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About Me

I received my Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies in Government with a dual concentration in comparative politics and quantitative methods.  I am versed in both frequentist and Bayesian methods using R, Stata, LaTeX, and beginning ArcGIS. Currently, I teach at the University of Tampa and volunteer with as a  - a 24/7 live twitter space providing news and information on Russia's war on Ukraine. 


My dissertation tackled the problem of properly quantifying social trust. I created a new multi-level measure using World Values Survey (WVS) data by combining the "generalized trust" question with the "particularized trust" question to create a more dynamic measure that better reflects the true nature of how humans trust. The new measure has three levels:  Generalized, Particularized, and a new "Other" level.  A Bayesian HLM tested how different levels of trust impact democratic support in five nations in Central and Eastern Europe and the North Caucasus, controlling for country-level trust in institutions, across waves 5 & 6. It was discovered, contrary to previous research, particularized trust can have positive impacts on democratic support. My research also suggests "trust in institutions" does not have a negative impact on social trust at the individual level in the post-Communist sphere, contrary to current thought.


My current research will expand on my dissertation; I am interested in properly quantifying social trust beyond the borders of the North Caucasus. As such, testing the generalizability of the new measure in all nations of the WVS will follow.   

I am also interested in Chechnya and relations between the state and its people, as well as the spread of Wahhabism in the region, and its relation to global jihadist ideologies vs. ethnic nationalism and gazavat. In particular, I am examining the case of Chechen battalions fighting on behalf of Ukraine 2014- present. I am creating an original database of over 100 interviews, statements and social media posts to support this effort.


I've interned for Former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and The United Nations, Department of Political Affairs. I completed field research and language training in Moscow, Russia. I am also a former United States Marine. 


I was a panel participant in the United Nations Association: UN Millennium Development Goals 2013 in Tampa.  I have been a peer reviewer for the American Journal of Political Science and Political Behavior.  I am also a contributing author to The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality.

I also have some public scholarship in Foreign Policy, WaPo's The Monkey Cage, & The Globe Post.

While in Rochester, I was a Visiting Ph.D. Student Scholar at the University of Rochester. 


I'm also a wife to a journalist and a mom to two kids and an English Bulldog and a pot-bellied pig. 

Because of my husband's job, we've moved around a lot, particularly during my Ph.D. work.  From Milwaukee to Tampa, to Rochester, NY, and now back to Tampa. 


I love cooking, hiking, Christmas in Boston, Russian Winters, and Fall in Western New York.

I also like to curate playlists related to my research or teaching interests. You can find my newest initiative for fun in this regard below.  

#decolonizeyourplaylists is a fun but informative series I began on Twitter to expose my followers and beyond to the underground music scene of Ukraine.  

Russian artists tend to get much more play and press, I think, as a result of a fascination that still permeates related to Russia's Soviet past.  In other words, this is a hangover of Russia's colonial past whether or not those artists intend that or not. My goal is not to exclude Russian artists (unless they are colonial in presentation) but rather to include Ukrainians in this space as uniquely Ukrainian, even if they were performing in the Russian language. Below is a list of some of the songs I have included in the Twitter series so far.  It will be an ever-expanding list.

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