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Connections Program

About the Workshop

What is Connections?

Connections is a day-long PhD preparation and community-building workshop that seeks to create networks of support and discovery for people who identify as members of minoritized communities and who are interested in pursuing a PhD in human development, social policy, and related fields. We are committed to providing a welcoming and empowering space for participants to explore, identify, affirm, and discuss the skills and strengths that they can bring to doctoral work.

Who is Connections For?

Connections is for people who identify as members of minoritized communities that have been historically underrepresented in doctoral programs in the U.S. (e.g., communities of color, LGBTQ+ communities, people from first-generation, low-income backgrounds).

Participants are welcome no matter where they are in their academic journey (e.g. advanced undergraduate students, post-baccalaureates, current or former master's students, working professionals), though the program will be most useful for people who are considering applying to Ph.D. programs within the next several years.

Past applicants were invited from the broader Chicagoland area and supported by a transportation voucher to visit Northwestern's Evanston campus for a day-long workshop.

Are my research interests a good fit for Connections?

The Connections program is for people:

  1. who are considering applying to PhD programs in human development and/or social policy
  2. who have research questions about how policy can affect development and wellbeing, how people can shape policy, or how insights about human development can inform policy
  3. who are open to boundary-spanning work

Research in this area typically spans a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, economics, education, human development, political science, psychology, public administration, policy, and sociology. If this sounds like you, we hope you will apply to Connections!


Please check back later for the workshop’s 2024 itinerary.  

Application and Inquiries

We look forward to connecting with you! Due to limited space, we will not be able to accept all applicants, but we will make shared materials and resources available to anyone who applies. For inquiries about this workshop, email


Connections is co-organized by PhD students and faculty in the Human Development & Social Policy program at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. The organizing committee includes Andrew Stein, Claudia Haase, Kanika Dhanda, Jen Cowhy, Quinn Mulroy, Regina Logan, and Tre Wells. Participants will have opportunities to meet with a number of our graduate students and faculty, in addition to members of the organizing committee.