I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Rice University and a graduate fellow for the Religion and Public Life Program at the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance. My research interests lie in the area of American political behavior, with a focus on Latino representation and the intersection of religion and politics. My work examines how members of particular social groups (such as Latinos and religious individuals) determine who is a legitimate representative of their group.
My work implicates group-specific language as a key signal of in-group membership and shows how group members respond to political candidates who try to use such language to signal that they are an authentic representative of the group. In a recent article revised and resubmitted to the American Political Science Review, I (with two graduate student coauthors) show that Latino voters use variation in the accent of candidates’ Spanish-language appeals to judge which candidates are willing and able to be authentic representatives of their group. In part of my dissertation, I extend this approach to various kinds of religious groups—first identifying the language recognized by different religious groups, and then exploring whether religious voters judge candidates based on the correct use of such language.
As an instructor of record, I have taught a course on religion and politics in the American context and currently serve as a graduate instructor in Rice’s Program in Writing and Communication. In addition, I obtained a Certificate in Teaching and Learning from Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence.
I was previously a graduate fellow for the Center for the United States and Mexico at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, where I hosted and produced the Judy Ley Allen Mexico Centered podcast. I interviewed many academics as well as current and former government officials from the United States and Mexico.
Prior to starting my doctoral studies at Rice, I earned a bachelor’s degree in music (clarinet performance) from Union College (Lincoln, Nebraska).