The Problem With Constituent Correspondence. Is Technology to Blame?

Citizen contact to Member offices has consistently predicted Member’s legislative behavior and perception of the district [1]. However, recent systemic research finds very little evidence that office contact from constituents is meaningfully conveyed to policymakers [2]. This is an insightful and important finding to anyone interested in how constituents can influence Members. However, the research frames […]

The Value of Observation

I have returned to Washington D.C. for the summer to continue my research on constituent communication technology in Congress. Since I’ve returned to listen to the stories of interns, LAs, Members, and other previous staffers, I’ve begun to value more qualitative methods in my research. During my comprehensive exam, I read numerous papers describing quantitative […]

Passed my Comprehensive Exam

I recently passed my comprehensive exams (woohoo!). In my department, the exam consists of writing a substantial literature review, which usually has 50-150 pieces of literature, and an in-person presentation and discussion of the literature with a committee of three persons. On my committee, I had Bonnie Nardi, Melissa Mazmanian, and Matt Beckmann. I enjoyed having an […]

AGS Symposium Talk

In late spring I gave a practice talk at the Associated Graduate Students Symposium (click picture to see video). The talk described the beginnings of my research into constituent communication in Congress. I decided to give this talk to practice my speaking skills and to articulate my research goals. More than six months later, AGS […]

The Democratic Interface

Last night I read: The democratic interface: technology, political organization, and diverging patterns of electoral representation by W. Lance Bennett, Alexandra Segerberg,  and Curd B. Knüpfer. The piece was recently published in the journal of Information, Communication, and Society. 

Tech Threats to Democracy

The New York Times just posted a chilling article titled “Silicon Valley Can’t Destroy Democracy Without Our Help”. In the very first line, Emily Parker says “Silicon Valley, once a force for good, is now a threat to democracy”. I haven’t read the entire article yet, but it probed my brain to ask if this is […]

Hamilton

Last night I was driving in my car and was signing along to the Hamilton soundtrack. I realized while I was singing that I discovered the Hamilton soundtrack at the end of my junior year of undergraduate, right as I started thinking about graduate school. And as I thought about the timeline in my car, […]