In September 2021, I received my Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My research is focused in the field of American politics and examines the impact of changing racial demographics on the public opinion, political behavior, and public policy. My dissertation explores the impact that negative campaign ads featuring Latinos have on white vote choice and public opinion. I was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) to complete the multi-method, original research used in the study.
My research and teaching have both benefited from my ability to draw upon my direct experiences as a Holyoke City Councilor (2008-2022). City Council meeting dynamics, campaign organizing, and local politics have all been sources of inspiration and insights that have been incorporated into my research agenda. In fact, my dissertation project was born out of a highly contentious and racialized debate about a backyard chicken ordinance that took place in the city. As a scholar-practitioner, I have found that undergraduate students can grasp new material more easily when concrete examples can be used to illustrate abstract concepts. Being able to articulate a theoretical phenomenon with local actors or anecdotes is really rewarding because it demonstrates that politics is not something that happens “out there,” but instead is something that we are all engaged in and shaping to a greater or lesser extent.