Students win Georgia Tech's President’s Undergraduate Research Awards

Posted November 24, 2020

Undergraduate Public Policy undergraduate students, Sophia Cohen and Emma Menardi, have both received one of the competitive President’s Undergraduate Research Awards, or PURA, to conduct undergraduate research with a Georgia Tech faculty member.  Public Policy majors learn valuable research skills in their courses and many choose to apply these by doing independent research or working on professors’ projects.  Many have received the PURA, which provides either a small stipend or support for research expenses.  

In the Fall 2020, second-year BSPP student Sophia Cohen continued her work with Richard Barke, School of Public Policy undergraduate program coordinator, on options for improving passenger rail services in Georgia; she has contacted officials in the private and public sector about past and current efforts and spent much of the current semester developing a massive database of passenger rail policies, plans, institutions, and stakeholders in all fifty states (except Hawaii).

Emma Menardi is a second-year BBSP student, with a dual major in major in History, Technology, and Society, interested in research around HIV stigma and how it may affect health services provided to youth. She wrote an initial paper in a previous course on Law, Medicine, and Ethics offered through the School’s Law, Science, and Technology (LST) Program, and she is now enthusiastic to expand upon that research with her faculty advisor, LST Director Chad Slieper.  

When asked about the PURA awards, Richard Barke, said “I’m delighted to hear of multiple students in our school receiving funding.  Working on a research project alongside a faculty member is an excellent experience for young researchers.”  He added that, “these early inroads to research, publishing, and networking can set up our students for careers in academia, consulting, law, and government service.”

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PURA Award Winners, Emma and Sophia.