I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. I joined the department in Fall of 2013 as a Pre/Post-doctoral research fellow. I completed my Ph.D. in Political Scienceat theUniversity of Florida in 2015. I earned a Master's Degree in African Studies at UCLA's African Studies Center and a Bachelor's in Political Science and Legal Studies at Northwestern University prior to beginning my PhD.
My research agenda centers around national-level political leaders in low-income and non-democratic settings: why do leaders emerge and run for office? How are they chosen and held accountable for policy outputs? This topic is of paramount importance to understand the types of political leaders that emerge and the quality of public services and policies they deliver. My past, current, and future projects speak to three related themes: (1) what drives candidacy ambition, (2) why voters choose candidates, especially ones from under-represented groups and (3) political leader accountability. I also research data collection and analysis solutions to measurement challenges related to these three substantive areas.
I have conducted extensive fieldwork in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, and Ghana. I have spent nearly four years of my life in Tanzania and am fluent in Swahili. I primarily implement political elite surveys with aspirants for national legislative office.. For more on these projects, head over to my Research page.