Spring 2016 at IGS

Jack Citrin
May 17, 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Greetings! It has been a busy and rewarding Spring here at the Institute of Governmental Studies.  As the semester comes to a close I’d like to take a moment to look back and share some highlights with you.

Of Note: IGS Achievements

IGS graduate students, alums and affiliated faculty continue to do impressive work. 

A study by grad student Josh Kalla and Stanford Professor (and Cal alum) David Broockman on the effectiveness of deep canvassing to change prejudicial attitudes received national attention. Originally published in Science, the study was covered in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, the Atlantic, This American Life, and elsewhere.

To better showcase IGS faculty, we have started a series of research profiles. Our thanks to Gabe Lenz, Eric Schickler and Amy Lerman for taking the time to share their work with us. Check back for more from our faculty as we continue to develop this feature. 

IGS Graduate Fellow Sam Trachtman co-authored a study in Health Affairs, which found that insurer competition is associated with lower premiums in federally run marketplaces. 

Working in partnership with the New American Leader’s Project, Graduate Fellow Christian Dyogi Phillips found that Hispanics and Asian Americans face barriers to elected office.  Phillips designed and fielded the survey that yielded these results and is using the data for her dissertation. 

IGS resident scholar Thomas Mann, formerly of Brookings, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post with Norman Ornstein on Republican dysfunction. 

Affiliated Faculty member Karen Chapple’s research on California’s tax policies and climate change was covered in the Sacramento Bee; her work on urban displacement has also been well received. 

Ann Joseph O’Connell, a member of the IGS Faculty Advisory Committee. won the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award, one of the University’s highest honors. 

Recent publications

The latest issue of the California Journal of Politics and Policy was published in March. The issue included articles on California’s top-two primary system, cultural diversity and the American university, and the integration of California’s climate change and fiscal goals. The journal is open-access and back issues can be found online. 

This spring,  the Berkeley Public Policy Press published Business at Berkeley: The History of the Haas School of Business by Sandra Epstein. Meticulously researched, the book traces the upward trajectory of the “College of Commerce” to the school we know today. 

Finally, the latest IGS Research Brief was released in December, 2015. Delving into the results of the Summer 2015 IGS Poll, findings show support for higher minimum wage and recreational marijuana legalization, but mixed results on Proposition 30 taxes. Previous research briefs can be found here.


We hosted a series of notable book talks throughout semester, beginning with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne’s discussion of Why the Right Went Wrong. We were pleased to feature UC Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen’s book Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court and the Distortion of American Elections and Princeton Political Scientist Chris Achen’s Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Berkeley’s own Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen discussed their latest work, Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy, moderated by Laura Tyson of HaasFinally, IGS Affiliates Steve and Susie Swatt, Jeff Raimundo and Rebecca LaVally had a lively discussion of their work Game Changers: Twelve Elections that Transformed California.

This year’s Matsui Lecture, “Global Threats Facing the Next President,” was given to a packed house by former Congresswomen Jane Harman. In conversation with IGS Associate Director Ethan Rarick, Harman spoke extensively about the successes and consequences of Obama’s foreign policy. For those who missed it, the lecture can be seen here. An expert on issues of national security Harman is currently Director, President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  As is tradition for the Matsui Lecturer, Congresswoman Harman also spoke to a class.  Said Rarick, “Congresswoman Harman’s experiences will give our students exposure to a lifetime of public service.”

The Annual Review of the Presidency is a long standing IGS tradition.  This year, Julia R. Azari (Marquette University), Lanhee J. Chen (Stanford), Thomas E. Mann (IGS) and Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times) discussed the final year of Obama’s term, his legacy and the presidential race. Panelists agreed that while voters may have expected too much of Obama, he has garnered significant policy achievements.  Their conversation can be seen here

We continue to welcome eminent speakers to IGS with the Harold Smith Defense and National Security Series and this spring was no different. Dr. Josef Joffe, publisher and editor of Die Zeit and a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogoli Institute for International Studies, spoke eloquently on The End of the “End of History” and the Return of Power Politics. We look forward to the next installment of this series in the fall. 

Student Awards and Grants

Each year IGS offers a number of student awards, which support the scholarship and recognize the leadership of Berkeley students. The awards also provide a stipend for these deserving students. 

Six undergraduate students were awarded the Percy Grant this year, in honor of U.S. Senator Charles H. Percy. Gyu Choi, Hanna Haddad, Tom Holub, Urvashi Malhotra, Kevin Reyes, and Alan Yan received funding to conduct research on a variety of projects from defense policy and computer science, to public safety and crime, to political attitudes and demographics.  Read more about these tremendous students and their research here.   

Along with the Percy grant, five graduate students were named Synar Research FellowsRachel Bernhard, Gabrielle Elul, Jake Grumbach, Aaron Hall and Brendan Shanahan were recognized with this year’s honors.  The Synar Fellowship, named for 8-term Congressman Michael Synar of Oklahoma, is awarded to distinguished graduate students writing their dissertations on American politics, including comparative research and provides funding for further dissertation research.  You can read more about these emerging scholars here.  

The Percy and Synar Grants are made possible by a generous donation from Bill and Patrice Brandt.  We extend our warm thanks to Bill and Patrice for their continued support of student research. 

Undergraduates Madison Chapman and Alexander Mabanta were recognized with the 2016 William K (Sandy) Muir, Jr. Leadership Award. The award, established in memory of Professor Sandy Muir, is given to two graduating seniors in the Political Science department with exemplary academic achievements and a demonstrated commitment to public service.  Both Madison and Alex are fine examples of scholar-leaders and we are excited to see what they do next. 

The year’s Martin Award, given to an outstanding graduate student working on American political history, went to Brendan Shanahan.  Brendan’s dissertation, entitled Making Modern American Citizenship: Aliens and Citizens in the United States, 1882-1952, argues that modern American citizenship emerged through a series of debates over political and employment rights, and alien registration laws. 

Michael Dougal, a PhD candidate in American politics and political methodology, was awarded the Howard Prize for exceptional work in the field of American political behavior. Michael’s dissertation develops methods of text-based machine learning to assess political coverage, and better understand the ability of the media to monitor elected officials on behalf of voters. 

The R. Kirk Underhill Graduate Fellowship was awarded to Samuel Garrett Zeitlin for his work on Anglo-American affairs. Samuel is a PhD candidate in Political Science; his research focuses on the political thought of Francis Bacon. 

Public Service Fellowships

IGS and Matsui Center fellowships allow students to participate in government and public service first hand.  This year we awarded 43 fellowships to students engaging in service-learning opportunities.

Elizabeth Householder and Gurchit Chatha were selected as Matsui Center Washington Fellows for Spring 2016. The fellowship provides a $2000 stipend, per student, to help defray the costs of spending a semester in Washington. Elizabeth is a fourth-year student majoring in in American Studies with an emphasis on Politics, Policy and Justice; she was placed at the Department of Education.  A senior majoring in Political Science, Gurchit was at Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management. Lydia Xia and Deena Younan were just named Fall 2016 Fellows - with the 2016 election they are sure to have exciting semesters in DC this fall!

The John Gardner Fellowship places three graduating seniors in governmental or nonprofit organizations that most closely fit their public sector interests, and provides a $30,000 stipend per student. This year’s fellows have a wide range of interests and a great deal of enthusiasm and ambition. Lernik Begian would like to deepen her understanding of the US legal system, with particular focus on criminal justice reform, women’s right and corporate tax reform. During the fellowship, she would like to join a federal agency to learn more about policy making. Cameron Silverberg hopes to build on his experiences in public service, particularly in the field of mental health policy.  After the fellowship he plans on attending law school. Courtney Tran enters the fellowship interested in refugee rights, women’s right and international affairs.  Her goal is to apply the study of international security to addressing the plight of displaced people, especially women. We look forward to seeing how the year unfolds for each Fellow. 

Each year, Cal-in-Sacramento Fellows work for eight weeks in Sacramento. They are placed in internships in the offices of Senate and Assembly members, the Governor, state agencies or nonprofit groups.  A record number of applications yielded 32 talented undergrads who will take to the Capitol this summer to participate in the University of California’s largest – and one of the nation’s most prestigious – campus-based public service internship programs. The Cal-in-Sacramento fellowship provides housing and a light rail pass for each participant, so that students can participate regardless of their financial background.

Six undergraduates were placed in Matsui Local Government FellowshipsMelody Gu, Araceli Hernandez, Elizabeth Householder, Matthew Lewis, Sonnie Beth Martinez and Dalia Nava will gain first hand municipal experience in California’s political and policy making communities this summer. These fellows receive a stipend of $2,000 to help with their living and transportation costs.

Want to hear more from these students first hand?  Check out our student blog IGS in the World for latest from our students in public service, out in the field. 

Looking to the Fall

We are looking forward to an exciting slate events this Fall – from lectures and book talks, to workshops and student activities – so stay tuned. This includes our Annual Salon Gala fundraiser, which will no doubt shed light on this unprecedented electoral season. 

We are able to accomplish such great things at IGS each semester thanks to our dedicated staff, enthusiastic faculty, engaged students – and supporters like you. Thank you for your continued engagement and participation in our activities and events. 

As always, visit igs.berkeley.edu for our latest events and more information.  


Jack Citrin
Heller Professor of Political Science
Director, Institute of Governmental Studies
University of California, Berkeley