PSC Affiliate Shoshana Shapiro Chosen as National Poverty Fellow

April 28, 2023

Ford School doctoral candidate Shoshana Shapiro (PhD ’23) was chosen as one of five 2023-24 National Poverty Fellows (NPF). As part of her postdoctoral fellowship, Shapiro will be in residence in the Office of Community Services (OCS) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in Washington, DC.

“I’m looking forward to working on equity research in the Office of Community Services to support the goal of making sure that federal human services programs are reaching all communities,” said Shapiro, who is pursuing a joint-PhD in public policy and sociology. “This role will enable me to make connections between policy research and federal policy applications, drawing on my dissertation research that uses national administrative data to measure equity in nonprofit human services provision.” 

At the University of Michigan, Shapiro leads the UM Rural Human Services Research Project, a mixed-methods research project focused on mapping the nonprofit human services safety net in small and rural US counties. The project of the Department of Sociology, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the Population Studies Center (PSC) at the Institute for Social Research feeds into her dissertation work on the geography of poverty and the social safety net– under the mentorship of PSC director Sarah Burgard and PSC faculty H. Luke Shaefer and Natasha Pilkauskas. Its first chapter, “Inequality of the Safety Net: The Rural-Urban Continuum, County-Level Poverty, and Nonprofit Human Services Expenditures,” has been published in the Social Service Review. 

During the pandemic lockdown, Shapiro worked on a special project in the domain of visual sociology, collaborating with University of Kentucky art and design professor Mia Cinelli to produce “Addressing Opportunity: The Landscape of Inequality,” a gallery of postcards designed to visually communicate the sociological underpinnings of income inequality and to showcase the impact of individual actions that produce inequality in the United States. 

Shoshana has worked in rural human services research and policy for the past decade. She has led research projects on the safety net in rural Central Ohio and served as staff for the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. 

The National Poverty Fellowship is a federal government-university partnership administered by the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) seeking to build the capacity of postdoctoral researchers conducting high-quality policy-relevant research on poverty and inequality in the United States. 

Fellows work in residence in various offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), visit the IRP in Madison as scholars in residence two times per year, are paired with a senior IRP research mentor and an outside policy mentor for the duration of their fellowship, and receive support to participate in academic conferences.