Autumn Green was a 2023 Summer Research Intern with the Global Diversity Lab (GDL) at MIT’s Department of Political Science. This summer, she assisted graduate student Jasmine English on research related to racial attitudes and discourse in America and conducted an independent research project on civil rights litigation. She is now a junior at the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota.
Which projects have you been working on during the GDL summer research program?
Autumn: I’ve been working with Jasmine English on a project measuring the prevalence and nature of racial dialogue in America, and the impact of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement on racial attitudes and discourse. As part of this project, I am using interview data from the American Voices Project, which is a is a survey interview initiative from Stanford University and Princeton University, to analyze Americans’ responses to the BLM movement. For my independent research project, I am looking at litigation strategy across the history of civil rights law. I’m interested in the test case strategy used by Thurgood Marshall in his work at the NAACP, which involved sponsoring cases in lower courts to determine which legal arguments were the most effective, and how it might help us think about civil rights law from the 19th Century to the present.
What have you learned through the GDL summer research program? What have been the best parts of the experience?
Autumn: The GDL summer research program has helped me improve my quantitative research skills and gain experience working with data. The research work that I’ve done, especially reading people’s stories and learning about the ways in which they have personally effected change in the justice system, has also solidified my belief in the individual power for change. A highlight for me has been getting to work with the other GDL interns and learn about their research areas. Everyone has been supportive and a pleasure to work with, and I’ve gotten to learn about topics I had no prior knowledge in, like politics in Jordan, South Africa, and Ghana.
What are your plans going forward?
Autumn: I am applying to law school this year, and my hope is to become a lawyer and represent clients who are struggling with civil rights issues. Just as my research this summer has focused on highlighting people’s individual stories, as a lawyer I aspire to emphasize the individual dignities of the clients I work with.