The Charger Blog

Senior’s Research Explores How Messaging Shapes Public Policy

Keyri Ambrocio ’21 spent her summer conducting research that focused on immigrant and refugee rights, and she hopes her findings will foster a greater understanding of how these issues are impacted by public opinion.

September 29, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing & Communications

Keyri Ambrocio in Washington, D.C.
Keyri Ambrocio in Washington, D.C.

Keyri Ambrocio ’21 has long been interested in immigration advocacy and policy reform. She has studied the inequalities that people face around the world, and she spent her summer conducting research focused on public opinions around immigration.

A political science and international affairs double major, Ambrocio created a survey to assess how people would react to different definitions for sanctuary city policies and the implications of these policies. She will soon begin analyzing the data and determining if the different messaging and words used to describe sanctuary city policies impact the public’s perception of them.

“I am so honored that I am able to focus my research on an issue that I am so passionate about,” she said. “I hope that with this research, we can gain a better understanding of how public opinion is shaped by the way we describe different immigration policies.”

Keyri Ambrocio.
Keyri Ambrocio in the University’s Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation.

Ambrocio’s research was part of her Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship project, which she is continuing to work on with Chris Haynes, Ph.D., and Patricia Crouse, Ph.D. She has been meeting with them and working on her project remotely. She is grateful for the support of her faculty mentors and for the opportunity to learn more about the research experience.

“The process has made me a more detail-oriented person,” she said. “It’s shown me that the smallest things, such as the way you word a question, have a large impact. I have also learned to think more critically and to be adaptable to any change that comes my way.”

The daughter of immigrants from Guatemala, Ambrocio is devoted to immigrant and refugee rights and policy reform. Earlier this year, she became the first University of New Haven student to be named a Newman Civic Fellow. She has also interned and volunteered with immigration advocacy organizations such as the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.

Ambrocio hopes her research will foster a greater understanding of how to most accurately convey sanctuary city policies.

“This research is so important because it will help us to identify not only how we should be talking about sanctuary city policies, but, also, the impact of our wording,” she said. “Today, more people understand the biases of news sources as they frame issues in a certain way and how that impacts the way people think about issues. Hopefully, my findings will help us understand how people are impacted by how these issues are framed.”