Center for Effective Lawmaking

Small Grant Awards 2019-2020 Announced

2019-2020 Small Grant Awards Announced

It is with honor and excitement that we announce our 2nd annual small grant awards and recipients. Last year was the inaugural year of the program, and the body of academic research produced was impressive and critical to the field. We know that this year’s group of awardees will deliver the same high caliber scholarly work.

The CEL’s funding and support for research grants is consistent with its commitment to advancing the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. A defining feature of the Center is its emphasis that research and understanding yield new opportunities to improve lawmaking effectiveness. 

Here are the grant recipients for 2019-2020:

Jennifer Lucas

Jennifer C. Lucas is Professor of Politics at Saint Anselm College, where she teaches courses on the politics of gender and congressional politics. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work has appeared in American Politics Research, Politics & Gender, and Social Science Quarterly.

Kenneth Lowande

Kenneth Lowande is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Policy (by courtesy) at the University of Michigan and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research. Previously, he was a fellow in the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis and at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. His research on American political institutions has appeared in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and The Journal of Politics.

Sarah Treul

Sarah Treul

Sarah Treul is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the recipient of the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Honors Carolina’s Manekin Award for Teaching Excellence. Her research interests are broadly in the area of American political institutions, with her general focus being on the effect of institutional design and rules on political outcomes. Her research frequently focuses on how institutions affect decision-making - and more broadly- representation in the U.S. Congress. Her research agenda also examines the influence of elections (most frequently primary elections) on outcomes and behavior. Her most recent project explores the role of previous political experience in aiding (or, in today’s climate sometimes harming) candidates’ success in congressional primaries. Other ongoing projects examine the minority party’s strategy in today’s polarized Congress and the role of member inexperience in decreasing legislative capacity in Congress. Treul also recently published a book on state delegations in Congress with Cambridge University Press.

Working jointly on a project:

Jason Roberts

Jason M. Roberts is professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research centers on American Political Institutions with a focus on legislative voting and parliamentary procedure in the U.S. Congress. He also works on congressional elections and the development of political institutions in the U.S.

James Curry

James M Curry is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah. His research focuses on legislative politics and policymaking, especially the U.S. Congress. He is author of Legislating in the Dark (2015, University of Chicago Press) and of articles published in the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, and elsewhere. Curry received his Ph.D. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland in 2011, and previously worked as a fellow in the Capitol Hill offices of Representative Daniel Lipinski and the House Appropriations Committee.

Working jointly on a project:

Phillip Moniz

Philip Moniz

Philip Moniz is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on how political knowledge and the transmission of policy-relevant information influence the behavior of political actors, from members of the U.S. Congress to voters in statewide referenda. His dissertation distinguishes between several types of policy-relevant information and investigates the role that they play in what social problems that political actors perceive and what solutions they support. He has a forthcoming chapter on salience in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision-Making.

Zac McGee

Zachary A. McGee is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include the U.S. Congress, political parties, policy process, agenda setting, and social network analysis. His dissertation examines the role of intraparty organizations, like the House Freedom Caucus or the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in setting the congressional agenda. Other research projects of his have been published in Political Research Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, and several edited volumes.

If you are interested in applying for a research grant through the Center for Effective Lawmaking, please join our email list or contact us at

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