NSF REU Site: Spatial Models and Electoral Districting

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NSF REU Site: Spatial Models and Electoral Districting (Award #1851696)

A partnership between University of Washington Tacoma and University of Puget Sound

Director: Jim Thatcher, Urban Studies, University of Washington Tacoma
Co-Director: Courtney Thatcher, Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Puget Sound

The Spatial Models and Electoral Districting Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site is seeking applications for its 2021 Summer program. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the REU is an 8-week summer research program located in Tacoma, Washington and will take place from June 20, 2021 through August 14, 2021. At this time, the REU is planning to run in person for the summer of 2021; however, we will follow public health best practices and may run remotely as needed. ​

The Spatial Models and Electoral Districting REU offers the opportunity for a diverse set of students to work collaboratively on a topic of immense societal and political importance — electoral districting in the United States. With the 2020 census, new electoral and representational districts will be drawn across the country and this program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to engage directly at the forefront of complex research questions and public communication of results. The directors of the program would like to strongly encourage students currently enrolled at community colleges and smaller colleges with limited research opportunities to apply. The program intends to build a community of publicly engaged researchers and professionals that includes students from the same underrepresented groups that are often most affected by electoral districting.

The primary aims of the REU site for participants are: (1) training in cutting-edge computational and mathematical techniques; (2) a unique interdisciplinary approach that blends advanced techniques in mathematics and computer science with social theoretical knowledge from the social sciences; (3) a deep, nuanced understanding of the complexities of districting within the United States at exactly the time when redistricting is occurring; and (4) training in the clear and persuasive communication of research and policy papers on the complexities of electoral districting within the United States.

The Spatial Models and Electoral Districting REU is particularly looking for applicants with experience in Geography, GIScience, Data Science, Computer Science, and/or Mathematics, but is open to participation from any undergraduate interested in the topics. The REU also strongly encourages students from diverse race, ethnicity, and gender identities to apply as well as those from traditionally economically and politically disenfranchised groups. 

If held in person, housing will be provided for students on the campus of the University of Puget Sound and participants will be provided $575 a week stipend in addition to one meal each day. If run remotely, the funding will remain the same and all additional funding will be repurporsed in direct support of students both during and after the REU's completion. After the REU, students will have opportunities for funded travel to conferences in order to present the results of their research. Students are expected to attend the full eight weeks of the program and must be US citizens or permanent residents.

Review of applications will begin February 14th, 2021 and continue until all participants have been selected. For further details and to apply, please see the application form here

All queries and inquiries should be sent to smedREU@uw.edu.