Nathan Lee, Founder and Managing Director

Nathan Lee is a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University.  His research focuses on how citizens and policymakers form their factual beliefs about public policy and, in particular, their views about the appropriate role of professionalized expertise in different policy domains. You can find more information about his academic research on his website. Prior to his academic career, Nathan worked as a policy analyst at the White House National Economic Council and the Department of Energy.

Jonathan Chu, Co-founder and Director of Operations

Jonathan Chu is a political scientist who researches public opinion on foreign policy and democracy (Ph.D. Stanford University). He is also an expert on survey and experimental methodology. He is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and affiliated research at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Read more about his research on his website.

Michael Hotard, Co-founder and Director of Civic Engagement

Michael Hotard has worked in the non-profit and government sectors for the past ten years. His key interest is in how the social sector can use data to improve its policies and programs. He received a Masters in Applied Economics from the Stevenson Center at Illinois State University and then served as Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. Afterwards, he worked for four years overseeing grants and workforce development projects at the US Department of Labor. He currently works as a Program Manager at the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford, managing their portfolio of projects related to unauthorized immigration and public health.

Daniel Butler, Professor at UC San Diego

Daniel Butler is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.  His surveys state and local politicians to learn about representation. He is author of Representing the Advantaged (2014, Cambridge University Press). His work has also been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and other journals.  He received his PhD from Stanford in 2007.

Megan Mullin, Associate Professor at Duke University

Megan Mullin is Associate Professor of Environmental Politics at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, with secondary faculty appointments in the Department of Political Science and the Sanford School of Public Policy. She is a scholar of American political institutions and behavior, focusing on the ways that political systems respond to local environmental conditions. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nick Carnes, Associate Professor at Duke University

Nick Carnes is the Creed C. Black Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University. From 2012 to the present, Carnes has co-organized national surveys of state and local officeholders as a part of his research on why so few working-class Americans (people employed in manual labor, service industry, and clerical jobs) go on to become politicians and how their virtual absence from our political institutions affects public policy.

Jessica Trounstine, Professor at UC Merced

Jessica Trounstine is Professor of Political Science at University of California, Merced. Trounstine studies local politics in the United States in both historical and contemporary contexts. Trounstine’s work is focused on understanding the process and quality of representation, inequality, elections, and public services. She is the author of Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities (Cambridge University Press) and Political Monopolies in American Cities: The Rise and Fall of Bosses and Reformers (Chicago University Press) as well as numerous articles.  Website:

Emily Katz, Director of Analytics

Emily Katz recently graduated from Stanford University with a major in Political Science and a minor in African Studies. She studies the intersection of gender and international security, and her honors thesis project involved identifying the key economic and social factors that drive gender voting gaps globally. She has worked research positions at NGOs in South Africa and Burma, and hopes to attend law school in the future to advocate for international human rights.

Michelangelo Landgrave, Affiliated Researcher

Michelangelo Landgrave is a political science PhD student at the University of California, Riverside. He studies local politics and policy. He is a fellow with the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology. He holds graduate degrees in Political Science and Economics.

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