alusvard (at) purdue (dot) edu
I hold a PhD in political science from Purdue University, a M.A. in political science and a B.A. in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to entering academia, I was a newspaper reporter, covering state and local politics in Illinois.
My research broadly engages with questions around agenda setting and policy adoption of low-salience issues, particularly gender justice issues. Specifically, I interrogate what role social movements, issue frames, and media attention play in agenda setting and policy adoption. My book project “The End of the Child Bride: Social Movements, Strategic Actions, and State-Level Policymaking on Underage Marriage” has in-depth case studies of policy action on underage marriage in two states and a quantitative analysis of agenda setting and policy adoption of the issue across the 50 states. I investigate how the issue of underage marriage went from relative obscurity to the agendas of the majority of state legislatures in the course of six years.
I am an award-winning teacher with extensive experience in teaching courses related to American politics and public policy. I won a student-nominated award for my work leading Millikin University’s Model Illinois Government class and delegation in 2016. I was recognized by Purdue University in 2021 with the Exceptional Teaching and Support during the Covid-19 Pandemic Award for using adaptive pedagogy that best engaged students during the pandemic year.
Outside of academia, I enjoy swimming, slow running, traveling, and reading mystery novels.