Vera Institute/GC Summer Fellowships (Application Deadline: February 3, 2020)

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 4 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.

Remember – there is a workshop on December 5th at the GC about this

While Vera’s centers and programs span the criminal justice system, Vera is offering CUNY Fellows projects in select areas. Please see the 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 2020 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 at the beginning of the fellowship, to do a brief presentation on their work at the end of the summer and write a blog post about their experiences before the end of the Fall 2020 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 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


Application Deadline: February 3, 2020

CUNY Graduate Center / Vera Institute of Justice PhD Student Fellowships


  1. Center on Youth Justice, Restoring Promise


Restoring Promise is an initiative across two organizations, MILPA and Vera, to radically transform the living and working conditions inside jails and prisons, with an initial focus on young adults. The initiative aims to end mass incarceration, advance race equity, eliminate violence in corrections, and ensure success for young adults.


The summer fellow will have the opportunity to join a team of researchers and program staff that are using multiple methods and working with people who are directly impacted by the justice system to drive change in states around the country.  The focus of the fellowship may include (1) analyzing data from partner facilities, (2) administering surveys to young adults and corrections staff, (3) analyzing survey results, and (4) assisting 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.


  1. Center on Immigration Justice


In the face of stepped-up immigration enforcement, millions of non-citizens are at risk of extended detention and permanent separation from their families and communities. The Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) is helping to build a movement toward universal legal representation for immigrants facing deportation. CIJ is launching an emerging project that aims to increase government transparency, create data-driven tools for advocates, and shape an understanding of mass detention as an extension of mass incarceration.


Vera seeks a fellow to collaboratively produce a data catalog of publicly available government datasets from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. As part of this initiative, fellows may work to assess data quality and compatibility, compare data to publicly available statistics to estimate missingness, determine the feasibility of linking records across datasets, and write code to standardize datasets. The fellow may also contribute to exploratory analyses examining ICE detention trends over time (e.g., detained populations, bond/release rates, discriminatory enforcement, use of segregation) and may be involved in creating an interactive data visualization tool for Vera’s website to share findings with the public.


CIJ welcomes applications from students from all academic backgrounds (e.g., social science, computer science, statistics, mathematics). Applicants with experiences with the immigration system are especially encouraged to apply.


  1. Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Solitary 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 a national survey 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


  1. 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 fellow would have to opportunity to contribute to several projects including, but not limited to Emerging Issues in American Policing Digest, Serving Safely, and Arrest 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.














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).




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