I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University (Ph.D. 2013, New York University). In 2017, I was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. I am a member of Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP), a global research, evaluation, and learning network bringing together academics, policy-makers, and donors to promote evidence-based policy. I have been a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute as well as the Varieties of Democracy Institute.
My research investigates sources of, and solutions to, intergroup tensions and poorly functioning democratic processes in contexts where government institutions tend to have weak capacity to safeguard democracy and deliver vital public services. I have mainly focused on the effects of political competition (e.g., electoral cycle effects, coups), political information (e.g., civil society and mass-media interventions), and intergroup inequality (e.g., on the basis of partisanship, gender, ethnicity, and immigration status) on these outcomes. My regional expertise lies in sub-Saharan Africa. You can view my Research Statement (updated July 2021) or visit my Google Scholar page to find out more about my scholarly profile.
Much of my work couples experimental methodology with surveys and collection of behavioral data in challenging field environments. For many projects, I partner with NGOs and donors to investigate policy programming through randomized controlled trials (field experiments). Such research demonstrates my two major goals as a scholar: to advance our knowledge of social science by testing theoretically-driven hypotheses and to learn which policy programs are most effective in improving the well-being of citizens. This work has been awarded over $1.5 million in research funding.
Before attending graduate school, I trotted the globe, calling Freiburg, Germany my home base. I worked stints in democratization and development (Carter Center, NDI, and the Bundeszentral fuer Politische Bildung), enrolled in classes at Uni Freiburg, and taught ESL. I earned my B.A. in economics and international studies at Emory University in 2003.
In my free time, you'll find me in nature with friends and family --- I enjoy any and all outdoor activities!