Faculty

Matt Golder

Matt Golder is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on political representation. He is currently serving on the advisory board for the Electoral Integrity Project (2013-) and a team member on the Populism and the Future of Democracy project (2021-). In addition to serving as chair of APSA’s section on Representation and Electoral Systems (2011-2103), he has also been a member of the executive board for the Making Electoral Democracy Work project (2008-2017). He has been the editor of APSA’s Comparative Politics Newsletter (2014-2018) and has served on the editorial boards for the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and the Journal of Politics. More information can be found at his website and on his Google scholar profile.

Sona Golder

Sona N. Golder is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University. She studies political institutions, with a particular interest in coalition formation. She is a former editor for the British Journal of Political Science (2015-2021), an associate editor for Research & Politics (2013-), and an editor for the Oxford Politics of Institutions book series for Oxford University Press (2018-).  She has also been an editor for APSA’s Comparative Politics Newsletter (2014-2018) and has served on the editorial boards for the American Political Science ReviewPolitical Science Research and Methods, and Comparative Political Studies. In addition, she serves as a VIM mentor for female graduate students and junior faculty, and has served on the diversity committee for APSA’s Political Methodology Section. More information can be found at her website and on her Google scholar profile.

Graduate Students

Kostanca Dhima

Kostanca is a Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M University. Her substantive research focuses on political representation, especially as it relates to gender and race. Methodologically, she is interested in research design, quantitative methods, and experiments. Her research has been published in Politics & Gender, Political Behavior, Politics & Religion, and Political Science.  She has lived and worked in Albania. More information can be found at her website and on her Google scholar profile.

Jinhyuk Jang

Jinhyuk is a Ph.D. candidate at the Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on executive-legislative relations, with a special emphasis on government formation in Asia-Pacific democracies. More information can be found at his website.

Boyoon Lee

Boyoon Lee is a Ph.D. candidate at the Pennsylvania State University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo. Her substantive research interests focus on the politics of immigration, Asian politics, and historical legacy. Methodologically, she is interested in research design, quantitative methods, and experiments. More information can be found at her website.

Undergraduate Students

Lillian Aronson

Lillian is an undergraduate student in the CP Group.  She is currently a Penn State student completing a B.A. in International Politics. As a CP Group member, Lillian is working with Sona Golder, Molly Ariotti, and Jinhyuk Jang on a project looking at governments in non-presidential democracies and with Matt Golder, Sona Golder, and Charles Crabtree on a project looking at immigrant political power and populism in Europe.

Dina Castillo

Dina is an undergraduate student in the CP Group. She is currently a Penn State student completing a B.S. in Political Science. As a CP Group member, Dina is working with Matt Golder and Nils-Christian Bormann on the Democratic Electoral Systems project. She also has experience working as an intern with Public Citizen, which seeks to address voting rights and democracy reform.

Emma Cohen

Emma is an undergraduate student in the CP Group.  She is currently a Penn State student completing a B.S. in Political Science. As a CP Group member, Emma is working with Matt Golder and Bill Clark on a book project, An Introduction to Interaction Models. She has also worked on a project looking at immigrant political power and populism in Europe.

Olivia Davis-Ryan

Olivia is an undergraduate student in the CP group. She is currently completing a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. As a CP group member, Olivia is working with Sona Golder and Jinhyuk Jang on a project looking at gender and governmental ministerial positions within the Asia-Pacific region.

Luisina Kemanian-Leites

Luisina Kemanian-Leites is an undergraduate student in the CP Group. She is currently a Penn State student completing a B.A. in International Politics with minors in Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. As a CP Group member, Luisina is working with Matt Golder and Nils-Christian Bormann on the Democratic Electoral Systems project.  She also has experience working in the Children, Media, and Conflict Zones Lab at Penn State.

Dan Nguyen

Dan Nguyen is an undergraduate student in the CP Group. He is currently a Penn State student completing a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Economics. As a CP Group member, Dan is working with Sona Golder and Jinhyuk Jang on a project looking at gender and governmental ministerial positions within the Asia-Pacific region. He is also a volunteer writer with Viet Fact Check, an organization that fights misinformation among Vietnamese Americans.

Julia Welp

Julia is an undergraduate student in the CP Group. She is currently a Penn State student completing a B.A. in History and in Political Science. As a CP Group member, Julia is working with Matt Golder and Nils-Christian Bormann on the Democratic Electoral Systems project.  She also has experience working as an intern with The Borgen Project, which seeks to address global poverty.

Katerina Yankanich

Katerina is an undergraduate student in the CP Group. She is currently a Penn State student completing a B.A. in Political Science. As a CP Group member, Katerina is working with Matt Golder and Nils-Christian Bormann on the Democratic Electoral Systems project. She has also worked on a project looking at immigrant political power and populism in Europe. Katerina is writing her honors thesis on environmental politics.

Steven Zhang

Steven is an undergraduate student in the CP Group. He is currently a Penn State student completing a B.A. in Political Science and Economics, as well as an integrated MA in International Affairs. As a CP Group member, Steven has worked with Jinhyuk Jang and Sona Golder on a project looking at government formation in Asia. Steven is writing his honors thesis on how political media and empathy affect political polarization in the United States. He also has experience as the President of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Caucus at Penn State, as well as an At-Large Representative in the student government.

Alumni 🎓🎉

Margaret (Molly) Ariotti

Molly was a graduate student in the CP Group. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. Her research focuses on political institutions in African democracies, with a particular emphasis on Francophone Africa. Molly has lived and worked in France, and conducted extensive field work in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso and Dakar in Senegal.  Her research has been published in Political Analysis, Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, and on The Monkey Cage at The Washington Post. More information can be found at her website and on her Google scholar profile.

Charles Crabtree

Charles was a graduate student in the CP Group. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. Previously, he has been a Senior Data Scientist (Research Fellow) at the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. His research focuses on fairness in politics, with applications to the study of discrimination, repression, and human rights. His research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and Political Analysis, among other journals. More information can be found at his website and on his Google scholar profile.

Yaoyao Dai

Yaoyao was a graduate student in the CP Group. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at UNC Charlotte, having previously been a post-doctoral associate in the Social Science Division at New York University Abu Dhabi. Her substantive research focuses on authoritarian politics, populism, and information manipulation. Her methodological research focuses on computational social science, quantitative text analysis, measurement, and experiments. Her research has been published in Research & Politics, the Journal of Public Management, and on The Monkey Cage at the Washington Post. More information can be found at her website.

Ben Ferland

Ben was a post-doctoral student in the CP Group. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on political representation and electoral systems, with a special interest in governments/parties and public responsiveness. His research has been published in the European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, Politics & Gender, West European Politics, and the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, among other journals. More information can be found at his website and on his Google scholar profile.

Jennifer Heckman

Jen was an undergraduate student in the CP Group. As a CP Group member, she worked with Kostanca Dhima and Matt Golder on a project looking at women’s political representation in Africa. Jen completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Pennsylvania State University in 2018 with a major in International Politics: National Security and minors in French Language and Security & Risk Analysis. She presented her honors thesis, Women’s Legislative Representation in Africa, at the 2017 Midwest Political Science Association Meeting. After graduating, Jen started working for the US Department of Defense.

Howard Liu

Howard was a post-doctoral student in the CP Group. He is currently a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Government at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. His substantive research focuses on contentious politics, state repression, and armed conflict, with a particular emphasis on how network relationships shape conflict behavior. Methodologically, he is interested in networks, spatial analysis, and automated text analysis. His research has been published in the Journal of Politics , the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Political Science Research & Methods, and elsewhere. More information can be found at this website and on his Google scholar profile.

Christiana (Christy) Nisbet

Christy was an undergraduate student in the CP Group. As a CP Group member, she worked with Molly Ariotti and Sona Golder on a project looking at ministerial portfolio allocation in Africa.  Christy completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Pennsylvania State University in 2017 with a major in Political Science and minors in Anthropology and French. After graduating, Christy started working for the US federal government.

Noah Speitel

Noah was an undergraduate student in the CP Group. As a CP Group member, Noah worked with Sona Golder, Molly Ariotti, and Jinhyuk Jang on a project looking at governments in non-presidential democracies. Noah completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Pennsylvania State University in 2020 with a major in Political Science. His honors thesis was entitled Modern School Segregation: Local Factors Contributing to Racially Segregated School Districts.