I am a Ph.D. candidate in comparative politics in the Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. I am also pursuing Berkeley’s interdisciplinary designated emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies. My main research interests are comparative democracy and democratic institutions, local and subnational politics, European multi-level politics and governance, the European Union, and Central Europe. My dissertation asks why the same institutions designed to consolidate democracy in Central Europe now instead work to undermine democracy. I specifically look at the roles played by decentralization and local politics and the European Union. My book project focuses on the long-term democratic development of local politics in the region to understand how the Europeanization, decentralization, and devolution processes undertaken in the 1990s have in some cases created vibrant democratic cultures while in others have contributed directly to democratic backsliding. I also have an additional research interest in European Union institutions, including the EU’s institutional responses to crises and the politics of legislative oversight at the European Parliament. I take a mixed methods approach to research, using original quantitative and text datasets as well as qualitative data collected during fieldwork in Brussels and in Germany.
At Berkeley, I founded the European Politics Working Group in the Institute for European Studies and am affiliated with the Berkeley Program in Eurasian and East European Studies at the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. My research has been supported by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. Prior to enrolling at Berkeley, I completed a Master’s Degree in International Relations and European Studies from Central European University in Budapest and a Master’s of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. I did my undergraduate degree in history at the University of Tulsa.