Team Lead: Ryan Barr
THE Security and Political economy LAB
What are "Pipeline Partners"?
The SPEC Lab partners with private sector partners to help our students transition successfully into careers that apply their research expertise. Our pipeline partners support the lab financially, offer career consulting, advice, and mentorship to our students, and hire our students as summer interns and full-time employees. In exchange, the lab connects our partners to a steady stream of talented, diverse applicants with the technical skills and professionalization needed to contribute from day one. We are always looking to build new partnerships, so please don't hesitate to contact us.
Nova Infrastructure is an infrastructure investment fund based out of New York. Co-founder Allison Kingsley is an affiliated scholar in the SPEC Lab and provides valuable mentoring and career guidance to our students. SPEC also collaborates with NOVA on research related to political risk and the political economy of infrastructure finance. NOVA Infrastructure, LLC invests in infrastructure in the energy, transportation, environmental services, and other sectors in North America. NOVA focuses on differentiated, value-added strategies in the highly attractive, middle-market infrastructure segment. NOVA offers a unique strategic focus; detailed, bottom-up investing; significant experience and expertise; and market connectivity and deal flow.
Allison Kingsley - Our SPEC Affiliated Scholar
Senior investment professional and award-winning political economist with a 20-year commitment to global infrastructure investing. | Cofounded NOVA Infrastructure. | Worked on 200+ transactions in 100 countries across all infrastructure sectors and within multiple asset classes. | Published widely on global infrastructure risk in top-tier academic journals and high-profile media, with a track record of teaching excellence.
Talus Analytics: Translating Complex Data into Actionable Results
Talus Analytics is a cutting-edge data science firm and a committed Pipeline Partner, supporting the SPEC Lab financially, and committing to interview SPEC applicants each year for summer internships and full-time post-graduation positions. Talus’s CEO, Ellie Graeden, conducts regular informational interviews with Lab members, helping them think through their career options.
Talus Analytics is a small, woman-owned business that specializes in translating complex data into actionable information. Led by PhD-level scientists and grounded by experience in real-time operations support, the Talus team has extensive experience coordinating data sharing and facilitating effective, data-driven decision making. Building on a foundation of success in supporting emergency management, biosecurity, and global health, Talus are rapidly translating their methods to exciting new areas to make data useful for a diverse set of clients. Talus's expertise includes working across federal agencies and internationally to determine how data, data analysis, and computational modeling can be used to support informed decision making across a wide range of mission areas.
The SPEC Lab has collaborated with two different groups of social scientists at Facebook. In these projects, Lab students worked on research collaboratively with researchers at Facebook and present research findings via videoconference to Facebook teams around the world. Several of our counterparts at Facebook, including Hidemi Nagao-Peck and Jess Bodford traveled to Los Angeles to meet with students, discuss careers, and provide in-person guidance on our research.
Facebook Research Project
Principal Investigators: Professor Benjamin Graham
Team Lead: Taylor Dufour
What is a social science research lab doing that could possibly relate to a corporation as prominent as Facebook? Facebook sought out a partnership with SPEC because they knew that a social science lab could provide them with a new, diverse approach to the issues they wanted to investigate.
The Facebook team worked to establish a lasting partnership with Facebook by helping to conduct user experience (UX) research. UX research is the systematic investigation of users and their preferences in order to add context and insight into the process of designing the user experience. As such, social science research has become imperative to the success of Facebook's projects and the overall platform. The Facebook team at the SPEC Lab worked toward providing the academic research and investigating questions that Facebook had about its own platform. The SPEC Lab through our research gave actionable suggestions to improve Facebook's user experience.