The Gardner Fellowship requires an independent research project with a faculty mentor in the spring semester. The fellowship year ends in an annual Policy Conference during the reading days in May. We have breakfast and lunch together and the Fellows generate poster presentations to summarize their research for fellows, alumni, faculty mentors, family, and other friends of the Gardner program.

“Future-Proofing Our Cities” Assessing Current Methods to Equitably Promote Sustainability in Urban America

Fellow: Shaunak Kale, Finance, Political Science
Advisor: Kevon Rhiney
Sustainability is a concept that is thrown around often in the modern era without much specificity on what can be done to truly achieve this goal. This is especially the case in developed nations like the United States, who in many ways disproportionately contribute to the overall problem of climate change on a global level. In an increasingly urbanized world, urban population centers present complicated relationships between human beings and the environment that affect millions of people on a... Read More

“To Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds”: Slavery, Founding Moments, and Racial Reckoning in the United States & Brazil

Fellow: Amanda Chen, Political Science
Advisor: Lisa L. Miller
In 2020, Black Lives Matter and other groups brought about another racial reckoning in the United States and across the world. Even a cursory glance at United States history reveals a cyclical nature to racial confrontation, with progress always met with backlash. Why does racial progress follow this cyclic pattern in the United States? Drawing on a comparative case study between the United States and Brazil, this paper uses an historical institutionalist framework to analyze the distinctive... Read More

Access to Reproductive Justice through the Indian Health Service:  Contraceptives and Colonialism

Fellow: Kathryn Lee, Political Science, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Advisor: Cynthia Daniels
The Indian Health Service (IHS)–a federal agency obligated by treaty to provide healthcare to Indigenous people in the US–has a history of colonialist practices and reproductive abuse that is continued by its promotion of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), denying Indigenous patients fully informed consent and, as a result, access to reproductive justice. I analyzed the IHS “2021 Formulary Brief: LARC” and IHS “2016 Formulary Brief: Contraception” and compared the directives given... Read More

An Examination of the Impacts of Police Presence in Rural K-12 Schools on Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Fellow: Kavyasree Chigurupati, Political Science, Public Policy
Advisor: Ben Justice
This paper aims to research the role that the factors of race and socioeconomic status play in the interactions that rural K-12 students have with school resource officers within the education system. This paper will cover an overview of the history of urban and rural school resource officers and school-based crime policies in America. It will examine the differences between police work and training in urban and rural communities. Then, it will assess the impacts of school resource officers... Read More

Anti-Muslim Sentiment: The Czech Republic and India

Fellow: Nimah Bhura
Political leaders’ use of rhetoric, in the aftermath of a critical point, against specific minority groups drives a wedge between those groups and the majority population. A careful analysis of the effects of such rhetoric provides insights in understanding the motivating factors and effects of the resulting division, which can be applied to deconstruct the emergence and durability of anti-minority sentiment. First, I will focus on the definition of a critical point and its relation to... Read More

Assessing the Effects of Insurance from the ACA on Primary Health Outcomes in the United States

Fellow: Ayaan Memon, Cellular Biology, Neuroscience
Advisor: Hillary Samples
The Affordable Care Act has reportedly helped to bring increased rates of insurance to low-income populations and provide more affordable insurance options to those struggling to afford it. Primarily, this is achieved through funding state programs to support the health of low-income communities, expanding pre-existing Medicaid eligibility to give more direct federal aid to low-income families, and through availing those ineligible for Medicaid with discounted rates for private health... Read More

Ayodhya Temple Construction and Religious Relations in India: A Computational Perspective

Fellow: Archi Parekh, Computer Science
Advisor: Thomas Davidson
Conversations on social media can cover a variety of sensitive topics, including religious relations. Nowadays, discourse on social media gives an intimate view of what everyone from politicians to ordinary people think about the state of religious relations in diverse democracies like India. The algorithms behind social media platforms also pave a path for conversations to turn dangerous and hateful. The Supreme Court ruling and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ayodhya temple sparked... Read More

Bots, Borders, and Beyond: An Analysis of Automated Decision-Making Technologies in Migration Policy and Border Management

Fellow: Nidhi Salian, Cognitive Science, Economics
Advisor: Ellen Goodman
In the past few decades, there has been an embrace of “smart borders” within immigration systems where the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other related technologies for use in shaping migration policy and border management can be seen as a socio-technological problem at the intersection of state power, technological affordances, and human rights. Focusing specifically on Automated Decision-Making (ADM) systems in the United States and the European Union,... Read More

Charter Schools, School Choice, and the Students of Color Caught in Between

Fellow: Neha Saju
Charter schools are publicly financed but independently managed educational institutions. Since the adoption of the first charter school law in Minnesota in 1991, they have received considerable attention. However, since the administration of Donald J. Trump, and the appointment of his then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the political tide surrounding charter schools has begun to shift. Understanding the charter school system in the United States, and analyzing the way that it impacts... Read More

Communalism and the Census: The Role of Demographic Changes in the 1948 Hyderabad Riots

Fellow: Sreeja Pavuluri, History, Political Science
Advisor: Julia Stevens
In September 1948, the newly independent republic of India annexed the princely state of Hyderabad, through the “police action” dubbed Operation Polo, which resulted in massive violence on communal lines. A government investigation – the Sunderlal Committee Report – estimated a death toll between thirty to forty thousand, while others claim even higher numbers. Through both a statistical analysis of the 1931, 1941, and 1951 censuses of the Hyderabad state, and a qualitative analysis of the... Read More

Comparative Analysis of COVID-19 response in Germany and the United States

Fellow: Hamzah Shaikh
The United States and Germany are two high income nations with strong healthcare systems that differed quite significantly in pandemic outcomes. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to March 1rst, 2021, The United States recorded nearly three times as many COVID cases per capita than Germany and nearly two times as many COVID deaths per capita. In my comparative analysis between the two countries, I examine differences in health demographics, healthcare delivery, mask mandates, testing... Read More

Compensatory Internet use in Minorities and Socially Distant Group

Fellow: Duncan Wood, Cognitive Science, Economics
Advisor: Advisor: Steven Stich, Philosophy
I analyze the effect of being different from the average person on internet usage in the US, predicting that individuals who feel more different will use the internet more. Specifically, I examine the role of minority membership and the social distance between minority and majority groups. Overall, I find mixed results for a variety of minority types that generally affirm my hypothesis when controlling for many confounding factors such as education, neighborhood density, and income. These results... Read More

Curtailing Religious Liberties Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic from Indian High Courts

Fellow: Samarth Thakker
This project seeks to understand how government restrictions imposed during COVID-19- and more specifically judicial involvement of the Indian High Courts- impacted religious liberties in India. For this study I analyzed a number of judgements made by the courts that demonstrate how judicial authorities interpret the Government of India’s response to COVID-19 with respect to religious freedoms, how the courts influenced religious practices, and where the courts stand regarding the... Read More

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover: Understanding Contested Literature in Texas School Districts

Fellow: Charis Shin, English, Management
Advisor: Richard Miller
Recent years have seen an uptick in challenged books in public school curriculums and libraries, with school districts across the nation facing concerns from parents and legislators alike. The American Library Association has tracked attempted book bans in states from Utah to New Jersey, and notably, in October 2021, Texas State Representative Matt Krause recommended over eight hundred titles for review statewide because of their treatment of race, gender, sexuality, and more. Given that... Read More

Early Withdrawal from Extended Pandemic Unemployment Insurance and its Effect on Labor Market Outcomes

Fellow: Gabriel Garcia, Political Science, Economics
Advisor: Jennifer Hunt
Last summer, various concerns about labor shortages, reportedly due to extended pandemic unemployment insurance programs under the American Rescue Plan, caused Republican governors in 18 states to withdraw early in June from the unemployment insurance programs, which were set to expire in September. This paper aims to research the labor market outcomes of states that withdrew early and how they compare to the labor market outcomes of states that retained the programs until their expiration... Read More

Gendered Household Dynamic Amongst Refugees

Fellow: Amna Ahmed
The Syrian refugee crisis has become a critical site of research for migration and displacement scholars, yet the effects of gendered experiences of displacement must be expanded upon. Drawing from the experiences of Syrian refugees in Jordan, this paper explores how gendered household relationships are destabilized when refugee women represent the head of the household. The resulting analysis highlights how institutional and gendered hierarchies change for refugees based on their... Read More

Inequality and Other Factors Influencing County Level Covid-19 Deaths in America

Fellow: Niklas Bloom, Economics, Mathematics, Computer Science
Advisor: Anne Piehl
This paper seeks to find a relationship between county-level covid deaths and inequality. The unique dataset consisted of panel data with 24-month observations for several economic and demographic variables. This dataset was collapsed to perform a cross sectional fixed effects regression for the year 2020 and 2021. The regression analysis of the Covid-19 vaccine which was introduced at the beginning of 2021. By performing a cross-county analysis on 2,811 counties, this paper found a... Read More

Just Can’t Debt Enough: Monetary Sanctions and Criminal Justice Reform

Fellow: Marc Younker
This project examines the role of monetary sanctions in equity-centered criminal justice reform. Monetary sanctions have long been a critical part of the United States’ criminal justice system but have only recently been under the academic and social microscope to see how they affect individuals of different demographics. With social movements and popular culture bringing necessary attention to reforming practices of injustice in the court system—such as upending disparities in criminal... Read More

Nationalization and Partisan Rhetoric in New Jersey Gubernatorial Debates

Fellow: Patrick Song, History, Political Science
Advisor: Katherine McCabe
This paper examines the role of nationalization and partisan rhetoric in New Jersey gubernatorial debates from 1981 to 2021. This paper looks at the contrasting elections analysis of New Jersey gubernatorial campaigns and the decades-long trend of nationalization in state politics and campaigns. I argue that state campaign rhetoric has become increasingly partisan as a result of nationalization. This paper conducts a hybrid qualitative and quantitative analysis of New Jersey gubernatorial... Read More

Nativism and Immigrant Criminalization in the News: An American Tradition

Fellow: Andreas Huey, Economics, Political Science
Advisor: Shantee Rosado
Given the recent increase in nativist sentiment and white supremacist violence, particularly during the rise of former President Donald Trump, this research sought to explore this trend by looking at the US during a period of similarly high migration. Specifically, this research sought to explore how non-white immigrants are discursively framed in U.S. news articles during periods of high migration. Further, we wanted to explore what impact these news discourses on immigrants had on members of... Read More

Poetic Politics/Political Poetry: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Poetry and the Event of Radicalism

Fellow: Richard Suta, English
Advisor: Colin Jager
This project looks at Percy Bysshe Shelley's poetry against the backdrop of radical politics in a post-Napoleon, dawn-of-industrialization, Great Britain. Starting with an overview of Shelley’s immediate reception, the paper examines the impact of copyright and libel laws, while also looking at the culture of reviews and pirated editions of the poetry. All of these issues bring the politics of language into light. Tracing this role of language further, the paper then analyzes Shelley’s... Read More

Representation through With How Representative Omar and Talib Construct Muslim Identity Online

Fellow: Ameena Qobrtay
Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Media tropes against Muslim women limit Muslim women to being victims, terrorists, and un-Patriotic, denying Muslim women’s agencies. In my paper, I explore how Omar and Tlaib forge a new construction of Muslim identity by analyzing tweets during the time period of Jan 6 - Feb 6. My analysis looks at how these women use humor, break through social politeness, and are unafraid to show their... Read More

The Effect of Perceived Polarization on Voter Turnout

Fellow: Akansha Khurana
This investigation studied the question: can perceived polarization be maximized to elicit an optimal level of voter turnout? Polarization is defined as the extent to which the ideologies between parties and their members differ from each other. A certain level of polarization is not only inevitable but is also encouraged because it has positive effects on democracy, including fostering political participation, simplifying the voting process, and thus encouraging individuals to vote. However,... Read More

The Prosecutorial Discretion of Environmental Crime

Fellow: Sunzida Ahmed
Prosecutorial discretion has historically been the subject of acute scrutiny for both its breadth and unfettered authority in the criminal justice system. In the area of environmental law, this discretion is especially impactful given that the environmental regulatory system does little to distinguish between civil and criminal enforcement. Considering these concerns surrounding broad discretion and the vague regulatory system, this research intends to contextualize how environmental... Read More

The State of Our Union: Pro and Anti-Statist Presidential Rhetoric, 1932-2020

Fellow: Nikhil Sadaranganey
The Reagan administration is widely acknowledged as bringing about the official end of the New Deal Era and starting an anti-government movement in the United States. This generally accepted claim is a simplification of the ever-competing pro- and anti-statism ideologies that exist in very clear opposition to one another in the United States. Statism is the belief in the authority of the state, and those that identify as pro-state would advocate for the involvement of the state in social and... Read More

Understanding Price Transparency as Healthcare Pricing Reform

Fellow: Aparna Ragupathi
Price transparency as pricing reform in a fee-for-service healthcare system aims to empower consumers by providing cost information so that they can shop for low cost, high value care and drive providers to lower healthcare prices through free market competition. Price transparency was codified as the Transparency in Coverage federal rule in 2020 after a lengthy public comment period that collected feedback from stakeholders across the provider, payer, administrative, and patient populations... Read More

Vertical Farming and US Agriculture Climate Resilience

Fellow: Madison Roveda
Climate change is causing and will continue to cause extreme and unpredictable weather events that will threaten the agricultural industry and therefore the global food supply. Conventional agricultural practices are at the will of the climate, and do not provide any resilience to environmental changes. For the agricultural industry to become sustainable in the face of climate change, it will need to utilize practices that aid in climate resilience. An alternative practice, vertical farming,... Read More

Virtual Realities: Intersectional and Online Violence Against Women in Politics

Fellow: Cecilia Ritacco
Violence against women in politics is a concept that draws from political violence and gender- based violence literature, addresses their convergence, and posits that violence against women in politics represents a frequently occurring but underexplored phenomenon that may depress women’s political representation. The small but growing collection of violence against women in politics literature acknowledges that factors like race and ethnicity, as well as age and political ideology, may... Read More