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Faculty Receive Grants From the Russell Sage Foundation, Fulbright Scholar Program

September 15, 2023

Image of Emily Leslie
Dr. Emily Leslie, Department of Economics
Image of Spencer James
Dr. Spencer James, School of Family Life

Congratulations to Dr. Emily Leslie, an assistant professor in the Economics department at BYU, who has recently received a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to fund her research further. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has collaborated with the Russell Sage Foundation to launch research grants, including the one Dr. Leslie has received.

She will be working with Dr. Brittany Street of the University of Missouri to investigate the impact of access to public housing assistance on labor market and criminal justice outcomes as well as how these outcomes vary by racial group. They are going to be using data from the Federal Statistical Research Data, administrative data on the Department of Housing and Urban Development enrollments, and the Criminal Justice Administrative Records System for their study, and they anticipate accessing that data soon.

Dr. Leslie graduated from BYU with a B.A. in economics in 2011. She earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Iowa and has been a member of the Department of Economics faculty at BYU since 2017. Her main research interests are in crime and the criminal justice system, as well as how to use variation in judge decision-making patterns for causal identification.

Additionally, Dr. Spencer James of the School of Family Life has been recognized as a Fulbright Scholar for Benin for the upcoming year. This prestigious award is sponsored by the United States Department of State, sending scholars throughout the world to foster international relations and expand research opportunities. Dr. James will be living in Benin with his family, teaching and conducting research in French at the University of Parakou. He is looking forward to developing relationships with students and faculty who will challenge his cultural and academic assumptions.

Spencer L. James is an Africana Studies and Global Women’s Studies affiliate, and a Fellow at both the Wheatley Institute and the Ballard Center. Since coming to BYU in 2012, he has published over 50 articles and book chapters and numerous public reports focused on two lines of research: the first on the consequences of family relationships for child well-being, and the second addressing how and why people form, maintain, and dissolve romantic relationships. He is the founder and director of the Global Families Research Initiative, which focuses on global family relationships and how those relationships influence the wellbeing of children, adolescents, and adults. Currently, he is working on several projects that examine how family dynamics and child well-being are linked in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the world, which will undoubtedly be benefitted by his time in Benin.