I am a PhD candidate in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. My research lies at the intersection of comparative politics and political sociology: I am broadly interested in how social and economic change drives political actors to re-evaluate notions of citizenship and representation, strategies for collective action, and the structure of political institutions. My work explores these dynamics at both the national and local level.
My dissertation project, Constituents Without Citizenship: Immigrant Political Incorporation in New Destinations, explores why some native political actors such as trade unions, political parties, and NGOs choose to take on ‘incorporative activities’ with new immigrants, including paving a pathway to citizenship, engaging immigrants in electoral politics, or helping build migrant community capacity to make their own demands on the state. I have received generous support for this project from the MIT Center for International Studies, the Fulbright-Schuman Program, and Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies.
Over the last two years, I have also worked on a series of projects focused on growth, migration and development in Puerto Rico. For the 2011-2012 academic year (Phase I), I focused on exploring medical tourism as a potential solution to brain drain and unemployment on the island. Using lessons learned from this Phase I research and my past work on agricultural policy and development at the Harvard Kennedy School, this year I’m working with the MIT Co-Lab in an advisory role for the Spring 2013 practicum, which explores agricultural tourism as a vehicle for rural economic development.
Prior to enrolling at MIT, I spent two years as a lead researcher and field coordinator with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in South Florida, where I worked on local organizing campaigns targeting low-wage immigrant workers in the Property Services division.