These Rice students are currently seeking academic positions:
Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz (Ph.D. Expected 2015)
Aleks studies American politics with a primary focus on how biological and other unconscious processes influence political behavior. His research encompasses core political psychology questions, such as the origins and functioning of political ideology, and addresses these topics by integrating methods and theories drawn from behavioral genetic and implicit social cognition research. Funded by a Rice University Social Sciences Research Institute grant, his dissertation addresses the role of genes in political ideology using a survey of 1192 twins. The dissertation demonstrates that a major contributor to ideological stability is the consistent effect of genes on political attitudes over time. It also identifies a previously unknown path from genes to political ideology via cognitive style.
Aleks also has several other lines of research, including genetic effects on religiosity and politics, genetic effects on political participation, implicit candidate traits and vote choice, implicit racial attitudes and elections, implicit political knowledge, executive function and ideology, and cognitive style and political media consumption. These studies use multiple research designs (large-N correlational studies, experiments, twin studies), various measurement techniques (surveys, priming, latency-based measures), and diverse samples (student in lab, non-student by mail, online via Amazon Mechanical Turk).
Aleks has been an instructor of Introduction to Political Science five times at a local community college and has guest lectured in the Biological Foundations of Politics seminar at Rice University.
Dissertation Committee: John Alford (chair), Rick Wilson, Randy Stevenson, Randi Martin (psychology), Robert Krueger (University of Minnesota psychology)
Marvin R. McNeese Jr. (Ph.D. Expected 2014)
Marvin’s research interests include American politics, especially interest group activity across national and subnational political institutions. His dissertation focuses on the relative advantages provided to policy advocates by political venues—the institutional settings where policy decisions are made. Building on Baumgartner and Jones’ punctuated equilibrium theory, he tests whether where policy is made has an independent effect on likelihood of policy adoption. Punctuated equilibrium theory suggests that a change in policy requires an advocate to move decision-making to a new venue that is most advantageous to the advocate’s position. Marvin’s research seeks to explain the venue choices policy advocates make, whether those choices affect policy outcomes, and whether policy consensus among advocates is necessary for advancing policy change. He tests hypotheses with a re-analysis of Baumgartner et al. (2009) Lobbying and Policy Change data set. He also collects original data on the issue of hydraulic fracturing for testing his consensus hypothesis, which involved a machine aided content analysis of 20 national and regional newspapers’ coverage of hydraulic fracturing between 2008-2013. He has taught American politics courses as well as an undergraduate statistics and research design course. He also maintains an interest in Latin American politics, having researched the Afro-Brazilian Political Movement (for Civil Rights) through his Masters program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dissertation Committee: Robert Stein (Chair), Keith Hamm, John Alford, and Doug Schuler
Seonghui Lee (Ph.D. Expected 2014)
Seonghui studies Comparative Politics with a primary focus on how political contexts influence political behavior. As her research links macro-level political context to micro-level political behavior, her interests touch on various themes in political psychology, public opinion, political institutions, and elections and parties. Her dissertation project focuses on political interest and knowledge. She proposes a theoretical framework that draws on appraisal models of interest in psychology; but extends the theory to explain why political interest and knowledge vary so dramatically across countries. Funded by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, her dissertation offers empirical tests for the proposed appraisal structure of political interest (interest in political messages) with survey experiments. She also uses large-N survey data and media content analysis to validate the main implication from the proposed cross-national theory, i.e., how contextually generated information shortcuts (or heuristics) influence cross-national differences in political interest and knowledge.
Seonghui currently has several other research projects including economic voting in East Asia, party responsiveness in Latin America, the participation marriage gap in Switzerland, the political knowledge gender gap in Western European countries, and political dissatisfaction and its electoral consequences in plurality systems. She has also served as teaching assistant in introductory American Government and Politics and Comparative Politics courses at Rice University.
Dissertation Committee: Randy Stevenson (Chair), Lanny Martin, John Alford, Fred Oswald (Psychology)
Naoko Matsumura (Ph.D. Expected 2015)
Naoko’s primary area of research is the quantitative
study of International Relations with focuses on international organizations,
international cooperation, and domestic origins of foreign policy changes. Her
dissertation, “The Effects of Foreign Audiences in International Dispute
Settlements,” explores the question of why international actors use
international organizations (IOs) to settle their disputes when such
institutions often do not have enforcement power of their own. She approaches
this question by looking at domestic and international sources of IO
enforcement. She argues that international actors use IOs to transmit information
to foreign audiences who are expected to help promote a state’s compliance with
international obligations. She empirically tests theoretical implications from her
argument with data on international actors’ uses of dispute settlement
mechanisms in two issue areas: trade and foreign investment. Her dissertation
project is supported by a Rice SSRI Dissertation Improvement Grant. Naoko’s other
projects focus on the institutional designs of IOs and their effects on
international cooperation. Naoko is going to serve as an instructor at
Rice University in Fall 2014, teaching the course “International Organization.”
Dissertation Committee: Brett Ashley Leeds (Chair), T. Clifton Morgan, Songying Fang, and Richard Boylan (Economics)