My research interests combine my intellectual background in comparative politics, public policy, women’s studies, and Russian, East European, and Eurasian area studies with issues of morality policy. More specifically, my research examines how moral issues such as trafficking, prostitution, and sex tourism fit real world patterns of policymaking in the international context in democratic, authoritarian, and semi-authoritarian states. Thus, my research centers on the broader political science themes of government responsiveness and capacity with policy adoption and implementation with different regime types. My research has been supported by the American Association of University Women, Social Science Research Council, Fulbright Program, and Rotary Foundation. I was also a Title VIII Summer Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute, part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
I recently published my book Diffusing Human Trafficking Policy in Eurasia with Policy Press at the University of Bristol. It examines policy approaches aimed at addressing human trafficking in the countries of the former Soviet Union. It expands the diffusion of innovation theory from the public policy literature to explain the policy adoption variations throughout this region and determined what this variation can tell us about the implications for human trafficking in public policy research. The cross-case study results determined that while external pressures varied by country, internal determinants such as state commitment to human trafficking policy, policy entrepreneurs, and interest group strength significantly influenced the adoption of human trafficking policy in the Eurasia.

In the future I would like to further research topics such as women representation, migration and refugee policies, prostitution, and bride kidnapping in Eurasia.

Peer Reviewed Articles

2021 “Striking Out Women: Preferential Voting and Women’s Descriptive Representation in LatviaEast European Politics Symposium on Women’s Political Representation in Central and Eastern Europe. 37(4): 635-658.

2018 Criminalizing Human Trafficking in Latvia: The Evolution and Implications of Human Trafficking PoliciesJournal of Baltic Studies 49(2):129-155.

2017 The Diffusion of Human Trafficking Policies in the Post-Soviet Region: Case Studies of Policy Adoption in Ukraine, Latvia, and RussiaJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 19(5): 403-418.

2017 Repurposing Shelter for Displaced People in UkraineForced Migration Review Shelter in Displacement, Issue 55, June: 49-50.

2017 The Implications of Gender Quotas in Ukraine: A Case Study of Municipal Party-Level Quotas in Eastern Europe’s Most Precarious Democracy” with Dr. Pedro Dos Santos Journal Teorija in Praksa Special Issue on the legitimacy and effectiveness of gender quotas in Central and Eastern Europe 54(2): 355-375.

2016 The Role of Anti-trafficking Organizations in Human Trafficking Policy ImplementationFemina Politica: Feminist Journal of Political Science Special Issue on Modern Slavery and Extreme Exploitation in Globalised Labour and Gender Relations 25(1): 79-92.

2014 Policy Responses to Human Trafficking in Southern Africa: Domesticating International Norms” with Dr. Hannah Britton. Human Rights Review 15(3): 305-328. A full copy of the accepted manuscript is available here.

Presenting research with my undergraduate research assistants at the 79th Midwest Political Science Association Conference in April 2022. 

I was awarded an American Association of University Women American Fellowship in 2017.

Presenting my research at the Kennan Institute part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2016.

I won third place in the Advanced Graduate Student category at the Sigma Xi Graduate Research Competition at the University of Kansas for my poster on my dissertation research in 2014.

Presenting my dissertation research entitled “Beyond the Natasha Effect: Determinants of Human Trafficking Policy Variation in the Post-Soviet Region” at the Graduate Research Competition, University of Kansas in 2014.

This is a photo of me with Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Foundation President Karl Zobrist (right) receiving the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation, Sherman and Irene Dreiseszun Scholarship for International Studies in 2012.
Presenting my research on human trafficking policy in the United States to state legislators at the Ninth Annual Capital Research Summit in Topeka, Kansas 2012.
This is a photo of me receiving the 15th annual Roy and Betty Laird REES Essay Award at the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, University of Kansas in April 2009.

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