Specter Center Awards Prestigious Research Fellowships

Elizabeth Lane received the fellowship for “A Matter of Great Importance: Senator Preparation for Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings.”

The University’s Arlen Specter Center for Public Service has awarded four $5,000 fellowships to promote scholarship and research in an area supported by the Arlen Specter Collection.

“These fellowships will highlight and raise awareness of the significant impact the late senator’s work had on American politics, criminal justice, healthcare policy and culture, thereby advancing the profile of the Center and University,” said Evan Laine, director of the law and society program at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University).

Shanin Specter, prominent Philadelphia trial attorney and son of Arlen Specter, and his wife, Tracey, funded the fellowships. The original announcement called for two fellowships, but the Specters agreed to fund two more based on the high quality of submissions.

The recipients include:

  • Travis Douglas, MEd, doctor of management in strategic leadership student at Jefferson; “Efficacy of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act”—Douglas will explore the effectiveness of the emergency notifications and timely warnings provision of the law, which can have an immediate impact on campus safety when incidents such as active shootings, sexual assaults, fires and chemical spills occur. Specter sponsored and advocated strongly for the Clery Act, which was enacted in 1990.
  • Sean Kelly, PhD, professor of political science at California State University, Channel Islands; “Hot Buttons and Health: Arlen Specter and the Politics of Congressional Appropriations”—Kelly’s research will explore how Specter employed the appropriations process to promote his pro-choice policy position and increase funding for cutting‐edge health sciences research, as well as how he used appropriations to promote the interests of Pennsylvania.
  • Elizabeth Lane and Jessica Schoenherr, PhD students in political science at Michigan State University; “A Matter of Great Importance: Senator Preparation for Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings”—They will seek to understand how senators’ preparation for Supreme Court confirmation hearings influence their behavior during and after the hearings.
  • The fellowships will highlight the significant impact of Arlen Specters work.

    The fellowships will highlight the significant impact of Arlen Specter’s work.

    Menika Dirkson, PhD student in history at Temple University; “Racial Violence/Race Relations and the Philadelphia Police”—To address contemporary issues involving racial tensions between the police and the black community, she will study how Philadelphia city officials and community organizations sought to forge amiable relationships between the police and the black community during the 1970s. Dirkson will use papers associated with Specter’s tenure as Philadelphia district attorney, as well as other archival materials.

“In addition to publishing their research, the fellows will present their work at the Specter Center’s Roxboro House Roundtables and Knowledge Exchanges on the East Falls campus to bolster intellectual discourse and further advance the senator’s legacy,” said Karen Albert, coordinator of the Specter Center.


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