Cancellation of 2020 JPSM Junior Fellows Program / 2021 Plans
To all 2020 JPSM Junior Fellows and our Sponsoring Organizations,
Sadly, several weeks of efforts to produce a coherent Junior Fellows program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a dead end, and we have made the difficult decision to cancel the program this year. Although many factors led to this unfortunate decision, two carried the most weight. First, universities in the DC area are all gradually cancelling access to summer housing (George Washington University already cancelled our contract). Second, the sponsoring organizations have strict work-from-home policies that we need to carefully observe. It is presently unclear when everybody will physically be allowed to come back to work, and when exploring work-from-home options with the organizations, it became clear that this is simply not an option for several employers. Many of this year's interns will need to access restricted data, and this would only be possible when actually working "on campus" at the different agencies.
I hate to be a bearer of such bad news, and feel terrible about this decision, given that we made commitments to each of you. But the pandemic has constricted resources in such a severe fashion that offering a strictly work-from-home program would not provide the fellows with the type of experience that we are aiming to provide. We wanted to announce this decision in enough time to possibly allow everyone to explore alternative options for internships / jobs this summer, whatever those might be.
For those of you who are not graduating this year, we would like to let you know that you will be guaranteed a spot in next year's program, assuming that society is somewhat back to normal at that point. We cannot guarantee that you will be assigned to the exact same position, as some sponsoring organizations may choose to no longer participate. But we hope to have many of the same partners moving forward!
Again, I wish all of you the best, and I would be happy to chat about this decision further. Please stay healthy, and hopefully we will be out of the woods soon as a nation.
Best Regards and Stay Safe,
As the United States moves closer to a full information society, there are enormous career opportunities for those who have the knowledge and skills to design, collect, and analyze large-scale databases. All that the country knows about its population growth and migration, its health, criminal victimization, traffic patterns, educational performance, labor and job markets, prices of daily goods, agricultural production, air and water quality, and income distributions is based on sample surveys and censuses, as well as administrative data systems.
The Junior Fellow Program is a unique internship experience that gives you a paid research assistantship, plus educational benefits that can expand the horizons of what you can do in your career.
Junior Fellows will be placed at various statistical and survey organizations. Junior Fellows will be expected to work 40 hours a week on tasks associated with the development, deployment, and analysis of surveys. Each fellowship is unique and tasks vary significantly from cognitive interviewing to data cleaning to interviewer training to imputation to data analysis. In order to ensure a rewarding experience for all, we attempt to match Junior Fellows with positions based on interest and experience.
In addition to working, Junior Fellows will attend weekly seminars covering a variety of aspects of survey methodology as well as visit other Federal Statistical Agencies to broaden their understanding of and exposure to the Federal Statistical System. Finally, you'll meet the graduate faculty of the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) and technical leaders in the industry who will answer questions you may have about advanced education and career paths.
Each Junior Fellow can expect to be paid, at a minimum, $6,000 over 10 weeks.
Housing is also provided as part of the fellowship.
The Summer Internship will start on Sunday, May 24th, 2020 and ends on Saturday, August 1st, 2020.
*Who Should Apply?
The JPSM Junior Fellowship is not for everyone. As you think about applying, answer the following questions:
- Are you interested in learning more about how data is collected?
- Are you good in math? Do you like to play with numbers as a way of learning about the world?
- Would you like to learn more about a career in survey methodology and large social and economic information systems?
- What is a Methodologist?
What are the eligibility requirements?
- 3.5/4.0 or higher GPA
- US Citizen
- Rising college junior or senior in the 2020/2021 school year
If you answered "yes" to these questions, then the internship may be for you!
Generally, this type of job may include questionnaire development, cognitive interviewing, or conducting focus groups.
The Junior Fellow's role will primarily be as a data analyst and test administrator to help launch new research using eye tracking software. The Junior Fellow will work on activities related to the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) redesign. She/he will assist in the conceptualization and the administration of an exploratory study that examines the audio/videotapes of cognitive interviews conducted with newly developed SASS questions. As time permits, the Junior Fellow will work on any or all steps of this study: conducting a literature review, developing a coding system, coding interviews, analyzing the codified data, and writing up the results of the study.
The Junior Fellow may support the analysis on the National Household Education Study (NHES) feasibility study data. Activities may include a literature review of collecting birthday/age followed by analysis of the two screener versions previously tested, or a similar project around the household rostering. The Junior Fellow may support the National Teacher and Prinicipal Survey (NTPS) where we will be preparing a pilot test of some different instrument designs. Activities may include assisting in literature review, development of instruments, and questionnaire development to measure teacher professional development, and helping out with some cognitive interview lab analysis.
The Junior Fellow will work with staff in the Questionnaire Design Section to design reimbursable surveys. She/he will assist with editing web surveys on iPADS; assist with creating standardized spreadsheet formats for distribution to print mail centers, data collection centers, and regional field offices; and help test Microsoft Word 13 on the Questionnaire Repository System.
Generally, this type of job may include sampling, or frame construction.
This fellowship will include work to improve frame coverage of dependent agencies and analysis of the Government Units Survey characteristics. The Junior Fellow's duties will include using SAS to analyze the Government Units Survey and using research skills to locate dependent agencies that will improve the frame of governments.
The Junior Fellow worked with sampling frame development at the U.S. Census Bureau. She/he helped manage and maintain the universe of government units. A complete sampling frame is essential for the success of the Census of the Governments.
Generally, this type of job may include aiding with project management, troubleshooting, or conducting interviewer training.
The Junior Fellow's role will be primarily as a data collector and data analyst.
The Junior Fellow worked on a survey management team. She/he tested a survey instrument and summarized Field Representative (FR) feedback. She/he also debugged a SAS program to analyze interview times from audit trail files.
The Junior Fellow worked with the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) Survey team at the U.S. Census Bureau. Much of what she/he did related to the field staff who were administering the survey--summarizing Field Representative (FR) feedback, going through FR notes in the instrument, and conducting interviews of FRs in hopes of improving retention. She/he also tested the survey instrument for bugs and glitches and participated in systems and verification tests.
Generally, this type of job may include sample release, production monitoring.
Generally, this type of job may include data cleaning, writing methodology reports or analysis.
We are currently working toward revamping our website and doucmentation to better assist data users. The Junior Fellow will be responsible for identifying unclear documentation and areas where publicly available data do not meet data users needs. He/she will assist in rewriting user manuals, creating new datasets/variables, and helping end users accomplish their goals/analyses.
Generally, this type of job may include weighting, imputing missing data, writing technical reports, conducting confidentiality and deidentification checks, or analyzing data.
The Junior Fellow would work on projects related to measuring GDP, the national income, and product accounts. He/she will learn how GDP is constructed and will assist with projects designed to improve the quality of the GDP statistics and the estimation process. He/she will also assist with preparing analysis materials for the 2014 National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) annual revision.
The Junior Fellow will assist with the imputation of Product Line Data for the Economic Census. This will include running programs using SAS or R and analyzing and summarizing diagnostic statistics.
The Junior Fellow will work with the Bureau of Justice Statistics's (BJS) Recidivism/Special Projects Unit, assisting staff with analytical work related to the BJS National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) project and its National Recidivism Program. The Junior Fellow will assist in a wide-range of activities including statistical analysis of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and/or criminal history data (using SPSS, SAS, or R) and writing topical and technical reports, which may be tailored to the Junior Fellow’s interests and training.
*Applications for Junior Fellows 2020 Closed.
Please have the following documents/information ready for the Online Application:
- Educational Information: Name and Grade of courses you have completed /are taking that are relevant to the JPSM Junior Fellows Program.
- Relevant Experience: All relevant research and/or work experience including your title and a brief description of your duties.
- Personal Statement: Your personal statement should be no more than 500 words and should include your name and word count at the top of the page, the personal statement has to address the following questions; Why would you like to be a Junior Fellow? What do you feel that you could contribute to a survey research organization? What would you like to gain from the experience?
- Reference Information: Your reference should be a professor you have worked with or taken a class from, we will send an email to your reference asking for a letter of recommendation, please make sure to provide the best email address to contact your reference.
*Kindly save the application URL to retrieve it at a later time.
You will be contacted around the beginning-Mid of February regarding your application status. If you have any questions, please contact us at jpsmjuniorfellows [at] umd [dot] edu
JPSM Junior Fellows Team
Congratulations to our 2019 Junior Fellows cohort!
- Carlo Duffy
- Alison Filbey
- Corinne Greenblatt
- Alicia Jen
- Ellen Krebs
- Alan Lu
- Taylor McFadden
- Siri Neerchal
- Nora O'Reilly
- Jenna Tingum
- James Walsh
- Rebecca Wang
- Medeleine Ward
- Jane Williford
- Logan Young
JPSM is sponsored by the Federal Interagency Consortium on Statistical Policy, i.e., the various Federal Statistical Agencies. Each year JPSM coordinates with the Consortium to identify talented undergraduates looking for a fellowship in survey methodology. JPSM reviews applications, accepts Junior Fellows, and places them in opportunities around the Federal Statistical System.
Applicants must be US citizens, currently enrolled in a undergraduate program, have at least a 3.5/4.0 GPA, and be a junior or senior in the 2019-2020 academic year. No exceptions will be made.
Survey methodologists work in all aspects of developing, fielding, and analyzing surveys. Some work is statistical and quantitative such as imputation and weighting while other work is survey and qualitative such as conducting cognitive interviews or behavior coding. Most Junior Fellows will receive experience on both sides of the field, but you should select the area that you would most like to focus on.
Unless you have an exceptionally strong background in applied statistics, we recommend you select the survey track. This will not preclude you from receiving some stats experience as part of the fellowship.
The life of a survey can generally be divided into 3 categories: pre-production, production, and post-production.
Pre-production includes tasks such as building a sample frame, drawing the sample, writing the questionnaire, conducting focus groups and cognitive testing, and building and testing the survey IT systems.
Production includes tasks such as interviewer validity checks, training interviewers, monitoring survey metrics, trouble-shooting system or human errors, and conducting preliminary analyses.
Post-production includes tasks such as developing and implementing cleaning rules, merging data-sets from multiple sources/modes, weighting, imputation, writing a methodology report, responding to data user questions, and data analysis to access data quality. Your rankings will be used to help determine your placement, but we cannot guarantee your first choice.
JPSM will begin accepting applications in December 2019 for the 2020 JPSM Junior Fellows program. Applications will only be accepted online. All applications must be complete (including letters of recommendation and transcripts) Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered.
We have found that matching Junior Fellows to a job based on the job description results in a more rewarding experience than matching by agency. The JPSM Junior Fellows program is focused on providing experience on the creation of surveys, data collection, and dissemination of results. The experience you will receive at a given agency should easily transfer across topic areas and still be useful to you in your future endeavors.
A team of survey methodology experts affiliated with JPSM review each complete application based on your letter of recommendation, overall GPA, job/research/internship experience, grades in classes related to survey methodology (e.g., math, statistics, psychology, sociology, economics, and business), and personal statement. We are looking for applicants that demonstrate a strong interest in collecting high quality survey data for the public good.
Acceptance emails will go out at the beginning of February. Individuals who are waitlisted will be notified of their final status by mid February.
You will receive an email from JPSM regarding your agency placement mid March.
Which agencies participate varies each year. The following agencies are asked each year if they have availability for one or more Junior Fellows:
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Census Bureau, Economic Research Service, Energy Information Administration (EIA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and National Science Foundation (NSF).
For 2019 the sponsored agencies were:
We choose candidates because they are already well-prepared to start the fellowship. However, there are a few things you can do to be even more prepared. First, read about the surveys that are conducted at your agency. Most have methodology reports posted on the agency’s website. Second, be familiar with a statistical software package. We recommend SAS, Stata, or R.
No. Survey methodology is multidisciplinary utilizing skills from statistics, psychology, sociology, and computer science. Junior Fellow tasks range from writing interviewer training manuals to conducting cognitive interviews to conducting data analysis to preparing data for public dissemination. Please see descriptions of previous fellowships here. We attempt to match statistics-focused individuals with statistical fellowships and survey-focused individuals with qualitative fellowships.
You will be paid a gross salary of approximately $6,000 for 10 weeks of work. Several agencies participate in the JPSM Junior Fellow program, and their exact rates vary. Regardless of which agency interns work at, all interns are paid a salary approximately equivalent to a Level 3, Step 4 within the Federal pay system's General Schedule.
All Junior Fellows are paid by their agency on a bi-weekly basis.
This varies by agency and depends on the University. However, you will most likely receive your first paycheck at the end of week 3 of your fellowship.
Yes. Junior Fellows are housed in apartment-style dorms at George Washington University (GW). Generally, 4 students are placed in each 2-bedroom suite.
No. If you have other housing in the area, you are welcome to live there. However, JPSM will not reimburse you for alternative housing arrangements. We encourage you to live at GW in order to get to know the other Junior Fellows.
Problems with housing (e.g., broken refrigerator) should be reported to GW via https://facilities.gwu.edu/.
Problems regarding roommate assignments should be handled by JPSMJuniorFellows [at] umd [dot] edu (JPSM).
Junior Fellows are expected to work normal business hours (generally, 9-5, but this may vary slightly by agency). You are also expected to attend weekly lectures on survey methodology at University of Maryland and attend weekly visits to other Federal Statistical Agencies.
No. The starting date will be included in the acceptance packet.
We understand that you may have an event planned where you need a day or two off over the course of the fellowship. Please notify JPSM and your supervisor as soon as possible of these events. However, long-term absences will not be tolerated; we want to make sure you maximize your experience and time.
We expect Junior Fellows to work 40 hours/week. This includes the time you spend at your agency in addition to the time spent attending seminars and visiting other agencies.
No. Junior Fellows are not paid for overtime.
You are responsible for all food, transportation, and extracurricular activities not organized by JPSM. The amount that Junior Fellows spend over the summer varies widely. If you’re looking to stick to a budget, there are many free activities over the summer in DC.
No. You are responsible for getting yourself to/from DC.
We strongly encourage you to leave your car at home. You will be housed downtown where parking is expensive and difficult to find, and rush hour traffic is terrible. Public transit is accessible near your housing and will get you to anywhere in the metro area.
All questions should be directed to jpsmjuniorfellows [at] umd [dot] edu.