The APSA Diversity Fellowship Program, formerly the Minority Fellowship Program, was established in 1969 as a fellowship competition to diversify the political science profession. DFP provides support to students from underrepresented backgrounds applying to, or in the early stages of, a PhD program in political science. The goal of the program is to increase the number of scholars from minoritized backgrounds in the discipline and ultimately the professoriate. APSA has once again awarded a new cycle to provide support for PhD students currently in their first or second year as of Spring 2023.
Irene Gerrish, a rising second year PhD student, was one of eighteen spring program recipients. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science at Hope College (cum laude). During her college career, Irene worked for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) as a tax intern and for U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM) as a state policy intern on issues pertaining to socioeconomic inequality. Before coming to WUSTL, Irene spent 3 years as a high school math and special education teacher in Chicago with Teach For America. While she was a teacher, she also worked as a policy fellow with Advance Illinois, an education non-profit dedicated to advancing policy research on educational equity in urban and low-income school districts. Her research interests have been largely formed by her teaching career, which has led her to complete research on urban education policy and the lasting impacts of U.S. slavery. Looking ahead, Irene plans to leverage her doctoral degree to teach, conduct research, and drive policy solutions that enhance educational outcomes for marginalized communities.