Angela Simms

Faculty Advisors: 

Chenoa Flippen, Dorothy Roberts

Research Interests: 

Simms's research interests are: race, class, political economy, inter-governmental relationships, and public policy.

Her dissertation site is Prince George’s County (PGC), Maryland, a suburban county that borders Washington, D.C. It is home to the largest concentration of Black middle-class residents in the United States at the county level. In PGC, Simms investigates the social processes related to middle-class Blacks' political agenda formation. Her specific lines of inquiry are: What are the political priorities? How are the political priorities deliberated and determined? Who benefits from these priorities? Simms focuses on three domains: (1) budget and fiscal policy, (2) economic development and land use, and (3) public schools. Her data are ethnographic, including two years of observation of the policy and budget development processes in the county, 60 interviews with government and non-government leaders and county residents, as well as analysis of local, state, and federal government data to situate the county’s policy and budget priorities within regional, state, and national contexts.


Simms is in her sixth year at Penn. She expects to graduate in May 2019 and is currently pursuing university faculty positions and post-docs. Prior to coming to Penn, she worked for seven years as a legislative analyst at the federal government agency the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within the Executive Office of the U.S. President. At OMB, Simms managed the clearance process for, edited, and approved policy documents and legislation the Justice Department submitted to Congress to ensure consistency with the President’s overall legislative agenda. She has a master's degree in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin and she earned her undergraduate degree in government from the College of William and Mary.

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