Each summer the University of Iowa Graduate College hosts the Student Research Opportunities Program (SROP). SROP provides an eight week summer program in which UI faculty mentor promising underrepresented undergraduate students from colleges across the United States in an in-depth research project.
In summer 2017, UI Urban and Regional Planning professor and director Chuck Connerly worked with Briana Gipson on her research. Briana is from the Chicago area and currently a junior at Coe College where she is studying African-American Studies, economics, and history. One of her major professors there is Drew Westberg, who graduated from UI Urban and Regional Planning in 2007.
Briana’s summer research focused on the role of the Black Panthers in Iowa during the late 1960s and early 1970s. She was able to do original research on the Black Panther Party in Des Moines and its influence on black militancy at the University of Iowa, including a black football player boycott of a team practice in the spring of 1969. Briana presented her work at the annual Summer Undergraduate Research Conference at UI. Briana hopes to continue the research during her final two years at Coe. Her work will inform Connerly’s book in progress, Prairie State Sustainability: Iowa’s Environmental and Social Justice Challenges.