I am a Ph.D. Candidate studying American Politics in the Department of Political Science at Yale University. My principal research interests are in the field of American Political Development, particularly the institutions of the Presidency and Congress. Starting in July 2019, I will be a postdoctoral associate in the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions.
My dissertation considers the relationship between ideas and institutions, focusing on the idea of presidential representation. How do political ideas influence political development? What happens to political institutions when the ideas supporting them fall into disrepute? Scholars tend to emphasize factors such as interests or institutions to explain political outcomes, but I argue that some political outcomes require an ideational explanation.
As an illustration, I reconsider a puzzle: Congress’s creation of the institutional presidency. I show that acceptance of the idea of presidential representation – an assumption that presidents possess and act based on a unique perspective due to their national constituency – was an essential precondition of laws that together amounted to the institutional arrangements of the modern presidency. This claim was prominently contested in political discourse, including in hearings and debates in Congress. However, innovations based upon this claim pushed against the written constitutional frame. In this project, I compare the development and durability of laws passed by Congress creating the institutional presidency in five policy areas (budgeting, trade, reorganization, employment, and national security) over two periods of time (1921-1947 and 1973-1998). The first period demonstrates the efficacy of the idea of presidential representation in supporting institutional reform. The second period shows what happens to reformed institutions when the idea behind them falls out of favor.
At Yale, I have served as a graduate teaching fellow for several courses: “The Politics of U.S. Public Policy” (Spring 2019), “Law, Leadership, and the Political Development of the American Presidency” (Fall 2016), “Lincoln’s Statecraft and Rhetoric” (Spring 2016 and Fall 2018), and Intro to American Politics (Fall 2015 and Spring 2017). I have also completed the Certificate of College Teaching Preparation from the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning.
In May 2013, I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in political science.