alusvard (at) purdue (dot) edu
I am a PhD candidate in political science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, specializing in American politics and public policy. I hold an 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 dissertation “The End of the Child Bride: Social Movements, Strategic Actions, and State-Level Policymaking on Underage Marriage” is a book project with 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 five years. This research project was awarded the Ross-Lynn Research Scholar Fellowship and the Berenice A. Carroll Feminism, Peace, and Social Justice Award.
I have specialized methods training in linear models, multilevel analysis, computational social science, and network analysis.
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.