About Me

I am a doctoral candidate in the Departments of Political Science and Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. I examine political representation, policy responsiveness to partisan politics, and the development and implications of elite and public attitudes for political conflict and policy outcomes, with a particular focus on state politics and environmental policy. In my quantitative work, I assess the behavioral and institutional mechanisms by which partisan polarization and nationalization affect public policy in the American states. In my qualitative work, I study the politics of interpretation: how do political actors perceive, portray, and evaluate political issues, problems, and proposals, and what are the implications for policy outcomes? Read more about my research and work experience in this student spotlight feature from MIT News.

My dissertation probes the implications of political polarization for state-level regulatory enforcement and public attitudes towards environment and energy. In one paper, I assess the implications of polarization and nationalization of the American political parties for state-level regulatory enforcement. The paper carries fundamental questions from the state politics literature into a new context: administrative--rather than legislative--policy. My second dissertation paper describes polarization about environmental protection at the state level since the 1970s and assesses the consequences of environmental concern for environmental policy. In my third paper I assess the community-level politics of interpretation in the context of energy transmission infrastructure siting. The paper asks how the symbolic content of place attachments shape the way in which individuals interpret, evaluate, and react to proposed disruptions to their communities. Read more about these papers and my other collaborative and independent projects on my research page.

I grew up in Birmingham, AL, and earned a B.A. at the University of Virginia and Masters degrees in environmental policy and urban planning from the University of Michigan. Between undergrad and grad school I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras and worked with the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection and Office of International Affairs. If I'm away from my desk you'll likely find me in the mountains.