About Me

I am a Political Science Ph.D. candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.   My research interests include political psychology (bio-politics), American politics, and gender and politics. My dissertation investigates political stress and its impact on citizens’ physical and mental health.  Political stress, as a chronic stressor can lead to very real and permanent consequences for physical and mental health outcomes in individuals who cannot adaptively cope with the stress.  The inability to adaptively cope with political stress can also create political apathy and detachment, which is antithetical to the ideals of a robust American democracy with active and engaged citizens.

My second line of research is centered around underrepresented groups and politics.  Several collaborative studies have examined ways in which politics influence the lives and attitudes of citizens.  One study finds that electoral environments shape judicial decision making in state courts of original jurisdiction in terms of punitiveness and sentencing.  Another study examines how ideology shapes perceptions of sexual harassment, finding that conservatives and liberals have different perceptions about what constitutes sexual harassment in both hypothetical scenarios and in their own lived experiences.   A third study uncovers a disconnect between favorable expressed opinions about female political candidates and physiological and behavioral measures that capture negativity toward female political candidates.  “I would vote for a woman, but not that woman” is an oft-heard statement; however, the ideal female candidate for President has yet to be found.  This study demonstrates that without removing these implicit biases toward female candidates, women will continue to be electorally excluded from the highest office in America – the Presidency.

I have been instructor of record for Power and Politics in America (an introductory course) and Gender and Politics (a upper-division course that examines the role of women in politics and society) twice.  I have served as a teaching assistant for Genetics, Brains, and Politics, an undergraduate course that seeks to explain political behavior using biology and psychology, as well as Power and Politics in America.  Overall, my student evaluations have been extremely positive.

My work with students extends beyond the classroom, as I have mentored and supervised undergraduate and graduate students working in and using the Political Psychophysiology Lab.  In addition, I have directly supervised more than a dozen undergraduate students with independent study projects.  Finally, through professional and personal political contacts, I have provided several students with political campaign internship opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels.