Maurits van der Veen

Maurits van der Veen is the director of the STAIR lab and an associate professor in William & Mary's department of Government. His research focuses on how people think about politicized issues in international relations, including foreign aid and European integration.

One of the best ways to gauge how someone thinks about an issue is to see how that person speaks or writes about it. STAIR lab takes advantage of exciting new data mining and machine learning methods that make it possible, for the first time, to do so systematically and efficiently with vast quantities of speeches or documents.

More information about prof. van der Veen's research and teaching can be found here.


Students, Fall 2019

Sam Desmarais

Sam is a senior majoring in international relations. As part of the STAIR Lab, he works on analyzing congressional and parliamentary debate on foreign aid. He is also writing an honors thesis on the intersection of trade theory and congressional rhetoric. On campus, Sam is involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and works at the Rec Center.


Seth Fiderer

Seth is a senior studying International Relations focusing on North African Politics. On campus, he has been heavily involved in the International Relations Club. Seth works both with the Office of First Year Experience as an Orientation Aide and in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a Senior Interviewer and Tour Guide. He has been working with the STAIR Lab since Fall of 2017 on identifying ideology in text.


Katie Heller

Katie is a senior studying Government and Public Health. She is interested by the rise of right-wing populism globally, and European politics. In the STAIR Lab, she is part of the Moral Foundations project, where she helps with research that investigates the use of moral language on debates about the migrant crisis in European parliaments. Outside of the STAIR lab, she is involved in the undergraduate Honor Council, a social sorority, and the Tribe Ambassador program.


Kristen Popham

Kristen is a senior studying Government and French & Francophone Studies, with a special interest in political theory and postcolonial studies. On campus, she helps lead a club called Merrimac Mentors, an organization of student volunteers at a local juvenile detention center. She also serves as Vice President of the Mock Trial Team, a tour guide, a French tutor, and a journalist for W&M News


Campbell Scheuerman

Campbell is a senior studying Data Science and Government. Her academic interests include Data visualization and how data science can be used to express people’s political behavior. She previously worked in the GeoQuery lab on gathering data sets for the UN Millennium goals. In STAIR lab she is working on using sentence embeddings to help identify similarities and differences in the framing of different issues. On campus she is an employee of the student run Agency 1693, plays ultimate frisbee, and is in a Greek sorority.


Sharon Kim

Sharon is a junior studying chemistry and government. At the STAIR Lab, she has been working on using text analysis to analyze how media covers minority groups. Outside of the lab, Sharon is also involved in the Undergraduate Honor Council and Branch Out, and works at the Sadler Center and the Reeder Media Center.


Maggie Manson

Maggie is a sophomore majoring in International Relations with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Her academic interests include border disputes centered around ethnic and religious differences and how colonialism has affected such disputes. She is also interested in data analysis of media representation of these issues. Outside of STAIR, Maggie is a member of the Honor Council and an assistant head delegate for the International Relations Club's Model UN team.


Catherine Pompe van Meerdervoort

Catherine is a junior studying International Relations and Data Science. She is particularly interested in studying the migrant crisis and public opinion of it. She previously worked for AidData’s TDF team tracking financial aid from China. On campus, she is involved in the International Relations club, club swimming, and a greek sorority.


Graham Pfeiffer

Graham is a Junior at the College from New York, majoring in Government and minoring in Economics. He specializes in international security, and democratic regime stability and loves to study different modes of democratic government. He is involved in the International Relations Club at William & Mary and over the summer, he worked at the Department of Defense in the Acquisition and Sustainment Department.


Former lab members

Former lab members have gone on to graduate programs in data science and related fields at William & Mary, NC State, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and other institutions. Others have used their skills working in political campaigns or for the government in a range of different functions.

Here are just a few of them: