Roberts Fellows share their research with Gettysburg students

“Don’t let the technical skills you think you need stop you from pursuing a particular graduate program—you can pick those up along the way,” Diane Alexander advised the students in the room during a symposium and panel discussion hosted by The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College in early February.

Alexander—a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University studying the impact of Affordable Care Act pilot programs on healthcare quality and costs—is one of five fellows from across the country to receive The Dwight D. Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship from the Institute. The fellowship is awarded annually to students in an advanced stage of their doctoral candidacies, with a focus on candidates pursuing topics on the role of government in a free society, public service, public policy, and an improved understanding of America's role in world affairs.

In addition to Alexander, recipients included Krishna Murali from Stanford University; Simon Miles from the University of Texas at Austin; Michael Poznasky from the University of Virginia; and Andrew Taffer from Tufts University. This was the second year the fellows traveled to campus to share their research with the Gettysburg College community and speak with students, who had the opportunity to ask questions about graduate school and the fellows’ projects.

"As a student passionate about the Eisenhower Institute and about informed public policy and service, I was deeply impressed by how the Roberts Fellowship sparked such diverse areas of study,” said Lynn B. Hatcher '17, a Political Science and History double major. “Undoubtedly, these fellows will go on to help address the important issues of our time, and I am proud that Gettysburg College was able to contribute to that."

Roberts Fellows

Left to right: Michael Poznasky (back), Andrew Taffer, Diane Alexander, and Simon Miles. Krishna Murali not pictured.

Miles, originally from Canada, shared that he became interested in his research—studying the leadership changes in the Soviet Union from 1980 to 1985—after realizing as an undergraduate that there were very few books on the topic.

“I found a space where my interests and comparative advantage intersected,” he said.

Miles said he used a portion of the fellowship funds for conducting archival work in Moscow and will travel to Kiev in the spring, where he will have the opportunity to access the Ukrainian national archives. Several of the other fellows will also use the funds for travel expenses and research-related costs, including Taffer, who traveled to the cities of Beijing, Hanoi, and Manila as part of his research on the evolution of China’s responses to maritime disputes in the South and East seas.

In addition to the panel discussion and symposium, fellows had the opportunity to visit and speak with classes. Miles spoke to two of Political Science Prof. Yasemin Akbaba’s classes.

“He walked us through his intellectual journey with a focus on his extensive use of archival materials in various countries and commitment to multi-lingual research,” said Akbaba. “His talk successfully lifted the curtain on the Cold War rivalry between 1980 and 1985. The number of questions he received from my students is a testament to quality of his research and his presentation. I was deeply impressed by his work.”

The committee for the fellowship was chaired by Maureen Forrestal, Dean of Fellowships, Scholarships, & Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, and comprised faculty including Profs. Allen Guelzo, Don Borock, Bruce Larson, and Charles Weise. The selection process for next year’s fellows is already underway.

Learn more about the 2015 Eisenhower/Roberts fellows.


Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Carina Sitkus, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Wed, 2 Mar 2016

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