2015-2017 Fellows



Amanda Hughett is a PhD Candidate in History at Duke University, where she studies social movements and the criminal justice system in the post-WWII U.S. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and women’s studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a master’s degree in history from Duke University. She is the recipient of the Julian Price Fellowship in Humanities and History from Duke University, the Gerald R. Ford Fellowship from the Ford Presidential Library, and research grants from Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library.

Her dissertation, entitled "Silencing the Cell Block: The Making of Modern Prison Policy in North Carolina and the Nation," examines how prison administrators, elected officials, lawyers, and judges reshaped corrections practices in response to the prisoners' rights movement of the 1970s. Drawing on inmates’ voluminous correspondence and other writings, she begins by tracing the emergence of an interracial prison movement that sought to secure for inmates a wide range of rights, including fair wages, job training, a voice in prison governance, due process protections, and freedom from racism and violence. She then reveals how and why civil liberties lawyers’ effort to win these rights for prisoners through constitutional rights litigation unintentionally conflicted with and ultimately undermined inmates’ ability to organize behind bars. In so doing, her project seeks to probe the limits of federal litigation as a tool for social change while shedding fresh light on how state institutions respond to pressure from below.


Matthew Patrick Shaw is a doctoral student in Quantitative Policy Analysis in Education at Harvard University, where he is a Harvard Graduate School of Education/Spencer Foundation Early Career Scholar in New Civics. Matthew’s dissertation, “DREAMbuilders: The Impact of In-State Resident Tuition Policies on Undocumented Student College Enrollment and Graduation,” examines the effect of state-level laws and policies on undocumented students’ college enrollment and Bachelor’s degree attainment.

Matthew’s research focuses on: (1) the constitutionality of laws, policies, and practices at all levels of government that impact college access and college-student experiences; (2) the appropriate legal standards of evidence to assess the constitutionality of the same; and (3) the forms of empirical evidence needed to meet these legal standards and properly assess program impact. His interests in reducing higher education inequality extend to race-conscious affirmative action, inclusion of college students with disabilities, and the unique and intersectional experiences of LGBTQ undergraduates of color.

Before pursuing his doctorate, Matthew clerked for The Honorable W. Louis Sands, United States Senior Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, and practiced civil and criminal law in Atlanta. He holds a Juris Doctor from Columbia University, a Master of Education from Harvard, and a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages and History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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