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WREI UPDATE— Issue 21

 

June 2004

IN THIS ISSUE
• Did you know?
• WREI Releases “Crossing Borders,” a Study of Women and Immigration
• Saluting the Magnificent Seven

• News from WREI Fellows—Past, Present and Future

 

Did you know?
Women of Asian or Pacific Islander origin were significantly overrepresented among the women who got degrees in dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy. Black women were over-represented among the women who received divinity or other first professional degrees in theology.

 

WREI Releases “Crossing Borders,” a Study of Women and Immigration

On May 13th, WREI presented the findings of an 18-month multi-disciplinary study of immigration and women immigrants during a Capitol Hill seminar at the Stewart Mott House. The report, “Crossing Borders,” a six-part, 100-page examination of the nature of citizenship in different historical periods and places, is available for download in a PDF file at www.wrei.org. WREI is grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for underwriting this work.

The “Crossing Borders” report takes a unique look at America’s immigration from a holistic perspective that, we believe, makes clear the need to rethink our most fundamental assumptions about immigration law, policies, and practices. It integrates issues of gender and citizenship with the evolution and condition of the legal and institutional structures that govern U.S. policy. In particular, the essay by on-the-ground immigration attorney Jeffrey Heller demonstrates that the system is badly broken, and that the result is manifest unfairness.

Marjorie Lightman, senior fellow at WREI, heads the “Crossing Borders” project task force. Five task force members—including Anne Stone, WREI’s senior research associate, and Kimala Price, a former WREI Fellow and staffer—contributed chapters. Other chapters were prepared by attorneys Jeffrey Heller and Bonnie Weinstein and classicist Ron Cluett. Also on the task force are historian (and editor) Bill Zeisel and historian Allida Black.

 

Saluting the Magnificent Seven

You are invited to WREI's annual Capitol Hill reception honoring the Congressional Fellows on Women & Public Policy. These seven outstanding scholars and many of their bosses and colleagues in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will gather in the LBJ Room in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 22nd, from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.

The 24th Class of WREI Fellows includes Tori Brescoll (Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton) Christi Corbett (Rep. Carolyn Maloney), Ann Gavaghan (Sen. Joe Lieberman), Polina Makievsky (Rep. Jan Schakowsky), Reena Shah (Sen. Barbara Mikulski), Erica Swanson (Sen. Jack Reed), and Jocelyn Yee (Sen. Diane Feinstein). Guests include former Fellows, WREI funders, and representatives from women’s advocacy groups, corporations, unions, and the media.

 

News from WREI Fellows—Past, Present and Future

NADEDZA SHVEDOVA. In April, the Class of 2004 was treated to a presentation on "Post-Cold War Migration and Russia: Women's Issues in a Gender Mirror" by former Fellow Nadedza Shvedova (Class of 1994-95). Nadya was part of WREI’s three-year Eastern European initiative to bring women leaders from the former Soviet bloc to Washington to learn about democracy first-hand.

Through a Fulbright Fellowship, Nadya is at Trinity College in Washington, DC this year, affiliated with the college’s program on International Migration: Women's and Children's Issues. She holds both a Doctor of Sciences in political science and Ph.D. in world history and political science from the Institute of the USA and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Nadya is the author of numerous publications that focus on gender, human rights, refugees, and migration issues. Her most recent book is Simply about the Complex: Gender Education, published in 2002 by the Antikva Press in Moscow

WREI is planning a fall book signing in Washington for ROBIN ROGERS-DILLON (Class of 1995-96), assistant professor of sociology at Queens College in New York. Robin tells us that the initial idea for The Welfare Experiments: Politics & Policy Evaluation (Stanford UP) began during her months as a Fellow in the office of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), then-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Following her stint on Capitol Hill, Robin was named a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Yale. She then went on to earn her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to conducting extensive research and writing about politics, health, poverty, and public policy, Robin has distinguished herself as a teacher. She received the 2003 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Queens College. She and her husband have two sons, Nick (age 6) and Dashiell (10 months).

Wedding bells are ringing on June 19th in Washington for JESSICA DONZE (Class of 2003). Jessica, a pediatric nutrition therapist, covered health and obesity issues for Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). She also found time to meet her husband-to-be, Talbot Black, a financial analyst at Northrup Grumman. Jess is currently manager of national nutrition policy at the American Dietetic Association. You can read her articles and expert commentaries in Vegetarian Times and on KidsHealth.org.

Current WREI Fellow ANN GAVAGHAN spent her week’s spring vacation (from her job in Senator Joe Lieberman’s office) in Liberty, Missouri, where she was a senior scholar at Truman Scholar Leadership Week—as Ann puts it, “a counselor in policy boot camp.” Having been the recipient of a Harry S Truman Scholarship in her junior year in college, Ann shared her graduate school and career experiences with the incoming class of Truman Scholars. Truman Scholarships award graduate school funding and professional development opportunities to college juniors who are interested in public service careers.

When current WREI Fellow ERICA SWANSON arrived at her office several hours early on May 5, the first task of the day was stretching. Erica joined her boss, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and ten officemates in running the 2004 Capital Challenge. This annual 5K race—better known on Capitol Hill for its irreverence and political humor than its participants’ athletic prowess—is run along the Potomac in Anacostia and always attracts a VIP cast. Among the 500-plus runners was legendary marathoner Bill Rodgers (who is just slightly faster than Erica). “Reed’s Rangers,” led by the Senator (a former West Pointer and Army Ranger), finished eighth among the Senate teams.

NITA ELISON, a political scientist, retired Air Force officer, and mother of two, is scheduled to join the Class of 2005 next year. But it might not happen. Why? Nita now represents the sixth district on the City Council in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. In January, Nita signed up for what was thought to be a hopeless primary run against a long-term Democratic incumbent. The incumbent promptly dropped out of the race and resigned his Council seat to become State Fire Marshal. Lexington’s Mayor appointed Nita to fill the seat until the general election in November.

Nita has both studied and taught political science at the University of Kentucky and at Troy State University. She also was active in political campaigns at all ten of the posts to which she and her Air Force husband were assigned over a 20-year military career. We await the results of her upcoming race against a well-funded Republican candidate with great anticipation.