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Sarah Jane

PhD Doctor of Philosophy

Political science, law, US government and politics, reproductive rights, tax policy, US or European history

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Paper analyzing the current state of reproductive rights in the US

This student paper would capture trends in the fast-changing state of reproductive rights in the United States. A student may choose to focus on how different courts at different levels of review (district courts, appellate courts, and the Supreme Court) are handling legal challenges to either new abortion restrictions or abortion access, or to focus on how, why, and where state legislatures—and sometimes governors—are expanding or curtailing abortion access. The student may wish to include other aspects of reproductive rights in their analysis, including whether states' sexual education curricula correlate with their policies regarding abortion access, and why. The student might choose to pursue publication of their finished project on relevant online legal or policy publications.

Op-Ed about tax policy

A student may choose to research, write, and submit for publication a well-supported opinion piece on a topic of tax policy that interests them. Potential areas of focus might include the passage and effects of 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the design or impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit, or the viability of a proposed wealth tax. Students should feel free to select another topic that interests them in particular. After researching, writing, and editing their piece, the student would submit the finished project to local and national newspapers and publications for potential publication.

Benefits access guidance

This student project would involve researching relevant state or federal benefits that people or businesses in need of support might access during the ongoing economic and public health crisis, and designing and publishing an easy-to-understand informational document to help those in need access available benefits. The student would begin by learning about the history and function of our patchwork safety net in the United States, move on to researching currently available aid and how to access it, and ultimately create a finished product that will concretely help others in their community. A student may choose to submit their project to local or state governments or news outlets for publication.

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