Two second-year doctoral students in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan, LaGina Gause and Adrian Shin, were among the 2000 students in all disciplines and universities nationwide to win the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards. The selection was based on their outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as their potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of science and engineering. Considerable time and effort are required to produce a competitive application.

Gause received an honorable mention when she applied for the fellowship last year, and revised her application significantly with a particular emphasis on broader impacts.  “I followed the guidelines and made sure to include the broader impacts criterion into each part of the application. That's the major difference between my two applications: the broader impacts.”                                                                                                           

“My first attempt was unsuccessful last year,”
said Shin. “I didn't have a clear puzzle that could meet both the NSF’s Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts Criteria. In order to make my application more competitive, I asked awardees in the department for their statements and found an intellectually stimulating question with important implications for broader impacts.”

Gause’s “Student Performance and Zero Tolerance Disciplinary Policies” challenges the literature’s focus on the effects of zero tolerance disciplinary policies. There is little research which explores the policy’s original intent: the improvement of learning outcomes on non-disciplined students. Gause's research attempts to fill this void by analyzing the impact of zero tolerance policies on school-wide achievement levels. She was one of the six fellowship awardees in the field of public policy.

Shin’s “Mobility of Rights” project seeks to answer why some policy makers provide rights or benefits to migrants despite fierce opposition from nativists who can punish them during elections. Relying on the existing literature in international political economy, Shin argues that policy makers are pressured by firms to expand rights of migrants in order to maintain the labor supply during exchange rate shocks (depreciation) under which migrants tend to return to their home countries due to diminishing remittances. Shin was one of the seventeen fellowship awardees in the field of political science.

LaGina Gause is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Public Policy and Political Science. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Howard University in 2010. Adrian Shin is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science. He received his B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. Both are recipients of the Rackham Merit Fellowship and alums of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.