Student Spotlight

Mackenzie  Boughey

Class of 2024 | Arnold, MD

Sophomore Mackenzie Boughey spent her summer as a Public Religion Research Institute virtual Intern, a non-partisan research and education organization that examines the intersection religion, culture and politics. Mackenzie’s responsibilities as an intern included writing Spotlights (short blog posts to publicize data collected by PRRI), confirming data and charts, and organizing the PRRI’s 2021 American Values Atlas. 

Her most meaningful project of the summer was the Spotlight she wrote about transgender rights in the US. In her article, she analyzed data on public opinion regarding transgenders rights and found that Americans living in more liberal and more conservatives states alike both had high levels of support for transgender rights. Despite that finding, dozens of anti-transgender policies were introduced in conservative-leaning state legislatures this year. In her article, she analyzed the impact on partisanship on those anti-transgender policies. She also assisted in organizing PRRI’s annual American Values Atlas, which is a dynamic interactive online map of America’s cultural landscape open to the general public.  The AVA allows individuals to  research data on religious affiliation, demographics and political questions by state or metropolitan areas, relying on data drawn from nearly 100,000 interviews.  

When reflecting on the internship, Mackenzie shared that her Washington College education had been a huge benefit for the projects she worked on. She said, “a lot of what I learned in class was also relevant to my internship – it was cool to see the importance of statistics in the workplace.”

“I learned that in the future I would love to continue studying public policy and how it impacts people… This internship definitely has changed how I view my classes at WAC -- as I’m learning new concepts, I keep thinking to myself “how does this affect actual people? What stances do people have on this?”

Check out some of Mackenzie’s writing:

Despite Varying Regional Effects, Americans Agree on the Severity of Climate Change and the Importance of Combating It

Support for LGBTQ Rights Is High, Even Among Conservatives and Republicans

Support for Transgender Rights Is Generally High Across the U.S.