The Sphinx Foundation Makes $12,500 Grant to the program in Politics & Law

The grant ensures the continued operation of the Program in Politics and Law and enables it to award undergraduate student fellowships during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Hanover, N.H. (November 6, 2017) – The Sphinx Foundation is pleased to announce the award of a $12,500 grant to the Program in Politics & Law, a uniquely successful research program for Dartmouth undergraduates administered by the Department of Government. The Program, directed by Professor and Department Chair Dean Lacy, was founded in 2007 to provide research fellowships to undergraduate students and faculty members studying the law from a social science perspective. As reported in The Dartmouth in January [See: Program in Politics and Law Grant Expires], the Program’s initial 10-year pilot grant expired and was not renewed, leaving it without a reliable source of funding. The Sphinx Foundation grant will ensure the Program is funded through the 2017-2018 academic year.

“The Sphinx Foundation is proud to partner with the Program in Politics and Law and support its mission to provide research funding to the study of law and politics, areas in which Dartmouth graduates have enjoyed longstanding success,” Sphinx Foundation president Peter Frederick (’65) said.

Unlike most undergraduate research programs at the College, the Program accepts applications on a rolling basis, enabling it to make grant funding available throughout the year. Students may submit applications at any time and usually receive a response within a few days. If an application is accepted, the Program makes grant funding available for research-related expenses such as purchasing data and funding surveys, experiments, or related travel.  Each undergraduate Fellow works with a faculty member during one or more quarters to complete the research, which is then presented at an academic conference and submitted for publication. The Program’s short turnaround time and rolling application process provide an invaluable resource to students who need data quickly or cannot formulate their research requests months in advance, such as fielding a public opinion survey about a recent event or analyzing recently proposed or enacted legislation.

The Program also offers undergraduate Fellows the opportunity to engage in research, training, and scholarship that is typically reserved for graduate students at other institutions.  Because many social science departments at the College do not have graduate programs, professors often seek undergraduates to collaborate in research. Program Fellows make ideal candidates for these collaborative projects. Moreover, while Dartmouth lacks a law school, many undergraduates go on to study law, and the Program offers one of the few venues on campus for undergraduates to engage with legal issues before embarking on graduate degree programs.  In so doing, the Program also provides Fellows with an advantage in the job market and when applying to law and graduate school. “Law schools, graduate programs, and employers increasingly seek students who have research experience outside of the classroom. Politics & Law Fellows have been very successful in admission to graduate and law schools and in finding research and consulting jobs.” said Dean Lacy.

Fellows past and present have excelled as attorneys and political scientists in both academia and the private sector. Earlier this year, Fellows Katie Clayton (’18) and Alexander Agadjanian (’18) presented their research at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco. Rarely do undergraduate students get to present their work at the conference, which attracts political professionals, university faculty members, and graduate students from all over the globe. Clayton co-authored her paper, Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information, with Dartmouth Professor Yusaku Horiuchi and fellow students Jase A. Davis (‘18) and Kristen Hinckley (‘17).  Fellow Zack Markovich (’15) used funding from the Program to collect and format U.S. election data at the state and county levels to determine party polarization going back to 1828. Markovich’s research became his senior thesis, and he recently entered the Ph.D. program in political science at MIT to continue his studies.  Other Program alumni include Fellow Harry Enten (‘11), a noted blogger on politics and a chief political analyst at, Fellow James Khun (’12), an analyst at Fors Marsh Group in Washington, D.C., Fellow Carlos Mejia (‘08), Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, and Fellow Jessica Taub (’08), Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan.

The Sphinx Foundation grant will also enable the Program to continue its practice of inviting guest speakers and faculty members from other institutions to campus to present their work and meet with students. In addition, the grant will add a new feature of the Program; namely, an annual conference on campus providing an open forum for Program Fellows to present their research to fellow students and the general public.

About the Program in Politics and Law

The Program supports research on law and lawmaking by Dartmouth students and faculty members. The Program sponsors student research fellowships, usually in the amount of $1200 per year for collaborative research with a Dartmouth faculty member in any department. The Program funds student and faculty research expenses, including travel for research purposes, conducting surveys, and purchasing data. Politics & Law also funds visits to Dartmouth by faculty members from other institutions in order to present their work and meet with our students and faculty members.

About the Sphinx Foundation

The Sphinx Foundation, a New Hampshire charitable non-profit organization, serves and supports the College, the community, and the general public through its educational and philanthropic efforts.  The Sphinx Foundation promotes education, research, and scholarship at the College, fosters the ideals of academic excellence, community service, and high moral purpose, and serves as a reservoir of Dartmouth’s history and traditions.