Student Affiliates

Today’s employers demand expertise in skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, judgment, and decision making. They also are looking for a mastery of aptitudes that support successful teamwork, such as emotional intelligence. One of the best ways to get these skills is through research! The research process teaches you how to identify a problem, create a hypothesis, collect resources and data that can test the hypothesis, evaluate the resources and data for quality and relevance, come up with an effective solution, and communicate it to a broader audience. The Student Affiliate Program allows undergraduates to experience this process and produce a portfolio piece that showcases their mastery of these skills.

In this selective program, a small cohort is mentored through the process of producing original research and outreach on one of our four key impact areas: environment, health, education, and systems. We need bold, innovative, and proactive ideas about the role of government, markets, and civic organizations in these areas. Student affiliates will work with mentors to identify a research problem. Then in workshop-like settings, they will learn and put into use the skills and tools they need to complete the project.

Read below to learn more about the program. If you are interested in applying, please send an email to with the subject line “Student Affiliate Program.”


Why Consider Being a Student Affiliate?

Student Affiliates have a unique opportunity to address current relevant issues regarding the economy and society and contribute to a dialogue about what well-functioning capitalism looks like in the 21st century. It’s a proactive way to contribute to collective knowledge and do something deeply connected to the Wake Forest motto, Pro Humanitate, for humanity.

As an affiliate you will:

  • Explore a topic you are passionate about.
  • Participate in an individualized or small team research experience.
  • Meet inspirational and influential researchers, business leaders, and media professionals engaged with these impact areas.
  • Produce a portfolio piece to showcase your outcomes.
  • Learn tools in small-group workshop settings that will be critical for your career, including project scoping, data collection and analysis, writing, information visualization, and communication for impact.


What Does A Student Affiliate Do?

Student affiliates commit to regular meetings. Outside of meetings, work is done independently. All Affiliates are assigned a mentor to help them along the way. The steps affiliates take and the order in which they are completed can be described as follows:

  • Background: What are big picture issues around the nexus of markets, business, government and civic society related to Environment, Health, Education and Systems?
  • Brainstorm: What question or problem can I explore?
  • Review: How can I contribute new knowledge to this problem?
  • Project Scoping: What is the outcome I’d like to have and how do I get there?
  • Data Collection: What kind of data do I need to collect, what qualitative and quantitative methods will I use?
  • Data Analysis: What tools are most useful to analyze the data?
  • Writing: How can I produce a well-thought-out and comprehensive paper?
  • Communication: How can I visualize and communicate key outcomes of my work in ways that facilitate comprehension and meaningful impact, especially for non-experts?

Affiliates are expected to submit a write-up of their work. The program culminates in media-driven presentations (such as PowerPoint, video, or information visualizations) to faculty, staff, and the Wake Forest community.


What are the Expectations for Affiliates?

  • Interest in the nexus of markets, business, government, and civic society.
  • Interest in addressing a problem related to Environment, Health, Education or Systems (the nexus or functioning of markets, government, and civic organizations) with critical thinking and research and producing actionable outcomes.
  • Willingness to learn tools including scoping, data collection and analysis, and communication and writing.
  • Commitment to self-directed learning.
  • Ability to participate in workshops.