This Moment in Democracy: An Eagleton Update (Fall 2021)

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Fall 2021

This Moment in Democracy An Eagleton Update

What We Do Study Politics. Inspire engagement. Improve democracy. The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University—New Brunswick studies how American politics and government work and change, analyzes how the democracy might improve, and promotes political participation and civic engagement. The Institute explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice.

Core Values The Eagleton Institute of Politics is committed as an institution to the following: 1. Cultivating access and empowerment within the Institute and, by extension, our political system. We seek to identify and remove barriers to access and promote inclusion, which relies on our active and intentional efforts to remedy power inequities. 2. Affirming the humanity of all people irrespective of their historic marginalization, identity, or socioeconomic status, through our teaching, research, and programming. We center historically marginalized voices and oppose policies and practices that discriminate against anyone on the basis of these historic and present realities. 3. Engaging in critical examination of systems of power and governance, including the ideals for, and practice of, democracy. 4. Promoting open and respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives that abides by the values listed above and preserves the safety and well-being of all participants. 5. Fostering interest in, and promoting, a broad range of engagement in politics, communities, and public service, by all members of society, especially our students.


Table of Contents Introduction




Women and Politics Public Opinion American Governors Youth and Politics Community Protection & Resilience Recent Research Faculty Highlights

Academic Programs

Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program Eagleton-Graduate Fellowship Program Rutgers-Eagleton Washington Internship

Public Service

RU Voting Eagleton Science and Politics Workshop Eagleton Science and Politics Fellowship Public Programs Encouraging Aspiring Leaders

Eagleton Alumni Faculty and Alumni Spotlight: T. Missy Balmir

Our Supporters

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Introduction The past eighteen months have presented the Eagleton Institute of Politics with challenges unprecedented in its history. Long-time director Ruth B. Mandel, whose spirit continues to animate so much of what we do, passed away from cancer just as the COVID-19 lockdown was being imposed. The global pandemic prevented us from mourning together in person as a community; as the lockdown persisted beyond its original goal of one month to last through the summer, then through the fall semester, then through a complete academic year, it forced us to change the way we met, taught, and interacted. It did not, however, stop us from pursuing our mission: to study politics, inspire engagement, and improve democracy. Indeed, as you will read in this report, Eagleton has been undeterred by forces that have otherwise disrupted our lives and threatened our democracy. If anything, those forces have reinforced for us the importance of our work. The reckoning over persistent racial, ethnic, and class inequities that swept the nation in the summer of 2020 resulted, at Eagleton, in a process of self-reflection. That process has resulted in the staff and faculty’s adoption of the statement of Core Values that prefaces this report. Amid the chaos of the 2020 election campaign season, Eagleton hosted webinars on topics such as the best practices for voting by mail, and produced an interactive electoral map, in which clicking on any given state would display that state’s relevant voting laws. Eagleton’s experts commented regularly in national media about the implications of the presidential election. In the aftermath of the election, Eagleton assisted the Voting Protection Program in its efforts to counter false narratives about the reliability of election results, and produced a report detailing the social media extremist activity surrounding the January 6 violence at the Capitol. As you will read, every center at Eagleton met head-on the unique challenges of the past year-and-a-half, and our educational programs transitioned seemingly effortlessly to an online format. Now, as we re-introduce ourselves to the Rutgers campus this fall, we must not lose sight of the perils we still face. We must remember that our work is needed in this moment of democracy - now more than ever. The future of democracy is, for many, an open question. At Eagleton, we remain committed to answering that open question by renewing our commitment to study politics, inspire engagement, and improve democracy. I invite you to take the journey with us. Our work has never been more relevant; our commitment has never been stronger. Read about that work. Share that commitment. We believe the future of democracy is being shaped right here at Rutgers, right here at Eagleton, the place for politics at Rutgers. John J. Farmer, Jr. Director, Eagleton Institute of Politics University Professor of Law Director, Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience


Research Engaging in critical examination of systems of power, governance, and democracy

Explore the Research Archive

Collaborate with the Eagleton Faculty

For 65 years, Eagleton has been at the vanguard of research on practical politics, including the study of women and politics, community protection and resilience, youth engagement, American governors, public polling, and science and politics. Eagleton research and faculty are regularly quoted in national media including:


Eagleton experts were quoted and mentioned in the media more than 10,000 times during 2020.


Women and Politics

During the pandemic, Eagleton’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) expanded its research and scholarship in the study of women’s role in politics. This year, as CAWP celebrates its 50th anniversary, its work has never been more vital to improving our American democracy, from launching a first-of-its-kind public database analyzing women’s current and historical representation in the U.S. political system, to providing expert commentary on the 2020 presidential election, collaborating with university partners in more than 15 states for the 2021 NEW Leadership® Program, and awarding 18 research grants to scholars across the country studying the intersection of women and politics. CAWP scholars and researchers continue to publish groundbreaking commentary and analysis about women’s representation in government and politics, including the CAWP Women, Money, and Politics series and the Center’s post-election reports, which include Measuring Success (2020) and Unfinished Business (2018). Following the historic 2020 presidential election, in which a record CAWP awarded nearly $180,000 in research number of women ran for president in a major-party grants to 18 doctoral students, faculty, and primary and the first woman, and woman of color, was post graduates who are studying women elected vice president, CAWP created an interactive and politics. timeline, Tracking Gender in the 2020 Presidential Election, which examined key moments from the 2020 election through gender and intersectional lenses.


The Center also tracks women’s representation in multiple levels of government, including municipal office, state government, Congress, and the president’s cabinet. CAWP is helping other academic researchers and scholars by expanding research opportunities in the area of women and politics.


For nearly five decades, CAWP has been committed to promoting greater knowledge and understanding about the role of women in American politics, enhancing women’s influence in public life, and expanding the diversity of women in politics and government. CAWP is granting both small and large research grants to academic researchers and scholars from across the country to investigate and illuminate barriers and opportunities to increasing women’s political power in the United States. This group of scholars from around the country are working on timely projects that include including: Television News Media and Public Opinion towards Black Female Political Elites, Conceptualizing Caregiving and its Consequences for Attitudes and Engagement, and Addressing Women’s Safety to Vote. CAWP partnered with Higher Heights Leadership Fund to release the report, By the Numbers: Black Women in the 117th Congress. The report analyzes the historic number of Black women who have been elected to serve in the United States 117th Congress. The analysis shows that even with the record-breaking number of Black women in the new U.S. Congress, Black women continue to be underrepresented overall, and especially as U.S. Senate candidates and officeholders.

‘When you do not have policies in place that level the playing field and make it easier for people to participate, it naturally continues the institutionalization of the barriers... that people just can’t get over those hurdles,” CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak spoke with NPR.

“This is an enormously significant moment in the story of women’s participation in American politics and in the history of our country. That it happens during the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which expanded some women’s political participation while women like Kamala Harris remained excluded, is all the more symbolic... To women and girls of all walks of life, of every political persuasion, Harris’s ascension to the vice presidency broadens the horizons of the possible.” CAWP Director Debbie Walsh on the election of the first woman vice president.

“Some suburban Republican women may well return to the GOP once Trump leaves office in January. Their ‘shift away from the Republican Party was happening already due to the shift in the party’ toward Tea Party politics, Kelly Dittmar, the director of research at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, told me. Trump’s election just pushed them over the edge,” CAWP Scholar and Director of Research Kelly Dittmar spoke with The Atlantic.

“We will know that we have achieved a gender equal world when we are just as likely to have a man or a woman in any role and there is an assumption of their complete competence at the task at hand regardless of their gender.” CAWP Visiting Practitioner Kimberly Peeler-Allen spoke with Forbes.

Connect with CAWP. Join CAWP’s News & Notes email list and follow the Center on social media.


Public Opinion In the spirit of public service, the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP), home of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, has continued to serve the public by publishing timely poll results, giving New Jerseyans a voice in the democratic process, and innovating new methods.

Dr. Koning gives live 2020 presidential election analysis on Sky News.

Recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll results have covered government responses and policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, public opinion about the vaccine, and the upcoming elections. ECPIP also conducts a number of grant-related survey projects for private clients such as researchers, nonprofits, and public entities both inside and outside of New Jersey. As the oldest and one of the most respected universitybased state survey research centers in the United States, ECPIP partnered with other organizations and research centers to address challenges facing the polling industry and to find reliable methodological solutions that will lead the industry into a new era. Additionally, ECPIP is partnering with the Bloustein School, School of Public Affairs and Administration, as well as other organizations - inside and outside the university - to establish the State Policy Lab, which will identify critical issues facing the Garden State and analyze possible solutions. The New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education granted $1 million to Rutgers University to establish the lab.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Center, the polling industry as a whole is facing challenges threatening its integrity, public trust, and methodology of public opinion polls. Despite the challenges facing the industry, our nation is in need of public opinion data now more than ever. Representation is the foundation that holds up democratic institutions. Public opinion polls allow democratic citizens to have a voice in politics every day so that they can be better represented by our elected leaders,” said ECPIP Director Ashley Koning, who is also the president of the Pennsylvania/ New Jersey Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research. “At ECPIP, we are pushing the limits of the polling industry, finding innovative solutions that will help the industry continue to play a vital role in representative democracy. We are also training Rutgers students to be the future leaders of public opinion polling.”


“I think national-level politics is so intertwined with local- and state-level politics, it is really hard for any citizen of any state to separate the two.” ECPIP Director Ashley Koning spoke with

“’Partisanship is powerful,’ said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. ‘Partisans have become automatically opposed to anything associated with the opposing party, regardless of the policy or a politician’s performance, with the only real movement in ratings typically happening among independents.’”

“Rethinking how votes are analyzed requires undoing centuries of conditioning, says Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. ‘What is the modal group? What is the norm? What is the ideal within the political sphere?’ Koning asks. ‘The political sphere has always been synonymous with male and with masculinity, and I think it takes a lot of time to change, to overturn, and to evolve from something like that.’” ECPIP Director Ashley Koning spoke with Voice of America

Sinclair Broadcast interviewed ECPIP Director Ashley Koning

Recent ECPIP Clients Include

Recent Rutgers Collaborators Include

NJ Transit New Jersey Innovation Institute New Brunswick Tomorrow New Jersey Department of Health National Institute for Early Education Research Taft Communications Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute

New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development Center for State Health Policy The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Rutgers University Communications and Marketing Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies

Connect with ECPIP. Join ECPIP’s email list and follow the Center on social media.


American Governors As governors across the country used the powers of their office to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, experts from the Eagleton Center on the American Governor (ECAG) provided timely analysis and commentary about state by state responses - and lack of responses - to the crisis. This fall, ECAG scholars will provide expert analysis of the upcoming 2021 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia. While only two states are holding gubernatorial elections this year, they are often viewed as bellwether states that can help predict the public sentiment about the new presidential administration. ECAG experts are currently working on a new edited volume in partnership with Rutgers University Press exploring how governors from across the country have managed major crises that defined their tenure. Publication is set for 2022. The Center’s new website features public online video, document, and photo archives for New Jersey governors—preserving and learning from political history. Additionally, over the summer, the Center launched its new NJN Broadcast Library which provides historic footage of New Jersey politics from 1977-1990.

Rutgers scholars discuss NJ election results versus US national elections and candidate incumbency

Highlights from the NJN Broadcast Library


“‘Every governor, from DeSantis in Florida to Andrew Cuomo in New York, adopted policies that appeared to have been beneficial to their state and limit the impact of the virus and seemingly get it under some control...’ But COVID-19’s path proved unrelenting and unpredictable. ‘A state that seemed to be handling this well in the spring no longer is and now has a major crisis,’” said John Weingart, director of the Eagleton Center on the American Governor (ECAG). - Deseret News

“As far as Cuomo’s response to COVID, Dr. Kristoffer Shields, from the Eagleton Center on the American Governor at Rutgers, says it’s really a tale of two pandemics for the governor. However, a year and half is a long time and Shields says with a series of scandals and an ‘ill-timed’ book it made things complicated for Cuomo. Shields says Cuomo will be remembered for the early days but also for the things that happened towards the end.” Eagleton Professor and ECAG Historian Kristoffer shields spoke with News 12 New Jersey

“At the end of the day we are not just spectator citizens, but hopefully we are engaged citizens. That means doing what is necessary to protect our democracy... We have to come to terms with the fact that we have to be better stewards of the community as fellow Americans, fellow New Yorkers, and fellow human beings.” Eagleton Professor and Eagleton Center on the American Governor Senior Scholar Saladin Ambar participated on the Frontpage Forecast panel for PBS’s “Metro Focus.”

Connect with ECAG. Join ECAG’s email list and follow the Center on social media


Youth and Politics While students and faculty were separated by the pandemic, Eagleton’s Center for Youth Political Participation (CYPP) worked throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021 to connect with Rutgers students located across the country to help them register to vote, learn how to run for office, and get involved in the American political system. CYPP advances the political learning of young people and equips them to be active citizens and leaders. The 2020 Young Elected Leaders Project is a unique and dynamic research effort that gathers and shares quantitative and qualitative data on young adults serving in office. Every year, undergraduate Aresty research assistants play a pivotal role in this research. Lead Graduate Research Assistant Brittany Anlar published an op-ed in The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage Blog” about the research.

“[R]esearchers from the Young Elected Leaders Project conducted 12 one-hour interviews with young local and state officeholders… with the hopes of gaining a better sense of what motivates young people to run… and whether their age affects their style of governing. The early stages of research have revealed that… most young officeholders use social media to campaign in a variety of ways: live streams to bring voters into their everyday lives, direct messaging to connect with supporters, and posts to voice their views on issues that matter to their constituents.” CYPP Graduate Research Assistant Brittany Anlar wrote for The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage Blog“.

Young Elected Leaders Project

Elizabeth C. Matto, CYPP director and associate research professor, is the lead editor for the American Political Science Association (APSA) publication, Teaching Civic Engagement Globally (Fall 2021). A second forthcoming book by Dr. Matto, Keeping the Republic: Thinking, Talking, and Acting Like a Democratic Citizen, will be published by Rutgers University Press. The book will serve as a guide for building the essential skills of democracy.

Eagleton and APSA hosted an international virtual conversation with editors and contributors to the new book. Watch the video.


The Journal of Political Science Education (JPSE) published an article by Dr. Matto, ”Talking Politics: Creating a Course for Incoming Freshman on Political Discourse”. It shares experiences creating and piloting a Rutgers’ Byrne seminar course—with research support by the Rutgers University Research Council.

“If we’ve learned anything in this last week and in these last few years, it’s that American democracy is fragile. Benjamin Franklin, at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, famously described the resulting governmental system as ‘a republic, if you can keep it.’ It’s safe to say then that in order for American democracy to thrive and survive, a shared understanding not only of how it works but why it works the way it does is essential. In short, if we’re going to keep this republic, we need to understand it. To understand it, we must teach it.” The Star-Ledger published an op-ed written by Dr. Elizabeth C. Matto, Eagleton associate research professor and director of the Institute’s Center for Youth Political Participation.

Connect with CYPP. Join CYPP’s email list and follow the Center on social media.


Community Protection & Resilience

During the first few months of the pandemic, the Miller Center for Community Protection & Resilience, which is affiliated with Eagleton and Rutgers Law School, released a series of guidance to help faith-based communities prepare for their worships during the pandemic. As the year progressed, the Center partnered with the Network Contagion Research Institute to produce research and reports on the spread of online extremism: A Contagion of Institutional Distrust

Cyber Swarming, Memetic Warfare, and Viral Insurgency

Assessment of the Capitol Riots

COVID-19, Conspiracy, and Contagious Sedition

Antisemitic Disinformation

Weaponized Information Outbreak

QAnon Conspiracy

Mapping Mistrust

Network-Enabled Anarchy To amplify impact and awareness, the Miller Center leverages expertise from strategic partnerships in law enforcement, counter-terrorism, homeland security, community relations, and academia. The Center has worked with and consulted for: Jewish Communities, Brussels, Paris, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Chicago, Whitefish, Montana, International March of the Living (MOTL), Network Contagion Research Institute, State of New Jersey, Stockton University, and the Homeland Security Advisory Council. This summer, police training academy leaders from throughout the United States as well as from Canada and Sweden met with Rutgers experts at the inaugural convening of the Global Consortium for Police Academies and Law Enforcement Training. Sponsored by the Center on Policing at Rutgers University, Rutgers’ Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience, Rutgers Police, New Jersey State Police and the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, the Consortium is a new forum for police agencies to share best practices as they generate new knowledge about police training and practice in the 21st century. During the spring of 2021, the Miller Center for Community Protection & Resilience co-hosted “Medicine and Morality,” a virtual program to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, (Yom HaShoah), which began on the eve of April 7. Dr. Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, presented White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci with the first ever Moral Courage in Medicine Award to recognize his steady and reassuring leadership steering the nation through an uncertain time during the pandemic.


The event was also co-hosted by the International March of the Living, Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust, and Teva Pharmaceuticals, in cooperation with the USC Shoah Foundation.

Dr. Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, presented White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci with the first ever Moral Courage in Medicine Award.

“As it was 20 years ago, the American way is a better path forward for the world. But from the heartbreak of the pandemic, the wreckage of Jan. 6, the riots of Portland, Seattle and other cities, and the ruins of Afghanistan, we need to recover our core values first for ourselves.” The Hill published an op-ed written by Eagleton Director John J. Farmer, Jr.

“But as reform efforts in other parts of the country stall in the face of increased violence, the example of New Jersey teaches that reform can be accomplished in the most difficult of environments if the commitment to improving public safety is shared by the civilian and police leadership and by the public the serve. Reforms calibrated to address local needs and situations are the best way to assure that the increased violence seen in 2020 does not become a permanent feature of American life.” published an op-ed written by Eagleton Director John J. Farmer, Jr.

“The question of whether the American faith community is targeted by hatred and terror is not up for debate. Houses of Worship here remain targets...By educating lay leaders, community members, staff and administrators as well as teachers, and by more effectively working with our nations law enforcement community, we have the fundamentals to empower ourselves, developing a sense of ownership among our whole community. Working with state and local authorities’ moving the American public beyond ‘awareness’ to ‘engaged citizenry’ must be a primary goal for 2022. Paul Goldenberg, Senior Fellow for Eagleton’s Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience, testified at a hearing for the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of Paul S. Miller, Esq. and the Miller family. Connect with the Miller Center. Join the Miller Center’s email list.


Recent Faculty Research Highlights In his book, Reconsidering American Political Thought: A New Identity, Eagleton Professor Saladin Ambar fills “in the missing spaces left by traditional textbooks on American political thought... [and] uses race, gender, and ethnicity as a lens through which to engage ongoing debates on American values and intellectual traditions.” In his forthcoming book, Stars and Shadows: The Politics of Interracial Friendship from Jefferson to Obama, Professor Ambar explores the role public friendships across racial lines have played in shaping American democracy. Ambar’s narrative weaves the story of how friendship’s performance throughout America’s history has expanded the boundaries of who could be considered an intimate, a citizen, and ultimately, an equal. Publication is scheduled for 2022. The Eagleton Science and Politics Initiative launched the first publicly accessible national database of elected state legislators with scientific, engineering and healthcare training. Eagleton launched the new database a year after the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown. The database underscores the importance of developing stronger communication and a better understanding between scientists and elected officials. According to the data collected at Eagleton, 3 percent of state legislators nationwide are scientists, engineers or health-care professionals.

Scientists, Engineers, and Healthcare Professionals Serving in State Legislature

“As our nation continues to face the pandemic, climate change, renewable energy infrastructure and other science-based issues, it becomes apparent that the perspectives of scientists who hold elected office are invaluable,” said Anna Dulencin, Ph.D., senior program coordinator of the Eagleton Science and Politics Initiative.

Politics, Groups, and Identities published a new article, “Invisible forces: gender, race, and congressional staff,” about the intersectional identities of congressional staffers, written by Dr. Kelly Dittmar, the director of research for CAWP. “This project adopts theories of gendered and racialized professionalism to make visible and evaluate gender, race, and congressional staff as key and intersecting forces in the function and outcomes of legislative institutions,” wrote Dittmar. Political Research Quarterly published an article, “Do Women Seek ‘Women of Color’ for Public Office? Exploring Women’s Support for Electing Women of Color,” written by CAWP Senior Scholar Kira Sanbonmatsu and other Rutgers scholars Yalidy Matos and Stacey Greene. The authors “draw on theories of intersectionality and social identity to hypothesize about how different subgroups of women respond to the prospect of electing more WOC to Congress.”


Academic Programs Fostering interest in, and promoting, a broad range of engagement in politics, communities, and public service, by all members of society, especially our students

Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program Eagleton Undergraduate Associates learn about realworld politics from esteemed faculty and top political experts. Students from all three Rutgers campus locations are eligible to apply to this interdisciplinary certificate program for juniors interested in American politics, policy, government and advocacy. Through a unique course series and internship, Associates learn about political power and decision-making while honing leadership and professional skills. Associates gain experience in class and through a wide variety of external internships in politics, government, policy and advocacy. They learn about diverse political and policy concepts and differing perspectives from esteemed faculty and top experts in politics and government. Applications are accepted each fall. Learn more about how to apply.

Despite the pandemic, the Institute was able to create opportunities for students to meet top practitioners including: Former NJ legislator and U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs Caroline Casagrande

Reflections on the 2021 Experience “This is a unique class in many ways. You’re the best of the best at Rutgers. You really represent a cross-section of Rutgers. We haven’t had a lot to celebrate this year, but that makes tonight especially important because tonight we get to celebrate you.” Eagleton Director John J. Farmer, Jr “Learning how to navigate the ambiguity of politics has been incredibly eye-opening. Government is not as dichotomized as I previously thought. There are policies and decisions that I would agree with on both sides of the aisle. More than anything, the Undergraduate Associates program has taught me my role in American politics. After experimenting with and learning about many different industries involving politics, I have finally discovered what I am most interested in: constitutional rights, media, and civic engagement.”

“Thank you to my cohort for putting a smile on my face during a rough year for all of us. Thank you for teaching me about myself and my beliefs. Thank you for listening to me. A few years ago, I didn’t know that a hijab wearing woman could be in the political field. I had no role model to follow. I felt invisible and unheard. So having a group of individuals ready to listen, but also encouraging me to speak, is something that I never experienced before and will value forever.” Yasmine Hafez, Class of 2021 UA Representative

“The best thing about Eagleton was being able to be freely interested in politics and be intellectually challenged by your peers in a friendly way. The discussion and variety of perspectives, it is so rare to be around people you have a like interest with low stakes.” Oluwatobi Omotoso, Class of 2021 UA


Caleb Kuberiet, Class of 2021 UA Representative


Eagleton Graduate Fellowship Program The Eagleton Graduate Fellowship is an interdisciplinary program that allows graduate students from a variety of Rutgers graduate programs to explore how politics affect their fields of study. Students from Rutgers Camden, Newark and New Brunswick can participate in this oneyear interdisciplinary certificate program at any point during their graduate studies. Fellows develop in-depth knowledge about public affairs, government and American politics from experts in the field and gain valuable experience in a government internship. Throughout the year, Fellows experience an insiders’ vantage point and engage in respectful discussions about a wide range of diverse perspectives and lived experiences.

5,600+ Every year, Eagleton Graduate Fellows gain 5,600+ hours to experience through government internship placements.

Eagleton Graduate Fellows have completed semester-long internships at government offices such as:


Reflections on the 2021 Experience

“The Fellowship has helped me solidify that politics and government is where I want to be. I’m still figuring out where in that mix I want to go, but I know it’s here and that’s because of Eagleton”

“Never before has the need been so great for the next generation of leadership to understand the issues at hand and navigate the evolving landscape of our great nation. The Fellowship has best prepared me to answer that call.”

Sabrina Riddick, Eagleton Fellow Class of 2021 Lance Bean, Eagleton Fellow Class of 2021

“This Fellowship is not something merely to put on our resume. It’s not merely something to network with. It comes with a responsibility. It represents a call to action, understanding that lives are at stake and politics don’t simply exist within the halls of Congress or the halls of the State House. It exists in our everyday lives. Our lives are at stake and people are dying, people are living to see a brighter future. We hold the future in our hands... I look forward to shaping that future with all of you together.” Dr. Emahunn Raheem Ali Campbell, Eagleton Fellow Class of 2021

United States District Judge Esther Salas, Keynote Address to 2021 Eagleton Graduates

“It is said that great tragedies awaken all that is wondrous and beautiful about human beings. Whether it be a tragedy, setback, or a disappointment, the idea is to look at what has happened to you and say that this moment will not define me or my existence. When facing adversity, it is up to you to decide how you intend to fight the challenge...There will always be a variety of ways to tackle life’s challenges. The one thing that each of you will need is resilience. Resiliency is not easy. And when you are tested, those moments hurt. However, as you begin to understand the power you possess from within, you will develop a valuable skill that you will continue to tap into as you travel this thing called life.”

Despite the pandemic, the Institute was able to create opportunities for students to meet top practitioners including Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, among others

Welcome Eagleton Fellows Class of 2022 Eagleton welcomes 28 Rutgers graduate students to its 2022 cohort of the Eagleton Graduate Fellowship Program. Meet the Eagleton Fellows. Applications will open in early 2022. Learn more about how to apply.


Rutgers-Eagleton Washington Internship Award Program The Rutgers-Eagleton Washington Internship Award is a donor-supported award program which provides up to $5,000 in grants to outstanding Rutgers undergraduate students participating in summer internships in government or public service in Washington, D.C. The award gives students the opportunity to expand their networks and gain firsthand political experience in the nation’s capital without the financial burden of living in a new city for the summer.


The Rutgers-Eagleton Washington Internship Award provides up to $5,000 for Rutgers undergraduate students to pursue a summer internship in Washington, D.C.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutgers students did not have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. 2020 summer internship opportunities since all internships were either canceled or remote. During the summer of 2021, students are participating in a mix of hybrid and in-person Washington, D.C. internships. Eagleton is planning for a fully in person program for the summer of 2022. Apply for the Summer 2022 award. Support student internship experiences.

Iyanla Kollock, 2021 Award Recipient

Laura Esteban, 2021 Award Recipient

Nina Gohel, 2021 Award Recipient

“I was overjoyed to receive this award, which certainly alleviated some of the cost barriers associated with traveling to and interning in D.C.”

“The Rutgers-Eagleton Washington Internship Award granted me the chance to continue my internship without worrying about funds. It also increased my desire to do even better at my internship, to push beyond what is expected of me.”

“The Rutgers-Eagleton Washington Internship Award Program has not only provided me with resources that will sustain me throughout my time in D.C., but has also allowed me to connect with other Rutgers students in the city, who like me, are passionate about government and public service.”

Jonathan Bent, 2019 Award Recipient

Esder Chong, 2019 Award Recipient

Samuel Tuero, 2019 Award Recipient

“It feels surreal to intern in the nation’s capital and see how the federal agencies I learned about in class operate in practice. When I come back to Rutgers in the fall I will have a new perspective on modern American politics, which will help me analyze the problems presented to me in class.”

“Working at the Governor’s D.C. office has been a great experience and opportunity to hone skills, make connections, and expand my knowledge. I am excited to use these skills back at Rutgers— Newark and in New Jersey as I continue to advocate for access to higher education on behalf of non-traditional students.”

“The experience in D.C. has been eye-opening in regards to showing me what is possible and the various career paths I can take. The ability to meet and network with people from across the country with different backgrounds has provided me with a foundation of confidence.”


Public Service Connecting Rutgers with national political leaders and experts; Promoting open and respectful exchange of ideas and perspectives

RU Voting In response to voting system changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CYPP expanded its RU Voting Rutgers effort nationally with the conception of RU Voting National by creating the RU Voting National Website, featuring an interactive map that provides college students across the country with state by state voting and election information. CYPP expanded its RU Ready civic engagement initiative to include three new university partner programs at the University of Texas at Austin, Drew University, and Rutgers University-Newark. The Initiative gives undergraduate college students the tools necessary to teach high school students about the importance of civic engagement and how to get involved politically involved in their communities. Thanks to the generosity of the New Jersey Bar Association, CYPP’s RU Ready in the Classroom and RU Ready Civics Fair resources and modules are readily available online. Become a national campus or high school partner and access lesson modules on the March for Our Lives, Birmingham Children’s Crusade, the 26th Amendment, and Tinker v. Des Moines. RU Voting National was made possible through the generosity of Leslie Scallet and Maury Lieberman.

Eagleton Science and Politics Workshop The workshop series aims to make connections and improve communication between scientists and policy-makers, as well as to expand the pool of scientifically trained graduates interested in public service careers. Themes of most recent workshops include: water governance, CRISPR DNA editing, lead toxicity and public policy, and opioid abuse. “Each semester, Eagleton invites experts to speak with Rutgers students and faculty members who are studying science, health, engineering, and other related areas. The workshops offer the participants opportunities to consider varied perspectives on the critical intersections of science, public policy, and politics, while enabling the students to network and make connections between their field of study and the practice of governance and politics,” said John Weingart, Eagleton Associate Director


Eagleton Science and Politics Fellowships Science in service to state government Since the program’s creation, Eagleton Science and Politics Fellows—PhD-level scientists and engineers who work in New Jersey state government offices as in-house science aides for one year—have become valued members of state government agencies and offices. Science Fellows offer new perspectives and help their teams find solutions to difficult public policy problems, including challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We academics must see ourselves as integral players in building a more interconnected and resilient society. Our institutions must embrace this chance to lead by building a more flexible model of faculty contributions that rewards faculty for using their expertise in novel ways to directly support better policy making. We cannot sit this one out. The time for higher educational institutions and our faculty to step up is now. Our society and our students are counting on us.”

- Eagleton Science Fellow and Professor of Geology at Lafayette College, Kira Lawrence, Ph.D., called for STEM faculty to participate in science and politics fellowships. The Academe Blog published Lawrence’s op-ed. Eagleton Science Fellow Makes Impact With COVID App


As part of the Eagleton Science and Politics Fellowship, Hanna Sherrill, Ph.D. served as an in-house science aid at the New Jersey Department of Health. Sherrill, who has a doctoral degree in neuroscience, helped to develop the Department’s COVID Alert NJ App, which alerts users when they have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Each year, the seven Eagleton Science Fellows complete 14,000+ public service hours working as in house science advisors for the New Jersey State Government.

Eagleton Science Fellow Serves as In-House Science Aide for the New Jersey Department of Education “One of my core values is service, so I am thrilled to work as a Science Fellow for the New Jersey state government. My work at NJDOE helps to provide students with equitable access to high-quality education. This work is especially vital this year because of the extraordinary challenges of learning well during a pandemic, and the historical, social inequities made bare. My experience has been both meaningful and gratifying.”

– Eagleton Science Fellow Peter Frank, Ph.D.

Meet the Eagleton Science Fellows Supported by the State of New Jersey, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the program celebrated the close of its second highly successful year and welcomed its third cohort of Eagleton Science and Politics Fellows in July of 2021. Over the next year, the Eagleton Science Fellows will assist in the development and implementation of state policy for issues ranging from COVID-19 response, clean energy, sustainability, insurance of coastal properties, and others. Become a Science Fellow or request a Science Fellow to join your team.


Public Programs Eagleton offers unique student engagement programming, including the following virtual events during the 20202021 academic year.

“This is the Fire” Virtual Book Talk with CNN Anchor Don Lemon

A Conversation with U.S. Congressman Darren Soto

Dr. Saladin Ambar: “Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era”

A Conversation with Black Voters Matter Co-Founder LaTosha Brown

A Conversation with the Honorable Barbara Mikulski

Exercising Political Courage, Cohosted with the New Jersey League of Municipalities

A Time to Build: A Conversation with Dr. Yuval Levin

Trans Visibility and Empowerment: A Conversation with Minneapolis Council VP Andrea Jenkins

Ascension 2020: Black Women in Media, Politics, and Power

The Institute would like to extend special thanks to all our 2020-2021 public program co-sponsors:

Center for Latino Arts and Culture

Paul Robeson Culture Center

Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities Rutgers Access Week Douglass Campus

Rutgers School of Communication and Information

Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey

Rutgers University Alumni Association

New Jersey League of Municipalities

SCREAM Theater


Encouraging Aspiring Leaders Cultivating access and empowerment within our political system; Identifying and removing barriers to access; Promoting inclusion Eagleton and its centers host programs to help aspiring candidates and campaign staff learn more about how to run a successful political campaign. The Center for American Women and Politics’ Ready to Run® campaign training helped women across the country learn how to start a political campaign through a series of free public webinars. The topics during the series included: Empowering Asian American Women Political Leaders, OUT to Run: Empowering LGBTQ+ Political Leaders, Getting Appointed to Office (New Jersey), Fundraising for Success (National), What Women Candidates Need to Know (National), how to campaign during the pandemic, and more.


CAWP trained over 1,000 women from across the country how to run for office.


CAWP hosted 2021 NEW Leadership® in partnership with university partners from over 15 states.

Mark your calendar for Ready to Run® 2022 The Center for Youth Political Participation and the Center for American Women and Politics’ NEW Leadership® hosted three RU Running? virtual campaign training sessions for college students across the country. The topics covered in the sessions include: the nuts and bolts of running for office, campaign finance, digital strategies and professionalism and networking. Stay tuned for the 2022 RU Running? series. The Center for American Women and Politics partnered with over fifteen university partners from across the country to host a virtual NEW Leadership Program—a week-long training program for college women interested in learning how to implement change in their communities. Interested in applying to be a member of the 2022 NEWL cohort? Learn more about how to apply.

Students had the opportunity to work with political practitioners in breakout rooms. Political experts who ran the training included: Missy Balmir, Eagleton Adjunct Faculty and Founder, Thorough Planning Consulting; Katie Castellano, Former Finance Director of NJGOP; and Zoë Williamson, Coalition Coordinator for the Students Learn, Students Vote Coalition


Eagleton Alumni Alumni of Eagleton’s Graduate Fellowship and Undergraduate Associates program have pursued careers in a wide variety of fields related to public service, law, education, policy, advocacy, business, law enforcement, public affairs, communications, finance and many more. They are entrepreneurs, elected officials and change agents making a difference in their communities across the country. Eagleton alumni stay connected with one another and the Institute through networking programs, career panels, and activities sponsored by the Eagleton Alumni Committee. This official Rutgers alumni club provides mentorship opportunities; encourages networking, unity, and a sense of belonging; supports alums in their careers; and expands outreach of the research, education, and public service mission of the Eagleton Institute of Politics. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Eagleton Alumni Committee served as Rutgers Giving Day Ambassadors and hosted many virtual career and networking events for Rutgers students and Eagleton alumni including a series of career panels and two speed networking events for students, alumni, and Eagleton Visiting Associates. Topics covered during the four Eagleton Alumni Careers in Politics Career Panel sessions included: government affairs, politics and government, public policy, and law and politics. Stay in touch with Eagleton!


Today, there are over 2,100 members of the Eagleton alumni network

Click here to learn more about Eagleton’s Alumni

Please update your contact information. Connect with us online Support Eagleton Students! Eagleton alumni have made a difference in the lives of countless students by contributing to Eagleton academic programs and internship awards. Please consider making a contribution today to support students with aspirations to work in government, politics,

Faculty and Alumni Spotlight: T. Missy Balmir T. Missy Balmir (2020 Fellow) joined Eagleton as an adjunct faculty member during the Fall semester of 2020, co-teaching the Eagleton Graduate Fellowship course with Rutgers Senior Vice President for External Affairs Peter McDonough and former Commissioner and New Jersey State Senator Joseph Doria. Balmir is a political expert whose career has spanned both government and political campaigns.


Our Supporters We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the many individuals, corporations, and organizations that support Eagleton and its centers. Learn more about making a tax deductible gift.

Future of Democracy Sponsorship Fund Proceeds support Eagleton’s nonpartisan education, research, and public service programs. Sponsors receive special recognition on promotional materials, Eagleton’s website, and invitations to virtual public programs. To make a tax-deductible gift and show your support for the Future of Democracy, please complete the Sponsor Pledge Form. Sponsors are welcome to pledge now and make their gift in 2021 or 2022. There are options to fit every budget.

Eagleton Legacy Fund If you would like to establish a legacy fund at Eagleton, please contact Director of Development Sue Nemeth.

Study politics. Inspire engagement. Improve democracy.

John J. Farmer, Jr., Director John R. Weingart, Associate Director Eagleton Institute of Politics Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 191 Ryders Lane New Brunswick, NJ 08901 848-932-9384