I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2013.
My research interests focus on understanding the micro-foundations and dynamics of political and criminal violence in Latin America. Why are some countries ravaged by high levels of organized crime violence? What are the paths for building safer, more peaceful and democratic countries? These are the core questions guiding my research interests.
I address this agenda with a solid quantitative toolset including natural language processing, quasi-experimental and experimental techniques, geographic information systems, and big data analytics. My research focuses on Latin America, with a particular emphasis on Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
I am the Founder of the Academy for Security Analysis, a project supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - El Salvador aiming at building regional institutional capacity on citizen security policies, promoting evidence-based public policies, and disseminating best practices in the Northern Triangle region of Central America.
I am also part of a research team based at the University of Texas-Dallas working on the next generation of automated event coding in multiple languages. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation.
My research has also been supported by the U.S. Department of Defense - Minerva Research Initiative to analyze non-state actor governance in Colombia and Afghanistan.
In 2015, I received an award from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the best dissertation on Public Safety, Victimization, and Justice in Latin American and the Caribbean. My research has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, International Interactions, Social Science Computer Review, and the American Journal of Political Science.
My research has received the generous support of the National Science Foundation; the Social Science Research Council–Open Society Foundations; the United States Institute of Peace; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; and the University of Notre Dame.
Before joining the University of Arizona, I worked as an Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Before then, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, and a pre-doctoral fellow of the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University.
My broader research interests include repression-dissent dynamics, human rights, political clientelism and vote buying, political corruption and transparency.
Before enrolling in graduate school, I served as Civil Society Specialist at the World Bank in Mexico and worked at the Federal Electoral Institute in Mexico.