About Me

crosson-square-IMG_4271 (1)I am Assistant Professor of Political Science at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Previously, I spent time as Fellow and Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. I earned my Ph.D. in 2019 from the University of Michigan’s Department of Political Science, where my dissertation work was supervised by Chuck Shipan (chair), Rick Hall, George Tsebelis, and Rocío Titiunik.

Before attending Michigan, I earned my Bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude, honors with distinction) in Political Science from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, where I also minored in Mathematics and Philosophy. While there, I was co-advised by Meena Bose and Richard Himelfarb. I am originally from Reedsville, Pennsylvania, a small town located in (beautiful!) Kishacoquillas (“Big”) Valley, Mifflin County.

My research agenda is motivated by my long-standing interest in why public policy changes when it does, and why it often fails to do so—even when many elites and citizens appear unsatisfied with the status quo. To this end, my work examines the institutional underpinnings of policy change and gridlock, with a particular interest in how legislative parties and electoral competition, interest group activity, and legislative professionalism influence how, when, and why public policy changes.

To execute this research, I make use of a wide variety of methods in which I have been trained, including causal inference methods, mutlilevel modeling, Bayesian scaling methods, applied game theory, and elite survey interviewing. Among my long-term methodological projects is the creation of IGscores (formerly, MLscores), which place thousands of interest groups–both donating and non-donating–and members of Congress on the same scale. In addition, during my time at Michigan, I have personally executed over 370 survey interviews of federal lobbyists (220 of which were in-person, hour-long interviews), which serve as the basis for several of my research projects. To learn more about my research agenda, feel free to read my research statement, or peruse the “Research” section of this site.

Of equal importance, I have a strong passion for teaching. To date, I have served as a full instructor or instructional assistant in introductory American government courses, an MPP short course on the U.S. Congress, a course on the American presidency, a multidisciplinary course on political persuasion, courses on political philosophy, and most recently, a course on elections and representation in American politics. I also have strong interests in mathematical and methodological instruction, which I have held since my time as an undergraduate at Hofstra. I have received both departmental and university-wide recognition for my teaching, as a recipient of the John Kingdon Teaching Award and Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, both in 2016. Please visit the “Teaching” section of my website to learn more about my teaching philosophy and to view sample syllabi and student evaluations.