Ph.D. candidate Stephanie Holcomb is recipient of Horowitz Foundation social science research grant

July 7, 2021

Bloustein School Ph.D. candidate Stephanie Holcomb is one of 25 scholars chosen to receive a social science research grant from the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy for the 2020 award year. The Foundation received 678 applications from around the world, representing a wide range of policy areas and approaches.

Holcomb received a $7,500 grant to support her dissertation research on how county-level administration of cash assistance affects program access and equity, titled “Patchy Safety Net: Analyzing County-Level Variation in Access to Cash Assistance.”

Holcomb’s research focuses on access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or what is viewed as the traditional welfare program of cash assistance. TANF is administered at the county level in New Jersey. Holcomb uses mixed methods to analyze county-level differences in the implementation of TANF and to investigate the way in which these differences relate to access to cash assistance throughout New Jersey. She is interviewing TANF applicants and analyzing program application data to study equity in the system.

Prof. Andrea Hetling, Holcomb’s advisor, emphasizes that Holcomb’s research has both great scientific merit and real-world policy importance. “Stephanie is an exceptionally talented researcher, and findings from her dissertation research have the potential to have direct implications for welfare policy implementation in New Jersey and across the U.S.”

Among other variables, Holcomb is investigating whether differences in application progress and acceptance are related to race and ethnicity. Her research aims to discover how differences in access to cash assistance can inform actionable recommendations to improve benefit access for those in need.

Holcomb is a graduate of The College of New Jersey with a master’s of public policy degree from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in 2016. She is also a full-time employee of the Bloustein School’s John J. Heldrich Center for Work Force Development.

“I was fortunate enough to benefit from public programs that helped get me to where I am today. I hope this research helps make it possible for more families to access the support they need.” said Holcomb.

She hopes to shed light on how county-level differences relate to geographic and demographic inequities in access to cash assistance for low-income families throughout New Jersey before and during the current economic recession.

Recent Posts

Bicycle Lanes Have a Calming Effect on Traffic – Study

A research study by Bloustein School researchers and faculty members Hannah Younes, Clinton Andrews, Robert Noland, Wenwen Zhang, and Leigh Ann Von Hagen, and others, was featured in Discerning Cyclist. The study, The Traffic Calming Effect of Delineated Bicycle...

MHA program earns CAHME Reaccreditation

The Bloustein School’s Master of Health Administration program has been awarded reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). “CAHME's mission is to advance the quality of healthcare management education globally....

Courtney Culler Wins Excellence in Student Support Award

Each year, the School of Graduate Studies recognizes the notable achievements of graduate students, faculty, and staff at our annual awards ceremony. These awards recognize important accomplishments in research and scholarship, teaching and mentoring, leadership,...

Rutgers Today Spotlight: Lisa Harrison-Gulla

From Rutgers Today Public Health Career Inspired By Family Legacy and Personal Challenges Lisa Harrison-Gulla began her public health career 30 years ago helping those suffering from addiction in their treatment and recovery. Now, she’s using her experience – along...

NJSPL – Industry Employment Growth in NJ

By Will Irving Unpredictability has been one of the defining features of New Jersey’s labor market for much of the last two years. As the state’s unemployment rate climbed to among the highest in the nation, payroll employment continued to grow steadily before slowing...

Upcoming Events

Event Series Informatics

AI Through a Rutgers Lens (Microsoft) Part 3

Microsoft, 885 2nd Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10017 885 Second Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY, United States

Please join us as we explore the world of AI with help from Rutgers experts who wrestle with these questions daily.
Socially Cognizant Robotics: Preparing for a future in which humans and robots regularly interact and society develops new rules.

Jersey City Alumni Mixer

Zeppelin Hall Biergarten 88 Liberty View Dr, Jersey City, New Jersey

Join us for an alumni mixer in #JerseyCity on Thursday, June 6th at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten. Parking for Zeppelin Hall is FREE - more information can be found here: This […]