Erika L. Vallejo

About Me

My name is Erika L. Vallejo. I am a Doctoral Candidate (ABD) in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University. I specialize in American Politics and public policy with a focus on class, race, ethnicity, and gender politics. I earned a BA in political science and philosophy from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and an MA in political science from Michigan State University.

My dissertation applies a mixed-methods approach to further understand the underrepresentation of working-class individuals both in running and serving in elected office. My research focuses on questions of class inequality and the interconnections between multiple identities and life experiences of candidates. I explore the ways class intersects with race/ethnicity and gender to further our knowledge of political candidates and politicians and the way they present themselves, with a particular emphasis on the working-class and occupational backgrounds they present online and as they relate to political campaigns. Additionally, my work places an emphasis on theories of intersectionality, theory of the flesh, critical race theory, descriptive representation, and political ambition. Together, my preliminary findings suggest that state legislative Democratic candidates are significantly likely to win general elections when they have a blue or pink-collar occupational background.

I am a 2020 American Political Science Association (APSA) Minority Fellow and a 2023-2034 recipient of the Julian Samora Endowed Scholarship. I am also a part of the Chicano/Latino Studies (CLS) and Women's & Gender Studies (WGS) graduate certificate programs at MSU. In Spring 2023, I taught two of my own introductory political science research methods labs, where the students learned how to use R and perform statistical analyses. I also regularly guest lecture in both political science and Chicano/Latino studies courses. Lastly, I have been a teaching assistant for various political science courses since Summer 2020 to present-day. Learn more about me at my website.


Research & Teaching Interests

American Politics, Race and Ethnicity Politics, Gender Politics, Class Identity, Latinx/o/a Politics, Immigration, Intersectionality, Public Policy, Labor Policy, Survey Experiments, Campaigns, Political Elites, Economic Inequalities, State and Local Elections, Political Parties, Interest Groups, Public Opinion, Mixed-Methods, Qualitative Interviewing, Ethnography


Office #240 South Kedzie Hall, 368 Farm Lane
East Lansing, MI, 48823, US

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Curriculum Vitae

Erika Vallejo