Announcing the Dwight D. Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship recipients for 2021-22

The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College provides a variety of national scholarships and fellowships for recipients to engage in dialogue with noted public servants and to pursue a study of public policy.

The following scholars have been awarded The Dwight D. Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship for the 2021-22 academic year. These recipients were selected from applicants at an advanced stage of their doctoral candidacies, preferably at the point of preparing their dissertations. Each Eisenhower/Roberts Fellow is awarded $10,000 to support the completion of their research. 

Alyssa Cole is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Kansas. Her dissertation is Professionalization of Black Medicine: Kansas City, 1900, in which she seeks to add to our understanding of the role African American physicians, nurses, activists, and their communities in the Greater Kansas City Area played in the creation of the Black medical profession during the early twentieth century. During the early twentieth century, newly graduated Black physicians moved from across the United States to the greater Kansas City region and founded hospitals dedicated to the care of Black populations in the area. This development of modernized hospitals became what she terms the Kansas City Black Hospital Movement, not dissimilar to the national Black Hospital Movement, which occurred during the 1920s. This micro-movement was initiated by Black physicians and supported by Black communities and other philanthropists in the area. Eventually, these physicians and their hospitals and training centers became exporters of medical knowledge to other Black physicians and students across the country.

Christopher Dictus is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Virginia. His dissertation is A Spy in the Fold: Buying Certainty Through Intelligence. From 2007 to 2018, the U.S. spent almost $900 billion on its intelligence community. In 2020 alone, the White House requested that more than $60 billion be spent on the National Intelligence Program. By comparison, the Department of Agriculture requested $19 billion and Commerce a little under $10 billion. In other words, the United States wants to spend more on the intelligence community than on the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and Labor combined. What does all that money buy? When the U.S. allocates funds for military equipment—for example, nuclear weapons or navy ships—the return on investment is clear. However, with intelligence community (IC) dollars, the gain is not as transparent. Dictus argues that investments in intelligence buy certainty; certainty about the intentions, capabilities, and resolve of both allies and adversaries. Using a mixed methods design with quantitative and qualitative components, Dictus works to show the impact of intelligence on foreign policy decision making. He seeks to show how IC products are different from other sources of information, and how that information influences conflict behavior. Using text as data techniques on the recently declassified Presidential Daily Briefs, he demonstrates just what the U.S. is buying through its investments in intelligence.

Ben Hammond is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Princeton University. His dissertation is Interbranch Bargaining and Discretionary Appropriations. The federal power of the purse is constitutionally vested in the legislative branch, yet Congress delegates agenda-setting power over the budget to the executive. In his dissertation, Hammond develops a theory of the annual appropriations process to explain Congress's continuing rationale for doing so. In the model, the President has more information than Congress about the implications of budgetary decisions. Congress may base its appropriation on either the presidential budget request or the previous year's appropriation, but movements away from either policy entail greater uncertainty about the ultimate policy outcome. The main result of the model is that, as policy becomes more complex, Congress is better off delegating, even though outcomes are increasingly biased toward those preferred by the President. The model identifies the political determinants of presidential budget requests and congressional appropriations, including the conditions under which legislators revise requests or, in some cases, strategically accommodate them. He tests predictions of the theory on a granular and comprehensive panel of discretionary appropriations. He finds that, contrary to the findings of the extant literature, legislators regularly accommodate presidential proposals and that congressional revisions are increasing in preference divergence and decreasing in bureaucratic uncertainty, all consistent with the theory's predictions.

Chika Okafor is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Harvard University. His dissertation is Prosecutor Politics: The Impact of Election Cycles on Criminal Sentencing in the Era of Rising Incarceration, in which he investigates how political incentives affect district attorney behavior. To do so, he has compiled one of the most comprehensive datasets on the political careers of district attorneys in office during the steepest rise in U.S. incarceration. Using quasi-experimental methods, the project finds causal evidence of the impact of election cycles on criminal sentencing outcomes and explores various mechanisms behind these findings.

Learn more about how the Eisenhower/Roberts Fellowship supports the study of the role of government in a free society, citizen public service, public policy, and improved understanding of America's role in world affairs.