Vera-CUNY Grad Center summer fellowship_2019

Vera-CUNY Grad Center summer fellowship_2019

The Vera Institute and CUNY Graduate Center invites applications for Summer Fellows who will be based in Vera’s New York City office. These $4000 fellowships will be offered to Graduate Center Ph.D. students from any program with primary research interests in criminal or immigration justice and the work of the Vera Institute.* The primary responsibilities of the award winners will be to collaborate with researchers in one of Vera’s 5 centers or programs on research relating to a specific project, including but not limited to data collection, analysis, fieldwork, report writing, stakeholder engagement, and dissemination.

While Vera’s centers, programs, and demonstration projects span the criminal justice system, it is offering CUNY Fellows projects in select areas. Please see the attached list of potential projects below, and indicate in your application which project or projects are most relevant to your experience and interest. If you are interested in more than one project, be sure to fill out the last page of this document, listing those projects in order of preference. You can apply for no more than 3 projects.

Fellowship recipients will be required to be in residence for 120 hours over the summer of 2019 at the Vera Institute working for scheduled times from 9:30 to 4pm on Monday through Friday. In addition, recipients will be required to attend a welcome reception during the week of May 27, to do a brief presentation on their work during the week of August 26, and write a blog post about their experiences before the end of the Fall 2019 semester.

To apply please send a letter of interest describing your research interests and related experience with specific reference to one of the projects described below, a c.v., a current Graduate Center transcript (Students may submit the unofficial student copy that can be printed from CUNYFirst), and a letter of support from your primary advisor.

Instructions for submitting your application:

1)     Please combine the above materials (except for the letter of recommendation) into a SINGLE file (saved as either as a pdf document or a word document).

Use the following format when naming your document: Last Name, First Name, GC Program

If you are applying to more than one center or program, be sure to include page 4 with the rest of your materials.

2)     Email your file directly to

Please use your graduate center email address when sending the file.

Instructions for Faculty Recommenders

1) Prepare your reference letter as a regular word or pdf document.

2) Please use the following format when naming your document:

Student Last Name, First Name

3)     Email your file directly to

*Students must be designated as Level II or III to be eligible for the fellowship.

Application Deadline: February 1, 2019

CUNY Graduate Center / Vera Institute of Justice PhD Student Fellowships

Available projects, Summer 2019

  • Policing Program

Vera’s Policing Program is dedicated to fundamentally shifting the culture of policing from one that incentivizes and defaults to enforcement to one that delivers and rewards public safety through community engagement and satisfaction. Our efforts are concentrated primarily in three areas: shifting the discourse on policing; reengineering police incentives and performance management; and developing innovative strategies to reduce enforcement. Relative to these goals, a summer fellow would have the opportunity to contribute to several projects including, but not limited to Emerging Issues in American Policing Digest, Compstat360, Serving Safely, and Enforcement Trends. These projects will provide opportunities for fellows to practice and develop applied research skills in translating research findings for general audiences; contributing to training and technical assistance; and working with and visualizing big data.

  • Center on Youth Justice

Young people ages 18 to 24 make up 10 percent of the U.S. population but comprise 21 percent of people admitted into adult prison every year. Vera’s Restoring Promise initiative partners with forward thinking corrections agencies in jails and prisons across the country to transform living conditions for incarcerated young adults and working conditions for staff. The initiative aims to end mass incarceration, advance race equity, eliminate violence in corrections, and ensure success for young adults.

The summer fellow who joins the Restoring Promise team may (1) analyze data from partner facilities, (2) administer surveys to young adults and corrections staff, (3) analyze survey results, and (4) assist with a NIJ funded randomized control trial. The fellow will learn about collaborative research techniques and how to effectively partner with the communities most impacted by our research.

  • Center on Sentencing and CorrectionsIn Our Backyards

A little known fact imperils our nation’s collective efforts to end mass incarceration: Major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are no longer bearing the heaviest burden. Instead, thousands of smaller cities and towns are now grappling with the nation’s highest incarceration rates. Vera’s In Our Backyards campaign employs both quantitative and qualitative analysis to uncover what’s causing this trend so that we can drive reform in places that have long been understudied.

Vera is seeking a summer fellow that will develop a qualitative or quantitative study to contribute to the emerging body of literature on incarceration in small and rural places. Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. For more information on the county-level historical jail and prison data that the fellow can leverage, see For more information on In Our Backyards, see

  • Center on Sentencing and CorrectionsSolitary Confinement

Incarcerated people placed in segregation (or ‘solitary confinement’) are held in isolating conditions, often restricted to a small cell for 22 or more hours per day and denied access to programs and activities. Citing the potential psychological and physiological impacts of this practice, a diverse range of advocates, policymakers, and corrections practitioners have called for prisons and jails to reform their use of segregation. However, there are still significant gaps in our knowledge relating to how segregation is used across the country.

With funding from the National Institute of Justice, Vera has embarked upon a comprehensive research endeavor designed to (1) document policies governing segregation across the U.S.; (2) analyze administrative data from multiple state departments of corrections to identify who is placed in segregation(and why); and (3) evaluate the impact of working in these conditions on corrections officers’ wellbeing.

Vera seeks a summer fellow who will use data collected from this project to write a manuscript testing an empirical question about segregation. In addition to the administrative data described above, the Fellow will have access to data from two national surveys about the use of restrictive housing in prisons and jails. These data can be merged with other state-level political and social data to test a variety of questions about the political, social, and economic correlates of segregation use. Students from all social science backgrounds, including criminal justice, sociology, economics, political science, and social welfare – are encouraged to apply.  For more information on Vera’s solitary confinement research, see

  • Research Department– Evidence Briefs

To improve understanding of justice issues currently elevated in public debate, Vera began writing a series of evidence briefs for journalists, policymakers, and the public with distilled evidence on various topics. The series, For the Record, launched in 2017 and has covered the opioid crisis and harm reduction, the disparate treatment of black Americans in the justice system, and responsibly measuring public safely. Vera’s Research Department seeks a summer fellow to assist in crafting these Evidence Briefs. Additionally, the fellow may have the opportunity to conduct research in new and emerging topical areas. This could include research on violence, hate crimes, or other topics of interest to the fellow.

Applicant Name:

I am interested in applying for more than one project. I acknowledge that if accepted, I will only be able to work on one project. The projects I’d like to work on are listed below in order of preference.

______________________                                                                     ________________

Signature                                                                                                     Date


Please list the projects to which you are applying in order of preference (1 being the project you are most interested in working on).