St. Olaf College | News

Oles in Action: Mykhe Nguyen ’19

“I am passionate about politics and the distribution of power, and I am fond of working with data,” says Mykhe Nguyen ’19.

At St. Olaf College, she’s found opportunities to combine her interests and skills.

A political science and mathematics major with a statistics concentration, Nguyen was part of a research team led by Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Chapp that used data to examine how gerrymandering impacts political discourse.

Along with two other student researchers, Nguyen spent months poring over U.S. House candidates’ campaign websites to gather information. They then used a machine learning algorithm to measure rhetoric extremity.

Their work was part of the college’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) program, which provides opportunities for St. Olaf students from all academic disciplines to gain an in-depth understanding of a particular subject by working closely with a St. Olaf faculty member in a research framework. About 100 students participate in the CURI program each summer. In 2018, 42 professors led more than 50 summer research projects.

Nguyen’s research team presented their findings at the Minnesota Political Science Association Conference in November.

“I think that with what St. Olaf has prepared me for, I can thrive anywhere I go,” she says.

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