About Me


Hello! I am a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Southern Illinois University with a focus in comparative political economy and contentious politics. My main methodological areas are non-parametric IRT and SEM. I will graduate in spring 2021.

I founded @PerishorPublish and serve on the executive board.

I hold the Illinois Diversifying Higher Education Faculty fellowship. I was a 2019-2020 Adam Smith fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. In 2018-2019, I held the Humane Studies Fellowship sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies.

My research intersects micro-economic employment behavior and conflict processes. I examine the role of higher education in initiating and shaping the outcomes of mass movements. As higher education became more accessible and normalized across the globe, the Middle East and North Africa experienced education bulges, or record numbers of university students that increased their stores of skilled and professional labor.

In my dissertation, Education Bulges: How the Rise of the Middle Underclass Sparked Mass Protest, I find that as the supply of skilled labor grew faster than demand: college premiums stagnated, job insecurity increased, and employment grievance due to increased competition grew across the occupational spectrum. Repressive regimes that experienced education bulges were both more likely to experience mass protest onset, as well as see those protests succeed. Please see my Research page for more details and findings.

I am working on several exciting projects that support my interest in mass movements:

  • The Mass Protest Index (MPI) scores protests in repressive regimes on campaign accomplishments and costs. See my polmeth poster here. This ongoing project gathers and measures political and economic protest indicators (beneficial and detrimental) across four sub-areas: civil liberties, authority, financial and economics.
  • In my Clothing and Crowd Counting project, I use image recognition to estimate protest crowd count data as well as estimate social economic status of demonstrators.

As a woman of color, I am dedicated to the diversification of political science, and the methods subfield in particular. My research Why Don’t Scholars of Color Attend Conferences examines the role of conference attendance as an additional source of “leakage” in the pipeline retaining and hiring faculty of color.

Additional details on these projects can be found under my Research page.

My public scholarship was published in Duck of Minerva and the Globe Post this summer! Check it out!

I love teaching methods and have served as a TA for ICPSR’s 2020 and 2019 summer program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I participated in the 2018 Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models Summer Institute (Ann Arbor, MI) and was awarded the 2017 Garcia Award from the Society for Political Methodology as a ICPSR participant.

My teaching experience covers a variety of institutional and class formats, both internationally and domestically. I have served as a graduate instructor at Southern Illinois University, full-time faculty at City University in Bratislava, Slovakia, and currently teach both in-person and online for College of DuPage.

I bring practitioner experience to the classroom. I was an intern with the US Department of State in Port au Prince, Haiti. I also interned at the United Nations Association of the USA in NY, NY. My interest in the role of labor markets in mass political behavior was cultivated by my management experience in the restaurant/hotel industry.

Thank you for visiting my page and please feel free to contact me at turnerk@siu.edu.