SOPA Capstone

The Social Policy Analysis (SOPA) Capstone is a two-semester course typically taken by SOPA majors in the senior year. The course provides students with hands-on experience in conducting research on social policy design, evaluation, and implementation and serves as the culminating experience within the SOPA major. Students enroll in fall (SOPA 400) and spring (SOPA 401) semester courses taught by SOPA faculty. Within those courses, students work in teams of 4-5 on an academic year-long project with a community partner organization and a project-specific faculty advisor.

If you are a potential host interested in partnering with the SOPA program, please reach to Libby Vann (

Current Projects

  • Baylor Teen Health Clinics: HISD student clinic usage and health outcomes
    • Partner: Allyssa Abacan, Ph.D., Senior Business Strategy and Development Associate, Baylor Teen Health Clinics
    • Research Advisor: Emily Wager, Postdoctoral Fellow, Political Science, Rice University
  • Harris County, Precinct 1: Addressing and mitigating youth mental health issues
    • Partners: Will Landon, PhD, Senior Advisor for Data Analytics - Natalie Minas, MSW, policy advisor, Harris County, Precinct 1
    • Research advisor: Steven Perry, Lecturer in Data Visualization, Program in Writing & Communication, Rice University
  • Harris County Public Health, Built Environment Unit: Impact Assessment of a Safe Routes
    to Schools Program (SRTS)
    • Partner: Aimee Schultze, MPH, CHES, Community Health and Design Coordinator, Harris County Public Health, Built Environment Unit
    • Research advisor: Robert Stein, Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science, Rice University
  • Houston Community Land Trust: Assessing affordable housing programs in Houston
    • Partner: Ashley Allen, Ph.D, Executive Director, Houston Community Land Trust
    • Research advisor: Anna Rhodes, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Rice University
  • Houston Food Bank: Food Security among grandparents raising grandchildren
    • Partner: Katherine Byers, Government Relations Officer, Houston Food Bank
    • Research advisor: Megan McSpedon, PhD student, Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Neuhaus Education Center: Adult learners’ social-emotional learning and workforce
    • Partner: Karol Ann Moore, PhD, Director of Research Associate Vice President of Curriculum and Instructional Design, Neuhaus Education Center
    • Research advisor: Ilana Gerson, Professor of Anthropology, Rice University
  • Texas Center for Justice and Equity
    • Partner: Jay Jenkins, J.D., Harris County Project Attorney, Texas Center for Justice and Equity
    • Research advisor: Alex Pugh, Lecturer, Social Policy Analysis, Rice University,