Meet DFP Spring Fellow, Sara Contreras, Temple University

The APSA Diversity Fellows Program (DFP) is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds applying to or in the early stages of doctoral programs in political science. The DFP was established in 1969 (originally as the Black Graduate Fellowship) to increase the number of minority scholars in the discipline. Since its inception, the APSA DFP has designated more than 600 fellows and contributed to the successful completion of doctoral political science programs for over 100 individuals.

Sara Contreras is a second-year Ph.D. student in Temple University’s department of political science where she is also pursuing her graduate certificate in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Sara graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian State University with a BS in international and comparative politics and minors in literature and history. After graduating, Sara moved to Philadelphia where she worked at Medical Students for Choice, a pro-choice non-profit, which helps medical students around the world obtain training to become abortion providers. This experience led Sara to focus academically on abortion policy, reproductive rights, and the relationship the state has to women’s bodies and the relationship women have to the state. Sara is currently researching comparative abortion policy and how underground and clandestine abortion networks subvert the state, particularly in Ireland and Turkey. Other research interests include sexual violence in civil conflict, and why actors choose to adopt sexual violence into their repertoires of violence. Sara was awarded Temple University’s Graduate School’s First Summers Research Initiative for Summer 2021 which provides funding for students to begin their dissertation research early. She aspires to a career in academia where she can pursue her research interests around abortion, reproductive rights, and sexual violence while helping students realize their own passions and gain a foothold in political science.