assistant professor of government and law

Ph.D., government, University of Virginia

What I’m focused on:

“American politics, particularly Congress and the party system. I wrote my dissertation on factions within parties—these groups that pop up within parties as a way to distinguish themselves have always fascinated me.”

What I’m excited about:

“It’s a good time to be in this field because civic engagement is high, and it’s an ever-changing landscape. There is never going to be a moment this semester where I will lack for examples. A lot of what political scientists do is try to distill the enduring components of the American political system—so moving beyond the really entertaining but ultimately soap-opera style of politics. I think there is an important opportunity to take a step back and think about the fundamentals of our system.”

What you can expect of me:

I’ve always enjoyed debating. In college, I’d play devil’s advocate even if I had no actual stake in the argument. I think that’s important in a politics class. You don’t always want there to be one consensus opinion when there could be a very good alternate opinion.”

What I’m holding:

“These pocket editions of America’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution—are sentimental to me. I saw them in the National Archives’ gift shop about five years ago, and they immediately reminded me of my dad. We would have these dinner debates when I was a kid, and my dad would sit back and let me and my two brothers argue and have passionate opinions. Eventually, he would pull out his pocket edition of the Constitution and make us look up what we were referencing in our arguments. So when I see these books, I think about my dad and how he would always ground us and have us provide evidence for our arguments. I think that’s a valuable lesson.”

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