Ph.D., M.A. Princeton University
B.S. Vanderbilt University
I teach courses on American political behavior and identity, including courses on public opinion, media, gender and race in American politics.
I have been fascinated by politics and political action since childhood. In college my interests became focused on a specific set of questions: Why do political leaders have certain characteristics? And how do the characteristics of elected leaders—their races, genders, economic classes, ages, and the like—affect the rest of us? These questions led me to graduate study and to a career of teaching and research focused on American politics and the politics of identity.
My research investigates why American elected officials often do not share the traits of those they represent. I examine how political elites (like party leaders and campaign donors) affect who runs for and wins public office generally, and how elite beliefs and behavior influence women's political representation specifically. I also look at how voters respond to candidates with diverse identities (different races, ethnicities and genders) in a variety of electoral contexts. My broader research agenda includes work on many aspects of American government and politics, including gender, race, ethnicity, candidate emergence, political parties, local and urban politics, and survey and experimental research.
I also enjoy working with students on their collaborative and independent research projects as they prepare their work for presentation and publication.