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Charlotte Watson
Research Assistant (Australia)

Who are you and where are you from?

I completed a Bachelor of Laws with Honours at Bond University in December 2020 and am currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. I live in Brisbane, Australia.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I work on coding, cleaning and verifying the policy database for Australia, specifically the state of Victoria. This has been an interesting project because Victoria has had the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 in Australia and accordingly the most extensive policy responses, such as the extended lockdown of Melbourne in 2020. I am currently working on coding national-level policies including the regulation of government services and introduction of new task forces and governance models. I am also working on a future research submission to summarize the Australian response to COVID-19 and the insights for international jurisdictions.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined CoronaNet in October 2020 whilst I was completing my Honours research project. I was interested in the opportunity to work in a voluntary context with academics and students from all over the world and create accessible and quality data to influence decision-making. I have really enjoyed applying my interest and knowledge of Australian policy and laws to the dataset.

What are your research interests?

I am very interested in the intersection between the public health sector and government decision-making. My Honours research project investigated the unprecedented and expansive use of public health emergency power by Australian governments in response to the COVID- 19 pandemic. The paper also reviewed the role of national leadership during COVID-19 and the reform of Australian federal relations through the creation of the National Cabinet. I have previously conducted policy research into the areas of end-of-life care and voluntary assisted dying.
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Maryam AlHammadi
Regional Manager (Middle East)
Research Assistant (United Arab Emirates)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a graduate in Political Science from New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). I am located in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I manage Team Middle East, which consists of the best Research Assistants (RAs) anyone could ever work with! Essentially, I oversee data input as well as train and work with new RAs to make sure everyone is up-to-date. I am also an RA for the United Arab Emirates. In this role, I keep up with news relating to COVID-19 policy and enter these updates in the CoronaNet dataset via Qualtrics.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I found out about CoronaNet in mid-April 2020 and joined in May 2020. I heard about it via my alma mater, given that two of the Principal Investigators are professors at NYUAD. I wanted to get my hands on some research experience and contribute to helping understand the pandemic. The policy-oriented nature of the project aligns with my intent to pursue a career in policy or international affairs. I also wanted to expand my network in the field.

What are your research interests?

I am currently interested in public policy, global public health, diplomacy and international affairs. I believe the context of the pandemic can serve as a lens through which trends in diplomacy can be analyzed. I also have an interest in international organizations, particularly in terms of sustainability policy and climate change policy. I wish to pursue my graduate studies in international relations, as well as to merge my understanding of policy in the contexts of the pandemic and climate change to study the international system.
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Elif Çalışkan
Research Assistant (Ireland)
Regional Manager (Central Africa)
Senior Research Assistant Manager

Who are you and where are you from?

I am currently a third year undergraduate Psychology student from Izmir in Turkey.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

One of my responsibilities at CoronaNet is researching and coding Ireland's COVID-19 policies. I am also responsible for supporting and mentoring Research Assistants (RAs), particularly those who are assigned to countries in the Central Africa region. I check that the policies coded by RAs are complete and up to date as well as monitor the wellbeing of RAs. When have extra time, I also assist the Data Validation team and perform Prefect duties.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined the CoronaNet at the beginning of June 2020. I realized that I would not be able to do anything for my self-improvement during the 2020 summer because of the pandemic. Due to my longstanding interest in academic research, I thought that I could be part of something important during COVID-19 by joining CoronaNet. I believe that gathering government responses is significant to addressing the effects of the pandemic.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in several psychological variables. I had a chance to conduct research about social media addiction with my fellows as a part of a research methods course in the last academic year and I am still interested in literature on this topic. I would also love to analyze variables such as intolerance of uncertainty, health cognitions as well as health locus of control to predict COVID-19 related psychological distress.
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Vanessa Cheng
Research Assistant (New Zealand)

Who are you and where are you from?

I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2020. I am from Chicago, but I recently moved to Metro Detroit where I currently work as a Legal Assistant for a business immigration law firm.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Research Assistant (RA), I track and code New Zealand policy responses to COVID-19. Beyond my primary role, I have had the opportunity to work on policy completeness checks and data validation. My favourite aspect of CoronaNet is the collaborative nature of the project, such as communicating to Regional Managers on my progress, attending weekly meetings, and working with other RAs for New Zealand. The contributors to CoronaNet are very resourceful as we definitely go above and beyond to help each other out.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined CoronaNet around the same time I graduated in May 2020. There was a lot of uncertainty at the time as we all, including myself, were trying to understand what was going on in the world. Joining CoronaNet was my way to proactively seek understanding. The project has allowed me to hone my academic research skills and best practices for data collection and data interpretation. I enjoy how I can also explore technical skills such as R, survey design, and data management through the CoronaNet Learning Platform.

What are your research interests?

I am very interested in studying the movement of people. The CoronaNet dataset collects information that can be used to explore this particular topic. As a response to the pandemic, many countries enforced restrictions on the movement of people. Whether that movement be through interstate or transnational boarders, it brings up many interesting questions on how such restrictions affect a country’s success in deterring the threat of COVID-19 as well as a country’s economic wellbeing.
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Ezgi Caki
Co-regional Manager (Eastern Europe and Western Asia)
Research Assistant (Turkey and Thuringia)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am studying a Master of Science in Politics and Technology at Hochschule für Politik, Technical University of Munich. I am from Turkey.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Research Assistant (RA), I code policies for Thuringia, a state of Germany, and Turkey. I feel lucky to be covering policy responses of Turkey, my home country, as well as Germany, where I live. As a Regional Manager, I help new RAs during their onboarding process. I also organize weekly meetings, support RAs and answer their questions. Furthermore, I am responsible for checking the accuracy of coded policies in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined in June 2020 and started to take more responsibilities from November 2020. In the first instance, I wanted to learn more about government responses to the pandemic worldwide. I also wanted to explore whether policymakers take into account the needs of citizens or not. Now, the human dimensions of all containment measures drive my curiosity. I enjoy researching and understanding government responses.

What are your research interests?

My research interests are broad. I have a political economy background, and I am particularly interested in the transition of countries from democracy to autocracy as well as democratic backsliding worldwide. During my time at CoronaNet, I want to learn more about the gendered impact of the pandemic. I think it is essential to incorporate the gender dimension into containment measures because crises usually affect men and women differently.
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Dovile Jankunaite
Research Assistant (Austria)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am an International Health Management graduate from Lithuania. I currently live and work in the Austrian Alps.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

Since I joined CoronaNet, I have been responsible for researching and coding Austrian government responses to the COVID-19 crisis. During this time, I also have supported and recruited new Research Assistants (RAs) joining the project, as well as mediated between them and Regional Managers regarding any problems.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined CoronaNet project at the end of April 2020. Initially, my aim was to get some practical experience in the epidemiology and health policy research fields. But later on, I discovered even more. CoronaNet was a perfect place where I could build the skills that I already had, as well as discover other abilities, broaden my network and simply have fun while being part of a dedicated community.

What are your research interests?

My work has largely been focused on research activities such as data collection, market evaluation and risk assessment. Nevertheless, I am also passionate about social entrepreneurship, digital health and its implications in the mental health area. I feel that the skills I developed while being part of the CoronaNet not only landed me a dream job in a clinical research field, but also helped me to discover new research interests such as political science and health policy research.
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Nathan Ruhde
Co-Regional Manager (South America)
Research Assistant (Honduras and formerly Qatar)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am currently a student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States. I am originally from Aurora in Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I have had many tasks at CoronaNet. As a Research Assistant (RA), I have helped document national-level policies for both Qatar and Honduras using Qualtrics. As a Regional Manager, I support my fellow RAs by checking in on them and their progress. I also help run meetings to discuss common struggles among RAs working on countries in the region. Finally, I assist onboarding RAs to ensure they feel heard, supported and are ready to document future policies.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I have been working for CoronaNet since the beginning of May 2020. I joined because I saw an inspiring challenge in CoronaNet that aligned with my own goals. I am passionate about helping others connect knowledge to issues we care about. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to track what’s going on during this unique and difficult time and use that effort to empower researchers as they gain better insight to tackle future public health problems.

What are your research interests?

My research interests are somewhat varied. I am ultimately most interested in two questions: are public health systems, measures, and policies having the impact they intend to have on individuals; and how can changes/interventions better tailor themselves to suit the wellbeing of those individuals moving forward? I have already addressed this to some extent with a Country Report I co-wrote in November 2020 about the COVID-19 response in Qatar. I am also currently working on multiple other projects that speak to these questions.
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Ines Böhret
Senior Research Assistant Manager
Research Assistant (Kiribati)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a MSc Global Health graduate, currently writing the thesis for my second Master in Values-based Management. I live with my small family in Germany.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

Since I joined CoronaNet I have been responsible for coding COVID-19 policies for Kiribati, a state with 32 atolls in the Pacific. When I had the time, I was also supporting the validation team and coding subnational policies for the Germany team. I think my favourite role is being a Senior Research Assistant Manager. I support new Research Assistants (RAs) during their onboarding, ensure the wellbeing of contributors to the project, and have a lot of fun designing, promoting, and participating in our weekly challenges.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined CoronaNet at the beginning of April 2020. Initially, I was primarily interested in gaining some experience in quantitative research and coding. I convinced my partner to join too and we had some fun nights researching and coding policies while dreaming about visiting the countries we coded for. Now, my fascination for running such a big project in an engaging and appreciative way, doing something meaningful, and being part of this awesome community are strong motives to stay.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in health equity and the social determinants of health by focusing on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. For example, I am currently writing a paper with a fellow RA that compares the COVID-19 policies and their effects on women’s rights in birth in Germany and the US using CoronaNet data. I love to analyze responses to public health emergencies by applying a human rights lens and I recently wrote a paper on the need to incorporate a broad understanding of culture.
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Tasia Wagner
Senior Research Assistant Manager
Research Assistant (Finland)

Who are you and where are you from?

I’m an analyst living near Hanau, Germany, with my French bulldog, Angus, my husband, and my 91-year-old Opa. I grew up on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

My responsibilities at CoronaNet are two-fold. As a Research Assistant, I code the COVID-19 policies of Finland. In my role as a Senior Research Assistant Manager, I serve as the go-to person for Research Assistants (RAs) for questions and concerns and onboard new RAs. With a project as large as ours, I strive to build the project’s community and to keep RAs engaged and supported.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I have been with CoronaNet since the end of March 2020, which was around the time of the first lockdown in Germany. I recognized the imminent need for accurate data on government policies in response to the pandemic to assuage the widespread fear. This project gave me the opportunity to use my skills to help elucidate the global response.

What are your research interests?

I have a wide array of research interests, but would place myself in the international security niche. During university, much of my research focused on non-state armed groups and suicide bombing. Since then, I have largely focused on conflict, military affairs, and hybrid warfare.
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Saif Khan
Project Manager
Research Assistant

Who are you and where are you from?

I am studying a Master of Science in Politics and Technology at Hochschule für Politik, Technical University of Munich. I am from Australia.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

My role involves overseeing Regional and Country Managers, evaluating applications of new candidates, conducting performance reviews, reviewing applicants for promotions, managing interns, advertising vacancies, posting adverts in job portals, organising meetings, managing emails, allocating countries, reviewing Slack activity as well as facilitating communication between Country/Regional Managers, Senior Research Assistants, volunteers and project initiators. I generally make sure that all the cogs in the project are turning by ensuring sufficient resources are allocated. I am having a wonderful time juggling these varied responsibilities, which makes each day unique and rewarding.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined CoronaNet in early April 2020. I wanted to work in the fields of public policy, international relations and research. CoronaNet combined all three fields into a single project. It has allowed me to do my part in collecting COVID-19 government policy data for understanding broad socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, while making new international friends in the process. It is great to see how the project is progressing and its positive impacts globally.

What are your research interests?

I just completed a research note, analysing the impacts of border restrictions on seasonal workers in the agriculture sector. I especially focused on the United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore and Chile. I intend to expand this research to include other countries and additional economic sectors. Outside CoronaNet, I research the impacts of populism on democratic political systems, public policy and international relations. I attempt to synthesize the technical aspects of policy making and international relations with demands of the public.
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Viggo Kalandaridis
Research Assistant (Sweden)

Who are you and where are you from?

I’m a Management Consultant and former Technical University of Munich (TUM) Master student from Vallda, Sweden who’s surviving COVID-19 restrictions by reading and jogging.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I am currently coding policies for Sweden and working on validating existing policies for the country. I was previously part of the “Analyzing the Coronavirus Pandemic in Real Time” at the TUM. The course's purpose was to address a variety of analytically interesting and policy relevant questions about the drivers and consequences of the public policies adopted all across the globe in response to the pandemic and produce policy papers with recommendations for future policies. Although I put aside this coursework last summer to focus on my Master thesis, in the future I look forward to picking up the progress I made there to finish the paper and hopefully publish it.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined in May 2020, when I was in lockdown in Munich, Germany. As many others probably recognize, I felt powerless and uncertain about the future when the pandemic hit. I wanted to do something about both my personal situation and the spread of the virus. Joining CoronaNet was the way for me to do that. It was, and still is, an opportunity to provide a small effort to hinder the spread of the virus and gain valuable experiences while doing it.

What are your research interests?

Right now, I’m focused on population density and what policy implications it has for governments from a COVID-19 perspective. In the half-finished paper I mentioned, together with fellow Research Assistants Julia Amtmann and Prabha Neupane, I am investigating whether there is a connection between population density with lockdown, curfew, mass gathering and social distancing restriction policies introduced by governments in response to COVID-19. While so far we have only seen preliminary results, they have been intriguing. I am looking forward to exploring the topic further with Julia and Prabha in the future.
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Naela Elmore
Regional Manager (North Africa)
Research Assistant (Tunisia)
Working Paper Series Co-coordinator
Prefect (Hufflepuff)

Who are you and where are you from?

I was born and raised in Cairo in Egypt. However, I am currently finishing up my Masters in Political Science in the United States.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Regional Manager, I provide oversight and support for the North African region’s Research Assistants (RAs) as well as check for completeness and/or accuracy of coded policies. In my role as a Prefect, I help integrate and onboard new RAs into Hufflepuff House as well as manage communication and provide support. As an RA, I code national level policies for Tunisia. More recently, I helped initiate and coordinate the CoronaNet Working Paper Series. This is an initiative that I am particularly proud of as it will help RAs engage with academic writing and the CoronaNet Research Project’s data.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I have been with the project since late May 2020. I joined because I wanted firsthand experience with academic research. My professional goal is to be involved academia. CoronaNet has not only helped cement that aim, but it also helped me acquire stronger research skills that I will be able apply to future academic opportunities.

What are your research interests?

My research interests are democratic transitioning and development as well as comparative politics of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). I am particularly fascinated with colonialism and its effect on the contemporary MENA region.
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Fadhilah Fitri Primandari
Research Assistant (Indonesia)
Senior Research Assistant Manager
Co-regional Manager (Southeast Asia)
Working Paper Series Co-coordinator
Website Team Member

Who are you and where are you from?

I’m a Political Science graduate from Universitas Indonesia hoping to further my studies soon.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I’m responsible for several things at CoronaNet. My duty initially entailed coding COVID-19 policies for Indonesia, but as time went by, I took on more duties. Specifically, I ensure the wellbeing of project members, onboard new Research Assistants (RAs) to the Southeast Asia coding team, check policy entries, as well as provide suggestions for the project’s public website. With my colleagues, Naela and Nadja, I co-initiated the CoronaNet Working Paper Series. We’re currently having a fantastic time organizing and running the program. The program aims to help RAs learn more about research and writing.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I’ve been with CoronaNet since April 1, 2020. I’ve been interested in research for quite some time and was hoping to learn more as well as contribute to the public good through research. I stumbled upon a post from one of the Principal Investigators calling for RAs for this project, so I signed up. I’ve learned so much throughout my time here, and the community has definitely been welcoming. I’m grateful to have joined and become part of the CoronaNet family.

What are your research interests?

Broadly, my research interests are the gendered aspects of political transitions and democratic deepening. More specifically, I take interest in feminist epistemology as well as people’s gendered conceptions of politics and how they shape political decisions and actions in democratic settings. I’m currently deepening my study on feminist institutionalism and its strands, with a plan to incorporate the approach into one of my research projects in the near future. In my free time, I (try to) play catch-up by reading as many books and articles on methodologies as I can.
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Md. Azmeer Rahman Sorder
Co-regional Manager (South Asia)
Research Assistant (Bangladesh and West Bengal, India)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am an Economics undergraduate student from Bangladesh studying at the University of Dhaka.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Research Assistant (RA), my primary role involves coding COVID-19 policies for my assigned region and country. Specifically, I am coding Bangladesh’s national COVID-19 policies as well as provincial policies for West Bengal in India. As a Co-regional Manager, I am responsible for RAs coding South Asian countries. The role includes arranging meetings, guiding new RAs, conveying messages and reviewing the policies of the region.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I have been with the project since June. I had been consistently looking to be part of a research project as I wish to join academia in the future. This project came to me as a golden opportunity and I saw it as a way to contribute to the worldwide pandemic recovery. I hopped on the train and am here now.

What are your research interests?

My recent research interests have shifted towards public policy, macroeconomic theories and health policy. However, my long-term research goals, which have always been in my mind, include defence and peace economics, conflict, economic conditions leading to war and conflict, opportunity costs of war as well sustainable peace through economic measures.
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Stella Kim
Project Manager

What do you do at CoronaNet?

The Project Management team recruits and onboards new Research Assistants (RAs), oversees the activity/inactivity of RAs and interns as well as works closely with Regional/Country Managers and Prefects. There are multiple weekly meetings in order to work with the different members of the project as well as to communicate progress and future agendas. It can be busy for sure, but it’s also very nice to see everyone.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I joined CoronaNet about three months ago in July. I wanted to contribute to the project as much as I could as it is very current and impactful to the global society. Also, the idea of working with people all around the world was fascinating to me.

What are your research interests?

I’m interested in the topic of the use of technology during COVID-19 such as surveillance systems. I wrote a university term paper on the case of South Korea recently and would like to continue researching if possible.
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Audrey Firrone
Co-country Manager (France)
Research Assistant (Canada)

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Research Assistant (RA), I am responsible for coding Canadian policies on COVID-19 for the national level, as well as for Québec and New Brunswick on the sub-national levels. As a Manager, I am responsible for managing the RAs who code for France at the sub-national level. To do this I verify their forms and hold weekly meetings with them to discuss their progress and any changes in the project. I also serve as a link between the RAs, Principle Investigators and Project Management team. These roles also mean attending various meetings to learn about changes in the project.

How long have you been with CoronaNet and why did you join?

I have been on the project since the end of June, so nearly four months (four months on October 28!). I joined the project as something to do for the summer (obviously it has held my interest since I'm still here) and to feel like I am doing something important during this pandemic. I knew I wouldn't be doing really anything else during the COVID-19 summer so I thought it would be fun to join a research project and try and learn some new things that might help me later in my life.

What are your research interests?

My research interests include: how the media creates or dissolves political movements, what role political affiliations have on media consumption, and how the advent of social media played a role in the way political messaging is delivered to individuals. So obviously, lots of emphasis on communication and politics.