Political Science Now

Meet APSA Congressional Fellow Emily Baer — Applications for 2018-2019 Fellowships due Dec. 4!

Since 1953 the APSA Congressional Fellowship Program has supported political scientists, journalists, and other professionals in gaining first-hand knowledge of Congress and policymaking through fellowship placements in congressional offices. The APSA is pleased to welcome the 2017-2018 class of fellows. Learn more about the Congressional Fellowship Program and apply now for the 2018-2019 fellowship year. Applications are due December 4, 2017. 

Emily Baer, PhD – University of Minnesota, 2017-2018 APSA Congressional Fellow

 Emily Baer received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation examined how party factions in Congress develop the capacity to pursue procedural, policy, and leadership change in the House of Representatives through a case study of the Democratic Study Group (DSG). DSG was the official organization of liberal Democrats in the House from 1959 to 1995, as well as the leader of the 1970s campaign to reform the House to be more responsive to pressing civil rights, housing, education, labor, and economic issues.

She finds that institutional change in Congress is shaped more by the organizational strategies adopted by factions than by their size or ideological convictions. Groups comprised of members with limited formal power can challenge the status quo by developing and disseminating critical legislative resources and tools to members normally denied access to them through the official structures of the House.

DSG enabled junior liberals to play an active leadership role in party business and the policymaking process despite opposition from party and committee leaders. Today, the Democratic Caucus continues to reflect not only the rules changes advocated for by DSG, but most of the party’s contemporary leadership slate and policy platform emerged from the group as well. Her research suggests that party factions in Congress can take small, concrete steps to improve their capacity to work together, even in a highly centralized institution and political era.

Emily grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs and attended George Washington University as an undergraduate.  She was previously a National Fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.