Researchers

Joseph P. McLaughlin, Jr., (PhD) is the principal investigator and director of the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. He is also director of Temple’s Institute for Public Affairs and an assistant dean of Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts. McLaughlin teaches American politics and public policy in the department of political science. He joined Temple in March 2004 after a long career as government official and lobbyist working on major public policy issues in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Washington D. C. He served as a deputy to Philadelphia Mayor William J. Green III (1982-83) and senior advisor to Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (2003-04). He was spokesman for the National Governors Association in Washington DC during the federalism and urban policy debates of the Carter and Reagan administrations (1978-82). From 1974-77, he was director of the Legislative Information Office of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune (1968-71), he covered state and local politics and government in Illinois. McLaughlin obtained his master’s (1992) and doctoral (1999) degrees in political science from Temple.

Jay Jennings is the project manager for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. He is working on his PhD in political science at Temple University and received his MA in political science from American University in 2004. His interests lie in religion and politics, political psychology, electoral behavior and public policy. Jennings received his BA in Political Science from Houghton College. He is a resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania but grew up in Central, South Carolina.

Michelle Atherton  is staff advisor for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project, publications editor and senior policy writer and researcher for Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics. She is also assistant director of the Institute for Public Affairs, and director of the Pennsylvania Capital Semester, an internship program in Harrisburg for students at Temple and all Pennsylvania colleges and universities. Atherton graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual B.A. in English literature and philosophy of science. She holds a master’s degree in political science from Temple, where she was a University Fellow. 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.

Paul Wolfgang is a faculty advisor for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project and an Instructor in the department of computer and information sciences at Temple University. He is the principal constructor of the project’s website tools.

Dave Ferreira is a senior researcher for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project and a recent graduate of Temple University with a major in political science and minor in geography & urban studies. He comes to us from Cranford, NJ. He currently resides in Philadelphia’s Queen Village section.

Megan Mullin (PhD) is a faculty advisor for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project and assistant professor of political science at Temple University. She teaches and has published in the fields of state and local politics, federalism, public policy, and voting.

Ping Zhang is a graduate research assistant for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. He is from China. He obtained his Bachelor’s (2004) and Master’s (2007) degrees in Computer Science from Huazhong University of Science & Technology. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Computer and Information Science at Temple University . His interests lie in data mining, machine learning and their applications in various fields.

Justin Gollob is the former project coordinator for the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. Justin completed his PhD in political science at Temple University in the fall of 2007 and is currently a professor at Mesa State College. His research interests include legislative politics, state and local government, representation, and public policy. He recieved his MA in political science from Temple University in 2002 and his bachelors degree from Idaho State University in 1999. Gollob was previously the internship coordinator for the department of political science and an adjunct professor. He grew up in Pocatello, Idaho.

Dan Lehman is the former graduate research manager for the Pennsylvania Policy Database project. He recently completed his dissertation on the role of political parties and interest groups in the mobilization of Latino voters. His current research interests includes parties and interest groups, race and ethnic politics, and American public policy. He graduated with BA degrees in political science and American studies from Temple University in May 2002, a MA from Temple in 2006, and a PhD from Temple in 2013. He grew up in Lebanon, PA.

J. Wesley Leckrone (PhD) is Assistant Professor of Government and Politics at Widener University. He is the former project coordinator of the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project and is currently on the project’s University Advisory Committee. Wes earned his PhD in the spring of 2006 from Temple University in the department of political science. He received an MA in history from Temple in 1995 and a BA in political science from American University in 1991. Wes previously served as the program director at the Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University. His publications include articles in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, State Politics and Policy Quarterly and the Journal of Urban Affairs. Wes grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Current Student Researchers:

Ryan Smoker is currently a senior at Temple University majoring in Political Science and Economics. He hails from Lancaster, PA, and completed the PA Capital Semester Program through Temple in 2011. Upon graduation in 2013, Ryan hopes to pursue a career in public relations and consulting.

Brian Maislin is a senior Political Science major and Economics minor in the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University. He is from Lower Merion Township, PA. After graduation, Brian plans to continue work in public affairs in Washington D.C. and Israel before attending graduate school for public policy and urban planning.

Thomas Mickens Jr. of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is a Sophomore Political Science major, pursuing minors in Economics and Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts at Temple University. Tom began his stint with the policy database project the second semester of his freshman year. Although he currently doesn’t have specific plans after graduation, Tom hopes that his interests in public policy, law and philosophy will lead him to a career in serving the public good in some capacity.

Frank Iannuzzi

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