CoronaNet logo Interview post on Twitter
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Alex Linehan
Research Assistant (Grand Est, France)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am from Melbourne, Australia. I am currently in the final year of my undergraduate degree in environmental studies at RMIT University. Aside from study, I also work in the sustainability field, volunteer as an English tutor and love to experiment with baking recipes.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

At CoronaNet, I am a Research Assistant where I research and code policies for the Grand Est region of France. I have been working on Grand Est since November 2020, and focus primarily on government services, mass gatherings and health resources sub-categories. As an Australian, I found it hard to get acclimated to the French governmental structure, especially the sheer number of policies made at the local government level, but I have learnt to understand it and have a lot of fun coding for Grand Est. I have found many policies which I find bizarre including an entire suite of policies aimed at preventing raves (including the banning of raves, banning vehicles carrying sound amps from the roads, and banning music being played on the streets)

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

I joined CoronaNet in October 2020 after developing an interest in public policy and having just lived through nearly six months of hard lockdown, where I had found myself with lots of time on my hands. Although the lockdown in Victoria was hard, it was incredibly effective. Living through this time made me curious about what other policy mechanisms were out there regarding Coronavirus, and how other countries had experienced the pandemic.

What are your research interests?

My main research interests are social inequality and the environment, both as separate issues and intertwined. I am interested in the impacts and causes of economic inequality, as well as the ripple effects it has throughout societies. Within the environmental field, I am especially interested in natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. However, I recognise there is a powerful intersection between these two interests as environmental inequalities are rampant throughout the globe, and climate change will only exacerbate this.
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Veronica Noskevich
Research Assistant (Russia)
Prefect (Hufflepuff)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am currently a third year undergraduate Global Disease Biology student from California, USA.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a research assistant, I research, code, and clean policies for Russia for the region of Sverdlovsk. I have also contributed to the correction of COVID-19 policies in the regions of Ivanova, Kostroma, and Leningrad Oblast. Shortly after, I took on the role of prefect for the Hufflepuff House, where I help onboard new RAs, monitor their wellbeing, and act as an additional resource to help them find the answers to their questions.

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

I joined CoronaNet in March 2021. I’ve been interested in research for quite some time and was looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge in Public Health through academic research, as well as be able to contribute somehow to the ongoing research about COVID-19. CoronaNet checked every box for what I was interested in and how I wanted to spend my time during the pandemic. I became attracted to the way the project operates as a team with a clear mission, but also has time to build connections between members.

What are your research interests?

As a Global Disease Biology major, my research interests have involved Public Health and Epidemiology for some time now, specifically in health policies and infectious diseases. In the future, I hope to pursue research in laboratories (PHL) where I could assist and improve public health through disease surveillance, risk factor identification, and intervention evaluation. By joining CoronaNet, I have been able to gain experience and understanding in public health responses and related research that I plan on applying to any future research I may come across.
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Shreeya Mhade
Research Assistant for India
Co-Country Manager for India
Data Validation
Prefect for Gryffindor

Who are you and where are you from?

I am from Mumbai, India, and I graduated from the University of Mumbai with a degree in bioinformatics.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I started my journey with CoronaNet as a Research Assistant (RA), coding policies for India at the national and sub-national levels, primarily focusing on Maharashtra. As a Co-Country Manager, I help onboarding and training new RAs for Team India, lead weekly meetings, strategize coding plans, and monitor RAs performance, while also coding, cleaning, and researching policies for India. As a member of the Data Validation Team to validate previously coded policies. Finally, I am a Gryffindor Prefect, where I assist with the onboarding and well-being of RAs.

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

I joined CoronaNet in November 2020 after finishing my master's degree in bioinformatics. I was looking for ways to contribute to the research community while staying at home with my family. CoronaNet presented me with an excellent opportunity to collaborate and document the Indian government's response to COVID-19. Due to the large population and dire circumstances in India, I was eager to channelise my energy into working with the scientific community in the fight against the pandemic. It also allowed me to gain experience and understand policy making.

What are your research interests?

As a bioinformatician, I tend to see the world through a data-driven lens. My research has primarily focused on infectious diseases intending to improve preventive and control strategies for emerging and recurring infections in India. CoronaNet has given me deeper insights into the effect of lack of high-quality empirical data on programme design and, as a result, outcomes. There is plenty of evidence of such effects in India, and I intend to use my experience with CoronaNet to work towards developing evidence-based programmes and implement strategies to address health issues.
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Samuel Arnold-Parra
Research Assistant (Japan)

Who are you and where are you from?

I'm from the United Kingdom. I graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2020, with a background in International Relations and History.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I'm a Research Assistant for Team Japan and my work revolves primarily around conducting research and coding policies concerning Japan's response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the national level. Occasionally I work at the sub-national level, most recently in Okinawa Prefecture. Currently I review all the national level policies regarding restrictions on mass gatherings our team has coded to ensure the correct formatting and accurate recording of all the policies. Additionally I assist in onboarding new Research Assistants to Team Japan.

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

I joined CoronaNet in September 2020. Having graduated not too long ago, I was in search of new opportunities to put my research skills to use and build more experience with the collection and analysis of qualitative data. I found out about CoronaNet through a friend who happened to be taking part, and jumped at the opportunity to get involved. I wanted to contribute to this noble cause in order to help scholars and scientists develop a better understanding of the pandemic and how governments have responded to it. CoronaNet has also proven an excellent way of honing my Japanese skills given the variety of government documents I read.

What are your research interests?

My studies in International Relations and History contribute to my passion and interest in researching public and foreign policy and developing a better understanding of how and why governments and communities react to crises and unforeseen events in the ways they do. As a result, I am interested in pursuing further education in the realms of International Security, Political Science or International Development. I would also like to learn more about how emerging technologies like AI and blockchain might be used to improve efficiency and trust in public institutions, as well as in responding to global crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Having been able to contribute to CoronaNet has greatly increased my enthusiasm for research into public policy and governance.
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Rebecca Langella
Research Assistant (Italy)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a Master of Sciences student in Social Research Methods and Statistics at the University of Manchester, and formerly was an Anthropology student. I have been living in the UK for the past four years but I am originally from Rome, Italy (which I miss very much!).

What do you do at CoronaNet?

Previously, I researched and collated external border restriction policies issued by the Italian government. Recently, I have been researching public awareness and anti-misinformation policies. Specifically, I am looking at the Italian government’s efforts to debunk fake news on social media while spreading accurate scientific information about COVID-19 and the vaccination campaign.

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

I joined CoronaNet in November 2020 because I wanted to make the most out of COVID-19 lockdown by participating in a project that connected researchers from all continents. I loved the idea of being able to research and better understand the policies that are affecting our daily lives so much, and I was not disappointed! It’s challenging but very exciting work, and I have loved working with my team for the past months. It’s a very friendly yet productive team, where we help each other to understand complex documents and cryptic press releases.

What are your research interests?

During my studies, I have mainly focused on mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) to evaluate the outcome of policies and government programs. I am very interested in using mixed methods to understand the effectiveness of governmental socioeconomic policies as well as to find a way to improve their implementation with humanistic and evidence-driven solutions.
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Zhanibek Shaimardanov
Research Assistant (Rostov and Krasnodar, Russian Federation)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a senior student at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. My study focus is Political Science and International Relations.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

At CoronaNet, my primary role has involved coding several regions within the Russian Federation. As I became more skilled and equipped with various research skills, I was given a few areas of data to clean by the Country Manager. Thus, I am now analyzing COVID-19 measures as well as fixing and validating data collected by my peers. Thanks to weekly Zoom meetings with the Russian Federation coders, led by Dr Caress Schenk, I have significantly improved in collecting, analyzing and interpreting data.

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

Let me see… I have been with CoronaNet for quite a bit of time. From June 2020, I have been either working on CoronaNet as a student or contributing as a Research Assistant. Thanks to Nazarbayev University and Dr Schenk, I as well as many other students could complete their studies or work while being a part of this great community. This was the reason for why I chose CoronaNet, besides being highly interested in government responses against this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

What are your research interests?

I would say that my research interests are still scattered across the wider Political Science field. However, I am now planning to dive deeper into International Relations at the graduate level. There, I want to do research on politics in the wake of modern technology such as cybersecurity threats, drone wars and technological sanctions. I believe that working at CoronaNet will give me a great shot at honing my research skills as well as learning from some of the best young researchers coming from the Technical University of Munich, New York University Abu Dhabi and so on.
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Roseline Nwogu
Research Assistant (Nigeria)
Country Manager (Nigeria)
Data Validator

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a graduate student at the Trier University of Applied Sciences in Germany. I am originally from Eastern Nigeria.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I started as a Research Assistant for Team Nigeria in November 2020. Specifically, I have been researching and coding policies for the states of Abia, Imo, Enugu and Lagos as well as at the national level. Since these levels had been inadequately covered with little detail when I commenced, I coded numerous policies and ensured that previously-coded policies were correctly coded. In January 2021, I began to co-manage Team Nigeria’s efforts to collect and code data for Nigeria, where at the time, we were positioning to have clean and complete data. I am also involved in data validation by applying expert knowledge of coding practices to recode inconsistencies in the existing dataset entries. This will ensure high quality of the dataset.

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

I joined CoronaNet in November 2020 due to my intellectual curiosity in learning about governments’ policy responses to COVID-19 in Africa. I was apprehensive about the effect of the pandemic, particularly its effect on African countries due to the inadequacy of the health care delivery system. I am passionate about research and reading news about COVID-19, and I am excited to be part of this great project.

What are your research interests?

My research interests focus on circular economies as well as waste-to-energy systems, particularly the techno-economic and environmental dimensions of these systems within the context of sustainable development. In fact, my research interest is not only for my academic career, but also to help accelerate Africa’s clean energy transition and simultaneously meet the demand for electricity in Nigeria by using alternative resources.
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Loïs Willekers
Research Assistant (Île-de-France, France)
Team Leader (Île-de-France, France)

Who are you and where are you from?

I live in Paris, France, where I am finishing my Master’s degree in International Security at Sciences Po. I am originally from Utrecht in the Netherlands.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I started as a Research Assistant for Team France in October 2020. Specifically, I have been researching and coding policies for the Île-de- France region and its eight departments. As this region had not been covered in much detail when I started, I created a comprehensive policy timeline. In January 2021, I began to leading the team collecting data for this region. At the time, we were aiming to have complete and clean subnational data of the region up to August 1, 2020. Currently, we are working hard to get our policy timeline fully up to date.

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

I joined the project in October 2020 when I was confined in my small apartment in Paris. I was looking for a meaningful activity next to my studies to use my knowledge and skills (including language) to contribute to tackling COVID-19. CoronaNet’s mission in collecting government policies to the pandemic from around the world appealed to me as it helps in knowledge-building for potential future crises. I was also attracted by the idea of working remotely with people from all across the globe who shared a collective ambition to fight the virus.

What are your research interests?

As an International Security student with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences (Global Challenges), I am interested in comprehending and tackling complex global crises with a critical, yet open and solution- driven mindset. My research focus has predominantly been on migration, but also on (counter)terrorism, international relations and foreign policy analysis. I am currently finalizing my thesis on Sino-Russian cooperation in the Arctic, a region increasingly impacted by climate change. The Arctic’s melting icecaps give rise to heightened international tensions, serving as a research topic where many of my research interests come together.
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Fiyin Kupolati
Research Assistant (Nigeria)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a PhD candidate at Wits University and I am from the ancient town of Ibadan, Nigeria. I currently live in Pretoria, South Africa.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Research Assistant, I research, code and clean COVID-19 policies for Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Bauchi and Sokoto States in Nigeria. I ensure that previously-coded policies have been coded correctly and updated accurately. I am also currently working on completing the data checklist requirements for the above five States. In the near future, I am looking forward to coding policies relating to vaccine acquisition and distribution in the above States as well as taking on more tasks in CoronaNet.

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

I joined CoronaNet in December 2020. Like everyone else, I was concerned about the effect of the pandemic, especially its effect on African countries. My curiosity and excitement in learning about policy responses in Africa made it a no-brainer for me to join CoronaNet. I was even more excited to contribute to a dataset curating these policies. The fact that the dataset would help policymakers and governments better respond to future challenges appealed to me.

What are your research interests?

My current research interest is the scope, legality, and economic potential of services trade liberalization under the African continental free trade agreement. Broadly, I am interested in sustainable development, trade and investment policy, World Trade Organization law, economic integration agreements, as well as indigenous knowledge. I am interested in these topics because of their potential to stimulate sustainable growth and development in Africa. My research interests are related to law, trade and development.
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Noor Altunaiji
Head of Data Cleaning Team
Co-regional Manager (Southern Europe)
Former Research Assistant (Libya)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am from the United Arab Emirates, where I am working towards a Bachelor of Science at New York University Abu Dhabi.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

My current focus is ensuring that the Data Cleaning Team is well-integrated with the rest of CoronaNet. I do so by maintaining communication between the Data Cleaning Team and the Regional Managers as well as the Principal Investigators (PIs). Increasing data quality is important as it ensures that meaningful visualizations can be created. Further, it will ease efforts to combine datasets in the future. I also onboard new Research Assistants (RAs) researching Southern European countries. I follow up along their journey to ensure we make consistent progress in having complete and up-to-date data.

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

I joined in April 2020 to gain insight into what government responses to COVID-19 looked like. However, what has kept me in CoronaNet is completely different to those original intentions. I can confidently say that I am still here because there is a unique value that I get which I have yet to experience elsewhere. The effort put behind community engagement and the opportunities created for RAs says a lot about how much CoronaNet cares about the people that are helping grow the CoronaNet dataset.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in what functional management resonance imaging (fMRI) can say about how the brain processes “big data” and its applications in radiology. However, being exposed to the PIs’ work is starting to expand my interests. What my takeaway has been is that pandemic efforts usually remain at national levels, leaving health systems quite vulnerable. I would like to look into how these systems can be reinforced such that the level of preparedness can be increased. There is no guarantee that the next pandemic will be something we are familiar (i.e. SARS), and yet it is very much inevitable.
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Emily Westropp
Research Assistant (France)
Co-country Manager (France)
Data Validation Team Two Leader
Prefect (Ravenclaw)

Who are you and where are you from?

I live in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, where I am finishing my Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Environmental Studies. I am originally from Fort Wayne in Indiana.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I started at CoronaNet by coding policies for France at the national and sub-national levels, specifically for Corsica. As Co-country Manager, I work with my fellow Manager to train new Research Assistants (RAs) for the France team, lead team meetings, and check the work of RAs. In my role, I continue to code, clean, and research policies for France. I also manage a small Data Validation team responsible for the second round of validating coded policies. Finally, I am the Prefect for Ravenclaw house, where I help onboard new RAs and monitor RA wellbeing.

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

I joined CoronaNet in May 2020 after finishing my junior year of my undergraduate studies. I was looking for a professional opportunity to pursue my interest in international policy while allowing me to remain at home with my family. CoronaNet was the perfect opportunity for me to gain exposure to an international community while working remotely. I was also attracted to the idea of being a part of a group with a mission to shape policy decisions for years to come.

What are your research interests?

As an International Studies and Environmental Studies student, my primary research interests are in climate change and how it relates to sustainability, global public health, and human migration. In the future, I hope to pursue research on natural climate solutions, Indigenous sustainable practices, and community-based conservation, as well as how to incorporate these as part of environmental policy that empowers local and marginalized communities.
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Nazerke Mukhlissova
Research Assistant (Kyrgyzstan)
Co-country Manager (Russia)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a junior student at Nazarbayev University, majoring in Political Science and History. I come from Western Kazakhstan.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

Right now, I spend most of my time guiding and helping Research Assistants who are coding policies on various Russian regions. I try to be responsive to all the questions that pop up, give feedback on coding, as well as just share some of my own experience and tips on how I used to code regions in Russia. The rest of the time I try to devote to coding Kyrgyzstan. Overall, I spend a lot of time analyzing Kyrgyz and Russian policymaking.

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

I joined the project at the end of May 2020. I think the initial reason I joined the project was due to my confusion. I was confused about what was happening in the world out there, what governments were doing, and what was a good way of battling COVID-19. Back then, I did not have all the answers to all those questions. Now I am far more informed than I was and have a slightly more sophisticated understanding of crisis policymaking.

What are your research interests?

My research interests are primarily tied to the Eurasian region. I am interested in the Eurasian Economic Union (the Court of EAEU to be specific), post-Soviet public policy, international development, as well as the history of the peripheries of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The reason I am so interested in Eurasian states is because a lot of these states are substantially understudied compared to other regions in the world. The problem for me might be that there are too many areas that I am interested in, so it is hard to choose.
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Vanessa Zwisele
Project Manager
Funding Coordinator
Research Assistant (Switzerland)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am from a small Swabian city in Germany and currently living in Munich where I am pursuing my Masters degree in Politics and Technology.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I am part of the Project Management Team where I help to recruit, evaluate and onboard new volunteer Research Assistants for the Project. Besides making sure everything is running as smoothly as possible, as the Project’s Funding Coordinator I do my best to enable CoronaNet to receive more funds. Finally, I am responsible for researching policies in Switzerland at the national and regional levels. I especially focus on external and internal border restrictions passed during COVID-19.

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

After many recommendations from friends and colleagues working with CoronaNet, I joined the project in October 2020 as part of my internship at the Hochschule für Politik, Munich. As the to-date largest data collection project on COVID-19 policy responses, CoronaNet fits well to my interest in policy research. Next to contributing to the fight against the pandemic, I am hoping to publish my first paper with the help of the project’s international network of scholars.

What are your research interests?

I am curious about politics in times of modern information technologies and the increasingly widespread application of artificial intelligence. Particularly, I am studying big security questions of our time, ranging from climate change to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As much as I enjoy data science, I also love analyzing language in the form of discourses, ideas, and frames to uncover how the way that people portray certain political issues impacts the actions taken.
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Emma Hutchinson Sakai
Country Manager (Australia)
Research Assistant (Japan)

Who are you and where are you from?

I am a Master of International Security student at the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs. I am originally from Melbourne, Australia.

What do you do at CoronaNet?

As a Country Manager for Australia, I have been monitoring and coding national-level policies while coordinating, training and overseeing Research Assistants in Team Australia. Concurrently, I have been working with the Japan Research Assistants and our current goal is to have a cleaned and usable set of national policies. While coding policies from Japan, I am able to put my Japanese language skills into practice and have been picking up many technical words in the process.

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

In April 2020, I was confined in my apartment and my friend (who was also confined with me) recommended the CoronaNet Research Project. I jumped on board as this was an opportunity to apply my research and language skills to a project that aims to better understand the reaction of governments to a crisis and contribute to knowledge building for the future. At the time, infection numbers were rising exponentially and by joining CoronaNet, I was able to convert my restless energy into action.

What are your research interests?

As an International Security student, I am interested in crises and how both institutions and communities can be better prepared to respond to them. My research focus has predominantly been on migration and armed conflict, but health crises are a reoccurring challenge and being involved in CoronaNet has given me a deeper insight into the flaws in the international system. Furthermore, I am interested in questions of nation and nationalism. Throughout the pandemic, countries have turned inwards, focused on saving their own citizens and economies, thus exacerbating risks to vulnerable groups. By coding for two countries, while living in a third, I have been able to observe differences in public opinions and how governments have responded to mitigate potential harm.
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Nico Leipold
Country Manager (Germany)
Co-regional Manager (Oceania)
Project Management Assistance

Who are you and where are you from?

I'm from Munich and am currently studying Political Science in the Bachelors program at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

What do you do at CoronaNet?

I started as Country Manager for Germany and Co-regional Manager for Oceania. My main tasks in this role are to communicate with the Research Assistants (RAs) in these regions, answer their questions and onboard the new RAs so they can quickly find their way around. Since January, I have been supporting the Project Management Team with the evaluation and onboarding of Regional and Country Managers. Through all these tasks, I am constantly getting to know very smart and fascinating people.

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

I joined the project in October 2020 because I wanted to contribute to research on this once-in-a-century crisis. At the same time, the project allows me to gain practical experience in a research project and to witness successes as well as challenges of this dynamic topic in an international environment. Also, it is a really motivating to see that I’m part of a project whose data, which is a public good, can be used by everyone to study the measures and support the fight against COVID-19.

What are your research interests?

I am currently researching the topic of school closures during the pandemic with my colleague, Yasmin Zaror. Specifically, we want to investigate whether different types of welfare states also approach school closures differently and how the balancing act between responsibility for pupils and population health is managed. At a later date, I would like to look at the influence of COVID-19 policies on national politics. For example, what kinds of policies cause support and what kinds of policies cause opposition to the government.
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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.