Build your skills and open your mind in the IPS research lab.
Undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members in the Institute for Politics and Strategy research lab apply scientific reasoning and findings to problems in the political sphere. Carnegie Mellon University’s comparative advantage in the social sciences rests in its ability to investigate issues, be they functional or specific to a country or region, through interdisciplinary research that combines fields such as social science and engineering. Contributing to this tradition, the research lab fosters research, teaching, and policy analysis in diverse regions of the world through its flagship program, Grand Strategy, as well as its Regions Initiative.
Over the past several years, research associates have worked in collaboration with managing senior research associates to conduct research on a variety of subjects. Millie Zhang was one of them.
After Zhang's first class with Dr. Geoffrey McGovern, she asked him about research opportunities. She found plenty.
Zhang performed research with Dr. John Chin, who is compiling a database of coups. She also served as a guest editor of the Carnegie Mellon University Journal of Politics and Strategy, known at the time as the Center for International Relations and Politics (CIRP) Journal. Zhang, a member of the Accelerated Master's Program in International Relations and Politics, later served as a Director's Fellow in the IPS research lab.
"What kind of research I enjoy the most is definitely case study work, looking at different stories for different countries and different actors and seeing how they relate to one another," Zhang said. "For example, with the coups d'etat, seeing how the general picture of coups d'etat differ in the Asian region and the Middle East."
Zhang likes the idea of working for a think tank so she can continue to conduct research, but government work also appeals to her; she interned for the House Ways and Means Committee in the summer of 2019. Working in cybersecurity at a technology firm also interests her. Whichever way she goes, her research will have helped her get there.
“This is something that I always say to freshmen or any students who are interested in research in IPS, is, there are just so many opportunities," she said. "The fact that it’s so easily accessible for students from any year to get research experience and learn something valuable through the department, it’s a good experience for students. It’s definitely given me a lot to be able to add to my own skills.”