Welcome! I am an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, and I am on research leave this year as a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
My research focuses on civil conflict and international intervention. I primarily study terrorism and civil war to understand the strategies that militant groups, governments, and international actors employ to fight these conflicts, end them, and build a lasting peace in their aftermath.
My book project, based on my dissertation at Stanford, focuses on the role of electoral competition between militant groups—those employing terrorism, guerrilla and/or insurgency tactics with political aims—and governments, especially as a component of negotiated settlements. In contrast to broadly pessimistic views of elections as a conflict resolution tool, my research finds that, when these inclusive elections are part of an agreement, peace is more durable. Specifically, international actors are able to engage in monitoring and sanctioning noncompliance with a peace agreement through the transparency that elections provide. This form of enforcement allows them to help the combatants overcome commitment problems. The project draws on evidence from field interviews with former militant group, government, and civic leaders and on newly collected cross-national data.
My other projects focus on the role of international actors and armed non-state actors in governing weak and post-conflict states. I have designed and run (with co-authors) several survey experiments in Colombia and Mexico that explore the levels of social support for armed non-state actors, as well as their strategies for gaining more support. I am also collecting new cross-national data on the ways in which intervention occurs with consent.
I was postdoctoral scholar at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at the University of California, San Diego (2012-2013), and a predoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) (2010-2012). I received my Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University in September 2012. Before coming to Stanford, I was employed by the RAND Corporation as a research assistant and a summer associate primarily on counterterrorism projects. I received an undergraduate degree magna cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University, while working with the Belfer Center’s Managing the Atom Project and with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I was born and raised in New Mexico, so I never turn down spicy food or pass up a good soccer game.