Diversity Fellowship Program

Picture of the Diversity Fellows from Summer 2020


At the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation, we believe that the creation of a diverse and inclusive community is central to maintaining the excellence of all of our projects. Our definition of diversity extends beyond race and gender and includes socioeconomic status, religion, gender identity and expression, and more. As a center, we aspire to represent the diversity of our city, our region, and our world and to create a space that encourages and embraces inclusiveness, equal opportunity, and respect.


In 2015, we developed a diversity enrichment initiative with the goal of increasing the diversity of our community. We have been welcoming Diversity Fellows every summer since (even if virtually in 2020 and 2021). We collaborate with mentors from IPUMS, the Minnesota Population Center (MPC), and the Life Course Center (LCC) to provide research experiences for students. The Diversity Fellowship program is designed to help recruit underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students to work on IPUMS data infrastructure projects or with MPC or LCC member faculty on demographic research projects.

Meet our summer 2022 fellows

Haku Bo a 4th Ph.D. student in Applied Economics. He is enthusiastic about topics that involving natural resources, environmental, energy, and agricultural economics. His current studies are working on evaluating ecosystem service, land use management, and the resilience of pastoralism. He is also interested in urban land use policy and hopes to learn about this in the mapping atlas project and in future studies. Haku will be working on the project “Zoning Atlas: Examining residential segregation in Minneapolis and St. Paul” with Evan Roberts, Ying Song, and Kate Knowles.

Tanvi Mehta (she/her/hers) just finished her first year in the Biostatistics PhD program here at the U. She’s interested in applying biostatistics to areas of health equity research, and is still figuring out exactly what that can look like.  Tanvi will be working on the project “ Social Determinants of Health: comparing clinical and publicly available data” with David Haynes and Rui Zhang.She’s excited to be working on this project, and also looking forward to connecting with and learning from others who are doing related work!

Alyssa Fabia is a graduate student in the Master of Development Practice (MDP) program in HHH where they study political ecology, fragility indicators, and conflict prevention. Alyssa currently lives on a goat farm on White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. Rare free moments are spent climbing trees, kayaking, reading poetry, and making tea. Alyssa will be working on the project “Exploration of Newly-Public 1950 Census American Indian Reservation Data” with Cathy Fitch, Carolyn Liebler, and Kari Williams.

Marielynn Herrera (she/her/hers) will begin her second year as a graduate student in the Maternal and Child Health MPH program at the UMN School of Public Health. Broadly, she is interested in how immigrant exclusion, racism, health policy, and social determinants shape and reinforce health inequities; effects of workplace exposures, and demands on multiple aspects of family health; and, aging and the lifecourse. This summer, Marielynn will be working on the project “Using MEPS to Study Maternal and Child Health”, led by Julia Drew, Susan Marshall Mason, and Susan Short. During the fellowship, she would like to learn how to assess maternal and family health problems using rich population-based data like MEPS-HC.

Ilyana Hohenkirk (she/her/hers) is a graduate student in the MPH Epidemiology program with a Biostatistics minor. She is interested in communicable disease and exploring the multifaceted way in which public health data is collected, analyzed, defined and distributed. She is hoping to learn how to use and apply GIS to public health and understanding the patterns behind vector-borne disease transmission. Ilyana will be working on the project “Malaria Transmission in Context: Using International Census Data” with Tracy Kugler and Kelly Searle.


We are now accepting applications for the Summer 2022 Program. 

Become a mentor

Mentors help our fellows have a great experience with the program. We recruit mentors from all of our centers, including faculty and research staff. Think about becoming a mentor for the 2023 program. Check back here for more details. 

Past Projects