As CMC welcomed the Class of 2017 to its sunny campus, we launched right into recruiting, interviewing, and selecting a new class of research assistants at the Rose Institute. We are thrilled to announce that Charlotte Bailey, Audrey Breitwieser, Tyler Finn, Ben Fusek, Francesca Hidalgo-Wohlleben, Hannah Oh, Tim Plummer, and Tamara Skinner have joined us from a competitive pool of over 70 applicants.
There certainly are an abundance of projects in which they can participate. As the Rose Institute revamps its focus on technology, we’ve organized a “tech team” that is meeting weekly to work on maintaining our current web resources, upgrading hardware, building new websites to showcase our latest projects, and publishing interactive maps to demonstrate trends in demographics and elections across the country. Our websites are running better than ever and our tech team is excited to continue adding new resources and content. Moving forward, our students will be focusing on increasing the Rose Institute’s engagement with the public through an improved social media presence, and through search engine optimization. Notable accomplishments from last semester include the recently redesigned Redistricting in America website, substantial upgrades to the Miller Initiative Database, and improved security and speed for all of the Rose’s web assets.
While we have wrapped up last year’s Redistricting in America analyses, there is still plenty of mapping to be done. Students have already created several maps for the Inland Empire Center website and the Inland Empire Outlook publication. Moreover, the upcoming addition of interactive data to the California Almanac shows the many ways we can marry our projects with innovative technologies, adding a valuable visual component, and increasing the accessibility of our material.
Last year marked a highly successful year for the launch of several new Rose projects, and we’re planning on building on that success. Our “Video Voter” voter education series garnered significant campus attention, and we hope to expand on its popularity. This past spring, Rose students and Rose Fellow Doug Johnson worked with the City of Glendale to improve their election’s transparency, and developed processes to publish live mapping updates during the election. This fall, our expanded new hire training is in full swing, providing our new hires with an extensive program of training seminars, guest lecturers, and research in the areas of professional communication, statistical analysis, and state and local government. We received glowing feedback from last year’s new hire program participants and anticipate the same from this year’s class as we continue to refine the program.
In addition to the success of our established projects, we are in the early stages of exciting new projects. For the upcoming year, The Rose Institute is partnering with the Roberts Environmental Center for a project on water in Southern California. Rose students are also working with Rose Fellow Professor Andy Sinclair on historical research and compilation of states’ primary laws, and we have plans for a series of white papers focusing on California demographic and fiscal analysis.
Meanwhile, our speaker series has become a staple at the Rose Institute. The series kicks off with a bang on October 31, when we will be co-sponsoring a talk by former-Secretary of Homeland Security and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. The series will continue in November, when we will be hosting a panel discussing the impact of the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. For our part, Alex and I plan to focus our term in student management on facilitating effective team structures, and establishing tools for seamless project execution from start to finish. We feel honored to serve as student managers in the Rose’s 40th year and we hope to make the most of the year ahead.
– Marina Giloi and Alex Bentley
Syndicated from the Rose Institute’s hard copy publication, The Rose Review.