The Politics, Power, and Climate Solutions Lab is an undergraduate political science research lab under the mentoring of Dr. Aaron Sparks. Over several projects, the central question we explore is how climate advocacy organizations can and do build political power to advance solutions to the climate crisis. The research uses a multi-method approach from case studies to large datasets and field experiments to qualitative coding.

Interested students can find additional information about 4999 credit and expectations under the “Lab Handbook” and “Resources” tabs.

Guiding Principles

Commitment to access. Every Elon University student should have access to undergraduate research.

Commitment to advancing the public good. Political Science research should be about improving self-governance. Our specific commitment is to climate governance.

Commitment to scientific integrity. All data, replication code, and working papers (when we have them) will be available via links to the Open Science Framework under the “Current Projects” tab.


Lab Director

Current Students (shared with their permission)

Morgan McGlynn is a Policy Studies and Environmental Studies student, who is a member of the Sparks Lab. Morgan is conducting research on the development of climate policy in the U.S. for her Elon College Fellows project and has done work on the collaborative Meta-Analysis project.


Hunter Siegel is a Junior at Elon, where he majors in Political Science and International and Global Studies while minoring in Spanish, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Interreligious Studies. He is both a College Fellow and a Multifaith Scholar; his research in Sparks Lab is facilitated through these programs and focuses on the relationship between religion, political ideology, and environmental values among American Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Past Students

Nicole Cason (’23) studied Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Policy Studies with minors in GIS and Geography. A 3-year member of the Sparks Lab, Nicole has worked on various research projects including a paper on “show and tell advocacy” which is currently under review. Nicole, along with two other lab students, is conducting a meta-analysis on three environmental attitude scales. Nicole has presented her research at the Elon Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) and the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) conference. After graduation, she moved back to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in government consulting. 

Sara Arora (’23) studied Environmental Studies and Political Science with a minor in IGS. As a member of the Sparks Lab, Sara worked on several research projects in her three years of membership. This includes their own research project comparing culture, environmental attitudes, and climate policy support in North Carolina and Denmark. In addition, Sara has worked with Nicole and others on the “show and tell advocacy” paper published in July 2023 and the environmental attitude scale meta-analysis project. Sara has presented both their own research and Sparks Lab projects at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) and Elon Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF). After graduation, Sara went to the University of Richmond School of Law.