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Enrique Quezada

Major Field: American Politics
Areas of Specialization: Political Behavior, Latino Politics, Religion and Politics
Dissertation Committee Chair: Randy Stevenson

Enrique Quezada is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Rice University. His research focuses on Latino politics, religion and politics, and American political behavior more generally. Enrique’s work examines how members of particular social groups (including, so far, ethnic and religious groups) determine who is a legitimate representative of their group. Specifically, his work implicates group-specific language as a key signal of in-group membership and shows how political candidates try to use such group-specific language to signal that they are an authentic representative of the group. Further, he shows that voters are highly sensitive to candidates’ misuse of group-specific language and judge candidates who make such mistakes as inauthentic. In a recent article revised and resubmitted to the American Political Science Review, Enrique (and another graduate student coauthor) shows that Latino voters use variation in the accent of candidates’ Spanish-language appeals to judge which candidates are likely to be authentic representatives of Latino voters. Likewise, in part of his dissertation, Enrique extends this approach to various kinds of religious groups (Christian/Secular, Protestant/Catholic, and various other denominational groups)—first identifying the specific kinds of “coded language” recognized by different religious groups, and then exploring whether religious voters (and voters from specific faith traditions) judge candidates based on the correct use of such language. As an instructor, Enrique has designed and taught a course on religion and American politics, served as a graduate instructor in Rice’s Program in Writing and Communication (which focuses on helping first-year students develop their written and oral communication skills), and has been a teaching assistant for introductory courses in American politics and comparative politics. He has obtained a Certificate in Teaching and Learning from Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

Marques Zárate

Major Field: American Politics
Areas of Specialization: Racial and Ethnic Politics, Political Behavior
Dissertation Committee Chairs: Matthew Hayes and Melissa Marschall

Marques Zárate is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Rice University. His research focuses on Latino politics, minority representation, and American political behavior generally. Much of Marques’ work focuses on the extent to which members of minority groups can successfully distinguish sincere policy promises made to their ethnic group from appeals that are simply pandering. He argues that minority voters can use (sometimes unconsciously) various characteristics of these appeals, and the candidates making them, to identify pandering and to punish it. He explores one example of such signals in a recent article revised and resubmitted to the American Political Science Review (with other graduate student coauthors), where he shows that Latino voters use variation in the accent and quality of candidates’ Spanish-language appeals to judge the ability and willingness of that candidate to represent Latino voters. He extends this research in his dissertation. For example, in a paper invited to be revised and resubmitted to Political Communication, he shows that Latino voters have expectations for white and Latino politicians’ ability to use Spanish-language appeals and that these expectations matter for how Latino perceptions of pandering are formed. As an instructor, Marques has experience serving as a teaching assistant for Introduction to American Politics and has served as an undergraduate mentor for the Houston Action Research Team for two years. Marques has also served as the graduate student representative to the School of Social Sciences Strategic Planning Committee at Rice and as a mentor for first year minority graduate students. He served as president of the graduate organization Minorities in Social Sciences, which was named Graduate Student Organization of the Year under his leadership. His research, teaching, and university service has been recognized with Rice University’s prestigious Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn Fellowship for 2022-2023, which is awarded to only five students across the university.