Dept. of Political Science
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University-Newark. Prior to joining Rutgers, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Cornell University in 2015, and earned an MA in Teaching from Brown University, and a BA in Political Science and Economics from Swarthmore College. I conducted more than two years of fieldwork in Mexico and Colombia, and previously worked as a human rights accompanier in Colombia. My research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, the Fulbright Garcia-Robles program, and the Social Science Research Council.
How does an active civil society affect the provision of justice and the rule of law? Departing from institutional explanations of judicial change, my work emphasizes the societal embeddedness of judicial actors. I examine the micro-processes of how organized citizens matter in determining judicial outcomes, and bring activists and advocates into the picture as agenda setters and incentivizers for judicial accountability and human rights compliance.
In my book manuscript, "Bootstrap Justice: The Search for Mexico's Disappeared" I argue that the sustained mobilization of the families of the disappeared have been the key catalysts for legislative and judicial advances, and under certain political configurations have poked holes in the near blanket impunity for serious crimes in Mexico.
organized citizen action - protests, media campaigns, meetings with state investigators and international advocates, and national and international litigation and advocacy – is the key to understanding why some cases of disappearances progress within judicial systems. This study is part of a larger research agenda of state-civil society relations, specifically how informal institutions, relationships and mobilization shape judicial and human rights outcomes.
I teach courses related to international relations, comparative politics, social movements, human rights, Latin American politics, and research methods.