I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Government of the University of Texas at Austin. I’m interested in how information—about the living conditions of other people, about policy—changes people’s satisfaction with the status quo and what they want out of government. To do this, I have focused my research on what makes problems appear serious. I study how key characteristics of politically relevant problems, such as whom they affect, their perceived causes, and how widespread they are, shape how serious they are perceived to be. Using survey experiments and panel data, I have looked at a host of problems (including opioid addiction, rent burden, internet insecurity, teen suicide, job loss, and others) in order to understand the psychological dynamics underlying problem perception in the mass public. We know information matters. I want to know what information matters and why!

Other work touches on how information influences Members of Congress, particularly through information-rich experiences provided through privately sponsored (aka “gift”) travel.

When not yearning to understand the psychology of political reasoning, I enjoy a hike on a cool day (of which there aren’t many in Austin) and a movie. Before entering graduate school, and after graduating college with a degree in film, I lived in Sintra, Portugal, where I worked as a substitute teacher for two years. I was still working on some short films at that time, one of which won the Best Micro Film (< 5 minutes) at a festival. Someday I hope to make another, maybe between 5 and 10 minutes long this time.