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Brigid Callahan Harrison is Department Chair and Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University, where she has taught since 1994. She is the founder of the Policy Studies program, a multi-disciplinary program that incorporates curriculum from throughout over a dozen departments in the University. She is the author of American Democracy Now (McGraw-Hill Publishers, now in its seventh edition), one of the leading introductory political science textbooks in the United States. She is also the author of A More Perfect Union (McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2010), Power and Society (Cengage, now in its 13th edition) and Women in American Politics (Wadsworth, 2003), as well as various peer-refereed journal articles.
Named to PolitickerNJ's Power List 2015 (at #20), Harrison is a frequent commentator in print and electronic media on U.S. politics, Harrison provides regular political analysis to ABC, NBC, and CBS, FOX News, and their local affiliates, to CBS News radio, and to various NPR radio programs. She also is a regular commentator on NJTV. She is a columnist for The New York Observer, PolitickerNJ, and The Bergen Record, and her editorials have appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Star-Ledger, and The Press of Atlantic City. Harrison has served as a moderator or panelist for numerous political debates, including the 2013 New Jersey Gubernatorial debate, and the New Jersey 2012 U.S. Senate debate.
Harrison has served as president of the New Jersey Political Science Association. She also served as president of the National Women’s Caucus for Political Science, a section chair of the Northeast Political Science Association, and as president of the Midwest Women’s Caucus for Political Science. Her research interests include Congress and the Presidency, campaigns and elections, and American public opinion. She is an expert on the politics of the Millennial and Gen Z generations. She received her B.A. from Stockton University, her M.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and her Ph.D. from Temple University, where she was a national MENSA graduate fellow.
Inducted into the Atlantic County Women’s Hall of fame in 2009, she also was the recipient of the “Distinguished Alumna of the Year” from the Richard Stockton College Council of Black Faculty and Staff, and the Atlantic County Zonta’s “Women Who Make a Difference” award.
Working within her community, Harrison serves as a member of the Foundation Board of Stockton University where she is on the Executive Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors of Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ, both of which are her alma maters. She also serves as an Advisory Board onThe John R. Elliott Character and Leadership Program. She has volunteered with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers and was a charter member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative of the Atlantic County United Way. She also has served on the boards of the Atlantic County Women’s Center and the American Cancer Society – Atlantic County Unit. She is a member of the South Jersey chapter of Families with Children from China, and was the membership chair of the Smithville Elementary Parent Teacher Association for over a decade. She is also a member of the United State Naval Academic Parent Booster Club.
Brigid’s hobbies include running, paddleboarding, kayaking, yoga, traveling, and reading. She lives in Longport, New Jersey, and is mom to three grown children Caroline, and Alexandra, and John. She is married to Paul Meilak, a retired New York City Police detective.
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