Project Description

Grant Holyoak

Jon M. Huntsman School of Business


Grant Holyoak, a junior majoring in sociology and economics with a minor in statistics, has big dreams. With plans to someday work for the United Nations in social and economical development, he counts himself lucky that he has been able to be involved in a variety of different projects as a URF. “There is so much to be learned,” Holyoak said. “I’ve been able to work with some really great advisors and mentors and get my hand in a whole bunch of pies.”

Holyoak’s biggest current project is studying social service organizations in the Utah and the way they provide service to the unauthorized immigrant population. Last summer he conducted 35 phone interviews with leaders of these organizations in the state, and asked them about what kind of constraints they see and gaps in service for immigrants. Holyoak is currently writing paper on these findings for major sociological journal. “We are noticing how the cultural aspects of the state are contributing to a lack of diversity on the boards of many of these organizations,” Holyoak said. “We are also interested in organizational isomorphism, or how the social services organizations are tending to become more alike, over time, in the services they offer.”

Holyoak is also working with iUTAH on a project gauging attitudes and perceptions of water use, conservation and legislation among Utah residents. Holyoak and other researchers went door-to-door last summer and interviewed more than 1500 people. “We asked questions about farming, participation in water related activities, like owning a hot tub, waterskiing and hunting waterfowl, and their opinions and worries about climate change,” he said.

Holyoak said that through the iUTAH project, they hope to understand patterns and correlations that exist between people’s opinion about climate change and their usage of water, with the goal of hopefully informing behavior in the future. He said that being proactive and getting involved wherever they can is the best thing an undergraduate can do to participate in research and build a professional portfolio.

“Find out what you are interested in—what excites you—find out who is researching it, and do what you need to do to get involved in their research. They’ll show you how professionals do it in the field, and pretty soon you will be one of those professionals.”