Ph.D. Student to Participate in Highly-Selective Research Program

Yi-Fen Monica Lu

A first-year Ph.D. student in the College of Criminal Justice was selected to participate in a preeminent summer training program in quantitative methodologies and technologies of social science research.

Yi-Fen (Monica) Lu was accepted into the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The program is recognized worldwide for its training efforts, which emphasize the integration of methodological strategies with the theoretical and practical concerns that arise in research on substantive social issues. The program is well-known for its multidisciplinary and international constituencies and links participants with professional networks all over the world.

"Monica Lu has been selected to attend the highly competitive 2011 summer ICPSR Quantitative Methods Workshop in Ann Arbor, MI," said Dr. Michael S. Vaughn, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. "Please join me in congratulating Monica on this significant achievement."

Lu earned a Master’s degree from Sam Houston State University in 2010, with a thesis entitled "An Examination of the Effect of the Length of Residence in Texas on Public Opinions on the Death Penalty." She earned a Bachelor of Law and Master of Arts in Criminology from the National Taipei University in Taiwan. Her graduate studies in Taiwan concentrated on restorative justice.

During the summer program, Lu will pursue research on homicide clearance rates using a database from the Uniform Crime Reports from 1975 to 2008. Lu’s areas of interest include the death penalty, public perceptions of crime and criminal justice, biosocial criminology, gene-environmental interaction, criminological theory, and statistical analysis.

"It is nice to learn something outside of the campus and outside of the program," said Lu. "I hope to learn what other disciplines think about criminology. Also, scholars from other fields may know something we don’t have. I want to learn from them. Meanwhile, in our program, we have outstanding faculty. Without their help, I would not have this great opportunity. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Solomon Zhao for his inspiration and Dr. Ling Ren for her unreserved support."

The summer program is part of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, which provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community. The program is designed to:

  • promote the valid and effective use of powerful methodological tools in the practice of social research.
  • Offer basic instruction in quantitative methodology to students, faculty, and researchers with no prior training in this area.
  • Offer advanced courses, enabling graduate students, faculty, and research scientists to extend the scope and depth of their analytic skills.
  • provide opportunities for training in newly emerging methodological techniques and data analysis strategies.
  • Create an environment that facilitates an exchange of ideas related to the theory and practice of social research.

Traditionally, the largest number of students in the summer program have come from political science, sociology, and psychology departments within the United States. Currently, however, participants represent about 25 different academic disciplines from approximately 200 colleges, universities, and organizations in more than 25 different nations.

"Being an international student, it is not easy for us to survive," Lu said. "It is a very, very different process here, how people think and feel. Sometimes, a connection with the American students is very helpful. Through communications, we may exchange information on study habits and academics. Studying here gives me a different perspective and opens my eyes to academic training that differs from the past."

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