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Joseph P. McLaughlin, Jr.

As director of the Institute for Public Affairs and of the bipartisan Center on Regional Politics, McLaughlin connects Temple’s intellectual resources – including applied research and student interns — with policy making leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.  He is also associate vice dean for the College of Liberal Arts and teaches American politics and public policy in the political science department.  His work at Temple has included conducting information sessions for the Pennsylvania General Assembly and publishing research summarizing the legislature’s history and evaluating proposed changes in its structure and operations.  He also oversees the free, online Pennsylvania Policy Database, built with the support and cooperation of the General Assembly, which incorporates more than 180,000 government and news media records into more than 200 policy topics and enables users to trace and graph the history of public policy since 1979.  McLaughlin served as senior advisor to Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (2003-04), Philadelphia Mayor William J. Green III (1982-84), the bipartisan National Governors Association (1978-82), and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1974-77).  From 1984-2002, he was a lobbyist representing the City of Philadelphia under four mayors; SEPTA, business leaders in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and numerous other public and private sector organizations.  As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune (1968-71), he covered state and local politics and government in Illinois.  A 1965 graduate of Middlebury College and US Army veteran, McLaughlin obtained his master’s (1992) and doctoral (1999) degrees in political science from Temple.

e: jmclau@temple.edu | t: 215-204-5059


Michelle J. Atherton

Michelle J. Atherton is associate director of the Institute for Public Affairs, associate director for the Center on Regional Politics, staff advisor for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project, and director of the Pennsylvania Capital Semester, an internship program in Harrisburg for students at Temple and all Pennsylvania colleges and universities.  She also directs Temple’s Washington Semester, a partnership with the Washington Center in Washington, DC that allows Temple students to work and learn in the nation’s capital. Atherton graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual B.A. in English literature and philosophy of science.  She holds an M.A. in political science from Temple, where she was a University Fellow, and an M.S. in community and regional planning also from Temple, where she received the Department of Planning and Community Development Academic Excellence Award. She also served as a legislative intern to Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and taught American politics, the politics of race and political philosophy as a teaching assistant and adjunct instructor before joining the Institute for Public Affairs in 2008. Atherton also serves on the executive committee of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association and is the managing editor of Commonwealth: A Journal of Pennsylvania Politics and Policy.

e: mjather@temple.edu | t: 215-204-9074


Christopher Gray

Christopher Gray is the financial manager for the Institute for Public Affairs, the Center on Regional Politics, and the Center for Public Health Law Research. He ensures effective sponsored project expenditure tracking and effort reporting and other operational duties, such as pre-award submissions, purchasing and aiding in the creation of financial reports for their internal and external partners. Prior to his current position, Gray was a grant analyst for Temple University’s Research Accounting Services department for close to two and half years where he worked with multiple principal investigators and departmental administrators in managing financial sponsored projects, federal and non-federal grant awards. Prior to employment within the not-for-profit educational field, Gray worked for the Bank of New York Mellon in various financial stock market roles, specifically his last position title as an Investment Staff Accountant. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and while employed at the Bank of New York Mellon, returned to school in the evenings where he successfully completed his Certificate in Accounting at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently enrolled in the Health Informatics Master’s Program at Temple University’s College of Public Health.

e: christopher.gray@temple.edu | t: 215-204-9411


 Stefanie I. Kasparek

SteffiStefanie I. Kasparek manages research at the  Institute for Public Affairs for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. She is also a Ph.D. student in the Political Science Department at Temple University. Kasparek graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tuebingen, Germany with an M.A. in American Studies, International Law, and Political Science. She is the 2016 Box-Steffensmeier Fellow, awarded by the Society for Political Methodology and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research,  ICPSR. She also received the 2017 EITM Certification Scholarship, awarded by Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models Summer Institutes. Her work concentrates on international organizations, agenda-setting and decision-making processes, public policy, and international security. She also provided quantitative research assistance to Dr. Roselyn Hsueh and Dr. Orfeo Fioretos in the areas of comparative political economy and international institutions. For the Political Science Department, she teaches classes in International Relations, Quantitative Research Methods, and Research Design.

e: kasparek@temple.edu | t: 215-204-7765