Center for Social Research

Meet the CSR


The Calvin College Center for Social Research (CSR) was created by the Calvin Department of Sociology in 1970 in response to increasing numbers of faculty requests for research assistance. Since then, the CSR has grown into an independent center, supporting all of the social science departments of Calvin College as well as the broader community. Throughout its history, CSR's top priorities have been to promote excellence in research, both on campus and in the community.


The Center for Social Research aims to serve as a catalyst for scholarly research in the social sciences. Through research we seek to be agents of renewal in the academy, church, and society.


  • Research: promote basic and applied research of the highest quality by encouragement, example, and engagement with the college’s social science community.
  • Partnership: undertake collaborative and community-based research with scholars, organizations, and institutions at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
  • Faculty Development: enhance the scholarly community in social sciences at Calvin College.
  • Student Involvement: provide opportunities for students to develop their research skills in a mentoring environment.
  Neil Carlson, Ph.D., Director, received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University in 2004 and served as Assistant Director of the CSR from 2004 to 2011. He supports design of social research projects from the big questions to the technological nuts and bolts, including project management and budgeting, instrument design, database design, data visualization, statistical analysis, report writing and interactive presentation of study data. Curriculum Vitae (PDF).
  Laura Luchies, Ph.D., Assistant Director, earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from Northwestern University. Laura joined the CSR in the spring of 2014. She will plan, organize and lead CSR research projects with on- and off-campus clients and provide the CSR student and recent graduate team with the daily guidance needed to do good work.
  Allison Rudi, B.A., Project Coordinator, graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, majoring in International Policy Studies of Ethics and Conflict. She will soon complete her Masters in Public Policy and Administration with Northwestern University in Chicago. Allison is coordinating the launch of “When the People Speak, Kent County,” the first-ever Kent County Deliberative Poll, a collaborative community research and civic engagement project, spearheaded by CSR which employs Stanford Professor James Fishkin’s theory of the Deliberative Poll.
  Kandin Unger, B.A., Research Associate, graduated from Calvin College with majors in Linguistics and Spanish. Kandin serves as supervisor to the research assistants, in addition to providing project support for CSR clients.
  Kathy Bardolph, B.A., Administrative Assistant, a Calvin English and German graduate, offers administrative, clerical, and project support to the Center.

Student Staff Team: The Student Research Assistants are comprised of a team of Calvin students who are constantly being trained in new research tools and practices. Currently, we have the following students on our team:
  Michael Bloem, a senior with a major in Economics and a Mathematics minor, started working with us during the summer of 2013.
  SeungYong Lee is a junior studying International Relations and Religion. SeungYong, a Spanish specialist, assists with CSR project translation.
  Jack Van Allsburg joined CSR summer of 2014. Jack, a junior, is majoring in Psychology and Writing, and he assists CSR with project graphics and report editing.
  Josh VanderLeest is majoring in Psychology and pursuing a minor in Business. Josh, a senior, served as a Psychology intern before joining CSR as a Research Assistant.
  Carolyn Vos is a senior, majoring in Psychology and Linguistics. Cari began her tenure with CSR as a Psychology intern and then transitioned into a position as a Research Assistant.
Posted by Neil Carlson on Friday, July 29, 1988 at 09:44 AM
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