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Testimonials from Former PRC Trainees


Stephanie Huie

Stephanie Bond Huie, '01, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, The University of Texas System Administration

"My graduate training at the PRC exposed me to nationally and internationally renowned research faculty members who work collaboratively with the students on research grants and publications. The collaborative experience and the hands-on nature of the research training provided me with a solid analytical foundation to excel in my current position as Vice Chancellor, leading a team of research and policy analysts, developing quantitative metrics to measure performance outcomes, and making recommendations on best practices in the field of higher education administration. The analytical and methodological training that the PRC provides is an outstanding foundation for careers in a wide variety of areas from academe to non-profit work to private industry."

Jenifer Bratter

Jenifer Bratter, '01, Associate Professor of Sociology, Rice University

"Put simply, I would not be working at a research I institution if it were not for UT and the PRC. More than offering a degree and top notch training, the environment just ingrains in you how to be a professional academic. From the colloquiums that teach you how to engage professionals in the field, to the mentorship you receive as a member of a research team, the program and the experience really lets you know that you how to exist among academics as an academic."

Michelle Frisco

Michelle Frisco, '01, Associate Professor of Sociology & Demography, Penn State University

"My graduate training gave me many important tools and resources that have shaped my career trajectory. I gained knowledge of substantive areas that I continue to study today, learned about the publication process and grant writing from experts, and developed an important foundation in quantitative methods for social scientists. I also found mentors and collaborators among the faculty and my fellow graduate students. This professional network remains invaluable to me today."

Jason Boardman

Jason D. Boardman, '02, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder

"I received incredible training and support from the PRC while I was at Texas. I learned that most problems are best solved with a group effort; camaraderie defined the students and faculty in the PRC during my time there and I try to instill a harness that same energy with my colleagues, postdocs, and students at the University of Colorado."

Reanne Frank

Reanne Frank, '02, Associate Professor of Sociology, Ohio State University

"More than anything, the most important component of my graduate training at the PRC was the emphasis on collaborative relationships. Importantly, these were not only limited to research experiences between faculty and students but extended to collaborative projects between graduate students. The PRC excels in offering students early research experience and creating an environment where students are supported (via the appropriate training) and encouraged to collaborate with each other."

Maureen Benjamins

Maureen Benjamins, '04, Senior Epidemiologist, Sinai Urban Health Institute

"My years at the PRC were great preparation for my non-traditional career path. Compared to colleagues from other schools, I feel that the PRC offered me a greater selection of meaningful research opportunities (starting in year one) and more interactions with nationally recognized researchers, some of whom I still work with nearly 10 years after I graduated. With the strong analytical skills I learned and solid mentorship, I was able to easily find a job I love in public health research."

Elizabeth Durden

Elizabeth Durden, '04, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Bucknell University

"My graduate training in the PRC prepared me for the rigors of an academic career. The PRC is intensely focused on getting graduate students into research, conference presentations, and publications --- and getting them into this early. All of this training and academic experience made me a more viable candidate when I was on the job market as well as facilitated continued success in my career. And you get to live in Austin. Enough Said."

Elizabeth Wildsmith

Elizabeth Wildsmith, '04, Senior Research Scientist, Reproductive Health & Family Formation, Child Trends

"It is not an exaggeration to state how fundamental my training at the PRC was to my career trajectory. At UT and the PRC, I had great classes. More critical than that, however, were the relationships I developed with my teachers, mentors, and peers - relationships that continue to this day, 10 years after graduating. The PRC was committed to my training and success, and provided the resources and opportunities to make that happen - via fellowships, research assistantships, and my professors’ time. Equally important was the air of congeniality and support that existed between faculty, staff, and students. I really credit this, in part, for my desire to be part of research team - and why I went to work at a research organization - and for my ongoing collaborations with other former PRC students."

Belinda Needham

Belinda Needham, '06, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan

"My graduate training at the PRC sparked my interest in interdisciplinary research and gave me the methodological skills needed to conduct research on a variety of health-related topics. As a result of the training and mentoring that I received at Texas, I have had the ability and the confidence to branch out into new areas of study."

Amy Langencamp

Amy G. Langenkamp, '07, O'Shaughnessy Assistant Professor Chair of Educational Studies, Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO), Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame

"The PRC at UT provides unique opportunities for graduate students. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of my graduate training was working on a large project and collaborating with faculty and other graduate students at every level of academia. My first major publication stemmed from an article I wrote with a more senior graduate student colleague. This network of fellow graduate students has remained my professional support system."

Jenny Trinitapoli

Jenny Trinitapoli, '07, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Demography, & Religious Studies. The Pennsylvania State University

"I found the PRC to be a supportive and rigorous environment to ‘grow up’ in intellectually. My mentors and colleagues encouraged me to apply systematic sociological thinking to big demographic issues—even at the risk of upsetting conventional wisdom."

Hui Liu

Hui Liu, '08, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Michigan State University

"I am so grateful for my graduate training at the PRC. The training that I received has been so much more than I expected. As a student originally from China, I cannot thank PRC enough for the friendly and open atmosphere provided to support international students. Not only the professional training but also the close relationships that I built with my professors at the PRC have been an invaluable treasure in my academic career."

Jennifer Pearson, '08, Assistant Professor, Wichita State University

"The training and mentorship I received at the PRC helped me in so many ways. By the time I went on the job market, I had several publications and papers under review and had really improved my presentation skills. I learned quantitative methods from some of the best, which not only helped with my own research but allowed me to teach research methods to undergraduate and graduate students. But I think the best part of the PRC is the collaborative environment – a rare opportunity that makes for much more insightful and solid research and builds relationships that will benefit us long after leaving UT."

Hyeyoung Woo

Hyeyoung Woo, '08, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Portland State University

"When I look back at my graduate years at UT, my experience in the PRC was absolutely invaluable. I greatly benefited from being engaged in such an intellectual and supportive community through invited talks, the brown bag seminar series, research meetings, and numerous informal conversations. A number of project ideas, analytic techniques, and various management skills that I am currently developing and embracing are the result of the excellent research environment at the PRC. I am grateful for such an amazing time I spent in the PRC while at UT."

Sara Yeatman

Sara Yeatman, '08, Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado Denver

"It was through a PRC research project that I first went to Malawi the summer after my first year of graduate school. I have been conducting research there ever since (9 years and counting) and continue to work closely with faculty and other students I met during my years at UT."

Erin Hamilton

Erin Hamilton, '09, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis

"I benefited enormously from the opportunities, support, and training provided by the PRC. From Stata workshops to weekly brown bags, project meetings to parties at the PAA, the PRC taught me what it takes to be a demographer."

Ryan K. Masters

Ryan K. Masters, '10, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder; Faculty Affiliate, Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder

"Plainly speaking, it is likely that I would not have received a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin were it not for the PRC-facilitated mentoring, encouragement, and support that I received at every step of my graduate training. I chose to attend UT-Austin because Bob Hummer, then serving as the PRC Director, personally reached out to me and demonstrated a commitment to my success as a budding social researcher. My graduate training benefitted from Mark Hayward’s continued leadership in making the PRC one of the most highly respected research institutes for studying U.S. mortality trends and disparities. The research associates are among the best in the field, the staff is highly dedicated to supporting your technical and financial needs, and the faculty mentors treat you as peers. Graduate trainees at the PRC are not asked to simply perform rote tasks on research projects, but are instead challenged to be leaders and bring new perspectives to research teams. As an example, Bob and Mark, along with Deb Umberson and other PRC faculty associates organized biweekly mortality lab" meetings that provided professional but relaxed environments to showcase ongoing work, present new papers, and discuss emergent topics in our field."

Jennifer Karas Montez

Jennifer Karas Montez, '10, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Case Western Reserve University

"The PRC training was exceptional in so many respects. The faculty was genuinely interested in our professional development and provided close mentorship and opportunities for collaboration. The PRC also provided abundant resources, such as student offices, IT support, and conference travel funds, to facilitate our research and training."

Corinne Reczek

Corinne Reczek, '10, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University

"My training at the PRC has been instrumental in every stage of my career. Becoming a PRC trainee introduced me to new sets of methods, theoretical frames, and research questions that still inform my research agenda today. Moreover, the community of PRC faculty and alumni are an invaluable, and ever-growing, resource that extends far beyond UT-Austin."

Kari White

Kari White, '10, Assistant Professor, Health Care Organization & Policy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health

"As a graduate trainee at the PRC, I had numerous excellent opportunities to learn outside the classroom that helped me further develop my career. I was able to collaborate on projects with a leading demographic researcher and participate in the analysis and writing of several manuscripts that were published in top academic journals. This experience not only allowed me to acquire essential skills to conduct my own research, but also inspired my current work examining how women’s reproductive outcomes are affected by their access to health services"

Jennifer Augustine

Jennifer Augustine, '11, Assistant Professor, University of Houston

"My experience at the PRC provided me excellent training on all fronts: substantive, theoretical, and methodological. It provided me with invaluable opportunities to interact and collaborate with amazing faculty, who were generous with their time and hands-on mentors, and other graduate student, whose support and help was indispensable to my success. Lastly, the PRC Brown Bag series allowed me to learn more about new research and meet scholars from other universities."

Juanita Chinn

Juanita J. Chinn, '12, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Princeton University

"My graduate training at the Population Research Center was second to none. The PRC provided excellent research training and mentorship through the world renowned faculty, the stimulating brown bag series, generous resources, and high caliber graduate students. The PRC is a center that provided all the tools necessary to cultivate intellectual curiosity into kinetic and tangible research. Moreover, it was a fun and happy place to get work done!"

Michael McFarland

Michael McFarland, '12, Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Office of Population Research, Princeton University

"The faculty at the Population Research Center cultivated my passion for research and equipped me with the skills to conduct rigorous scientific work. The center offers an intellectually nurturing environment that encourages its trainees to take chances and engage in cutting-edge research. I highly recommend it for anyone considering a career in population science."

Dara Shifrer

Dara Shifrer, '12, Postdoctoral Fellow, Houston Education Research Consortium, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University

"Top-notch training, exposure to outstanding researchers within and outside of UT, and an amazing IT team - my research still benefits from my time as a Trainee at the Population Research Center!"

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown, '13, NIA Postdoctoral Fellow, Population Studies Center, University of Michigan

"My training at the PRC enhanced my ability to solve complex conceptual and methodological problems while providing an opportunity to apply the skills that I developed through my coursework. This experience left me with a much deeper appreciation for the issues central to health and life course demography. The PRC is a highly collaborative and collegial environment where students are encouraged to get involved in faculty research early-on. This was important because it gave me an opportunity to publish papers as a graduate student."

Joseph Lariscy

Joseph Lariscy, '13, NIA Postdoctoral Fellow, Duke Population Research Institute, Duke University

"As a trainee, I was encouraged not just to consume but to actively produce knowledge in the population sciences. Faculty and graduate student colleagues were always available through seminars, working groups, and practice conference presentations to provide feedback from my first term paper to my dissertation."

Yuka Minagawa

Yuka Minagawa, '13, Assistant professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

"My graduate training has provided a firm foundation in social demography, health, aging, and quantitative research methods. I also had the opportunities to do cutting-edge research and work with faculty and colleagues at the PRC. I am confident that none of these academic achievements would have been possible without support from the PRC."

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