar opportunities. The persistence paid off: She invited me to her office for an interview, and hired me to join her team on the spot.

The first project I supported was a systematic review on the effectiveness of Women and Girls Safe Spaces in humanitarian settings, which was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal. Over the past year and a half, I have also co-facilitated survey translation workshops with study partners in Nigeria, helped develop a service provider interview guide for a UNICEF project around gender-based violence in Italy’s displacement camps during the pandemic, and conducted interviews, transcribed recordings, coded and analyzed data, and co-authored manuscripts for the Study of Adolescent Lives After Migration to America (SALaMA).

All of these projects have given me invaluable experience and knowledge for a variety of career paths at the intersection of gender, migration, and humanitarian response. This work also inspired me pursue a master of public health in addition to my MSW; I will be continuing on at the Brown School to obtain my MSW/MPH dual-degree. I have not only benefited from Dr. Stark’s mentorship, but also from the support of team members, including student peers, organizational partners such as Mercy Corps and the Women’s Refugee Commission, and doctoral candidates from the Brown School, Columbia University and Brown University.

There are many opportunities to get involved in research at the Brown School. A part-time job fair early in the fall semester gives students the opportunity to seek these positions, and we also have an internal job database with openings you will have access to when you enroll. And don’t be afraid to email professors directly to ask about opportunities!

Students can work up to 20 hours a week per university guidelines. My assistantship is remote and flexible; I schedule my research hours around my other commitments of practicum, coursework and serving as an Admissions Department Student Ambassador. I often complete the bulk of the hours on evenings and weekends. This can be hectic, but it has also strengthened my time management skills.

If you are interested in research, I suggest learning more about the Brown School’s 15 research centers, as well as searching individual faculty pages for their bios and contact information. If you’re an admitted student, be sure to check out current openings for campus-based fellowships and research assistantships.