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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center
Dartmouth College
6082 Rockefeller Hall
Hanover, NH 03755 USA
603 646-3874
Rockefeller Center
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The Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop

The Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop [PRS] is a student-staffed, faculty-mentored research enterprise that allows students to engage directly in the public policymaking processes in Vermont and New Hampshire by providing valuable, non-partisan research to state legislative committees, statewide commissions, and executive agencies on critical issues facing each state.  Students begin their work with an intensive policy research class in the fall term, which can be followed by additional research as an independent study or as a paid researcher. Students meet directly with elected officials and staff as they develop and refine high-quality research products. Once the policy briefs are completed, the students travel to Concord and Montpelier to present their findings in formal testimonies. All of the policy briefs are produced for policymakers on pro bono basis.

Support for the PRS1964logo

The Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop is now fully endowed by the Dartmouth Class of 1964 through a class gift in celebration of its 50th Anniversary given to the Rockefeller Center. The full endowment of the Policy Research Shop by the Class of 1964 ensures that the public policy research undertaken by the PRS students will be conducted in a non-partisan and non-advocacy manner. Prior to its endowment by the Class of 1964, the PRS was supported by major grants from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) at the U.S. Department of Education and from the Ford Foundation, and by seed grants from the Surdna Foundation and the Lintilhac Foundation. Founded in 2005, the Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop is celebrating its 10th Anniversary.  Since its inception, the PRS has produced more than 130 policy briefs for policymakers in Vermont and New Hampshire. Collectively, PRS students have worked more than 50,000 hours to produce these policy briefs for state legislative committees, statewide commissions, and executive agencies over the past decade.  More information about the Class of 1964 leadership gift to the Rockefeller Center.

How to Get Started

Students interested in participating in the Policy Research Shop, under the direction of Professor Ronald Shaiko, must complete PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research during the fall term. PBPL 45, taught by Professor Ron Shaiko, Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center, will prepare students with the fundamental methods for conducting public policy research. The course will also provide students with the opportunity to meet practitioners and policymakers from the Vermont and New Hampshire legislatures.

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PRS Mentors

PRS Mentors

Professor Ronald Shaiko, Visiting Assistant Professor Derek Epp, and Research Assistant Professor Herschel Nachlis


Spring 2014 PRS Students and Mentors

PRS 12s

  • Back Row (L to R): Professor Ronald Shaiko, Diana Ming, Kristo Jorgenson, Aislinn McLaughlin, Patrick Saylor, Avery Feingold, and Ashneil Jain, Professor Matt Cravens
  • Front Row (L to R): Ke Zhao, Ayushi Narayan, Anne Ressler, Sakin Abu Boakye, Nick Shallow, Sean Connolly, Phoebe Racine, Jake Perkins, Professor Tim Ruback

PRS Director

ShaikoRonald G. Shaiko is a Senior Fellow and the Associate Director for Curricular and Research Programs at The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences. The 2015-2016 academic year marks his 29th year of university teaching and his 15th year at Dartmouth College. In November of 2007, he received the Linda '82 and Paul Gridley Faculty Fellow Award from the Dean of the College; the award recognizes exemplary faculty involvement outside of the classroom. Prior to coming to Dartmouth, Professor Shaiko was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Politics in the American Studies Center at Warsaw University in Poland during the 2000-2001 academic year. Throughout the decade of the 1990s, Professor Shaiko taught at American University, where he founded and served as the academic director of the Lobbying Institute. During his 10 years at American, Professor Shaiko served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993-1994 and as a Democracy Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development in 1998-1999. During his twenty-nine years of teaching, he has received more than $1.3 million in grants, awards, and fellowships. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from Ursinus College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.


 cole_headshotMargaret Post is a Visiting Scholar at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. Post holds a Doctorate in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. For over ten years, she has worked as a community organizer, educator, and scholar. Her research interests include the role of grassroots organizations in social policy change and the civic development of young people and new immigrants. In addition to teaching courses on organizing and public policy, Post conducts trainings for a broad range of non-profit and political organizations. In 2007, Post received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Bailis Family Social Justice Award from the Heller School at Brandeis University. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the publication, Diversity and Democracy, and is a member of the Next Generation Engagement Project at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Center, Post was Director of the Donelan Office of Community Based Learning at Holy Cross (Worceseter, MA).


herschel nachlisHerschel Nachlis is Research Assistant Professor of Government, Postdoctoral Fellow, and Manager, Policy Research Shop at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. He is also Assistant Professor of Government at Franklin & Marshall College (on leave). He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University, and B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College. He studies and teaches American politics and public law, focusing on health and social policy. His research examines the political development of mental health policy in the United States and variation in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues. His research interests include the politics of health and disease more generally, regulatory policy, diversity and representation in legal and bureaucratic institutions, constitutional development and judicial policymaking, and well-being and public policy.


 derek eppDerek Epp is a Postdoctoral Fellow, Visiting Assistant Professor, and Manager, Policy Research Shop at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. He received a Ph.D. and M.A. in American Politics with a minor in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has a B.A. in political science from the University of Maryland at College Park. His research agenda focuses on policy change, asking why some policies persist – remaining the status quo for decades – while others undergo frequent adjustments. To this end, his research measures the capacity of institutions to attend to political information and then tracks the allocation of that attention across issues: what issues receive attention, for how long, and to what effect. He also studies criminal justice with a particular focus on racial patterns in police traffic stops. For more information please visit:


PRS Policy Briefs by Year












2014-2015 PRS Policy Briefs

2013-2014 PRS Policy Briefs

2012-2013 PRS Policy Briefs

2011-2012 PRS Policy Briefs 

2010-2011 PRS Policy Briefs

2009-2010 PRS Policy Briefs

2008-2009 PRS Policy Briefs

2007-2008 PRS Policy Briefs

2006-2007 PRS Policy Briefs

2005-2006 PRS Policy Briefs

2004-2005 PRS Policy Briefs


If You Are a Legislator

Students who participate in the PRS are committed to providing accurate research that responds to the needs of elected policymakers and their legislative staff throughout the year. Our researchers examine emerging issues of concern that are relevant to legislative discussions in both New Hampshire and Vermont. These topics are selected through a consultative process with policy stakeholders. Project reports produced by PRS students are nonpartisan and do not advocate for particular policy outcomes.

The PRS typically produces reports with opportunities for follow-up research upon request. Our goal is to provide useful information in a clear format, and to deliver this information in a timely manner so that it is useful during legislative deliberation. You may browse previous reports here. If you are interested in working with our students on a policy research project this year, we would be delighted to discuss it with you. Our students will work hard to bring their research skills to assist your committee in meeting its policy needs.

For More Information Contact

Last Updated: 11/19/15