Purdue University

Diplomacy Lab (DipLab)

Purdue University is a partner institution with the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab initiative, with the Purdue Policy Research Institute serving as the coordinating office. This initiative allows select teams of Purdue students supervised and led by a faculty member to conduct research in areas of interest relevant to the State Department’s affairs. Topics cover a wide array of international issues and challenges, including climate change, sustainable development, human rights, economic policy, global health, energy security, and conflict and stabilization.

Students participating in the Diplomacy Lab explore real-world challenges identified by the State Department and stand to contribute directly to informing a solution. Students will have various opportunities throughout the semester to discuss their research with State Department officials via video calls or teleconferences. Teams that develop exceptional results and ideas are acknowledged and may be invited to brief senior State Department officials on their findings.

Faculty at Purdue are invited to bid their interest on a semester-long project twice a year (around October for Spring projects, around March for Fall projects). If selected, faculty will recruit a team of students to engage in the research work through a semester.

Successful faculty applicants also will serve as the project point of contact for State Department officials and are expected to have expertise in a field of study related to the project. Professors are encouraged to incorporate Diplomacy Lab within their curricula as best suits their teaching needs and academic goals. Potential instructional models may include independent study opportunities, topical coursework, a standalone research project or a capstone program.

Contact kokelley@purdue.edu or watch DipLab Info Session recording for more information.

Spring 2022 Projects

"Strategies for Identifying Mis-/Disinformation"

Bethany McGowan, associate professor, and Matthew Hannah, assistant professor, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Mis-/disinformation provides openings for malicious acts that reduce public trust and sow confusion. To tackle this, McGowan and Hannah are developing strategies for identifying mis-/disinformation. This Diplomacy Lab project is offered as a capstone this spring and will draft a report for the State Department to identify mis-/disinformation online. The student team currently engaged in this research project will create a policy report as well as a social listening dashboard that functions as a software application. The State Department plans to integrate the Purdue team's results into the training material for its watch officers.

"Recruitment of Native Hawaiians"
"Recruitment of Hispanic/Latinx Americans in California"

Both project bids from C. Robert Kenley, professor, College of Engineering

Kenley’s studies of recruitment of Native Hawaiians and Hispanic/Latinx Americans has seen its scope expanded from two to four areas of interest due to significant student interest, adding Native Americans and African Americans. These studies are offered in Kenley’s spring course, SYS 40000, as a part of Purdue Systems Collaboratory's Undergraduate Systems Certificate Program. Student teams will create a plan to recruit members of ethnic minority groups by providing specific recommendations to increase the number of their respective applicants for positions within the State Department.

"Where are the Freely Associated States (FAS) Students?"

Anne Traynor, associate professor, College of Education

“Where are the Freely Associated States (FAS) Students?” involves an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate students and a doctoral student mentor. Once the student team concludes its research training and information-gathering phase, the team will produce a report about Micronesian college students’ locations, choice processes and study majors. The team also will formulate post-graduation plans that can be used by U.S. embassies and EducationUSA to better tailor educational counseling to future U.S. postsecondary students from the island nations of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau, in addition to designing outreach programs.

Fall 2022 Project

"Explore BIM and GIS Integration for US Embassies"

Cory Clark, associate professor, Purdue Polytechnic Institute