I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Agnes Scott College. 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 an authentic 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 forthcoming at the American Political Science Review, I (with co-authors) 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 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.

I was previously a graduate fellow for the Religion and Public Life Program at the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance and for the Center for the United States and Mexico at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. In the latter position, I hosted and produced the Judy Ley Allen Mexico Centered podcast, where I interviewed many academics as well as current and former government officials from the United States and Mexico.

I received a Ph.D. in political science from Rice University. Prior to starting my doctoral studies at Rice, I earned a B.Mus. in music performance from Union College (Lincoln, Nebraska).