Staff of the Chicago Center on Democracy

Susan Stokes

Faculty Chair

Dr. Susan Stokes is the Faculty Chair of the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she guides the strategy and direction of the center. She is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science.

Learn more about Susan

Kevin Kromash

Senior Research Associate

Kevin is the Senior Research Associate at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where he directs all aspects of the center’s operations, including strategy, research, fundraising, and communications.

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Andres Uribe

Research Project Lead

Andres Uribe is a PhD student in Political Science. His research broadly focuses on democracy and governance in contexts of violent political contestation. In particular, his dissertation project examines the ways in which armed nonstate actors seek to influence electoral and legislative outcomes. Other projects examine rebel group-political party transitions and the rhetorical strategies of anti-democratic politicians. At the Chicago Center on Democracy, he co-leads our research on the rhetorical strategies of populist politicians.

Ipek Cinar

Research Project Lead

Ipek is a PhD student in Comparative Politics at the University of Chicago. At the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she leads our construction of our Democratic Performance Index and co-leads our research on the rhetorical strategies of populist politicians. Her research interests include democratic backsliding, comparative democratization, and political economy of regime transitions. She also studies quantitative methods and their computational applications to comparative politics.

Eli Rau

Research Project Lead

Eli Rau is a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. He is broadly interested in elections and conducts research on the ways that electoral institutions shape campaign strategy and mass participation. His current projects include studies of the relationship between partisanship and voter turnout; party branding strategies under compulsory voting; and intra-party competition in multi-member legislative districts. At the Chicago Center on Democracy, he co-leads our research on party strategy and voting behavior in referendums.

Radha Sarkar

Research Project Lead

Radha Sarkar is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Yale University. Her research interests are inspired by contemporary developments in Latin American politics, and include questions of religion and politics, political violence, and direct democracy. At the Chicago Center on Democracy, Radha supports research on referendums. 

Shahana Sheikh

Research Project Lead

Shahana is a PhD Candidate at Yale University’s Department of Political Science. Her research broadly focuses on elections, campaigns, political parties and voters. In her dissertation project, she is examining how new communication technologies are affecting the behavior of political parties and of voters in India. At the Chicago Center on Democracy, she co-leads our research on national referendums.

Esmeralda Cerritos Martinez

Summer Intern

Esmeralda is a rising second-year undergrad at the University of Chicago studying Political Science, interested in learning about the current state of Latin American democracy and politics. Outside of classes, she is a member of Women in Law and volunteers as a legal observer for the National Lawyers Guild of Chicago. 

Gabriel Reyes Esclasans

Advanced Quantitative Methods Researcher 

Gabriel is a second year at the University of Chicago studying Economics, Data Science, and Portuguese with a particular interest in Latin American Politics and Development Economics. He is an Advanced Quantitative Methods Researcher at the Chicago Center on Democracy, working on an international-level referendum database. Outside of classes, Gabriel is a consultant for Eckhart Consulting, the political chair for the Organization of Latin American Students, and a member of the Bussiness Organization for Latino Development at UChicago.

Mario Pino

Research Assistant

Mario is a JD from Universidad de Chile and MA in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. He is interested in comparative politics, especially in political parties, political systems, and electoral systems with a focus on Latin America and continental Europe. He is a research assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy working on a national-level referendum dataset. He also works at the Chicago Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Chicago.

Rithvik Koppurapu

Research Assistant

Rithvik is a second year at the University of Chicago studying Economics and Political Science with a particular interest in development economics and international relations. He is a research assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy working on a national-level referendum database. Outside of classes, Rithvik is involved in Campus Catalyst and Alpha Kappa Psi.

Serena Fang

Research Assistant

Serena is a second year Master’s student in International Relations at the University of Chicago. At the Center, she supports research on populist leaders’ response to Covid, among other topics. Her research interests lie broadly on political methodology and comparative politics.