I am a Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology and Counselling at the Open University (UK) and an Associate Researcher at the Electoral Psychology Observatory at the London School of Economics (UK).
My interest in social psychology, as a lens through which to view the world and its socio-political wonders, emerged while I was completing my BSc. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). One particular semester I was enrolled in a introductory course to Social Psychology, while simultaneously working as a Research Assistant for the UCLA Middle & High School Diversity Project, a joint longitudinal study between UCLA’s Department of Education and Department of Psychology. This semester, I was introduced to the work of Goffman and Mead in my lectures, and engaged in data collection and literature reviews aimed at understanding the psychosocial benefits of racial/ethnic diversity in schools as part of my RA job. These experiences combined led to a growing interest in understanding the intersection of how we think, feel and see the world, and the role of relevant others, societies, cultures and institutions in shaping these processes. Shortly after graduating from UCLA in 2013, I jumped the pond to the UK to begin an MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology at the LSE. During my MSc, my research interests crystallized into a curious focus on understanding phenomena that sit at the intersection between history, psychology and politics. In particular, my MSc dissertation, which received the Hilde Himmelweit Award (2014) focused on exploring intergenerational differences in collective memory of war in a post-conflict context, discussing the implications of the silencing of criticism and diverging perspectives on the past.
To some extent it was from this project that my PhD thesis developed. My doctoral work applied theories of identity and group dynamics to examine the role of history, power and national identity in the process of supranational integration. More precisely, my work explored the tensions between historical continuity and political change in Serbia, as prospective EU member-state. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods, the thesis illustrated the importance of a multi-level understanding of political change, as both a process understood and experienced through the everyday lives of citizens, and as situated in a larger, international context where national politics become shaped and constrained by larger international power-relations.
My current research projects can be divided into three, interlinking strands; 1) research on how different conceptualizations of national identity shape political attitudes and behaviours, 2) research on recognition and its implications for intergroup dynamics and selfhood, and 3) research on perceived collective continuity and its strategic mobilization in the promotion of, or resistance towards, change.
When I’m not trying to juggle the many responsibilities of an academic career I spend a lot of time trying to juggle the many responsibilities of being a social human, including travelling to visit family, spending time with friends in London and spending countless hours on the hunt for the best coffee in the city.
London School of Economics
PhD in Psychology
Committee: Caroline Howarth (adviser), Ilka Gleibs & Steve Reicher.
Dissertation: Continuity in times of change: the role of power, history and national identity in the context of supranational integration.
London School of Economics
MSc in Social & Cultural Psychology
University of California, Los Angeles
BSc (Hons) Sociology
Grants & Awards
Horizon Europe Grant
OppAttune: Countering Oppositional Political Extremism through Attuned Dialogue
Co-I alongside PI Kesi Mahendran (Open University). Funded by the ERC (Horizon Europe) and UKRI.
Open Societal Challenges Grant
Promoting better political dialogue and electoral engagement through argumentation technologies
Alongside Co-I Professor Anna DeLiddo (Knowledge Media Institutie, OU) the aim of this project is to explore how design features of argumentative technologies can be leverage to improve experiences with political disagreement and increase commitment to sustain dialogue.
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
Research Wales Innovation Grant
Co-I alongside Dr. Eleni Andreouli and Dr. Kesi Mahendran on project "Educating young citizens in Wales: political engagement, citizenship and democracy from the perspectives of citizens-in-the-making."
European Association of Social Psychology
Collaborative Research Grant
PI on project "Recognition of Belonging? Testing and expanding the Ingroup Projection Model" alongside Amena Amer (Greenwich, UK), Reşit Kışlıoğlu (Middle East Technical University - Northern Cyprus Campus) & Mihaela Boza (Al I Cuza University, Romania)
London School of Economics
Excellence in Education Award
COST IS1205 Summer School
COST Trainee Grant
London School of Economics
Hilde T. Himmelweit Prize
Highest MSc Grade
London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
Promoted to Senior Lecturer
In October 2023 I was officially promoted to Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the OU. Working on my case I had a lot of support from colleagues in the School and outside of it, to whom I'm very thankful.
Consultancy for European Commission (Part 2)
Following a successful one-year collaboration with VVA and DG JUST, myself and colleagues from the Electoral Psychology Observatory (LSE) embarked on a second year consultancy for the European Commission. This time our focus will be on developing a report on electoral turnout, best practices in member states and specific initiatives targeting populations with low voter turnout.
Postgraduate Research Convenor at OU
In the new academic year I took on the role to co-convene the postgraduate programme at the OU. This gives me a chance to work more closely with our PhDs to build community and share experiences and tips for navigating PhD life.
OppAttune - Horizon Europe project begins
In April 2023 the inception meeting for OppAttune was held in Athens, Greece. OppAttune received over €3 million in funding for participating multidisciplinary research teams, spread across higher-learning institutions in 15 European countries. OppAttune tracks the evolution of oppositional extreme ideologies and protectionist decision-making, develops an innovative attunement model and tests a series of interventions at the national and transnational levels which limit the spread of extremism. OppAttune revitalises trust in key democratic institutions. Its actions involve an on-line I-Attune self-test interactive to build democratic capacity across diverse publics. OppAttune will create an OppAttune Summer Academy for students and researchers (2025) and an OppAttune Winter Academy for practitioners and policymakers (2026). OppAttune provides micro, meso and macro level evidence-based recommendations and strategies designed to counter the potential of extreme narratives to disrupt democratic growth.
Presentation in UK Parliament
In February 2023 we celebrated the three-year anniversary of the Electoral Psychology Observatory on Global Elections Day. The annniversary was celebrated with a research talk in UK Parliament. The event “The State of Electoral Hostility” was co-chaired by Sir Peter Bottomley (Father of the House, Conservative) and Dr Stella Creasy (Labour). More information on the event, and the powerpoint slides for our talks can be found here: https://www.epob.org/events/
Consultancy for Westminster Foundation for Democracy
In the new year I embarked on another consultancy, this time a research project in partnership with LSE colleagues (Michael Bruter and Sarah Harrison) and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, funded by the FCDO (UK). The project "Analysing the electoral experience of first-time voters in Zambia and consider how it can be improved and optimised" involved travelling to Lusaka. Zambia, in February 2023 to develop research protocol tools, conduct focus group data analysis and report writing (March 2023).
Consultancy for European Commission
In November I began a research consultancy project via LSE consulting for the European Commission (DG JUST) on Research services on issues pertaining to EU citizenship rights and democracy. My involvement mainly pertains to the development of a Type-C report on the electoral experience of citizens with disabilities. The consultancy runs until end of summer 2023.
Speaker at event in Edinburgh
On the 13th of October I was an invited speaker at an event in Edinburgh, titled "The Political Positions Between Us: Can Psychology Depolarise the Public?". The event welcomed a mixed audience with academics, government officials, members of the public and journalists. I spoke about the role of intragroup dialogue in depolarizing, thinking about the ways in which we can counter attempts at essentializing and stereotyping when we are talking to supposedly politically likeminded people about those who are 'different'.
Aurora Leadership Programme
In September 2022 I began the Aurora Leadership Programme run by AdvanceHE. I was selected among a large number of applicants from the OU to join the programme which focuses explicitly on developing leadership skills among women in higher education.