The California Civic Engagement Project, along with its founder and director Mindy Romero, have joined the USC Price School of Public Policy in Sacramento. The focus of the research center is to provide data and analysis to inform public dialogue about representative governance.
Romero founded the project in late 2010 at the University of California, Davis, while pursuing her PhD in sociology, because she was frustrated by the lack of publicly available and accessible voting data.
“I founded the center as a way to provide data and analysis, and inform efforts around improving participation,” Romero said. “We’re a nonpartisan institute that does a lot of work with media, policymakers, elected officials and advocacy groups. I like to say we’re a research and outreach initiative. We try to disseminate our work as widely as possible and get it in the hands of people who will use it.”
In bringing the center to USC Price, she also will be joining the USC faculty as a research assistant professor.
“Everyone at USC Price in Sacramento is thrilled that Professor Mindy Romero is joining us,” said Professor Lois Takahashi, who directs the USC Price School in Sacramento. “Her research is important, and she is fully engaged with state and national policymakers and influencers. She will bring energy and vitality to the center, benefiting our students, faculty and staff.”
Closing civic participation gaps
By joining USC Price, Romero expects to expand the center’s capacity, research and agenda.
“This is a wonderful partnership with USC — and with that support, we’ll be able to do more and serve more with our work,” Romero said. “I’m excited about collaborating with USC and Price faculty.”
The California Civic Engagement Project research is regularly presented at the State Capitol, used in bills and mentioned by national media. Romero is looking to make an immediate impact under the USC Price banner by presenting research on the strength of the Latino vote, a congressional district analysis on where Latinos can have the greatest influence in the November elections, in front of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C., the week of July 8.
Our work pays particular attention to underrepresented groups.
“Our work pays particular attention to underrepresented groups,” Romero said. “We hope to increase participation for everyone in general, but we want to close those participation gaps in race, ethnicity and age.”
Opening doors for student involvement
The project will provide USC undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to take part in its internship program, where they can view and contribute to research designed to make a policy impact.
“Students who work with us get a really unique experience in that they come on board and get to see what I call the life cycle of applied research,” Romero said. “In inspiring students to take the path of a researcher and believe in data-driven policy, it’s important that they get to see it in action.”
The project is planning a launch event for Aug. 22 at USC Price in Sacramento, at which time Romero will discuss future plans for the center.
“USC and the Price School already have a number of really impressive, very impactful research centers,” Romero said. “I’m honored to be part of that group. Everybody is doing something really amazing at Price, and I’m excited to help contribute to the legacy Price is creating.”