Spring 2017 Minority Fellowship Program Recipients

The following students were named as 2017-2018 APSA Minority Fellowship Program recipients during the spring 2017 application cycle. These fellows are currently first and second year PhD students in political science. Complete bios for each fellow appear below.

Cameryn Blackmore is a current doctoral student in the political science department at The University of Alabama. Her research interests include public policy and American politics. She obtained her masters of public administration from Southern University Baton Rouge, where she discovered her interest in the policymaking process. Before returning to pursue her doctorate, she worked in various capacities with disadvantaged youth, which motivated her to influence elementary and secondary education policy as a researcher. Cameryn has conducted research on the impact of judicial policymaking on the education field, which she presented at the 2016 Southern Political Science Annual Meeting. She intends to continue researching the effects of federal and state legislation on the elementary and secondary education fields. Cameryn enjoys fueling an interest in federal, state, and local government within her undergraduate students. She also works to assist with the implementation of educational initiatives in historically African American counties in Alabama. Cameryn looks forward to pursuing a career in academia.

Abigail Bowen is a second year PhD student at Georgia State University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and nonprofit leadership with a minor in servant leadership at LaGrange College, where she graduated summa cum laude. As an undergraduate, Bowen was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society and the Servant Scholars Program dedicated to service and leadership. She served as chapter treasurer for Alpha Omicron Pi, vice president of the Gender Equality Movement, and president of the LaGrange College Political Science Association. She received the Pi Sigma Alpha Outstanding Achievement award her senior year for her research and performance in the classroom. During her first year as a PhD student, Bowen was the inaugural recipient of the Research Fellowship in Experimental Methods of Research on Decision Making and Institutional Performance. She also served as first year representative for the political science graduate student association. Bowen is concentrating on American politics and research methods in her studies. She is particularly interested in the politics of identity and the intersection of race, gender and orientation in America. Bowen is currently a coauthor on a project regarding white attitudes toward immigration in the United States. She is focusing on gender politics for her master's non-thesis.

Margaret Brower is a PhD student studying American and comparative politics at the University of Chicago. She is also a University of Chicago Urban Fellow. She has an MA in higher education and public policy from the University of Michigan and a BA in political science and education from Colgate University. At the University of Chicago, as a graduate student she focuses on the political socialization of young people, especially youth of color, and the ways in which urban settings contextualize and shape this experience.

Jared Clemons is a PhD student at The George Washington University, where his research agenda largely rests in the realm of political socialization, psychology, voting behavior and black politics. Jared focuses primarily on how issue framing impacts voting behavior, informs the decision-making process among individuals and, to that end, how these decisions ultimately impact social policy. Jared is also interested in the role that racial identity plays throughout this process, given the salience of race throughout American history. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Jared received an MA in elections and campaign management from Fordham University and a BA in political science from Louisiana State University. Upon completion of the PhD, Jared hopes to further his research as an academic, while advocating for an increased focus on identity politics both in the field of political science and the social sciences at-large.

Cameron Cook is a PhD student at the University of Chicago, focusing on political theory and American politics. His primary research interests include the traditions of Black political thought, race and capitalism in the Atlantic world, and the intersection between politics, aesthetics and narrative. His master's thesis focused on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and how contemporary accounts of neoliberalism often elide the ongoing reproduction of racial hierarchy, particularly in their conception of state violence. His current work focuses on the 20th century reception of 18th and 19th century revolutions, primarily in the works of C.L.R. James and Hannah Arendt. Before attending the University of Chicago, he earned his BA at Pomona College, where he received the Lee Cameron McDonald Prize in Political Theory and the Stauffacher Thesis Prize in Religious Studies.

Olivia Cook, a native of Auburn, Alabama, is a two-time graduate of Auburn University with a BA in polymer and fiber engineering and an MA in public administration with a concentration in health administration. She is currently pursuing her PhD in public administration and public policy, also from Auburn University, with a focus on leadership and nonprofit governance. After Cook has completed her degree requirements, she plans to become a full-time faculty member at a research institution and contribute to scholarly work to the field.

Martin Davidson (RBSI 2016) is a PhD student in the department of political science at the University of Michigan. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition, he was a summer 2016 participant of the APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute. During his undergraduate career, he collaborated with Frank Baumgartner and his fellow UNC undergraduates on a project pertaining to the United States’ death penalty system. His current research focuses on how behavior within institutions influences institutional outcomes.

Cynthia Duncan is a second year doctoral student in the political science department at University in South Carolina. She is a student of comparative politics and public policy. Her research fields of interest include social movements, public policy, and political behavior among marginalized communities in East Asia, Latin America and the United States. She received a BA in political science and East Asian studies from Colgate University. Cynthia is passionate about contributing to the political knowledge of community groups as well as undergraduate students. She looks forward to developing a research agenda that will not only contribute to the discipline of political science, but also inform grassroots community leaders seeking to address social and political inequity in their communities.

Gabrielle Gray is a doctoral student at Howard University where she studies American government and Black politics. A native of Milwaukee, WI, Gabrielle earned a BA in political science and a MA in educational policy at Marquette University where she was also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Gabrielle’s research interests include race and politics, urban education, social justice and activism, and public opinion. She is also interested in quantitative research methods. Her research focuses on the evolution of racism within public institutions. She is particularly interested in the politics of protest and elite reactions to activism within the Black community. In addition to her graduate studies, Gabrielle has served as a graduate research assistant for the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, and as the Howard University Graduate Political Science Association president. After completing her doctorate, Gabrielle is eager to pursue a career in academia while also continuing her involvement in community outreach and social activism.

Kaneesha Johnson (RBSI 2015) is a PhD student in the department of government at Harvard University. In the summer of 2015 Johnson participated in the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute. She received her BA in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2016. Johnson's current research interests include inequality, social policy, identity politics, and the criminal justice system. She hopes to continue to teach in those areas as a professor. Johnson is a co-author of Deadly Justice (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2017). In the summer of 2017, Johnson will be teaching a class in Mississippi with Freedom Summer Collegiate on mass incarceration and the death penalty in the United States.

Gregory John Leslie, Jr., is a first year PhD student in the political science department at UCLA. He graduated from the honors program at NYU with a BA in international relations where he worked with human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Asia Initiatives, and the World Economic Forum. As an Institute for International Public Policy Fellow, Gregory spent his undergraduate summers at research institutes in Washington DC. He is a current member of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Alumni Network. Prior to graduate school, he worked as an organizer, campaign manager, and political consultant for candidates such as Barack Obama and Eric Garcetti. He is currently conducting research on the political attitudes of multiracial Americans and on the relationship between protesting and voting for blacks in the 2016 election.

Vivien Leung is a doctoral student in the political science department at UCLA. Her areas of interest are American politics, group behavior, race and ethnicity, and immigration with a focus on Asian Americans. She is currently working on a project entitled: “More Like Me: Asian American Group Identity and Context,” exploring how contextual demographics impact Asian American group identity and group political behavior. She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BA in political science and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha. Her previous work looks at how attitudes towards gender roles shaped views on politics. She received a MA in American government from American University. As a second-generation immigrant and first-generation college student, Vivien hopes to empower immigrant communities in politics and mentor other first-generation students of color.

Sean Luna McAdams is a PhD student in the politics department at Princeton University. He graduated magna cum laude and with honors from Brown University in 2014, where he studied political science and Caribbean and Latin American studies. His undergraduate thesis, which won the Lamport Prize in International Understanding and Tolerance and best thesis in political science, analyzed the consequences of the strategic adoption of a human rights framing by LGBT activists in Argentina. This project received support from the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and the Brown International Scholars Program. He is broadly interested in transnational social movements, international law, and judicial politics. Currently, he is working on two projects. One considers the influence of foreign funders on the LGBT movements in Argentina and Mexico. The other analyzes the potential role of judicial actors as domestic implementing agents for international human rights law on socio-economic rights. Before arriving to Princeton, he worked for two years as a researcher at Dejusticia, a Bogotá-based human rights advocacy organization/think tank.

Pamela Adaugo Nwakanma is a PhD candidate in the department of government at Harvard University. Her research predominantly investigates the intersection of women's empowerment and the political economy of development in Africa and other parts of the developing world. To study questions of sustainable development, social policy, and gender equity, Nwakanma works with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also studies colonial legacies, ethnicity, and conflict. Beyond her research, Nwakanma serves as a freshman dean’s office proctor and a mentor through the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program. Starting in her third year of doctoral studies, Nwakanma will be teaching courses on political economy and Africana studies. Prior to her doctoral studies, Nwakanma served as an Urban Education Fellow in New York City and worked as a translator for Vice. She received her BA in international studies/economics at the University of California, San Diego where she also conducted research as a Ronald McNair Scholar.

Maricruz Osorio graduated from Knox College, where she was a McNair Fellow and completed two research projects on the topics of race, social justice, and intergroup dialogue. She is currently a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside where she is a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow. Her current research agenda focuses on race, immigration, refugees, gender, and intersectional theory. She has recently presented her ongoing work at the Midwest Political Science Annual Meeting and at the Politics of Race, Immigration, and Ethnicity Consortium.

Shannon Parker graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a BA in East Asian studies and public policy & American institutions. Her senior thesis on higher education in China and the United States was awarded the Ying-Mao Kau Prize for best thesis in East Asian politics and peace. Shannon has received fellowship support from Fulbright-Hays and Princeton in Asia. She also served as a research associate in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. She is currently a PhD candidate in the government department at Harvard University. Shannon studies Chinese politics with a focus on political behavior, particularly with respect to education, privacy, and digital politics. She is passionate about innovative, inclusive teaching on these issues, as well as quantitative methods.

Evangel Penumaka is a PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles in the department of political science. Her research interests are in the fields of race and ethnic politics and American politics. She is broadly interested in political behavior, racial attitudes, and minority representation. Evangel is currently researching religious activity and political engagement among Asian Americans, and how engagement may vary among Asian American national origin groups. She earned a BA in political science and international studies with honors from the University of California, Irvine and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Evangel will be starting her second year as a graduate student in fall 2017.

Darry Powell-Young is a second year PhD student at Wayne State University. His concentrations are in urban politics, public policy, and public administration. His primary research focuses on urban K-12 education policy and developing policy alternatives that will increase minority enrollment and success in AP, IB, and college prep courses in our biggest urban school districts. He has previous degrees in public administration, international affairs, and political science. Darry is currently an adjunct instructor of urban politics and public policy at the University of Michigan. He also teaches at Wayne State University in the area of politics and urban education and race and public policy in the US. His future goal, once he completes his PhD, is to work for the US Department of Education as a policy strategist or at the White House as the director of domestic policy affairs.

Liana Eustacia Reyes-Reardon is a PhD student in political science at Rice University. Liana’s research focuses on international conflict, with an emphasis on third-party intervention, law, and natural resources. She combines legal expertise and advanced quantitative methods to understand conflict behavior. A former visiting research fellow at National Defense University, Liana holds an MA in politics from New York University, as well as an MA in global affairs and a JD from Florida International University. Liana has over ten years of professional experience in the private sector as a researcher and analyst in the national security, intelligence and investigations, and legal fields.

Rosalie Rubio is a PhD student at The George Washington University focusing in comparative politics and minoring in quantitative research methods. Prior to beginning her graduate studies in the fall of 2015, Rosalie graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in spring 2015. She was a Carolina Covenant Scholar and a research fellow in the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program. Her research interests revolve around terrorism, counter-terrorism, and the effects of the “war on terror” on the domestic politics of Arab states. She is specifically interested in exploring how security imperatives impact Arab regimes’ stability and their relations with their citizenries. In the summer of 2016, Rosalie received the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship to study Arabic in Jordan in order to further her research agenda. In addition to her scholarly endeavors, Rosalie aspires to be an educator and fierce advocate for students, particularly those from marginalized communities. She hopes to foster the diversification of the field by encouraging traditionally underrepresented students to pursue careers in academia and enrich the discipline through the plurality of their experiences and research interests.

Tye Rush is a doctoral student and Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow in the department of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a student of race, ethnicity, and politics, Tye studies racial attitudes, voter suppression, disenfranchisement, and political inequality in American politics. He holds a BA in political science/public service from the University of California, Riverside where he worked as an research assistant in the department of political science, served as a Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society, and participated in the UC Quarter in DC program where he interned for Cohen Research Group. As an undergraduate, he was honored with BLU Educational Foundations' College Exodus Project Scholarship, UCR's Academic Excellence Award (political science), and the Rosemary Schraer Memorial Scholarship. His current research at UCLA focuses on the factors that contribute to unequal access to both the ballot and to representation. He has been awarded a Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Award by UCLA’s graduate division in order to pursue his interests during the summer of 2017. Additionally, he has presented coauthored research at the Politics of Race, Immigration, and Ethnicity Consortium’s (PRIEC) 41st (UC Riverside) and 43rd (UC Irvine) meetings. Tye is eager to pursue a career in academia where he will conduct research, mentor, and teach at the university level.

Travis N. Taylor, MPS, is a second year PhD student and teaching assistant in the department of political science at the University of Kentucky. He is studying American political behavior and public policy. Travis’ primary research interests lie in campaigns, specifically in campaigns for non-federal offices. Within the realm of campaigns, Travis is interested in campaign effects, campaign communication, voter behavior, and candidate behavior. More broadly, he is interested in political consultancy, political psychology, and US elections. In addition to a robust research agenda, Travis is actively engaged in teaching. He previously held instructional positions at The George Washington University and New York University, where he taught applied politics. Travis is also interested in teaching courses on American political institutions, state and local government, campaigns and elections, and political parties. Prior to beginning his doctoral work, Travis earned an MA in political management from The George Washington University and a BA in political science from the University of Louisiana, and had a successful career as a campaign consultant.

Rachel Torres is a second year graduate student at the University of Iowa. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in political science in 2016, where she received the political science department’s Outstanding Undergraduate Award. She was a McNair Scholar and participated in the department's National Science Foundation sponsored research experience for undergraduates. She presented her work at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual meeting in the spring 2016. In 2017, she was awarded the Underrepresented Minority Pre-Comprehensive Mentored Summer Research Fellowship at the University of Iowa. Rachel's research interests focus on how factors of migration influence the political and social acculturation of Latinos in the United States