Miller Center

Miller Center National Fellowship

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the National Fellowship Program, a longstanding initiative of the Miller Center, will fall under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at U.Va.. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, created in 1980, currently offers the premier graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship at the University. To learn more about the National Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.

Meet The Fellows

Josh Ashenmiller - History, University of California, Santa Barbara

Project: The Strange Career of Environmental Impact Assessment

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Josh Ashenmiller is Professor of History at Fullerton College in California.

Ashenmiller has taught U.S. history at Fullerton College since 2006. Prior to that, he taught at Scripps College, Claremont-McKenna College, Cal State Northridge, Campbell Hall School, and River Oaks School. He has published articles in the Pacific Historical Review and various historical encyclopedias. In addition to teaching, he has worked on the Faculty Senate, Program Review Committee, and the accreditation self-study.

Ashenmiller wrote his dissertation on environmental impact assessment (EIA) and discussed a strong continuity between environmental impact assessment and the long tradition of federal attempts to manage economic growth, dating to the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887.

Carl Bon Tempo - History, University of Virginia

Project: The Politics of American Refugee Policy, 1952–1980

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Carl Bon Tempo is Associate Professor of History at the State University New York, Albany.

Bon Tempo's work explores the links between domestic political history and America’s role in the world. He maintains a particular focus on the histories of refugees, immigration, and human rights.

Bon Tempo wrote his dissertation on the formation and implementation of the American government's policies toward refugees between 1952 and 1980, arguing that the study of refugee policies provides an opportunity to examine how Americans (in and out of government) conceived of citizenship and "American-ness" in the post-World War II era – and that these conceptions vitally influenced the intent and character of specific refugee policies and programs. He displayed that post-World War II era American refugee policies and laws, and the contentious deliberations that produced them, resembled the larger debates about citizenship and national identity occurring during that period.

Selected Recent Publications

Americans at the Gate: The United States and Refugees During the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2008).

From the Center-Right: Freedom House and Human Rights in the 1970s and 1980s” in  Petra Goedde and William Hitchcock, eds, The Human Rights Revolution: An International History,  (New York: Oxford University Press, January 2012).

American Exceptionalism and Modern Immigration History in the United States.” in Jamey Carson and Sylvia Soderlind, eds., American Exceptionalisms (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, December, 2011.)

Gretchen Crosby Sims - Political Science, Stanford University

Project: Social Responsibility and the Political Power of American Business

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Cathie Martin, Boston University

Gretchen Crosby Sims is a Director at Social Finance UK.

She is focused on expanding Social Finance’s advocacy and policy efforts to support and encourage those seeking to redesign public services through outcomes-based commissioning. She is also engaged in supporting specific projects in children, family, and education related areas.

Gretchen’s career prior to Social Finance focused on identifying and scaling social interventions to improve people’s lives and to promoting supportive public policies.  Most recently, she was the chief program executive at The Joyce Foundation, where she oversaw strategy and impact evaluation process for seven grantmaking programs – education, environment, employment, gun violence prevention, democracy, culture, and special opportunities – and helped win evidence-based social policy changes in numerous issue areas. In earlier roles, Gretchen led Joyce’s K-12 education grant making and served as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Gretchen has also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, CNN, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a policy adviser to presidential candidate Bill Bradley. She holds PhD and MA degrees in political science from Stanford University and a BA in government from Harvard University.

Sims's dissertation examined the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) among America's most powerful companies as a source of political power. In recent years, many companies have embraced the notion of CSR and invested significant resources in strengthening their communities, supporting their employees, protecting the environment, and making philanthropic contributions. She argued that many of the things firms do in the name of CSR represent the provision of public goods, the practice of self-regulation, or the giving of politically valuable philanthropic gifts. These activities can give firms special standing with three groups of political actors: legislators, regulators, and other interest groups.

Michele Davis Jones - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: Beyond Redistricting: How the Voting Rights Act Has Transformed Politics in a Southern City

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Clarence Stone, University of Maryland

Jones wrote her dissertation on how the Voting Rights Act generated an enormous amount of scholarship, while considering the empirical consequences of the act by looking at its impact on the descriptive and substantive representation of minorities. Jones stated that it is unclear if minorities actually benefited from the increased number of minority representatives, while additionally continuing the effort to assess the question of descriptive versus substantive representation. Her dissertation looked at the politics of a Southern city before and after it was forced to adopt majority-minority districts.

Beth A. Freeborn - Economics, University of Virginia

Project: Drug Laws and the Market for Cocaine

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Peter Reuter, University of Maryland

Beth Freeborn is an Economist at the Bureau of Economics at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Freeborn was previously Assistant Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg where she taught courses on Microeconomics and Industrial Organization. Her research focuses on industrial organization, applied microeconomics, economics of crime and econometrics.

Freeborn's dissertation was an economic study of the market for powder and crack cocaine using data collected from the Drug Enforcement Agency from 1984 to 2001. She examined how drug dealers make decisions regarding what type of cocaine package to produce. The benefit to dealers is the total revenue they receive from the packages they sell, and the cost to dealers is both the monetary cost of purchasing the wholesale cocaine and the legal penalty if they are caught selling cocaine. These legal penalties vary greatly by state, providing different incentives to dealers based on geographical location. This project created and estimated a model of the market for cocaine. This model can then be utilized to analyze a number of different public policy questions.

Selected Recent Publications

"Determinants of Tacit Collusion in a Cournot Duopoly Experiment." with Lisa R. Anderson and Jason P. Hulbert, Southern Economic Journal 81, no. 3 (January 2015): 633-652.

"Report to Congress Under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003." with Julie Miller, Federal Trade Commission (2015)

"Accuracy of Information Maintained by U.S. Credit-Bureaus: Frequency of Errors and Effects on Consumers' Credit Scores." with L. Douglas Smith et al.  Journal of Consumer Affairs 47, no. 3 (2013): 588-601.

"Competition and Crowding-Out in the Market for Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment." with Andrew Cohen and Brian McManus, International Economic Review 54, no. 1 (2013): 159-184.

Beverly Gage - History, Columbia University

Project: The Wall Street Explosion: Capitalism, Terrorism, and the Origins of the FBI

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Beverly Gage is Professor of History and Director of Undergraduate Studies in History at Yale University.

She is a historian of 20th-century American politics and society and teaches courses on modern American political history, liberalism and conservatism, communism and anticommunism, and the craft of historical writing. She is currently writing a major new biography of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover titled G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the American Century, to be published by Viking in 2017. Her first book, The Day Wall Street Exploded, explored the dramatic story of the 1920 bombing of Wall Street and the history of early-20th-century terrorism. It is currently in production as a documentary film for broadcast on The American Experience (PBS) in late 2015. Gage writes widely for publications including The New York TimesWashington Post, The Nation, and Slate. She appears frequently on the PBS NewsHour, among other outlets, as a historical and political commentator. In 2015-2016, she was elected to serve as the first Chair of Yale’s inaugural Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate.

Gage received her B.A. in American Studies (magna cum laude, with distinction) from Yale College in 1994, and her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 2004. Her dissertation received the 2004 Bancroft Dissertation Award for graduate work in U.S. History. In 2009, she received the Sarai Ribicoff award for teaching excellence in Yale College. She is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and an elected member of the Society of American Historians.

Selected Recent Publications

The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror (Oxford University Press, 2009)

"More 'Progressive' Than Thou" The New York Times Magazine, January 12, 2016.

Joanna Grisinger - History, University of Chicago

Project: Reforming the State: Reorganization and the Federal Government, 1937–1964

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Dan Carpenter, Harvard University

Joanna Grisinger is Senior Lecturer in the Legal Studies Program at Northwestern University.

Grisinger works in twentieth-century U.S. legal and political history, with a focus on the modern administrative state. 

In her dissertation, Joanna demonstrated that the period beginning in 1937 was a significant era of government reform of the structures and procedure of the federal government. The procedural reforms of the time created an entirely new administrative framework and system of governance. Her dissertation examined how the federal government developed an uneasy compromise with administrative agencies and administrative forms in this era, and how these organizational and procedural changes influenced the policies that emerged from this new system of democratic governance.

Selected Recent Publications

The Unwieldy American State: Administrative Politics since the New Deal (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Jamie Morin - Political Science, Yale University

Project: Squaring the Pentagon: The Politics of Post-Cold War Defense Retrenchment

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Alton Frye, Council on Foreign Relations

Jamie Morin is the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation for the Department of Defense.

As director, he leads an organization responsible for analyzing and evaluating the Department's plans, programs, and budgets in relation to U.S. defense objectives, projected threats, allied contributions, estimated costs, and resource constraints. To support better defense decision making, CAPE develops analytical tools and methods for analyzing national security planning and the allocation of resources. 

Prior to joining CAPE, Morin served for five years as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller. As the Air Force's chief financial officer, he was the principal advisor to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force on financial matters, responsible for the financial and analytical services necessary for the effective and efficient use of Air Force resources. 

From 2003 until his current appointment, Dr. Morin was a member of the professional staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget. In this capacity, he served as the committee's lead analyst for the defense, intelligence, and foreign affairs budgets, responsible for drafting the relevant sections of the congressional budget resolution and advising the Senate on enforcement of budget rules. Additionally, he advised the Chairman of the Budget Committee on the full range of national security issues.

In his dissertation, Morin explored how the politics of defense budgeting in the 1990s differed from that of the late Cold War, and how that affected America's national defense. He identified negative consequences stemming from the post-Cold War drawdown, but rejected the idea that they resulted from over-eager cutting of the defense budget. Rather, he argued that they resulted from a budgetary process that failed to optimally balance spending and effectiveness because it was too inflexible to deal appropriately with an uncertain future. Morin's hypotheses placed their roots in the political science literature on defense politics, but were also shaped by his extensive interviews with a long list of defense policymakers, congressional staff, and lobbyists.

Jennifer See - History, University of California

Project: American Cold War Policy in its Wider International and Domestic Context, 1945–47

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Melvyn Leffler, University of Virginia

Jennifer See is a Faculty Fellow in the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

See's dissertation examined American diplomacy at the origins of the Cold War. It explored a brief two-year period, beginning in summer 1945. Fluidity and contingency characterized these months that marked the end of one world conflict and the beginnings of another. By the end of these two years, in relations with the Soviet Union, once ally against Germany and now bitter rival, containment had replaced collaboration in the American policy lexicon. She discussed three main threads that were apparent through her studies: the connection between American domestic politics and foreign policy decisions; the international context of U.S. policy; and the importance of ideology in defining the Cold War world for decision-makers.

McGee Young - Political Science, Syracuse University

Project: Therapy and Poverty: Private Social Service in the Area of Public Welfare

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McGee Young is Head of Product at Open Energy Efficiency.

Previously, Young taught in American politics with a specialty in political organizations and public policy at Marquette University. He is also the Founder and CEO of MeterHero, a software platform for tracking water and energy data. He was a winner of the Midwest Social Innovation Prize, a finalist in the Clean Energy Challenge, and his company was selected for the inaugural class of the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator. Prior to MeterHero, Young founded H2Oscore, a web-based portal for water utilities to help promote conservation. He previously served as the Faculty Entrepreneur Fellow in the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of Business. In 2014, he was named as one of Milwaukee's "40 under 40" by the Milwaukee Business Journal. 

Young's dissertation examined the development of the small business and environmental lobbies through the prism of 20th century American political development. He analyzed the relationship between the strategies and tactics of interest groups and the structure of political opportunities. Young additionally argued that political constraints placed on groups by preceding institutional and political configurations, together with the relationship between groups and political parties as well as groups' own internal organizational struggles, shape the capacity for groups to influence the political process.

Selected Recent Publications

"From Conservation to Environment: The Sierra Club and the Organizational Politics of Change.Studies in American Political Development 22, no. 2 (2008): 183-203.

"The Political Roots of Small Business Identity.Polity 40, no. 2 (2008): 436-463.

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