My research is problem-based, community-oriented, and aimed at generating actionable findings to help solve some of the most pressing social problems today.
I leverage an array of quantitative, qualitative, and spatial analytical techniques - along with a healthy curiosity - to investigate issues of inequality, local politics, and public policy. My research endeavors draw upon supplemental training in quantitative methods at the Inter-University Consortium of Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program, as well as my training in geographic information systems (GIS) at the Center for Integrated Spatial Research (CISR) at UC Santa Cruz.
I have presented my research at academic conferences (e.g., the annual conferences for the American Political Science Association and the Urban Affairs Association) and in community settings to diverse audiences including local officials, service providers, and equity advocates.
SHELTER AND THE STORM: the local politics of homelessness in urban California
Homelessness is the most pressing social problem facing urban California today. It is also a quintessential concern of local politics, drawing together among the most important policy types over which local governments exert jurisdiction: housing, policing, land use, and social service provision. As of yet, however, surprisingly little research has focused on understanding homelessness as a political issue.
My dissertation pursues a mixed-methods comparative analysis of homeless policymaking in Los Angeles and San Francisco between 2008 and 2020 to investigate the political dynamics that shape local policy responses to homelessness.
Research for the project involves:
ethnographic archival analysis of 700+ homeless-related policies considered in L.A. and San Francisco, and the legislative meetings in which they were debated.
GIS and spatial regression analysis of homeless ballot measures put to voters in each city, revealing the stark partisan politics of homelessness.
GIS analysis of homeless-related policing and enforcement practices.
Development of a novel typology of homeless policies, calling attention to the entire Homeless Policy Ecosystem, and the consequences of the fragmented governance of urban homelessness. Particular attention is directed toward the way racial disparities are exacerbated when cities prioritize policing of the visibly poor.
Food Insecurity in Santa Cruz County
Since 2019, I have worked with the Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance at U.C. Santa Cruz to measure food insecurity in Santa Cruz County. The Food Insecurity Index project is a community-engaged research endeavor conducted in collaboration with Second Harvest Food Bank and a coalition of community partners. It aims to generate more granular, "on the ground" estimates of local food insecurity that incorporate data on food assistance provided both through governmental programs (like CalFresh) and by the food bank and its partner agencies. Ultimately, the project aims to generate findings that will inform public policy and support local advocacy efforts.
For our most recent report, we supplemented the Index estimates with interviews with food assistance providers in order to better assess the challenges (and opportunities) they were facing during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project has been featured in an article by the UC Santa Cruz News Center, and on the radio on Good Morning Monterey Bay.
Peer Reviewed Publications
“Who Banishes? City power and anti-homeless policy in San Francisco.” Urban Affairs Review. 2020.
Reports and other publications
“Who Banishes? City power and anti-homeless policy in San Francisco.” Blog post for Urban Affairs Forum. 2021
2020 Update to Santa Cruz County’s Food Insecurity Index: The First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance, Santa Cruz, CA. 2022. (with Heather Bullock and Eva Bertram)
Food Insecurity in San Benito County: An Assessment of Need and Assistance Efforts. Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance, Santa Cruz, CA. 2022. (with Emily Hentschke, Heather Bullock, and Eva Bertram)
Tracking the Meal Gap in Santa Cruz County: Findings from the 2018-2019 Food Insecurity Index and Provider Perspectives on Food Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance, Santa Cruz, CA. 2021. (with Heather Bullock)
Review of "San Francisco Year Zero: Political upheaval, punk rock and a third-place baseball team" by Lincoln A. Mitchell. Journal of Urban Affairs. 2020.
Tracking the Meal Gap in Santa Cruz County: An Index of Food Insecurity, 2014-2018. Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance and Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Cruz, CA. 2019. (with Heather Bullock)
Review of “The Space Between Us: Social Geography and Politics” by Ryan D. Enos. Journal of Urban Affairs. 2019.
Quantitative data analysis (R, SPSS)
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis (ArcGIS, GeoDa, R)
Data visualization and mapping (R, Tableau)
Qualitative research techniques (expert interviews, focus groups, ethnographic and archival analysis)
Select Honors and Awards
Chancellor’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, UC Santa Cruz, 2021.
Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy Grant, 2019.
Fellowship, UCSC Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance, 2019.