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Graduate Students

American Democracy Graduate Fellows

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Alejandra Aldridge

Political Science

Alejandra Aldridge is a PhD candidate in the Political Science department at Stanford University. Her dissertation examines how citizens think about democratic norms and how presidents can influence those conceptions about democratic norms. Broadly, her research interests include  executive politics, presidential elections, experimental methods, survey methodology, and gender and politics. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Political Science.

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Ruth Elisabeth Appel

Communication

Ruth Appel is a PhD Student in Stanford's Department of Communication. She is interested in the intersection of Behavioral Science and Computer Science, with the aim of leveraging psychological targeting ethically and for the common good. She is particularly passionate about encouraging prosocial behavior and political participation and promoting wellbeing and mental health. 

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Levi Boxell

Economics

Levi Boxell is a PhD Candidate in Economics at Stanford University and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. The Center for American Democracy grant will help fund a survey experiment (joint with Jacob Conway) examining how political ideology shapes consumer behavior. His broader research agenda incorporates areas of political economy and development, with a particular emphasis on political conflict and the role of information technologies. 

Luca Braghieri

Economics
Social Image Concerns and Communication

Luca Braghieri is a PhD student in economics at Stanford University specializing in behavioral economics and political economy. He holds a BA from Harvard University. His most recent project studies the effects of social image concerns on communication, especially in relation to the debate about political correctness on college campus.

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Charles Chu

Graduate School of Business

Charles Chu is a PhD student in Micro-Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His research interests center on how social structures (e.g., contract work, modern work arrangements) influence people’s sense of identity and meaning in life. His work through the Center for American Democracy at IRiSS examines whether challenges to the existing racial hierarchy (e.g., presenting information about demographic shifts) disrupt Americans’ experience of meaning in life and whether the presence of strong social connections might mitigate such an effect.

Katherine Clayton

Political Science

Katie Clayton is a first-year PhD student in Stanford’s Department of Political Science. She grew up in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and she graduated as a valedictorian of Dartmouth College in 2018 with a BA in Government and French. Her research interests include American democracy, identity politics, and the politics of immigration, and her research has been published in Political Behavior and Politics, Groups, and Identities, among others. Her book, Campus Diversity: The Hidden Consensus (co-authored with John Carey and Yusaku Horiuchi), was published in 2020 at Cambridge University Press.

Christianne Corbett

Christianne Corbett is a PhD Candidate in Stanford’s Department of Sociology. Her dissertation project focuses on the role of empathy and perspective-taking in creating inclusive work environments.   Her broader research agenda focuses on occupational gender segregation and barriers to women in leadership. Her survey experiment explores gender differences in penalties assessed to women and men presidential candidates when they fail to meet voter expectations.

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Katie Hedgecock

Political Science

Katie Hedgecock is a PhD Student in Stanford's Department of Political Science and an active duty Army officer.  Her research examines the strategic logic of international cyber operations. Katie's current projects seek to understand the motivations for public attribution of state-sponsored cyber operations and the relationship between the state, private entities, and the public in the cyber domain. 

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Lisa Hummel

Sociology

Lisa Hummel is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Stanford. Her dissertation project looks at the intersection of identity and ideology for political minorities; specifically she studies lay theories of inequality among political conservatives in California. She uses mixed methods including qualitative interviews and experimental methods. Using a conjoint experiment, she seeks to answer why conservatives are less likely than liberals to support women in leadership positions in politics.

Jonathan Lee

Medicine

Jonathan Lee is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Policy (Health Economics Track) and a M.A. in Political Science, while also a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Stanford Health Care. He is interested in understanding how people acquire, utilize, and adjust mental heuristics used to interpret politically-relevant cues. His current survey experiment seeks to evaluate how people's political beliefs and information-seeking behaviors respond to sponsor disclosures in political advertisements, as well as testing the malleability of those responses.

Soyoung Lee

Political Science

Soyoung Lee is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, Stanford University. Her dissertation project explores why people are willing to go to war over certain issues but not others, when an issue becomes symbolic to the nation, and how this process affects international conflict. Her research agenda also includes topics of nationalism, international rivalries, and alliance politics. She plans to use survey experiments to explore what conditions determine issue salience, or public perception of the value of an issue at stake. 

Hans Lueders

Political Science
The Political Consequences of Domestic Migration

Hans Lueders is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science, where he researches migration and political representation. His dissertation examines the political consequences of domestic migration in Germany. He further studies unauthorized immigration in the United States. Financial support from the Center for American Democracy at IRiSS will help him conduct a survey experiment among likely unauthorized immigrants that seeks to explore how unauthorized immigrants decide where to settle in the United States.

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Daphna Spivack

Psychology, Law

Daphna Spivack is a joint JD & PhD student in the Psychology Department at Stanford, where she studies the ways in which different psychological biases affect our judicial and political systems. She looks at how biased processing affects our preferred policy outcomes and influences prosecutor and juror decision making in the courtroom. For her research with the Center for American Democracy, she focuses on the ways in which political polarization and motivated reasoning influence perceptions of executive power. 

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Lauren Sukin

Political Science

Lauren Sukin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science. She studies International Security, with a focus on nuclear policy. Her dissertation project examines the politics of nuclear nonproliferation. 

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Marissa Thompson

Graduate School of Education

Marissa Thompson is a PhD candidate in Sociology of Education at Stanford University. Her research investigates inequality in access and returns to education by race and socioeconomic status. Her survey experiment, co-authored with Sam Trejo, explores how information about local school segregation affects parents’ opinions on desegregation policies. 

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Hesu Yoon

Sociology

Hesu Yoon is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Department of Sociology. She is broadly interested in the role of race/ethnicity, social media, and urban consumption in facilitating neighborhood changes like gentrification, segregation, and integration. In her current project, Hesu uses an online survey experiment to investigate how local businesses and their social media reviews affect how young elites perceive and evaluate neighborhoods. 

Grace Zhou

Anthropology
Parasitic Intimacies: Life, Love, and Labor in Post-Socialist Central Asia

Grace H. Zhou is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Department of Anthropology. Her research explores transnational intimacies, precarity and care under late capitalism, (post)socialist imaginaries, post-work politics, and settler colonialism in Asia. Her doctoral project is entitled "Parasitic Intimacies: Life, Love, and Labor in Post-Socialist Central Asia."

IRiSS Dissertation Fellows

Grace Alexandrino Ocana

Anthropology
Rights to a Heritage City: working-class citizens, urban heritage and conservation in Lima, Peru

Grace Alexandrino Ocana is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Department of Anthropology and is a native of Lima, Peru. Her dissertation project rethinks the fraught relationship between sustainable state heritage management and citizens' right to the city through the lenses of citizenship and class in Lima, Peru. Her research agenda furthers includes topics on heritage civic rights, virtual ethnography, citizenship and heritage activism and the intersection of heritage government policies and human rights.

Hernan Barahona

Economics
Food labeling: Effects on demand and supply of nutritional content

Nano Barahona is a Ph.D. student in economics at Stanford University. His main research interests lie in the fields of industrial organization, public economics, and development economics. He is especially interested in public policy design and his research focuses on how private sector responses interact with government interventions. He is currently working on projects in Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. Barahona holds a BS in engineering and an MA in economics from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

Luca Braghieri

Economics
Social Image Concerns and Communication

Luca Braghieri is a PhD student in economics at Stanford University specializing in behavioral economics and political economy. He holds a BA from Harvard University. His most recent project studies the effects of social image concerns on communication, especially in relation to the debate about political correctness on college campus.

Paul Christians

Anthropology
Mirages Past and Future: Foreign Expertise and the Political Economy of Cultural Heritage in Qatar

Paul Christians is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Anthropology Department and Archaeology Center. His dissertation explores the prevalence and roles of foreign experts working in Qatar's rapidly-developing cultural heritage industry. Research interests include the anthropology of experts and expertise, heritage, distributive politics, what comes after cosmopolitanism, and ethics.

Lucy King

Psychology
Maternal life stress, prenatal inflammation, and the developmental origins of child temperament

Lucy King is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Department of Psychology. Her research integrates the areas of affective science and child development with a focus on how early experiences influence risk for mental health difficulties. Her project addresses gaps in our knowledge of the etiology of risk for psychopathology by elucidating the associations among mothers' life stress prior to conception and during pregnancy, prenatal proinflammatory cytokines, and negative affectivity in mothers' preschool-age children. 

Kari Leibowitz

Psychology
Making Mindset Matter: Understanding and Harnessing Psychological and Social Forces to Improve Healthcare

Kari Leibowitz is a PhD Candidate in Psychology working in the Stanford Mind & Body Lab. Her dissertation research helps us harness psychological and social forces to improve healthcare by training healthcare providers to shape patient mindsets in clinical practice. Prior to coming to Stanford, she was a U.S.-Norway Fulbright Scholar and graduated from Emory University. Her writing about her research has appeared in The Atlantic and The New York Times. 

Hans Lueders

Political Science
The Political Consequences of Domestic Migration

Hans Lueders is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science, where he researches migration and political representation. His dissertation examines the political consequences of domestic migration in Germany. He further studies unauthorized immigration in the United States. Financial support from the Center for American Democracy at IRiSS will help him conduct a survey experiment among likely unauthorized immigrants that seeks to explore how unauthorized immigrants decide where to settle in the United States.

William Marble

Political Science
Political Responses to Economic Decline

William Marble is a PhD candidate in Stanford's Department of Political Science. His dissertation research focuses on how changes to America's economic geography are affecting politics. His broader research agenda includes work on local politics, discrimination, and the factors that cause people to become politicians.

Alejandro Martinez Marquina

Economics
What Matters When Deciding: The Role of Uncertainty and Debt

Alejandro is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Stanford’s Economics Department and is a native of Calatayud, a small town in Spain. His main research fields are Behavioral and Experimental Economics, with a focus on how choices are affected by the presence of uncertainty and debt. In his job market paper, he uses a lab-in-the-field experiment to show how debt leads to lower payoffs and affects risks and time preferences.

Jeff Sheng

Sociology
Invisible Power: How the Internet Changed LGBT Inclusion in the 21st Century

Jeff Sheng is a PhD candidate in Sociology and a MS Candidate in Computer Science at Stanford, and is originally from Southern California. His dissertation project examines how new online technologies and social computing systems have influenced the rise of underground social movements, particularly in areas involving gender and sexuality. He also examines the ways the internet influences networks and social capital, using qualitative and computational social science methods.

Scott Westenberger

Sociology
Fashion Changes: The Role of the Audience in the Fashion Cycle

Scott Westenberger is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Department of Sociology.  His dissertation project investigates the mechanics of fashion change in popular culture. His research agenda further includes topics on social networks, social influence, and the structure and evolution of "taste."

Grace Zhou

Anthropology
Parasitic Intimacies: Life, Love, and Labor in Post-Socialist Central Asia

Grace H. Zhou is a PhD Candidate in Stanford's Department of Anthropology. Her research explores transnational intimacies, precarity and care under late capitalism, (post)socialist imaginaries, post-work politics, and settler colonialism in Asia. Her doctoral project is entitled "Parasitic Intimacies: Life, Love, and Labor in Post-Socialist Central Asia."