I am an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Loyola University Maryland. I am on tenure-track research leave in academic year 2016-2017.
My subfield is American Politics, and I focus on political behavior and elections, with particular emphasis on public opinion and the media. I use survey experiments, along with media content, focus groups, and political theory, to illuminate how people make sense of the everyday messages they receive about government and politics. I received my PhD in Political Science from Yale University in May 2014. Courses I teach include Introduction to American Politics, Public Opinion and American Democracy, and Media and Politics.
I am currently working on a book manuscript, All They Do Is Fight: Interpreting Interactions in Congress, which investigates how citizens interpret partisan conflict in Congress. Pundits and scholars warn that angry partisan bickering and gridlock undermine the relationship between citizens and government, but such warnings raise more questions than they answer. Why should partisanship, incivility, and a lack of legislative accomplishment be taken to indicate that representatives are doing a bad job? Do citizens actually react negatively to these features of the legislative process? What incentives do such reactions create for elected officials? In answering these questions, I argue that we have misunderstood when, why, and for whom norms like bipartisanship and civility matter, and I use my results to clarify what it will take to improve citizens’ confidence in Congress.
My broader research agenda focuses on how people make sense of the everyday messages they receive about government and elections. Through my work, I clarify how the public reacts to a variety of complex political stimuli, including news reports about debates in Congress, candidate messaging about qualifications for office, loaded political categories like “welfare” and “assistance to the poor,” and even fictional portrayals of unjust totalitarian governments. I have published co-authored articles in Public Opinion Quarterly and The Journal of Politics, and I have several working papers available as well. (Please see Research for further information.)