Hire a PhD!

Job Candidates

Robert Barlow

PhD Candidate

Rob's work concerns the ethics of liberal political reform.  In his dissertation, he develops a theory that describes the rights and duties of liberal political reformers who aim to realize justice in society and who face resistance to political change.  The theory has wide ranging practical and theoretical consequences. Practically, it addresses questions about how we should measure the relative success of political interventions; when (if ever) liberal reformers should be permitted to use violence, theft, fraud, and other such “bad means” to achieve their aims; whether citizens are ever morally required to engage in political resistance; and to what extent their specific choice of means should be a matter of personal prerogative. Theoretically, it engages with a number of current disputes in political theory scholarship, including debates over the relationship between ideal and non-ideal theory and the proper place of “realism” in political theory.

This research has inspired several projects he would like to pursue in the future.  Two projects are of particular interest.  First, he intends to further engage with the empirical literatures on political institutions and the political determinants of citizen attitudes and competences in order to investigate different routes to reform that might be available to reformers in contemporary democracies.  Second, he is interested in developing a more detailed theory about the potential role of political violence and the threat of political violence as means of political reform.  He is especially interested in considering how the real or perceived threat of politically motivated violence might influence the credibility of non-violent reform movements (including efforts to engage in civil disobedience), and what influence findings in this area should have for our moral views about the means used to generate pressure for political reform.

Lucila Figueroa

PhD Candidate

Lucila Figueroa is a PhD candidate with an interest in American Politics and Comparative Politics.  Her dissertation, utilizing survey data and laboratory experiments, explores the effect that cultural norms in the United States have upon public opinion of the non-Hispanic white population toward Latinos living in the United States and upon opinions toward immigrant-related policies.  Lucila has also investigated the effects that norms have upon public opinion toward immigration policy in the Netherlands and Denmark, though she plans to focus on the American context in future research.  Lucila has spent the last few summers mentoring undergraduate students as a TA. in the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity's (CSRE) Public Policy Institute (PPI).  The program is aimed at providing information to students interested in public policy issues pertaining to race and ethnicity in the United States.  Additionally, Lucila worked with the American National Election Studies (ANES), a project that produces data on voting, public opinion, and political participation.  Finally, Lucila is a Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow. 

Rachel Gillum

PhD Graduate

Rachel Gillum received her PhD in political science at Stanford University in August 2014.  She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (SCICN) and is the principal investigator of the Muslim-American National Opinion Survey (MANOS). 

Rachel’s research examines the effects of the post-9/11 security environment on Muslim Americans’ behavior and attitudes towards the government using large-n surveys, experimental methods, and ethnographic interviews of Muslim communities and elites around the United States.  Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation’s EDGE-SBE Program, the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and Stanford’s Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE).

Other projects of Rachel’s include a recent study published in Politics & Religion with Prof. Lisa Blaydes that examines interviewer effects relevant to Muslim communities.  Rachel is also currently collaborating with Prof. Amy Zegart on a study assessing views and beliefs about the use of drones.

Rachel is a former fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and previously served as a researcher at the RAND Corporation’s International Policy Center. She has also worked as a consultant for the Gallup Organization. Rachel is a member of the Truman National Security Project and received her B.A. from the University of Washington.

Mackenzie Israel-Trummel

PhD Candidate

Mackenzie Israel-Trummel is a PhD candidate in American Politics whose research interests include race, gender, political identity and behavior. Her dissertation project uses intersectionality as an analytical framework to understand three puzzles related to political attitudes and behavior. Her first paper examines how candidates' race and gender operate individually and jointly to influence voter support, and in particular how Black women candidates fare under conditions of racial threat. Her second project explores how gender conditions linked fate for Black Americans, and finds that beliefs about gender discrimination affect Black women's sense of racial linked fate. Her last paper tests the possibilities for cross-racial voting coalitions among Latino voters, and explores how discrimination can promote co-minority cooperation.

Mackenzie is involved with a variety of other research projects both within and outside the American politics subfield, including how partisans vote when their issue preferences don't match their party's policy platform, how gender shapes attitudes toward trade policy, the consequences of wartime rape, and the political effects of felon disenfranchisement. Her works employs analysis of existing cross-national and survey data as well as experimental methods. Her work is supported by the Graduate Research Opportunity at Stanford University and the Laboratory for the Study of American Values.


Dorothy Kronick

PhD Candidate

Dorothy Kronick is a PhD candidate whose general research interests include comparative political economy, comparative political behavior, Latin American politics, Venezuelan politics, and quantitative methods. Her dissertation focuses on the electoral politics of violent crime in Latin America.

Melissa Lee

PhD Candidate

Melissa Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. Her research interests bridge the subfields of international relations and comparative politics, and include the international causes and consequences of state weakness; statebuilding; conflict and security; and underdevelopment. Her dissertation asks why some developing states leave parts of their territory ungoverned, and argues that state weakness near state borders is a function of hostile regional neighborhoods. Specifically, she argues that neighboring states can subvert or deter the exercise of state authority, resulting in the emergence or persistence of ungoverned space. She employs a variety of methods in her research, including statistical methods, quasi-experimental techniques, geospatial analysis, archival research, and field interviews.

Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Freeman Spogli Institute, and other research centers at Stanford University. She is a former research consultant for the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security, a project of the Kofi Annan Foundation and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Carrie Lee Lindsay

PhD Candidate

Carrie Lee Lindsay is a PhD Candidate in International Relations and Comparative Politics.  Her dissertation evaluates the effect of domestic politics on military operations at war, specifically asking how politicians in democratic states alter the timing and objectives of military missions in the lead-up to an election.   She uses both qualitative and quantitative evidence from multiple countries during World War II, Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to argue that domestic political incentives alter the way military doctrine is implemented on the battlefield as politicians campaign for reelection. Other work has focused on the role of reconstruction and troop concentration in reducing violence during counterinsurgency campaigns and the role of technology in accelerating regime collapse during the Arab Spring.

Colin McCubbins

PhD Candidate

Colin McCubbins is a PhD candidate focusing on American politics and political institutions.

Kennedy Opalo

PhD Candidate

Ken is a Graduate student conducting research in the fields of comparative politics and international relations and a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development and Ruler of Law at Stanford. His dissertation explains the observed variation in levels of legislative strength and institutionalization in Sub-Saharan African since the early 1990s. Ken has conducted fieldwork or worked in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, and six other African countries. His other research interests include the political economy of development in Africa, ethnicity and political violence, natural resource management, and public policy and governance.

In 2013-14 Ken was a visiting scholar at the Program for African Studies at Northwestern University. His dissertation research is supported by the Susan Ford Dorsey Dissertation Fieldwork grant and the Center for African Studies at Stanford. Ken graduated from Yale University with a degree in Political Science and has done consultancies with the Kofi Annan Foundation and the World Bank. He blogs at www.kenopalo.com

Lauren Prather

PhD Candidate

Lauren Prather is a Ph.D. candidate conducting research in the fields of international relations and comparative politics. Her work examines public opinion and individual behaviors related to international redistribution. It contributes to a growing literature in international political economy on foreign aid, remittance behavior, and private philanthropy to international causes. She uses a variety of methods including experiments to understand the motivations of states and individuals to provide economic assistance across national borders. 

Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and the Europe Center. Before coming to Stanford, Lauren graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in French and Political Science. After graduating, she was an ESL instructor in France, and worked as a legal assistant and interpreter at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago.

Lucas Puente

PhD Candidate

Lucas Puente is a PhD candidate and recipient of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship. He is also a Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Fellow. He is interested in political economy and political institutions.  

His dissertation investigates the ways in which political dynamics influence decision-making at central banks, particularly following financial crises. He focuses on the Panic of 1907, the Great Depression and the recent global financial crisis. He addresses this question by looking at the different mechanisms through which political influence occurs. He devotes a chapter to examining this topic in each of the following contexts: the (pre-WWII) evolution of the structure of the Federal Reserve, the preferences of monetary policy makers around elections (post-1988), the Federal Reserve's lending during the 2008 financial crisis, and the international coordination of monetary policy during the global crisis between 2008 and 2010. Through this series of papers, he finds that politicians designed the American central bank -- just as their counterparts did elsewhere -- in such a way that political considerations are able to consistently affect monetary policy makers. However, this influence is intentionally constrained to ensure its stability, as too much would lead to a new equilibrium in which the central bank is more apolitical.

Sungmin Rho

PhD Candidate

Sungmin Rho is a PhD candidate focusing on Chinese politics and international relations. Her dissertation, titled The Workers' Dilemma: Factory Workers and Collective Action in China, focuses on protest behavior of migrant factory workers and its implications on political instability in China. Her research identifies firm-level variables, such as firm ownership, size, and production of international brands, that determine patterns of labor protests and demonstrates that labor protests reflect the broader political context of a factory's surrounding environment. By applying collective action theories, she argues that it is important to understand the role of workers' heterogeneity in interests and resources in order to better appreciate how labor protests emerge. Potential strike initiators with higher levels of resources utilize their knowledge about the relationship between their firm, local state authorities, media, and the public, to gauge the chance of success and mobilize other participants. Her study also sheds a light on the influence of international actors such as foreign customers and international media over workers' protest behavior. She argues that the community of migrant workers could pose a threat to the Chinese regime's political stability in the future, since migrant workers' experiences as a member of the deprived community induce unfavorable attitudes toward the society and, in turn, the central government. The Chinese regime's strategy to transfer migrant workers' political grievances into economic ones and to contain those grievances within an individual firm might prove unsustainable in the long run.


Arjun Wilkins

PhD Candidate

Arjun Wilkins is a PhD candidate (degree expected June 2014), whose areas of interest include congressional elections, political partisanship, and quantitative methodology. His dissertation examines how changing party identification and political institutions have contributed to heightened competition for congressional majorities and how the electoral connection between members of Congress and their constituents has changed in the present era of rising polarization. His research makes use of extensive datasets he has assembled on congressional elections and individual level survey responses from the Gallup organization.