Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is Vice President of Development at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. She has been an adviser to Washington think tanks and educational nonprofit organizations. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Jacqueline served on the faculties of St. John's College and the College of William & Mary. She has published articles about political philosophy, social issues, and bioethics in journals such as The New Atlantis, Society, and Philanthropy.

Jacqueline earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and her B.A., also in political science, from The University of Calgary.

Jacqueline is member of the board of the Advocates for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, and she has taught in the college program at Maryland's only prison for women. She lives with her husband and their children in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Read all posts published by Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill.


  • How the other half lives today

    In 1890, Jacob Riis’ How The Other Half Lives shocked readers with its detailed descriptions of squalid living conditions of New York’s poor. Made vivid by Riis’ account of the situations of particular families and photographs of squalor, Riis’ book changed the general public’s understanding of how the working poor lived—and it changed in the […]

  • Millennials and Philanthropy at Work

    Many employers grumble about the millennial generation—otherwise known as “GenMe.” Used to getting trophies for participation, straight-A grades from their college professors, and protected by helicopter parents, millennials can be a challenge for employers. The New York Times recently reported on how some Wall Street banks are responding to the challenges of managing these young […]

  • Literature, Life, and Death: Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air

    How to come to terms with death? This is the sort of question that many of us, for understandable reasons, avoid confronting. But a book with this as the central question has risen to the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, Paul Kalanithi’s autobiography, When Breath Becomes Air. Paul Kalanithi was a […]

  • Civil society and China’s one-child policy

    Pulitzer Prize–winning author Mei Fong’s new book One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment is a history of this infamous policy, instituted in 1980 and discontinued only last year. In her book—and also at a discussion of her book I attended recently—Fong dwells on the inhumanity of the one-child policy. Among the horrors […]

  • “Telescopic Philanthropy” and our fellow citizens

    Every Christmas vacation I choose a “big book” to read, and this year I settled upon a rereading of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. It was busy holiday season, and I didn’t finish Bleak House until snowbound for several days during January’s Snowzilla storm. Bleak House is justly regarded as Dickens’ richest, most complex novel. And […]

  • The Challenger disaster—and middle school reading lists

    This week we’ve been remembering the Challenger tragedy—a tragedy remembered keenly by nearly everyone over the age of 35. There are many memorable moments from that day—the astronauts waving goodbye as they boarded the shuttle, the Y-shaped cloud left after the explosion, the stricken expressions on the faces of teacher Christa McAuliffe’s parents. But among […]

  • Who gets admitted to public school enrichment programs?

    Three essays by the prospective student. Transcripts and test scores. Three letters of recommendation. A three-hour admissions exam. A college application? Nope. That’s what was required of our ten-year old son to be an applicant to a middle-school magnet program in our county’s public schools. On top of all the above, we had to submit […]

  • Social capital and community resilience

    Cataclysmic natural disasters seem to be the sort of events that demands a government response. Even classical liberals who favor tight limits on government’s role concede that responding to such disasters is a legitimate government purpose. And, surely we do need government to respond to such catastrophes. But three scholars at the Mercatus Center at […]

  • The virtue of gratitude

    Oliver Sacks—the neurologist and science writer best known and who died this year at age 82—left a last legacy in the four short, autobiographical essays reflecting on the final stage of his life. The first essay, “Mercury,” was written on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The other essays, (“My Own Life,” “My Periodic Table,” […]

  • Dickens’ Christmas Specters

    Charles Dickens is the English author we most closely associate with Christmas—so much so that when his death was reported, one young English girl is said to have exclaimed, “Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?” Dickens’ five Christmas novellas are full of ghosts, goblins, and phantoms—and are so because a great theme of […]

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