I am a doctoral candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University, specializing in the comparative politics of the developing world. My work is motivated by questions surrounding national identity, conflict, and development in the context of migration, particularly within sub-Saharan Africa. Beginning in fall 2019, I will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. From 2021 through 2023, I will be a Harvard Academy Scholar.

My research challenges misperceptions within scholarly and public debates about the effects of displaced populations on host communities. My book project explores how the presence of refugees reshapes the social and political identities and behaviors of nearby citizens. I develop a theory in which host citizens who are more exposed to refugees identify with their national identity more strongly and mobilize for better public goods provision. Compared to conventional state-led nation-building efforts, this theory highlights the role of migration as an alternative pathway to national identity formation and development. To test this theory, I take a multi-method approach by combining geo-referenced observational data with a survey experiment, community focus groups, and interviews with government and humanitarian aid officials. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation

Additionally, I design and experimentally evaluate development interventions in politically challenging contexts, alongside academic and non-governmental organization collaborators. This work includes the first individual-level randomized controlled trial of economic interventions at wartime, conducted in Afghanistan, and a series of experimental studies to understand the link between citizen self-efficacy and public goods participation in rural East Africa. Because my research often requires asking sensitive survey questions, I also develop statistical methods to protect respondent privacy and safety, published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, with accompanying open source software.

I am a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, a Charlotte Elizabeth Procter honorific fellow, and a Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) graduate student fellow. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, and Bahrain. In fall 2017, I was in residence at the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford University.  Prior to Princeton, I worked for the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture as a social work case manager. I received a B.A. in International Relations, Anthropology, and African Studies at NYU.

You can find my Google Scholar profile here.

My friend Lego Grad Student and I fleeing from a giant duck, created for Paluck lab.