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

Brent Cebul - History, University of Virginia

Project: The Rise of Antigovernment Governance: The Politics of Federal Economic Development and Local Business Mobilization, 1938–1994

Cebul photo

Brent Cebul is the Mellon Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond.

In 2014-2015, he was a Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Virginia in August 2014 and continues to serve as an Associate Fellow at UVa's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture where he is a project investigator for the Thriving Cities Project and serves as the associate director of the program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change. Cebul's current book project, Developmental State: Business, Poverty, and Economic Empowerment from the New Deal to the New Democrats, recenters the history of 20th-century liberalism by highlighting the recurring governing pattern of local-national, public-private partnerships begun in the New Deal.

Cebul’s dissertation was a social and political history of local business leaders’ perceptions of the federal government’s proper role in fostering community and economic development from the New Deal through the early 1990s. The project explored how business constituencies in the rural Sunbelt and deindustrializing Rustbelt created kindred public-private institutions that benefited from and sought to expand local, state, and federal developmental capacities. By illuminating the intertwined themes of localism and the evolution of fiscal federalism through the lens of the development policies of the New Deal, the Great Society, and Nixon and Reagan’s New Federalisms, the dissertation challenged assumptions about the decline of liberalism, the rise of conservatism, and business leaders’ embrace of neoliberal policy prescriptions. 


Christy Chapin - History, University of Virginia

Project: Ensuring America's Health: Publicly Constructing the Private Health Insurance Industry, 1945–1970

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Fellowship year: 2010

Mentor: Deborah Stone, Dartmouth College

Christy Chapin is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Her interests include political, business, and economic history as well as capitalism studies. Chapin has published articles in Studies in American Political Development and the Journal of Policy History. Her book, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Insurance System, was published by Cambridge University Press in summer 2015.  Professor Chapin is now at work on a new project entitled The U.S. Economy and the Emergence of Financial Capitalism.

Her dissertation explored how insurance companies became the primary financiers and coordinators of health care by evaluating how federal policy and debates interacted with two institutional levels: first, trade and professional associations and second, ground-level organizations such as individual firms and physician offices. She showed that by 1970, government policy had helped create an expensive, corporate model of health care. Cost problems were built into the system, because doctors behaved as semi-autonomous "managers" whose interests and pecuniary concerns diverged from those of the financiers – insurance companies. Chapin concluded that federal policy helped position insurance companies at the heart of a distinctive public-private system.


Merlin Chowkwanyun - History and Public Health, University of Pennsylvania

Project: The Dilemmas of 'Community Health': 1945-2000

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Merlin Chowkwanyun is Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and a member of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health.

Chowkwanyun’s work centers on three themes: the history of public health and health policy; racial inequality; and social movements. He is working on a book examining the development of post-WWII medical care and environmental health hazards in four regions (Los Angeles, Cleveland, Central Appalachia, and New York) and another about political unrest at medical schools and neighborhood health activism during the 1960s and 1970s. With Adolph Reed, he is writing an essay collection that questions the dominant theoretical assumptions and frames in disparities research (under contract with the University of California Press). With the Center for Public Integrity, he is part of a group of environmental health journalists and historians on a database featuring millions of previously unseen corporate documents that have emerged in recent environmental health lawsuits. He teaches courses on health advocacy and mixed methods.

Selected Recent Publications

"Q&A with Pau Gasol: The NBA All-Star's Health Advocacy Off-the-Court," Culture of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 20, 2015.

"Grassroots Isn't Always Best." Boston Review, February 23, 2015.

"We keep pledging to study the cause of riots like Ferguson’s. And we keep ignoring the lessons." The Washington Post, August 18, 2014.

"Training Historians and the Dual Degree." Chronicle of Higher Education, January 28, 2014.


Lori Fritz - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: Weaving the Safety Net, Strand by Strand: State Health Care Regimes

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Fellowship year: 2004

Mentor: Chris Howard, College of William & Mary

Lori Fritz is an analyst with the Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C.

Fritz's dissertation examined health care policy at the state level in light of previous work on the historical development of the "private welfare state" in health care. As with earlier studies focusing on national politics, she found that the fragmentation of the health care system into private and public sectors posed significant obstacles to policies intended to increase access to health care. However, state governments were being driven to find new ways to overcome this fragmentation and ensure better health care for their citizens, often through innovative institutional arrangements such as commissions and task forces that are outside the usual realm of politics. Fritz's study included case analyses of Florida and Pennsylvania – two states that took different approaches toward health system reform.


Nicole Kazee - Political Science, Yale University

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

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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.


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)


Dominique Tobbell - History of Sociology and Science, University of Pennsylvania

Project: Pharmaceutical Networks: The Political Economy of Drug Development in the United States, 1945–1980

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Dominique Tobbell is Assistant Professor in the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Tobbell is a historian of twentieth century medicine and biomedical science and technology with a particular interest in the history of pharmaceuticals, health policy, and academic medicine.

Tobbell's dissertation examined the drug industry's efforts to build political support for itself in the second half of the 20th century and defeat the more radical agendas of pharmaceutical reformers. Critical to this effort was the industry's strategy of offering to the medical and academic communities solutions to their shared problems. These problems included a growing manpower problem in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and the increasing authority of the FDA – and the government more generally – over medical practice. In this way, the current political economy of drug development, and in particular the political culture that sustains it, can be seen as having evolved through the mutually beneficial relations of industry and key sectors of the biomedical community.

Selected Recent Publications

"'Coming to Grips with the Nursing Question': The Politics of Nursing Education Reform in 1960s' America.Nursing History Review 22 (2014): 37-60. 

"Plow, Town, and Gown: The Politics of Family Practice in 1960s' America.Bulletin of the History of Medicine 87, no. 4 (2013).

Pills, Power, and Policy: The Struggle for Drug Reform in Cold War America and its Consequences (University of California Press, 2012).

"Pharmaceutical Politics and Regulatory Reform in Postwar America." in Kim Phillips-Fein and Julian E. Zelizer, eds. What's Good for Business: Business and American Politics since World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).


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