I am a PhD candidate within the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. My work is featured in Political Behavior, the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics and GenForward’s Race and Place: Young Adults and the Future of Chicago.
My dissertation explores the ways in which civic education courses shape the political attitudes and behaviors of high schoolers along the lines of race and ethnicity. More specifically, I find that critical pedagogy—an educational philosophy that centers the local knowledge and grassroots political action of marginalized groups—has the ability to close the civic empowerment gap between white youth and young people of color. This work utilizes a mixed-methods approach that includes the following:
- Archival research
- Statistical analyses of a nationally representative survey of 15-25-year-olds
- A survey experiment distributed to nearly 700 high schoolers within Chicago area classrooms
- Observations of 24 Chicago high school classrooms
- Statistical analyses of an original survey of 300 Chicago high school social studies teachers
- In-depth qualitative interviews with 30 high school social studies teachers
- Focus groups with Chicago high school students
This research is informed by a diverse set of academic literatures including race and ethnicity, political behavior, socialization, urban politics, and education policy.
I have received a number of awards and grants to support my research including a research grant from the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy, three Minar Summer Grants, three department research grants, and Northwestern’s Graduate Research Grant. In 2018, my masters thesis, “Teaching Citizenship: Race and the Behavioral Effects of American Civic Education,” received the department’s best research paper award. In 2019, I was honored to be the Department of Political Science’s nominee for Northwestern University’s Presidential Fellowship.
I believe that research is most powerful when it is placed into the hands of individuals who are entrusted to institute policy change. As a public scholar, I have contributed to research at a number of organizations including the Obama Foundation, GenForward, and the American Bar Foundation.
In addition to research, I am deeply committed to teaching. As a former public school teacher and a first generation college student, I am committed to ensuring that students can leverage the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom to play an active role in shaping their communities and the decision-making processes of elected officials.
At Northwestern, I have served as a teaching assistant for Intro to American Politics and Government, Environmental Politics, and Political Parties and Elections. I have also advised dozens of undergraduate research projects as a teaching assistant for the department’s Undergraduate Honors Thesis Seminar and Jamie Druckman’s Studying Public Opinion course. Additionally, I currently chair the Graduate Teaching Committee within the Department of Political Science and serve as a Graduate Teaching Fellow through the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching.
Prior to beginning graduate school, I worked as a 5th grade teacher within the San Antonio Independent School District. In 2014, I received the district’s Rising Star Award, given to exceptional first-year teachers within the district. I am an alumnus of Teach For America and have tutored dozens of students through Nurturing Wisdom Chicago.