College: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Awards: American Political Science Association Minority Fellowship Program, 2015
Women tend to vote more often than men do, and that generally holds true across ethnic groups. In every presidential election since 1980, the proportion of eligible females who voted (64 percent) exceeded that of eligible males (60 percent), and the actual number of female voters was higher, too, census data show. Among African-American women, however the gap in turnout is larger than that of any other racial group.
In his senior thesis, Jamel Love (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, B.A., Political Science '15) analyzes American National Election Survey Study Data (ANES), the major academic source of election information, to explore a possible explanation of the increasing African-American gender gap. "Because African-American women are attaining degrees at much higher rates than their male counterparts, this may explain the rising gap in voter turnout," he says, noting that considerable scholarly literature points to "the intricate and positive correlation between educational attainment and voter turnout."
Next fall, Love intends to enter a political science doctoral program at Rutgers University, which will waive tuition and provide a five-year, $23,000 annual stipend. In 2015 he also won a $4,000 grant from the American Political Science Association's Minority Fellowship Program and was awarded honorable mention for the prestigious and highly selective Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.
He intends to concentrate in American politics and minor in methodology. While his eventual dissertation topic is too far off to contemplate, he does say, "I'd like to do research concerning the ways different groups engage the political system and what motivates them to do so.
Love has been a Ronald E. McNair Scholar in a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education to prepare students from underrepresented groups for graduate study. Through McNair, he has presented at several conferences and, in the summer of 2014 he conducted research at Vanderbilt University as a part of the Leadership Alliance SR-EIP program, where he worked with political science professor Marc J. Hetherington on a project exploring polarization in Congress on key health care legislation. Love also is the current president of his schools’ National Political Honor Society Chapter
Love praises the support he has gotten from faculty, including his thesis advisor, associate professor Andrew Sidman. His first mentor was associate professor Dara Byrne, who also directs the honors program; she oversaw his first independent research into political debates young people were having about same-sex marriage on Facebook. He also mentioned Ernest Lee, associate director of John Jay's McNair Program, McNair director Jessica-Gordon-Nembhard and his McNair mentor, associate professor Demis Glasford.
Love says his long-term goal is teach political science at the university level and to ultimately produce research that influences policy benefitting society's most vulnerable groups. "As a professor I hope to serve as a resource for other young minority students who may not have resources or support to succeed in professional fields," he says.