Professor Voytas in Granite Geek

Assistant Professor of Quantitative Social Science (QSS) Elsa Voytas was recently interviewed by Granite Geek about QSS and the topics that our faculty study.  Dr. Voytas described how QSS provides a structured approach to understanding social science topics, including those that traditionally may have been considered "squishy" and potentially non-quantitative, such as race, incarceration, and mental health.

Dr. Voytas specializes in studying reconciliation efforts in post-violence settings, like the Greenwood Rising museum memorializing the Tulsa Race Massacre.  Among other things, Dr. Voytas and her colleagues have conducted focus group conversations with museum visitors to gauge attitudes toward racism and racial justice. Although their study of the Greenwood Rising museum did not identify a significant effect on attitudes about race and reparations from visiting the museum, it suggests that attendees might already have attitudes aligned with the museum's message. The study did, however, document impacts on emotions, including heightened levels of empathy after visiting. These insights have prompted museum organizers to explore alternative methods of outreach that may be able to extend the museum's impact.

In her Granite Geek interview, Dr. Voytas explains how, by prioritizing the study of important social and political phenomena, even that those that could be labeled as "squishy," the Program in Quantitative Social Science contributes to policymaking and the understanding of key issues facing society.

Professor Voytas taught QSS 30.18 and QSS 82 in Winter 2024 and will be teaching QSS 15 and QSS 82 in Fall 2024.