Catt Center interns help with research, outreach programs

Two undergraduate students and one graduate assistant have been hired this summer to assist with research projects at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics as well as with two new partnerships between the center and Iowa organizations.

Megan DeDoncker, a senior in political science and women’s studies, is analyzing data from the ReferenceUSA database to estimate the percentage of women in leadership positions in Iowa’s public and private profit and non-profit organizations. Her internship is funded by the Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference and NEXUS Executive Women’s Alliance and directed by faculty in the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the Catt Center.

Kathryn Leidahl – a sophomore in management, international business, political science and pre-law – started on July 1 as the new Campus Election Engagement Project intern. She will work through November to coordinate campus election engagement efforts at colleges and universities statewide. Her internship is funded by the CEEP through a grant to the Iowa Campus Compact.

Alissa Stoehr, a doctoral candidate in higher education with certificates in social justice and community college teaching, has been working on a variety of projects at the Catt Center this summer. She is assisting scholars-in-residence Valerie Hennings and Clint Stephens with research, the center’s Gender Balance Project, and the community leadership and public service certificate program. She also has been helping keep the center’s website updated as well as researching Sweden for the new and upcoming global leadership study abroad program.

“Megan and Alissa have been doing some great research,” Hennings said. “We are very excited about Kathryn’s new internship and we are confident she will be successful in her work.”

DeDoncker’s summer research results eventually will be used to develop a survey designed to obtain information from a broad sample of profit and non-profit business organizations about the policies and practices that impact women in leadership positions. In the 2014-2015 academic year, she will continue her internship funded by the IWLC and NEXUS as well as work on center projects through an internship supported by Sharon and Richard Rodine. As the Alice and Sharon Rodine intern, DeDoncker will conduct research and write reports for the center’s Women in Iowa Politics database.

After graduation, DeDoncker hopes to be accepted into a master’s degree program in either political science or women’s studies and eventually work on a political campaign. She also plans to work for a women’s non-profit organization after graduation and pursue a career in women and politics.

Leidahl’s internship is focused on getting students at colleges and universities throughout Iowa registered to vote, providing resources so that they can be educated and informed voters, and encouraging them to cast ballots in the Nov. 4 election. She will work out of the Catt Center while another student hired on the CEEP grant will work out of the John C. Culver Public Policy Center at Simpson College.

In addition to her CEEP internship, Leidahl has been active at Iowa State as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the department of political science, special events co-chair for Freshman Council, and as a Panhellenic senator and a member of the University Affairs Committee in the Government of the Student Body. She was vice president of Helser Residential Hall, is involved in Dance Marathon and was a Panhellenic delegate for Kappa Delta sorority.

Stoehr, who plans to graduate in May 2015, hopes to work in student affairs either at Iowa State or in Massachusetts to be closer to her nieces and nephews.