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2020 Doctoral/Postdoctoral Fellows

Amber Joy Powell, ABF/NSF Doctoral Fellow in Law and Inequality (2020-2022)

Amber Joy Powell is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Her current research centers on the sociology of law, punishment, and gender-based violence across race, gender, age, and sexuality. Drawing upon semi-structured interviews and documented legal grievances, Amber’s dissertation, “Hidden in Plain Sight: A Qualitative Look at Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Detention,” explores how formerly incarcerated young adults, youth justice advocates, and youth correctional personnel interpret and respond to sexual victimization in youth detention. Her project unearths how law and legal institutions may simultaneously produce and conceal violence within organizational contexts. Amber has also served as a sexual assault victim advocate and a graduate student collaborator for the University of Minnesota’s Committee of the President's Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct (PIPSM). She received her B.A. in Criminology and Law Studies at Marquette University and her M.A. in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Amber is also a proud alumnus of TRIO and the McNair Scholars Program. She is a regular contributor to The Society Pages and has published work in Gender & Society and The New Handbook of Political Sociology.

Kumar Ramanathan,  ABF/Northwestern University Doctoral Fellow (2020-2022)

Kumar Ramanathan is a doctoral candidate in political science at Northwestern University. His dissertation, "Building a Civil Rights Agenda: The Democratic Party and the Origins of Racial Liberalism," investigates how liberal politicians in northern Democratic Party contested and constructed a civil rights legislative agenda during the 1930s-60s, and aims to explain the origins and limitations of racial liberalism as it emerged among these party elites. His secondary research agenda examines the impact of civil rights law and policy on the politics of social policy after the 1960s, including an extended case study on the development of family and medical leave policy. Besides these historical projects, Kumar is broadly interested in how significant developments in law and public policy shape political behavior, which is reflected in collaborative research on immigrant political participation and urban politics. At Northwestern, Kumar is affiliated with the Comparative Historical Social Sciences Working Group, the Program in Legal Studies, and the Chicago Democracy Project. He received his B.A. in political science and philosophy from Tufts University.

Christopher Mathis, ABF/AccessLex Institute Doctoral Fellows in Legal and Higher Education (2020-2022)

Christopher Mathis is a doctoral candidate in higher education at the University of Virginia, where he is a Southern Region Education Board Pre-Doctoral Fellow and a Graduate Fellow in the Center for the Study of Race, Education and Law. His research is focused on the intersection of law and higher education, with a particular emphasis on utilizing social science methods in the study of legal education. His three-paper dissertation, "Papers on reimagining legal education," explores how legal education would look different by reimagining 1) the U.S. Supreme Court's discourse on affirmative action, 2) legal education focus on ethical and moral development, and 3) the ranking of law schools. Christopher's scholarship has been presented and published across several conferences and journals. Christopher received his B.S in Mathematics from Oakwood University in 2014 and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 2017. During his doctoral studies, Christopher worked with the Southern Education Foundation in Atlanta, GA, where he helped design equity centered programs, policies, and efforts for colleges and universities to adopt. As a law student, Christopher was on the Editorial Board for the South Carolina's Journal of Law and Education and President of the Matthew J. Perry Black Law Students Association.

Charquia Wright, ABF/AccessLex Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow in Legal and Higher Education (2020-2022)

Charquia Wright holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and an L.L.M. from UCLA School of Law. Her research interrogates the ways in which racial hierarchies are produced, reproduced, and neutralized within law school classrooms. It further analyzes how the relationship between racial hierarchies and the legal classroom are negotiated by Supreme Court jurisprudence. Prior to completing her L.L.M, Charquia researched Brazilian police brutality as a Fulbright scholar and litigated voting rights issues across the U.S. Her work has appeared on UCLA Law Journal's Law Meets World forum and in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. Prior to law school, she received a B.S.E. in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton University.

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