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Doctoral candidate Katie Gonser selected for UW data incubator research project

February 22, 2022

Katie Gonser

Katie Gonser

This winter quarter Katie Gonser, a Jackson School doctoral candidate in international studies, will be expanding her skills and research impact as one of five students across the University of Washington to be selected as a participant for the eScience Institute Incubator Program.

With help from Jose Hernandez, a UW alum and data scientist at the eScience Institute, Gonser will build a dashboard of data visuals to more readily view comparisons and help with initial data exploration on COVID-19 and Twitter. For Gonser, this is all part of her current position as a research assistant on a National Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID grant being led by Jackson School faculty Sara Curran (PI) and Jessica Beyer, in partnership with Louisiana State University environmental sciences and engineering faculty, for collaborative research on COVID-19 dis/misinformation disparities.

“The NSF work has been an invaluable opportunity to explore data science methods in a highly topical field while incorporating a social science perspective,” she said. “Data science is an entirely new field for me, but participating in the eScience Incubator Program has improved my understanding of the technical side of this project by giving me hands-on experience with data science tools.”

Gonser also has served as Senior Cybersecurity Fellow and Program Manager for the School’s International Policy Institute Global Research Group. In summer 2021, for example, she was an integral lead on a project on digital diplomacy for Microsoft that focused on a checklist for assessing cybersecurity policy proposals with 17 key cybersecurity policy best practices. During summer 2020, she helped process data for a project as part of a Global Research Group for the Global Disinformation Index.

“The NSF and eScience incubator project have enabled me to communicate more effectively with the data scientists on our larger, interdisciplinary research team, improving the quality of our collaboration and enabling me to develop a new skillset that puts me in good standing for the job market after graduation,” she said.

Gonser holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and a master’s degree in Social Work and Human Rights from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on humanitarianism and human rights in North Korea.