Lab Members

Our lab consists of faculty, post-docs, undergraduate, and graduate students. Meet our lab members below.

Kate-Bell.pngKate Bell

Kate Bell is a second-year undergraduate student studying Political Science and Communication. She is specifically focused on comparative politics, and her research interests include social organizing, public opinion, and political communication. 



Brush.pngAmanda Brush

Amanda Brush PhD student at UCSB whose interests are in gender and racial equality, public policy and community activism. She is an alumnae of Mills College and native Northern Californian. 



Daniel.jpgDaniel Cortes

Daniel is a third-year Political Science and Chicana/o Studies double major. He is specifically focused on American Government and his research interests include immigration reform, Congressional partisanship, and educational access in underrepresented Latino communities.


AlexD.jpgAlex DeGolia

Alex DeGolia is a PhD candidate at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara. His dissertation research focuses on why individuals engage in different types of environmental action in pursuit of similar goals and how environmental message framing influences attitudes and activism. Alex also currently works as a research manager for the Analyst Institute, where he helps develop, implement, and analyze randomized field experiments for progressive political organizations. Prior to attending the Bren School, Alex worked for two years in the Obama Administration, for the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Commerce. He also spent fifteen months in 2007-2008 working for Obama for America across six states. In his spare time, he works as a field instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and enjoys climbing, backpacking, fly fishing, and gardening with his wife and dog. Alex holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.A. from UC Santa Barbara, both in political science. 


Maya-Halthore.pngMaya Halthore

Maya Halthore is a second-year undergraduate student at UCSB studying Political Science. Her research interests include polarization, organizing and the disenfranchisement of at risk populations. She is the co-founder of the organization Chai Talks and is the current Legal Director for the Isla Vista Tenants Union.



Henderson-Geoffrey.pngGeoffrey Henderson

Geoffrey Henderson is a PhD student pursuing subfields in American Politics and Environmental Politics. He is interested in how civic organizations and social movements bring about changes in individuals’ political attitudes and behaviors. Prior to UCSB, Geoffrey worked as a Research Analyst on climate change policy at the World Resources Institute.


Leslie.jpgLeslie Irwin

Leslie Irwin is a second-year undergraduate student at UC Santa Barbara majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. Her research interests include political organizing, polarization, and the media's effect on both.



McKenna.pngElizabeth (Liz) McKenna

Elizabeth (Liz) McKenna is a Ph.D. student in sociology at UC Berkeley. Her broader research interests include political sociology, social movements, and stratification. She is is currently conducting a class-based analysis of Brazil’s current protest cycle. She is the co-author of Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America with Hahrie Han.


oyakawa.4.pngMichelle Oyakawa

Michelle Oyakawa is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at The Ohio State University.  Her primary research and teaching interests are social movements, race/ethnicity, and religion.


Aaron.pngAaron Sparks

Aaron studies the psychology behind political activism. Specifically, his dissertation looks at how issues that are more psychologically proximate - experienced in the here and now by the individual - are more likely to receive political action. He is also interested in how existing environmental policies shape interest group strategies, how those strategies are translated to individual member actions, and in turn how those collective actions impact environmental policy. You can read more at