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) engage in racial, ethnic, religious, and political boundary-making to determine who is an authentic member and 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. For example, in conjunction with co-authors, I find 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 (forthcoming at the American Political Science Review). In my current work, I extend this approach to various religious groups—first identifying the language recognized by different Christian groups, and then exploring whether American Christians judge candidates based on the correct use of such language.

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).