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

Nicole Kazee - Political Science, Yale University

Project: Wal-Mart Welfare?: The Role of Low-Wage Employers in American Antipoverty Policy

Kazee photo

Nicole Kazee is Director of Health Policy and Programs for the Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kazee monitors federal, state, and local health policy changes that impact the university’s clinical operations; analyzes and communicates to internal and external audiences their potential impacts; and provides strategic guidance for university leadership on how policy affects operations, revenue streams, and other aspects of health system practice. She also provides programmatic leadership for initiatives related to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, including building care coordination models, developing a community health assessment, and applying for federal and state grants and contracts. 

Kazee's dissertation explored how antipoverty programs have increasingly helped low-income workers and their families. This change expanded the relevant interest group community to include employers and their organizations, which have a new stake in the type and generosity of government policies that are used to support the poor. Second, policymaking authority has devolved to the states, which increasingly make decisions about which policies to enact and who will be eligible for them – and vary widely in these choices. This project asked why some states offer greater work support than others, and why particular policies are chosen over the alternatives. Most importantly, the project emphasized the role of employers in policy choices, determining the conditions under which the business community will shape antipoverty policies and the nature of its influence.

To answer these questions, her dissertation created an original scale of Work Support in all 50 states, looking primarily at three very different policy areas: Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, state minimum wages, and state earned income tax credits. A quantitative analysis considered a wide range of variables that could potentially explain these state policy outcomes, and identified broad patterns across states. Finally, three states are studied in depth through media analyses, the examination of government documents, and, most importantly, numerous personal interviews. These case studies captured the more subtle, contextual elements of policymaking that ultimately shape state outcomes.

Selected Recent Publications

"Tax Can Help Workers, Employers." The State, May 7, 2008.


Nicole Mellow - Political Science, University of Texas, Austin

Project: Rising Partisanship: A Study of the Regional Dimensions of Conflict in the Post-War House of Representatives

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Nicole Mellow is Associate Professor of Political Science at Williams College.

Her research interests are in American political development and she is currently at work on a book entitled Legacies of Loss in American Politics with Jeffrey Tulis (Princeton, forthcoming). She is also working on a project on national identity and state building at the beginning of the twentieth century, tentatively titled, How White Ethnics Got Themselves a New Deal: Nation Building and the Interventionist State, 1900 to 1940

Mellow's dissertation, "Rising Partisanship: A Study of the Regional Dimensions of Conflict in the Post-War House of Representatives," studied American political parties in the post-World War II era. She argued that the resurgence of congressional party conflict in recent decades after years of decreasing conflict, and the rise in partisanship since the 1970s, was in part the result of a regional restructuring of the party system, one in which the geographical bases of the two major parties shifted. Tensions within the New Deal party system contributed to the development of new regional orientations within the parties and this led to greater conflict between them. Mellow's research combined aggregate data analysis with historical case studies of conflict in the policy areas of trade, welfare, and abortion.

Selected Recent Publications

The State of Disunion: Regional Sources of Modern American Partisanship (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).

The Anti-Federal Appropriation.” with Jeffrey Tulis, American Political Thought 3, no. 1 (Spring 2014).

How the Democrats Rejuvenated Their Coalition.” in Michael Nelson, ed., The Elections of 2012 (Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2013).

Foreign Policy, Bipartisanship, and the Paradox of Post-September 11 America.” with Peter Trubowitz, International Politics 48, no.2-3 (2011): 164-187.


Mary Christina Michelmore - History, University of Michigan

Project: With the First Penny Paid: Welfare Reform, Tax Policy and Political Change, 1960–1980

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Molly Michelmore is Associate Professor of History at Washington and Lee University.

Michelmore's research interests lie in 20th century American politics, and specifically in the relationship between fiscal policy, the politics of taxing and spending, and content of post-New Deal liberalism. She explored these concepts in her first book Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Limits of American Liberalism.

Michelmore's dissertation placed the "Reagan Revolution" in historical context by studying the politics of welfare reform and tax policy between 1960 and 1980. Ronald Reagan's 1980 election represented the culmination of a decade-old re-evaluation of national political priorities, the result of which was a political settlement centrally concerned with the costs of the liberal state.

Her dissertation explores how and why "welfare" grew from a policy problem of interest to only a small group of experts into an issue of national political importance, and examines the era's larger political, economic and social changes. Examining social and fiscal policies considered or enacted between 1967 and 1980, Michelmore's dissertation analyzed the process by which taxes and welfare became two sides of the same coin and were politicized to an unprecedented extent in the 1970s. Specifically, she argued that both welfare and taxes became important weapons in the arsenal of the conservative attack on the state and its reification of the market, that the politics and policies of welfare reform played a significant role in the rise of conservatism and the repudiation of the postwar liberal paradigm.

Selected Recent Publications

"Why the income tax is worth celebrating." Washington Post Opinions, February 17, 2013.

Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Limits of American Liberalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

"'What Have You Done for Me Lately?': The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Search for a New Majority, 1968-1980." Journal of Policy History 24, no. 4 (October 2012): 709-740.

"Don't Just Blame the Republicans for the No-Tax Pledge -- Democrats are Allergic to Tax Hikes, Too." History News Network, July 9, 2012.


Andrew Morris - History, University of Virginia

Project: Charity, Therapy, and Poverty: Private Social Service in the Era of Public Welfare

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Andrew Morris is Associate Professor of History at Union College.

Morris teaches 20th century American political history. 

Morris's dissertation examined how voluntary social welfare agencies came to terms with the expansion of the public welfare state from the 1930s through the 1960s. By examining a group of private family welfare agencies, Morris traced how these charities reinvented themselves from dispensers of material aid in the 1910s and 1920s to providers of therapeutic counseling services in the 1940s and 1950s. The Depression and World War II proved key turning points, demonstrating to private agencies the need for a relatively strong public welfare state to meet the basic needs of the poor, as well as the need for such agencies to clearly distinguish themselves both from their charitable past and from public welfare entities. By embracing a variety of counseling techniques rooted in the psychological training of their professional social workers, private family agencies helped build a therapeutic culture in the postwar United States, and decisively influenced the adoption of rehabilitative social work as an element of welfare reform in the early 1960s.


Katie Otis - History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Project: Everything Old is New Again: What Policymakers and Baby Boomers Can Learn from the History of Aging and Retirement

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Katie Otis is a visiting Lecturer in the History Department at the University of North Carolina.

Otis's dissertation explored the history of aging in mid-to-late 20th-century America through the lens of retirement life in Florida, a state long synonymous with shuffleboard and park benches. She explained that Social security and private pensions sparked the growth of mass retirement among the working and middle classes. On the whole, seniors are healthier and wealthier than ever before. Their growing numbers, moreover, captured the attention of politicians, policymakers, and advocacy groups who worked to improve the quality of later life. The need for dignified, cost-effective elder care remained woefully unfulfilled. Drawing on government documents, gerontological studies, popular retirement literature, and oral histories, Otis's work melded institutional and political history with the cultural and social experiences of aging in the postwar world to give voice to older Americans as they negotiated the promises and pitfalls of old age and retirement.


Susan Schantz - History, Brandeis University

Project: Work, Citizenship, and Welfare: The Institutionalization of the Work Ethic in Work Relief Policies from the New Deal to the Present

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In her dissertation, Schantz investigated the success and failure of work relief programs and, more specifically, the relationship between the work ethic and the American ideal of democratic citizenship. She examined case studies of work relief programs from three periods of economic change: the New Deal, the Great Society, and the contemporary scene. Schantz was awarded numerous teaching assistantships at Brandeis University and is the co-author of Best Practices Manual: Massachusetts and National Community Service Commission (1996).


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