Alvernia Headshot

I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) in August of 2013. My research focuses on the interaction between domestic politics and international relations. I am also conducting new research on the effects of the psychology of moral reasoning on political behavior.

My dissertation was entitled Politicizing War: Information, Democracy, and Public Opinion. This project had two goals: (1) Explore if citizens can make better decisions by solving a stylized formal model that makes normatively favorable assumptions; and (2) Develop a novel theory of citizen belief formation over war which combines both rational expectations and elite opinions models.

This project is based on a model of citizens’ belief formulation about conflict and the incumbent’s reelection during a wartime election. Belief formation is modeled as a function of two distinct signals; the first is from an unbiased but possibly inaccurate actor (I call the media). The second is from an informed but biased actor (I call the opposition). The model suggests the existence of equilibria where biased signals are dominant. A primary finding is a possibility that citizens choose to elect the opposition party, which subsequently ends an otherwise successful war campaign.

My other research interests include interstate conflict, public policy, public opinion, direct democracy, game theory, experimental political science, moral psychology, and causal inference.

I have also been an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Buffalo State College and an Instructor at UB. I regularly teach Introduction to Political Science, Introduction to American Politics, Introduction to International Relations, Comparative Politics, Globalization and Development, Conspiratorial Thought, the Policy Process, American Public Policy, The Living Constitution, Civil Right, and the South, and The Politics of the European Union.

I earned a Master of Science in International Studies and a Master of Business Administration from St. John Fisher College in 2008.