A scholar of civil society, democracy, and international development, I study how civic groups and organizations work to build change from the ground up.
I am an Associate Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs. I have also served as a Visiting Scholar at the American University in Cairo (Egypt) and Birzeit University (Palestine). Previously, I was an Associate Professor at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and a Faculty Affiliate of the Indiana University Paul H. O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
My research examines how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), voluntary grassroots organizations (VGOs), and local philanthropic foundations mobilize citizens for political, economic, and social change. I have conducted fieldwork in Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Qatar.
My first book, Delta Democracy: Pathways to Incremental Civic Revolution in Egypt and Beyond, was published with Oxford University Press (2020) and won the 2021 Virginia A. Hodgkinson Research Book Prize awarded by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). The book uncovers the strategies that Egyptian NGOs used to advance the aims of the country’s 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. It also provides concrete policy recommendations on how U.S. policymakers can restructure foreign aid to better help local community organizations fighting to expand democracy.
My second book project examines contemporary forms of youth mobilization. Studying the rise of voluntary grassroots organizations (VGOs) in Palestine, I analyze how youth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are rebuilding cultures of voluntarism and mass mobilization through groups engaged in hiking and running, community agriculture, arts and culture, political tourism, and community philanthropy.
My third book project, which is funded in part by a Fulbright grant, will study locally led development in Serbia.
As a 2020-2021 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, I studied the factors that shape U.S. democracy and development assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
My work has appeared in the journals Social Problems, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Policy Forum, and VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations and is forthcoming in Middle East Law and Governance and Public Administration and Development.
I hold a PhD in Public Policy from Duke University.
An avid swimmer, I am a NCAA Division III All-American and a member of the Mount Holyoke College Athletics Hall of Fame.