Chicago Through a Policy Lens

In the academic year 2022/2023, the University of Chicago introduced the Policy Project Seminar as a new option for fourth-year students to fulfill their Capstone requirement. Students were given the task of creating a policy essay and op-ed with a focus on Chicago-related policy, even if they had little prior experience, and successfully met the challenge within a ten-week time frame, as shown by the collected essays (link forthcoming.)

Student Highlights

Ricky Holder, public policy major and Navy veteran, has been named Marshall Scholar. He aims to reform the US foster care system and will pursue a MPhil in comparative social policy at the University of Oxford beginning fall 2023 - see full UChicago announcements here and here

Photo courtesy of Ricky Holder

Honors and Awards | 2022-23

2023 Richard P. Taub Thesis Prize in Public Policy

Honoring Richard P. Taub, the founder of the undergraduate Public Policy Studies program, the Taub Thesis Prize is awarded each May to students majoring in PBPL whose BA theses reflect original and extensive research and exceptional writing.

Sam Abers | Titilayo Arowolo | Ricky Holder

 2023 BA Project Seminar Prize

The BA Project Seminar focuses on critical writing about public policy. In each quarter, advanced PBPL students analyze substantive policy questions using the knowledge and tools developed throughout their studies in the major. This year we had dozens of excellent projects that took the form of extended policy arguments, analytic research papers, personal essays, op-eds, podcasts, video explainers, and more. This year, the inaugural BA Project Seminar Prize will be awarded to one student from each quarter’s Seminar.

Brianna Gonzalez | Stephanie Yu | Sophie Luard

James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center for Research on Wealth Inequality and Mobility Thesis Prize in Public Policy

The Stone Thesis Prize is awarded each May to exceptional undergraduate students in Public Policy at the University of Chicago who have produced exemplary research on topics of inequality. This award, which recognizes work that is original, of scholarly excellence, and significant to the field, aims to create early-stage pathways into the study of inequality.

Sophie Yang

2023 Albert C. Svoboda Fellowship

The Albert C. Svoboda Fellowship provides summer research fellowships for rising fourth-year College students majoring in Public Policy to engage in faculty-guided research in the Chicago area on Chicago-based topics.

Ava Sinai | Angie Xiao | Jonathan Garcia

Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Highly regarded award that provides a year of support for graduating students to engage in study, research, or teaching in a foreign country.

Chloe Duval | Amy Lu | Sanjana Natesan

Additional 2023 Award Winners

For more details, visit the College Honors and Awards:

Howell Murray Alumni Association Award

  • Meghan Hendrix
  • Hayley Mirabile
  • Neville Nazareth

Humanitarian Award

  • Kaitlyn Dodgen

Ignazio Martin Baro Human Rights Essay Prize

  • Sanjana Natesan

Nicholson Undergraduate Travel Grant

  • Amy Lu

RISE Up Award

  • Solana Adedokun

Yovovich Family Fund Grant for Research and Language Study in Europe

  • Solana Adedokun

Student Publications

Danielle Schmidt, AB'19

Our distinguished Taub Prize winner Danielle Schmidt, BA'19. Danielle's PBPL Thesis was published on the peer-reviewed journal "Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science” (August 2020). Danielle began research on her thesis in the spring of her junior year, driving out to rural parts of Illinois, and developing relationships with librarians so that she could build a snowball sample of individuals who came into the library to use the internet.

The boots-on-the-ground work she did to track down and recruit a hard-to-access interview sample was formidable. She completed a total of 51 interviews with a combination of rural Illinois residents who are insufficiently connected to the internet, public library and service provider employees, and advocacy experts who are working to address the so-called digital divide.

The work that Danielle did on her senior thesis was incredible, and in the spring of 2019 she was awarded the Richard P. Taub thesis prize—an award given to the 3 best theses in our department of about 140 graduating students. As of Fall 2020, Danielle Schmidt is a PhD student in the sociology department at the University of Wisconsin.

Danielle is motivated by a sincere desire to produce research that makes real-world change around systemic inequality and we look forward to following her career. 

Read Danielle's research.

Jessica Mora, AB'20

Our recent graduate, Jessica Mora, published "Spread Your Wings and FLI: How to Effectively Navigate College as a First-Generation, Low-Income Student" this April. The book draws upon her BA research and provides guidance on many aspects of the FLI students' experience. We hosted Jessica on May 13, 2021 to talk about her work on her thesis and her book. You can watch her conversation with Prof. Sorcha Brophy and hear more from Jessica on the College News story featuring her work.

Read "College alum writes guidebook for first-generation, low-income students."