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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

NEW - MGGG’s Voting Rights Data Institute Fellow

Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group

  MGGG (the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group) is a working group founded by mathematicians and computer scientists to identify and combat gerrymandering.  The Voting Rights Data Institute is a 6-week summer program run by MGGG for students from a range of backgrounds to do wide-ranging research and data preparation in advance of Census 2020 to enable the best and most robust data-driven responses from the research community.  Tisch Summer Fellows will start with full participation in the VRDI program, then conduct 4 weeks of continued work to advance the program’s goals.

Fellowship Description

Goals of the program overall include:

  • Use census data and GIS shapefiles to compile data-rich “dual graphs” for all 50 states at the census block and VTD (voting tabulation district) levels
  • Set up Sage worksheets and repositories for sharing graphs and other information
  • Compile political outcome data from as many contests as possible
  • Set up regressions to model political preference in uncontested races
  • Research the redistricting laws and practices of all 50 states to enable algorithm design that best encodes the rules
  • Implement Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms to create ensembles of redistricting plans for legislative and/or congressional districts in all 50 states, based on 2010 Census data

Typical Hours

9am-5pm

Work Environment

For the first 6 weeks, the work will take place in a group setting, with undergrads working independently and in groups, supervised by graduate students and faculty. Groups will rotate through collaborative workspace at Tufts, MIT, and Harvard. 

For the final 4 weeks, work will take place at Tufts.

This program will provide opportunities to meet mathematicians, computer scientists, political scientists, law professionals, and civil rights organizers from within and outside Tufts.

Specific Skills Required

There is no single skill-set required, but a student must have background in at least one and preferably two of the following areas:

  • Programming, especially in python
  • GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
  • Statistical analysis of datasets/network science
  • Social science research, including demography, political science, law, racial polarization
  • Algorithm design and analysis, especially computational geometry
  • MCMC or other probabilistic sampling methods

Specific Experience Required

Preference for majors include STS, math, CS, political science, American studies, economics, but any major will be considered.

Skills and Experience the Fellow Will Gain

1. Basic skills with python, Sage, and GIS

2. Data science applied to current social and political problems

3. Mathematical modeling for study of demographics and politics

4.  There should be ample opportunities to publish pieces of the project and to present at conferences. Students will be encouraged (but not required) to stay involved with MGGG up to and after the 2020 Census. 

Supervisor

Moon Duchin :  MGGG is run by Moon Duchin, a tenured faculty member at Tufts and a Tisch Senior Fellow.  She will personally oversee the Voting Rights Data Institute and any Tisch Summer Fellows assigned to it.

TSF: Greater Boston Application

The application period for this Tisch Summer Fellowship has closed. To find the Fellowships that are new or open for a second round of applications due February 14th, visit our domestic TSF page here.