Professor Anjali Adukia, University of Chicago, winner of thisyear's APPAM Best Ph.D. Dissertation Award
APPAM Presents 2014 Best Dissertation Award to University of Chicago’s Anjali Adukia
September 18, 2014 10:00 AM
The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) is pleased to announce Anjali Adukia, an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, as the winner of the 2014 Best Dissertation Award. Honorable mention goes to Sara Heller, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Criminology.
APPAM recognizes emergent scholars in the field through an annual award for the best Ph.D. dissertation in public policy and management. The award will be presented to Adukia at the Association’s Fall Research Conference, held this year November 6–8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“APPAM is proud to present this award to Professor Adukia,” says Tara Sheehan, Executive Director of APPAM. “This year’s selection was difficult, as we had several great nominations. This award is a celebration of our new and emergent scholars, all of whom represent the future of public policy.”
Adukia’s winning dissertation, The Role of Basic Needs in Educational Decisions: Essays in Education and Development Economics, examines how the provision of basic needs such as sanitation, clothing, and transportation, can increase school participation in developing countries. "Addressing basic needs of health, privacy, and safety such as through the provision of adequate school sanitation has the potential to improve educational opportunities for children worldwide,” says Adukia. “I deeply appreciate having these issues recognized, and I am honored to have my work highlighted by APPAM."
Her prior research projects have included an examination of the role of transcriptional and growth factors in cancer and organ development at Northwestern Medical School; aided with research and data collection for studies on affirmative action with The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University; and consultation with the Broadmoor Neighborhood Project in New Orleans as part of rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Katrina. She continues to work with non-governmental organizations internationally, such as UNICEF and Manav Sadhna in Gujarat, India. Adukia received her doctorate and master’s degrees from Harvard.
Heller, who receives an Honorable Mention for her dissertation Experimental Evidence on Improving the Human Capital of Disadvantaged Youth, uses large-scale randomized control trials to investigate the impact and cost effectiveness of public policies to improve life outcomes for disadvantaged youth. Her dissertation uses administrative data to document the success of several low-cost approaches to increasing school engagement and decreasing violence for an adolescent population often thought to be resistant to behavioral change.
"I have been a devoted participant in APPAM’s Fall Research Conference since my third year of graduate school,” says Heller. “I feel particularly honored to be recognized by an organization that brings together so much high-quality, policy-relevant research. And my thanks especially to all the conference attendees whose questions and comments helped to improve the final product!"
Heller is currently investigating the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy-based programming on juvenile crime and schooling outcomes. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a MPP from Georgetown University.
APPAM’s Best Dissertation Award is presented annually at the Association’s Fall Research Conference. The award winner and up to two honorable mentions are given an opportunity to display posters of their dissertations during the conference. Dissertations that are completed in the prior academic year, deal substantively with public policy issues, and are nominated by a faculty member of a public policy program from an APPAM institutional member are considered for the award.