AshLee Smith

Public Policy Ph.D. Candidate
Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Research Interests and Project Expertise

Social policy at the federal and state level, poverty, inequality, and the intersection between policy design, civic participation, and race

Biography

AshLee’s primary research interests include social policy at the federal and state level, poverty, inequality, and the intersection between policy design, social control, gender, and race.  In her work, she examines the role of poverty governance in shaping the lives of the vulnerable. As a result of her life experiences in the foster care system, she is passionate about studying public policy and applying her research to the real world surrounding the lives of the vulnerable in the U.S.

In her dissertation, The Punished Mother: Essays Examining the Experiences of Mothers living at the Institutional Intersection of Child Protection and Criminal Justice,” she explores the dynamics of interacting punitive institutions through crossover mothers - mothers who have had involvement with both the child welfare and criminal justice systems as adults. She argues that poor women and women of color go through multiplicative violent processes when involved with these punishment systems.  These systems not only regulate but also exacerbate punishments on the poor.  The NSF GRFP supports her dissertation research.

She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP 2016), the Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) fellowship at the University of Minnesota (2017), the APPAM 2018 Equity & Inclusion Fellowship, and the American Political Science Association Minority Fellowship (2016). 

AshLee holds an MPP in Social Policy from UMN. Before UMN, she graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Political Science from Louisiana State University (geaux tigers!). She is a former Public Policy and International Affairs  (PPIA) Fellow who participated in the Junior Summer Institute at the University of California-Berkeley in 2014.