2021 QSA Graduating Junior/Senior
Congratulations to the inaugural cohort of graduating junior/senior in the Quantitative Social Analysis Minor Program!
Devin Haas, a third-year majoring in Anthropology, and minoring Theater and Performance Studies, wanted to pursue the Quantitative Social Analysis minor in order to develop quantitative skills to answer social science questions he has, which are anthropological in nature, in “greater depth than with a training in ethnography alone.” To Devin, the QSA minor draws courses from many departments and disciplines, which makes it attractive as he can “specifically gain a mix of skills and application experience” that he cannot obtain from other minor programs that focus on a single discipline.
After graduation, Devin will be interning at the Human Rights Watch’s Crisis and Conflict Division in Summer 2021, and will pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2021-2022. He believes that a rigorous training in quantitative methodologies and applications through the QSA minor will be an asset for his transition to Development Studies as “most social systems involve quantitative information, and being able to understand that data is essential to honest and comprehensive scholarly research.”
While pursuing the QSA minor, Devin’s favorite course is International Political Economy, and he wants to tell future minor students to “use this minor to sample courses from disciplines you may not otherwise take courses from” and to “look forward to the applications courses (as) they’re a lot of fun!“
Nikhil Manglik, a fourth-year majoring in Public Policy, decided to pursue the Quantitative Social Analysis minor after having taken Quantitative Methods for Public Policy, and because of his intention to use the tools of statistics and Computer Science to find greater insights with computational/quantitative work. Pursuing the Quantitative Social Analysis minor has equipped Nikhil with tools to analyze and interpret statistical findings, as having these tools is very important since to him, “social science is inherently a ‘messy’ field sometimes, with bad actors all too willing to twist studies.”
Nikhil’s favorite minor class is The Politics of Authoritarian Regimes (PBPL 28765) class taught by Profs. Gehlbach and Luo, as he states “the course really used statistics to provide a new look at a field that is generally taught very qualitatively, and as such provided a lot of new, interesting insights into how regimes behave, survive, and propagate.”
After graduation, Nikhil plans to be in Washington, DC, to work in the government, and he wants to share with future minors to “(not) be afraid to reach out to the administration for help or to ask them questions — they’re deeply concerned with making sure the minor works for students, and they’re extremely willing to help students out where possible!”
Matthew Baumholtz, a fourth-year student majoring in Economics, decided to pursue the QSA minor in order to be equipped with foundational skills for valid empirical analysis and critical thinking, and to learn how to validly design methodologies to measure and analyze real-world data. This decision was made because data in the real world are not clean, likely due to the fact that individuals perform hidden actions, people are not utility maximizers, or every event overlaps with many other events, etc. and consequently it is difficult to isolate any effects for valid measurement. To Matthew, the QSA minor instills these lessons through its minor track with a “granular focus on specific statistical, mathematical, and logical solutions to many of these problems,” and therefore allowed him to “grab social statistics courses à la carte, building off of (his) economic studies while inducing and satisfying other interests.”
Matthew’s favorite minor class was Professor Neal’s Economics of Education, where students get to explore many education policy interventions motivated by economic models and empirical research to show the value of information and incentives in policy design. What impressed him the most was Professor Neal’s “unique way of distilling complex situations into simple actions by many actors.”
After graduation and in Summer 2022, Matthew will be moving to Washington D.C. to join Capital One’s Strategy Group. He will also be working on the Strategy Team for a new sports app, Conquer, which allows each user to create or join any local sporting event, and their leaderboard ranks all users regionally/globally in each sport they play.
Matthew wants to advise future minors (and any student at the university) to enroll in courses that sound the most interesting to them, regardless of their field or industry application. He believes each student’s goal at UChicago should be to expose themselves to as many perspectives and fields as possible, within or outside of the QSA minor, and that the more interested students are in a course, the harder they would work, the more they would learn, and, most importantly, they would enjoy themselves the most in these courses.