Video: How LEO undergraduate research assistants are helping lift people out of poverty

Author: Todd Boruff

“I chose LEO because this was an opportunity that I wouldn't really be able to get anywhere else,” said Josie Donlon, a Notre Dame international economics and Spanish major.

Donlon participated in the undergraduate research assistant program at Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). As a research operations intern during the summer of 2020, she helped create a real-time poverty tracker during the COVID-19 pandemic, the results of which were published in The New York Times, The Economist, and other publications. 

Housed in the Department of Economics, LEO partners with organizations across the United States, turning research into action to lift people out of poverty. Interns work side-by-side with leading economists throughout the year, and some are able to travel to partner organizations over the summer to work on-site.

Economics and political science major Sean McConville spent the summer of 2019 working at Catholic Charities Fort Worth and was excited to get to apply his Notre Dame education in service to others.

“LEO has shown me that there are other ways to approach service,” he said. "It's a great learning experience."

You can also watch this video on YouTube.