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.

Learn more about Kevin

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.

Alina Kim

Research Assistant

Alina is a second year at the University of Chicago studying political science and history, with a specialization in Western violence and social theory. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she supports projects on national referendums and voting trends. Outside of academics, she enjoys editing for The Chicago Maroon Arts Section, coordinating events with the Institute of Politics and its Jukebox Ballot project, and training as an apprentice projectionist at Doc Films.

Aliza Oppenheim

Research Assistant

Aliza is a third year undergraduate at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Law, Letters, and Society. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center for Democracy, where she is helping study voter behavior in national referendums. On campus, she is involved with UChicago Hillel, the Institute of Politics, and University Theater.

Aman Shah

Research Assistant

Aman Shah is a first year at the University of Chicago, studying Economics and Geographical Science. He is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where he helps the rhetoric of populist Indian politicians. He enjoys playing soccer and bike rides along the Chicago lakefront.

Ananiya Neeck

Research Assistant

Ananiya is a second-year at the University of Chicago studying Economics and Public Policy. Academically, her interests center on international development and human rights. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she supports the collection of data on the political rhetoric used by traditional and populist leaders.

Aysha Hafiz

Research Assistant

Aysha is a third year undergraduate studying Sociology and Russian and Eastern European Studies. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she is helping translate and code Russian political speeches to study rhetoric used by traditional and populist political leaders. She loves going to showings at Doc Films and taking walks at Promontory Point.

Barbara Mola

Research Assistant

Barbara is a second year at Yale University pursuing a double major in Film & Media Studies and Political Science. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she will help translate and code the rhetoric of populist politicians in Poland. Outside of the classroom, she directs project development for the non-profit Circle of Women.

Cagdas Okay

Research Assistant

Cagdas is a second-year at the College, studying Economics and Global Studies. He is a research assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where he is helping translate and code Turkish political speeches to study rhetoric used by various political leaders. He enjoys playing soccer and researching intelligence history.

Crystal Park

Research Assistant

Crystal is a third-year at the University of Chicago studying Linguistics. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy where she analyzes and codes for the rhetoric used in Korean political speeches. Outside the classroom, she enjoys visiting botanical gardens and finding discreet hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Henrique Lasevicius Azevedo

Research Assistant

Henrique is a first-year at the University of Chicago studying Economics with Data Science. He is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where he supports a project that analyzes populist rhetoric in the speeches of political leaders in Brazil. Beyond his academic interests, Henrique collects epigraphs from books and eccentric music tracks.

Isabelle Russo

Research Assistant

Isabelle is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, collecting data on the effect of authoritarian rhetoric on democratic discourse. She is a first-year at the University of Chicago and is interested in studying Political Science. Outside the classroom, Isabelle is heavily involved with the Institute of Politics and UChiVotes.

 

Jessica Yang

Research Assistant

Jessica is a third year undergraduate at the University of Chicago studying Political Science and Music. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she analyzes political rhetoric in Japan and Korea. Outside of classes, she enjoys making music and is the business manager for Voices, a student run a cappella group.

 

Jiwon Lee

Research Assistant

Jiwon is a first year undergraduate at the University of Chicago interested in studying History. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy where she analyzes the rhetoric of populist leaders in Korea. Outside the classroom, Jiwon works as a research assistant in the sociology department and is involved with MUNUC, The Blue Chips, and Alpha Kappa Psi.

 

Julia Du

Research Assistant

Julia is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, supporting data gathering and analysis on the rhetoric of populist and establishment politicians. A second-year undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, Julia’s major interests include economics, sociology, and history.

 

Miles Ogihara

Research Assistant

Miles is a second year at the University of Chicago studying Political Science. He is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where he supports collecting data on the rhetorical strategies of populist leaders. On campus, Miles is also involved with the Chicago Project on Security Threats as a research assistant and enjoys watching sports in his free time.

Rithvik Koppurapu

Research Assistant

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

Shreya Gautam

Research Assistant

Shreya is a Master’s in International Relations candidate, specializing in Conflict, Security and International Law. At the center, she is supporting a project on collection of data on rhetoric employed by politicians around the world. 

Connie Zheng

Research Assistant

Connie is third year undergraduate at the University of Chicago studying Economics and Law, Letters, and Society. She is a Research Assistant at the Chicago Center for Democracy, where she supports a project on citizen initiatives and referendums. On campus, she is involved with the Institute of Politics, the Chicago Maroon, and Phi Alpha Delta.