Scholar Angela Medina is proud of her diverse academic background, and that same background led her to seek involvement with the Institute for Humane Studies.
“The nature of my work is interdisciplinary. In my undergrad I studied economics, then I went to law school, now sociology,” Medina said. She received a Doctor of the Sciences of Law (JSD) degree from Yale Law School in 2020 and is a current Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Chicago.
“What I do is really interdisciplinary, and that’s one of the things that I was attracted to about the Institute for Humane Studies. It was not about what kind of field you are in, but what type of research and questions you are answering.”-Scholar Angela Medina
In pursuit of her Ph.D. and as a researcher at the University of Chicago Justice Project, Angela’s work seeks a broader understanding of how penal laws, criminal procedure, and public policies affect incarceration rates, social and racial inequality, and crime rates. Angela’s research is centered around the cost of freedom-restricting laws that reduce peoples’ liberties.
“How can we understand the ways the criminal justice system affects individual liberties, civil liberties and how it affects racial inequality?” Angela asks.
In support of that journey, Angela was awarded a grant from IHS to work on developing her papers and supported research for conference presentations. She used the funding to work on developing research for a presentation on two projects: anti-gang laws on crime inequality, and criminal procedure reforms and crime rates.
Through the support of our grant, Angela was able to dedicate her time to researching and revising her drafts for publication, produce data set models to support her developing research, and cover travel expenses to present her research for crucial peer feedback.
For her work on effective anti-gang laws, she was selected to present at one of the most important sociological conferences in North America, the American Sociological Association. “I’m really excited about the type of feedback that I will have there,” Medina said.
Medina has also been invited to speak and present her work at some of the top conferences on criminal justice and law in the country. Attending these types of opportunities provides her with a platform to not only present her research but also access to a broad network and community of scholars to provide essential feedback on her work.
“I have looked up to [a lot] of scholars in economics and law that have been associated with the Institute. And I have been able to have access to these scholars and get feedback from them,” Medina said.
“I think it’s the main point of the conference. Not only being able to attend to get feedback, but to have a community and a network to improve my paper and have peer review from top scholars in economics, Sociology, and Law across the US and Europe.”-Scholar Angela Medina
In addition to financial support, working with IHS has provided her with opportunities to connect with the wider academic community. “Now that I’m a junior scholar, I have been taking advantage of the senior scholars network,” Medina said, and connecting to that network has been a valuable resource in her research. “It’s like having a stamp… that opens the door to start conversations with senior scholars that have been [doing] cutting-edge work.”
IHS provides scholars with support at every stage of their academic career and presenting developing projects or papers at an academic conference offers scholars an unparalleled platform to collaborate, share ideas with their peers, and engage in meaningful discourse and innovative discussions across educational disciplines.
Of her experience with IHS, Medina said, “I wouldn’t trade it, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity.”