Introducing DSSG Fellow Carolina Johnson

Small picture of Carolina I’m a PhD Candidate in Political Science here at UW, where I also work as a consultant at CSSCR (the Center for Social Science Computation and Research). My dissertation uses a combination of qualitative fieldwork and quantitative analysis to evaluate the impact of local participatory budgeting reforms on communities’ wider practices of civic engagement.

I was drawn to the DSSG program because the more research I do, the more I find I enjoy the data analytic and technical side of the work. I am just starting to explore new opportunities to connect my developing data skills with the social and political commitments that have motivated my research so far. I’m especially looking forward to working with quantitative data in more richly descriptive ways, rather than simply composing ever more refined regression models with which to test a scholarly hypothesis!

Along with providing insights from new data, I’m excited for the chance to learn new skills throughout the summer. While I’ve been working in R for a while, I’m keen to strengthen my skills in Python and GIS. Starting work on the ORCA data project this week, I’ve discovered I’m also going to be honing my (currently nonexistent) skills with database queries and SQL! Turns out big data is actually rather big. Lesson #1 of DSSG 2016.