Alumni Spotlight: November 2018 – Dr. Chelsie Bright

Senior Experience Management Scientists for Qualtrics.

Department of Political Science:

What is your area of study?

I completed my masters and then PhD in political science with a focus on quantitative research and policy analysis. The mentorship and instruction I received in the Political Science Department at KU was exceptional. Both of my chairs, Dr. Elaine Sharp and Dr. Don Haider-Markel, invested heavily in my success and were very generous with their time. The department worked with me to take advantage of summer courses, research internships, and fellowships in order to complete both of my degrees in four years instead of the usual 5-7.

What is your current career or position title?

In March, I joined Qualtrics as a Senior Experience Management Scientist. I was first introduced to Qualtrics in graduate school and used the platform in my research as a graduate student and later as a professor. When I went to work for the California Courts, supervising a team of researchers and data analysts, I learned about the Qualtrics’ solution for government.

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What does your day to day work life look like?

As much as I loved my time in graduate school, I ultimately chose to pursue a career outside of academia. In my current position, I consult with federal, state, and local governments on the design of engagement and data collection programs. This encompasses survey and program design, data analysis and statistical modeling, executive presentations, action planning and change management. My goal is to make it easy for residents to provide feedback to their government and empower government officials with real-time data they can use to inform policy decisions.

There is a huge need for individuals with research skills in government and public policy. If we are going to solve some of today’s most pressing social and political issues, we need to expand research from the theoretical realm into the applied.

What is your favorite aspect of your job/career?

I get to work with some of the most innovative cities, counties and government agencies across the country. It is an incredible time to be working in the civic technology space. Our democracy depends on citizens being engaged with their government and technology is helping to break down barriers to engagement in incredible ways!

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What advice do you have for current graduate students?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Graduate school is a unique time in life when there are few limits on learning and exploring. Teach, research, consult, and leverage the access you have to some of the greatest minds in your field. The specific experiences and skills you acquire in graduate school will be invaluable to you in your future career. Finally, finish your degree! Getting my PhD was one of the best career decisions I made. It has opened up a number of opportunities and afforded me a level of credibility that would have otherwise taken years to acquire.

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