I am a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Political Science at Penn State University. My major field of study is comparative politics and my secondary fields are American politics and political methodology. My research is broadly focused on comparative political institutions and public opinion, and more specifically on federalism and state politics. My dissertation focuses on the variation in democracy at the state level in national federal democratic systems. It explores how this variation influences citizen support for and satisfaction with democracy. I argue that the variation in democracy at the state level has the potential to influence public opinion about democracy by directly influencing the ability of state governments to represents citizens, as well as indirectly by affecting subnational economic and political performance.
While my dissertation takes a cross-region approach to comparative politics, much of my research has focused on Latin America, predominately Brazil. In July of 2017 I will be traveling to Brazil, specifically the states of Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul to conduct interviews to support my dissertation. I received a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship in 2012.