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

Gwendoline Alphonso - Government, Cornell University

Project: Progressive & Traditional Family Orders: Parties, Ideologies, and the Development of Social Policy across the 20th Century

Alphonso photo

Gwendoline M. Alphonso is Assistant Professor of Politics at Fairfield University.

Alphonso is interested in the study of state-society relations, particularly the intersection of culture and morality with law and political development. Her primary research interests are two-fold: first those pertaining to American Politics: United States Congress, Political Parties, American Political Development, Gender and Politics, Politics of the Family, Social Policy; and second those relating to Law: Feminist Legal Theory, Family Law, Comparative Constitutional Law and Theories of Criminal Law and Punishment.

Alphonso's dissertation examined the origins and evolution of partisan family ideology and its effect on social policy through three periods in 20th century American political history – the Progressive Era (1900–1920), the postwar Period (1946–1960), and the Contemporary period (1980–2005). The overarching contention is that the family has been a central organizing principle of political development and the historical development of American social policy, a claim that has been largely overlooked in political and policy analysis. Through extensive inductive analysis of party platforms, congressional hearings, family bill sponsorship/co-sponsorship and roll call data in the House and Senate, she identified patterns in the development of partisan family ideologies, contending that there have been two competing family ideologies – the progressive and traditional – that have persisted across the past century. She explored the two family ideologies as part of broader family political orders, defined as "constellations of ideas, policies, institutions, and practices regarding the family that hang together and exhibit a coherence and predictability." The dissertation documented and explained the change and evolution of the progressive and traditional family orders, their partisan composition and attendant social policies. By inserting social policies into evolving family orders and unearthing elite interests, partisan dynamics, electoral family conditions, and family ideologies, the project hoped to account for why certain types of policy ideas, such as same-sex marriage, gain ascendance during certain periods while others decline.

Selected Recent Publications

"Resurgent Parenthood – Organic Domestic Ideals & the Southern Family Roots of Conservative Ascendancy, 1980-2005.Polity 48 (2016): 205-223. 

"From Need to Hope: The American Family & Poverty in Partisan Discourse." Journal of Policy History 27, no. 4 (Autumn 2015): 592-635.

Public & Private Order: Law, Race, Morality and the Antebellum Courts of Louisiana, 1830-1860.”  Journal of Southern Legal History 23 (2015): 117-160. 

Of Families or Individuals?Southern Child Workers & the Progressive Crusade for Child Labor Regulation, 1899-1920.” in James Marten (ed). Children and Youth during the Gilded Age and Progressive Period (New York: New York University Press, 2014).


Emily Brunner - History, University of Chicago

Project: Irish-American Nationalists and the Dilemmas of National Belonging

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Fellowship year: 2005

Mentor: Timothy Meagher, Catholic University of America

Emily Brunner is Senior Academic Advisor at the University of Iowa.

Her scholarly interests include American Progressive reform, Irish nationalism, and the problem of state power in the post-World War I era. She received the O'Shaughnessy Award for her research topic, "Irish American Nationalists and the Dilemma of National Allegiance: 1910–24" from the University of Chicago Department of History.

Brunner's dissertation examined how Irish nationalist leaders responded to changing ideas about citizenship and how they contributed to the debate about what it meant to be a member of a state and a nation. She began with an exploration of the conditions during this period that made it more difficult for Irish-Americans to claim to be both Irish and American. Next Brunner discussed the debate over the boundaries of legitimate dissent while examining the connections between Irish-American nationalism and the global feminist movement, analyzing ways in which Irish nationalist women employed global feminist networks to access and sway audiences that might otherwise have been hostile to their cause.

Selected Recent Publications

"Coaching pre-medical students towards professionalism." with Kate Karacay. Clearinghouse, 2013.


Rachel Moran - History, Penn State University

Project: Body Politic: Federal Policy-Making on American Physique, 1890–1965

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Rachel Louise Moran is Lecturer in History at the University of North Texas

Rachel recently completed a dual Ph.D. in History and Women’s Studies at the Pennsylvania State University in 2013, after which she was a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in the PSU history department. 

She is currently working on a book manuscript that explores how the United States government developed policies over time meant to quite literally ‘shape’ American citizens.  Moran explores federal nutrition and exercise policy, and consider the overlap of citizenship, policy, health, and weight. From the height-weight tables of the Children’s Bureau to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Moran argues that managing and molding American bodies has long been an interest of federal agencies.

In addition to the Miller Center Fellowship, Moran has also held a Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship. She has previously held the Crawford Family Fellowship in Ethical Inquiry and Cornell University’s Fellowship in the History of Home Economics.

Selected Recent Publications

Weighing in about Weight: Advisory Power in the Bureau of Home Economics.” in Remaking Home Economics: Resourcefulness and Innovation in Changing Times, ed. Sharon Y. Nikols and Gwen Kay (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2015)


Lorraine Gates Schuyler - History, University of Virginia

Project: The Weight of Their Votes: Southern Women and Politics in the 1920s

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Lorraine Gates Schuyler is the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President at the University of Richmond.

At Richmond, Schuyler is responsible for projects that span the divisions of the University, and she advises the president on policy decisions. Working with the President and the Vice Presidents, she manages a wide variety of planning efforts, helps lead the institutional budget process, and coordinates the work on the University's strategic plan. Before moving to the University of Richmond, Schuyler served as Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, where she also taught in the history department.

Schuyler earned her doctorate in history from the University of Virginia, with a primary focus on twentieth-century southern history. Her first book, The Weight of Their Votes: Southern Women and Political Leverage in the 1920s, was published in 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. That project focused on the effects of the Nineteenth Amendment in the South. In particular, The Weight of Their Votes explored the voter mobilization activities of black and white women in the South and the ways in which southern legislators responded to the policy demands of newly enfranchised women. In 2007 The Weight of Their Votes was named an Honor Book for non-fiction by the Library of Virginia Literary Awards and was awarded the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize for the best book in Southern women's history. Schuyler has presented her work in numerous public and scholarly forums, including the Virginia Festival of the Book and the Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Lecture Series.


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