Skip to main content

Job Candidates

Hire a University of Houston Graduate Student

Our graduate students have strong records of accomplishment and promise. Some of our recent graduates have accepted tenure-track faculty positions at University of Wisconsin-Madison, George Washington University, University of Idaho and CIDE in Mexico City. Others have been awarded research positions and instructorships at University of Chicago, USAID at William and Mary and Gallup. We are excited to call your attention to students entering the academic job market in Fall 2019. For more information about any of our students, please refer to their websites or contact Professor Ling Zhu, the graduate placement coordinator.


Samantha Chapa (Ph.D. candidtate)

Email | Website

Dissertation Title: Reframing Local Policy: Immigrant Inclusion and Political Participation
Committee: Lydia Tiede (co-chair), Ling Zhu (co-chair), and Jeronimo Cortina

Samantha Chapa is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston. Her National Science Foundation-funded research focuses broadly on public policy and local politics with a race, ethnicity, and politics lens. Through a three-paper dissertation, she shows how local immigrant inclusion policies, such as sanctuary and municipal ID policies, bring marginalized communities into the political fold. She demonstrates that local inclusion policies foster political participation across diverse communities by providing the interpretive benefits, resources, social capital, and knowledge necessary for participation. Using a mixture of original and existing observational data, she finds that more inclusive policies are associated with greater levels of political participation. She also conducts civically engaged research that focuses on the political empowerment of immigrant and diverse communities in collaboration with local nonprofits, namely through a series of original GOTV field experiments and qualitative interviews. Her policy work extends to the international and comparative context, where her work has been published in British Journal of Political Science and East European Politics and Societies. Prior to graduate school, she worked at BakerRipley—a non-profit—for three years, where she provided legal representation as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative to vulnerable immigrants in the Houston area. She completed her Bachelor’s in English and History at Rice University.

A Datta

Aparajita Datta (Ph.D. candidate)

Email | Website

Dissertation Title: Towards Energy Justice: How is Policy Feedback Shaping Energy Equity and Climate Policies in the U.S.?
Dissertation Committee: Ling Zhu (Chair), Tanika Raychaudhuri, Jason Casellas, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, and Pablo Pinto

Aparajita Datta is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Houston. Her dissertation evaluates the policy feedback effects of means-tested home energy assistance programs. She studies the burdens and disparities in program participation, and the resultant impacts on racial equity, energy justice, and climate policymaking. Aparajita also serves as a researcher at UH Energy, the energy initiative across the University of Houston System. In this role, she focuses on low-carbon technologies and policies, climate resilience, public opinion on energy affordability and carbon management, and workforce development. Her research has been published in Environmental Science & Technology, Frontiers in Climate, Frontiers in Energy Research, and other journals. She has co-authored op-eds in The Hill and The Houston Chronicle and contributes to UH’s Energy Fellows Forbes blogs.

She is currently serving as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She is also a member of UH’s inaugural class of Chevron Energy Graduate Fellows. Aparajita holds a bachelor's in computer science and engineering from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, India, and master’s degrees in energy management from the C. T. Bauer College of Business and in public policy from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston. 


Tom Hanna (Ph.D. expected December 2024)

Email | Website

Dissertation Title: Authoritarian Leadership Politics and Autocracy Promotion
Dissertation Committee: Tyson Chatagnier (chair), Scott Basinger, Michael Soules, Patrick Shea (University of Glasgow)

Tom Hanna is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science. He studies international relations and comparative politics. His research interests are authoritarian politics, ideology, conflict, and political economy. His dissertation examines the role of leadership ideology and rhetoric in nondemocracies in fostering threats by those states to democracies. He was awarded an Oskar Morgenstern Fellowship in quantitative Political Economy for 2022-2023 and an Adam Smith Fellowship for 2023-2024 by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His teaching experience includes Introduction to Comparative Politics, Research Design, Statistical Methods, and American Government. 


Shana Hardin (Ph.D. expected May 2025)

Email | Website

Dissertation Title: Governing Social Equity: The Impact of Women’s Representation on State Legislative Networks, Policy Priorities, and Social Outcomes
Dissertation Committee: Ling Zhu (Chair), Jennifer Clark, and Jeronimo Cortina

Shana Hardin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston specializing in public policy, with an expected graduation date of spring 2025. Her dissertation explores the outcomes of women’s increased representation in state legislatures and executive positions, particularly how the descriptive and symbolic representation of women legislators and governors leads to reductions in gender pay gaps, discrimination charges, and changes in women’s policy priorities and cosponsorship networks. In addition to her interest in gender politics, she also specializes in civically engaged research by partnering with nonprofit organizations in the Houston area to improve their GOTV efforts through field experiments. In addition to research, she consults local governments and provides policy recommendations to strengthen communities.


Lucas Lothamer

Email | Website

I am a doctoral candidate in the political science department at the University of Houston. My research focuses on political psychology, electoral behavior, survey methods, campaign and media effects. Specifically, my work looks at negativity in politics and its effects on political behavior. My dissertation examines current measures of political cynicism and advances a new way of measuring the concept, adding a more nuanced look at political cynicism in an era underscored by partisan polarization. This project further explores how cynicism toward partisan politicians is formed in reaction to elite messaging and its effects on political behavior.