- Research Program Mentor
PhD candidate at University of Virginia
Ethics and Public Policy; Political Theory; American Politics; Law
BioI’m Sam and I’m a PhD student in Political Science (Political Theory and American Politics) at the University of Virginia! I graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in June 2020 with a double major in Government and Philosophy, receiving the Francis W. Gramlich Philosophy Prize. My ever-expanding research interests include political authority, democratic theory, and ethics and public policy. Soon, I'll be starting a dissertation on how institutions affect political obligation. Additionally, I’ve had research assistantships in subject areas ranging from digital free speech to the relationship between social movements, political parties, and presidents in American political development. Although my work is mostly philosophical in nature, I’m always looking to apply theory to the real world and use it to solve problems. As an early-career researcher, I’m always looking for new ideas, collaboration, and strongly believe that we learn best when we learn from each other. As a teacher, I hope to be able to open up the Ivory Tower to anyone who wishes to access it—academia is not a zero-sum game and you can make anything into an intellectual experience.
Recognizing Inequalities in Public Policies
In this project, I’d help my mentee identify laws that affect different demographics unequally, articulate why these inequalities affect important philosophical issues like political obligation, and come up with some potential policy solutions to the problems that they identify. Several scholars in a variety of disciplines have researched this topic. I like this project for a high school student because it provides an opportunity for a student to really dig into a specific policy of their choosing and have a unique project. Example policies include the sales tax, paid family leave mandates for small businesses, and occupational licensing laws.