Staff of the Chicago Center on Democracy

Susan Stokes

Faculty Chair

Dr. 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. Her research interests include democratic theory and how democracy functions in developing societies; distributive politics; and comparative political behavior. Dr. Stokes’ articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, World Politics, and the Latin American Research Review. She teaches courses on political development, political parties and democracy, comparative political behavior, and distributive politics.


Kevin Kromash

Operations Director

Kevin is the Operations Director at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where he directs all aspects of the center’s operations, including strategy, research, fundraising, and communications. Kevin draws from experience in both the academic and corporate worlds to build the center into a world-class institution that helps resilient democratic institutions to thrive around the world.

Laura Sandino

Outreach and Events Coordinator

Laura Sandino serves as the Outreach and Events Coordinator at the Chicago Center on Democracy, where she plays a pivotal role in managing the center’s communication efforts across various social media platforms. Laura also organizes the student advisory board, coordinates guest speakers, and oversees event registration. An alumna of the University of Chicago, Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and an Environmental and Urban Studies minor, and is interested in viewing democracy through a sociological and theoretical lens.

Andres Uribe

External Research Affiliate

Andres Uribe is Einstein-Moos Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. He completed his PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago. 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 collaborates on research on the rhetorical strategies of populist politicians.

Ipek Cinar

External Research Affiliate

Ipek completed her PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago. At the Chicago Center on Democracy, 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

External Research Affiliate

Eli Rau is a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University’s Latin American Public Opinion Project. 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

External Research Affiliate

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

External Research Affiliate

Shahana is a Research Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. 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.

Gabriel Reyes Esclasans

Advanced Quantitative Methods Researcher 

Gabriel is an undergraduate student 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.