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Faculty Experts by Category

American University experts are available to provide insight into a broad range of issues related to the 2018 midterm elections including voting behavior, polling, public opinion, race and politics, the economy, presidential history, survey research, among others.

To arrange an interview with our experts, please contact Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or aumedia@american.edu.

Experts A-Z  

David Barker Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; U.S. politics; congressional relations; diversity in politics

David Barker, director of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, is a nationally recognized expert on campaigns and elections, public opinion, political information and misinformation, political polarization and political representation. His latest book is Representing Red and Blue: How the Culture War Changes the Way Citizens Speak and Politicians Listen. His new book, One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy will be published in 2019.

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Richard BenedettoAdjunct Professorial Lecturer, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; presidential politics

Richard Benedetto is an adjunct professor of Journalism. He is a retired White House correspondent and columnist for USA Today and political columnist for Gannett News Service. He reported on local, state and national government and politics for nearly 40 years and continues to write political commentary.


Capri CafaroAdjunct Professorial Lecturer, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; politics; voting rights; Blue Wave

Capri S. Cafaro, Executive-in-Residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs, is the former Democratic leader of the Ohio State Senate. Ms. Cafaro is available for interviews on topics related to U.S. foreign policy in the context of domestic politics, among other issues.

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Louis E. Caldera Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law, Washington College of Law

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues

Louis E. Caldera is Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law and Senior Affiliate of American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Law and Government.

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Jeffrey Crouch Assistant Professor, School of Professional and Extended Studies

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; U.S. politics; federal executive clemency; presidential pardon power

Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor of American politics, is the Editor of AU's Congress & the Presidency journal. He is the author of The Presidential Pardon Power. Prof. Crouch’s research focuses primarily on federal executive clemency, also known as the presidential pardon power.

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Laura DeNardis Professor, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; cybersecurity

Dr. Laura DeNardis is the Faculty Director of the Internet Governance Lab at American University. Her research studies the social and political implications of Internet technical architecture and governance.

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Chris Edelson Assistant Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; constitutional interpretation; presidential power; U.S. Supreme Court; Russia investigation

Chris Edelson, assistant professor of government, is the author of Power without Constraint: The Post 9/11 Presidency and National Security.

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Fernando Laguarda Professorial Lecturer, Washington College of Law

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues

Fernando Laguarda, professor is director of American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Law and Government

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Jan Leighley Professor, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; American political behavior; voter turnout; media and politics; racial and ethnic political behavior

Jan Leighley, professor of government, is an expert on American political behavior, racial/ethnic political behavior, voter turnout, and the intersection of media and politics. She is an author of Who Votes Now? Demographics, Issues, Inequality, and Turnout in the United States.

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Allan Lichtman Distinguished Professor, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; politics; voting rights; Blue Wave

Allan J. Lichtman is Distinguished Professor of History at American University and the author of many acclaimed books on U.S. political history, including White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, FDR and the Jews (with Richard Breitman), and The Case for Impeachment. He is regularly sought out by the media for his authoritative views on voting and elections.

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Anita McBrideExecutive in Residence, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: First Ladies, First Families, U.S. politics

Anita McBride, Executive-in-Residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs, served as an assistant to President George W. Bush and chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush. She also served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. McBride has coordinated three presidential transitions and is actively involved in international women’s issues. McBride’s work at American University has led to a partnership with the National Archives and the White House Historical Association for a series of conferences focusing on the role of the First Ladies of the United States. She can discuss issues related to the First family and the White House operations.


Molly O'Rourke Executive in Residence, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; women in politics

Molly O’Rourke is an Executive in Residence in the School of Communication. She has more than 15 years' experience in public opinion research and has worked on Capitol Hill, for EMILY’s List, the women’s political action committee, and as an analyst at the Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute.

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Bettina Poirier Faculty, Washington College of Law

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues

Bettina Poirier is Adjunct Associate Professor of Law and Senior Affiliate of American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Law and Government


Richard Semiatin Assistant Professor, School of Professional & Extended Studies

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; elections; Congress; the executive branch; courts; and federal and state child-support enforcement

Richard J. Semiatin, assistant professor of political science, has taught courses in American politics and government for AU’s Washington Semester Program since 1991. He specializes in elections, campaigns, Congress, the executive branch, courts, and federal and state child-support enforcement. Semiatin is editor and author of the book Campaigns on the Cutting Edge, which appeared in its second edition (CQ Press, 2012)

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Elizabeth Sherman Assistant Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: White Nationalism in U.S. politics; presidential politics; congressional relations; campaigns and elections; women in politics

Elizabeth Sherman, assistant professor at the School of Public Affairs, is an expert on U.S. politics, campaigns and elections, women in politics, among other issues. She teaches graduate course on voting behavior, campaigns and elections. Sherman is a former Research Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and founding director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Prof. Sherman has spoken and written widely on a broad range of issues related to U.S. politics.

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Jordan Tama Associate Professor, School of International Service

Areas of Expertise: Congressional relations; Russia investigation; interest group and lobbying

Jordan Tama, assistant professor in the School of International Service, can comment on issues related to U.S. foreign policy, national security strategy, sanctions, Congress, the presidency, bipartisanship, independent commissions. He has published articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, among other media outlets, and has been interviewed by the BBC, CBS This Morning, National Public Radio, Fox News, and other news organizations.

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James Thurber Distinguished Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Campaigns, polls and voting issues; Congressional and presidential relations; campaign management; Congressional budgeting; Congressional reform; interest groups and lobbying; Congressional ethics

James Thurber, Distinguished Professor of Government, founder and former director of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, is a leading expert on campaigns and elections, presidential-congressional relations, and author of Obama in Office and American Gridlock: The Sources, Character and Impact of Political Polarization, among other highly-regarded political books and articles.

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Seth Gershenson Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Diversity and politics; education and bias

Seth Gershenson, associate professor in the School of Public Affaris, is available to comment on issues related to education policy, economic approaches to practical, policy-driven questions in public education, specifically teacher behavior. Prof. Gershenson is frequently interviewed by national media outlets including The New York Times and Chicago Tribune.

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Derek Hyra Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Diversity and politics; gender and race issues; neighborhood change; housing; metropolitan politics and race; gentrification in D.C.

Derek Hyra, Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Center at AU’s School of Public Affairs, can discuss processes of neighborhood change, with an emphasis on housing, metropolitan politics, and race, gentrification in Washington, D.C. and other cities across the U.S.. His new book, Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City, examines Washington, D.C.’s rapidly changing economic landscape through the prism of the revitalization of the city’s historic Shaw/U Street neighborhood. Prof. Hyra’s research has been showcased in media outlets, including the BBC, Chicago Public Radio, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.

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Taryn Morrissey Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Diversity and politics; food security; social equity

Taryn Morrissey, assistant professor in the School of Public Affairs, is an expert on a variety of public policies for children, particularly those in poverty. Her areas of research include child care, early education, food assistance, and health policy.

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Bill Snape Assistant Dean of Adjunct Faculty Affairs, Washington College of Law

Areas of Expertise: Diversity and politics

Bill Snape is Practitioner-in-Residence and Fellow in Environmental Law at American University Washington College of Law, and Senior Counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity

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Vicky Wilkins Dean, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Diversity and politics; gender and race issues; representation

Vicky Wilkins is Dean of AU’s School of Public Affairs. Her expertise includes gender and race issues, representation, diversity, deservingness and policy implementation.

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Frank DuBois Associate Professor, Kogod School of Business

Areas of Expertise: Economy and taxes; tariffs and the auto industry

Frank DuBois is an Associate Professor of International Business. He is the creator of the "Kogod Made in America Auto Index" and is frequently sought after to speak on the impact of tariffs on the auto industry.

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Bradley Hardy Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Economy and taxes; labor economics; economic instability; poverty policy and socio-economic outcomes

Bradley Hardy is an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs. He is available to discuss issues related to poverty policy, labor economics, economic instability, intergenerational mobility, and socio-economic outcomes. He is nonresident senior fellow in Economic Studies at The Brookings Institution.

Ernesto Castaneda Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise: Immigration and Latinx Vote

Ernesto Castañeda is assistant professor of sociology and author of A Place to Call Home, which examines the global cities that do best at immigrant integration. Castañeda is available for interview to discuss immigration policy and the health effects on immigrants. His research has been cited in Pacific Standard and The Hill. He can conduct interviews in Spanish and English.

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Anthony Fontes Assistant Professor, School of International Service

Areas of Expertise: Immigration and Latinx Vote; gang violence; MS-13

Anthony W. Fontes is author of Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order. He is an expert on criminal organizations, Latin American security, and U.S.-Latin America relations, focusing on Central America and Mexico. He is available to discuss issues of immigration and asylum, prisons, gangs, illicit drugs, crime and insecurity, and U.S. foreign policy.

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Bill Gentile Journalist in Residence, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Immigration and Latinx Vote

Bill Gentile is a full-time professor of Film and Media Arts. He is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is fluent in Spanish and can speak on various immigration issues.


Eric Hershberg Professor and Director, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Immigration and Latinx Vote

Eric Hershberg, Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, has expertise on US relations with Latin America and on Latino politics in the United State. Prof. Hershberg is available to discuss issues related to the election’s impact on Latino communities, immigration, U.S. Latin America policy relations.

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Betsy Fischer Martin Director of the Women & Politics Institute, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: Women in politics, U.S. politics, media and communication; elections; campaign finance; voting behavior

Betsy Fischer Martin, Director of the Women & Politics Institute at the School of Public Affairs and the former longtime executive producer of Meet the Press, is an expert in political communications, and media and politics. She can discuss issues related to women in politics, campaigns and elections, partisanship, and U.S. politics.

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Joseph Graf Assistant Professor, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Politics, media and communication; online politics

Joseph Graf is an assistant professor of public communication. He is former research director for the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, which promoted Internet politics to improve civic engagement. He has published extensively in political communication and online politics and is focused on the intersection of civic involvement and new media technology.

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Jane Hall Assistant Professor, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Politics, media and communication; women in politics; youth and politics

Jane Hall is a professor in journalism and media studies in the School of Communication. She specializes in media and politics, particularly issues of special interest to young people, the depiction of women in media and politics, media ethics and popular culture.

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Bob Hone Research Assistant Professor, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Politics, media and communication; fake news

Bob Hone is a Designer-In-Residence and Visiting Scholar in the School of Communications. He is the co-creator of "Factitious" a game that helps players spot fake news. "Factitious" has been played more than one million times since its release.


Robert Lehrman Adjunct Professor, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Politics, media and communication; political communication

Bob Lehrman is an adjunct professor of Public Communication. He is a novelist, teacher, and speechwriter for dozens of Democratic political figures including Vice President Al Gore. He is co-author of the The Political Speechwriter’s Companion, with fellow American University adjunct professor Eric Schnure.


Jason Mollica Professorial Lecturer, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Politics, media and communication; polls; social media and politics

Jason Mollica is a seasoned strategic communication professional with 20 years of experience as a journalist, news producer and PR professional. He provides expert commentary on political trends in social media, campaigns and poll results.

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Scott Talan Assistant Professor, School of Communication

Areas of Expertise: Politics, media and communication; campaigns; social media and politics

Scott Talan, MPA, is an assistant professor of Public & Strategic Communication. He has held two elected offices and has also worked as a reporter covering politics.

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Carolyn Gallaher Professor, School of International Service

Areas of Expertise: White Nationalism in U.S. politics

Carolyn Gallaher, professor at the School of International Service, can comment on issues related to extremism and the right-wing, organized violence by non-state actors and urban politics, including the politics, internal dynamics, and patterns of violence of militias, paramilitaries, and private military contractors, among others. Gallaher is the author of On the Fault Line: Race, Class, and the American Patriot Movement that tracks the identity politics of the Kentucky State Militia as it experienced rapid growth, internal upheaval, and decline with the arrest of its commander.

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Ibram X. Kendi Professor of history and international relations; director, The Antiracist Research and Policy Center

Areas of Expertise: White nationalism in U.S. politics, antiracism, racism, American and African-American history, racial inequality

Ibram X. Kendi is an award-winning scholar of racism and antiracism and a New York Times best-selling author. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation, 2016), won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

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Cynthia Miller-Idriss Professor of Education and Sociology, School of Education

Areas of Expertise: White Nationalism in U.S. politics; hate and extremism in the U.S.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss is a professor of education and sociology and author of The Extreme Gone Mainstream. She can comment on extremism, far-right groups, youth radicalization and violence, and educational interventions. She is the co-principal investigator of a global research network on youth and extremism (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council) and co-chair of a European/North American research network on radicalism and violence (hosted by the Council for European Studies.) Miller Idriss' commentaries have appeared in The Washington Post, Fortune, Salon, Times Higher Education and LeMonde.

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Lara Schwartz Professorial Lecturer, School of Public Affairs

Areas of Expertise: White Nationalism in U.S. politics; hate and extremism in the U.S.

Lara Schwartz is the Director of the Project on Civil Discourse at the School of Public Affairs. She is a frequent commentator on national and local radio and television programs including the Diane Rehm Show, C-Span Washington Journal, the Kojo Nnamdi Show, and CNN. She is available to discuss hate crimes, hate speech, protests, policies affecting racial justice, and the discourse around white supremacy.

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