My research interests combine my intellectual background in comparative politics, public policy, women’s studies, and Russian, East European, and Eurasian area studies with issues of morality policy. More specifically, my research examines how moral issues such as trafficking, prostitution, and sex tourism fit real world patterns of policymaking in the international context in democratic, authoritarian, and semi-authoritarian states. Thus, my research centers on the broader political science themes of government responsiveness and capacity with policy adoption and implementation with different regime types. These are my current research projects:

"The Implications of Gender Quotas in Ukraine: A Case Study of Municipal Party-Level Quotas in Eastern Europe’s Most Precarious Democracy"
Co-author Pedro Dos Santos
On July 17, 2015 a bill adopted by Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, introduced a party-level gender quota of 30 percent in local municipal elections. The addition of gender quotas sought to demonstrate that the new regime was more democratic and egalitarian than its predecessor in a post-conflict emerging democracy. This paper examines the impact and effectiveness of gender quotas in local municipal elections in Ukraine. We analyze municipal election data before and after the implementation of the gender quota to explore in more detail the factors that influenced compliance and non-compliance with the quota, as well as the impact the quota had on the election of women.

"The Social Construction of Trafficking Victims in the Russian Media"
Co-author Anastasia Dovgaia
Human trafficking is one of the largest human rights issues that affects every country of the world in one way or another. Despite the significant need for government legislation to combat this growing problem the Russian government is dragging its feet on adopting more comprehensive policies to assist victims of human trafficking. The media plays a big part in the development and adoption of this legislation as they describe the victims of human trafficking in different perspectives which influences constituent and government opinions. In this paper, we will examine how trafficking victims are framed in the media of Russia through 692 articles on human trafficking in the Russian media since 1997. We determine that there are both positive and negative social constructions of human trafficking victims that have evolved over time. We also show the differences in media coverage dependent on the different types of trafficking and what media outlet it in which it was published. 

Beyond the Natasha Effect: Determinants of Human Trafficking Policy Variation in the Post-Soviet Region
Book Manuscript
 This book project examines policy approaches aimed at addressing human trafficking in the countries of the former Soviet Union. It expands the diffusion of innovation theory from the public policy literature to explain the policy adoption variations throughout this region and determined what this variation can tell us about the implications for human trafficking in public policy research. The cross-case study results determined that while external pressures varied by country, internal determinants such as state commitment to human trafficking policy, policy entrepreneurs, and interest group strength significantly influenced the adoption of human trafficking policy in the post-Soviet region. 

In the future I would like to further research topics such as women and politics, migration and refugee policies, prostitution, bride kidnapping, sex tourism, and abortion in the post-Soviet region.