Lab Director

Ingrid HaasIngrid J. Haas, Ph.D.

[email | faculty websitecv | google scholar]

Dr. Ingrid Haas is Graduate Program Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. She is Resident Faculty in the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Haas is interested in understanding the expression of political attitudes and beliefs, and how that expression is influenced by contextual factors such as emotion and identity. She conducts interdisciplinary research on political behavior using theory and methods from political psychology, social psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. Her specific areas of expertise include attitudes, social cognition, emotion, prejudice, social identity, experimental design, survey design, and functional MRI (fMRI). Dr. Haas directs the Political Attitudes and Cognition (PAC) Lab. She teaches courses on political psychology, American politics, and quantitative/experimental research methods. She also serves on the Editorial Board for Politics and the Life Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in social psychology from The Ohio State University and B.A. in psychology and political science from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

Affiliated Faculty

Pierce Ekstrom, Ph.D.

[email | faculty website | cv | google scholar]

Dr. Pierce Ekstrom is an assistant professor of Political Science. He studies the causes and consequences of political disagreement. On the "cause" side, he is particularly interested in how psychological individual differences give rise to diverse political preferences and in how individuals' moral values and politicized identities create outright conflict from these differences of opinion. As for "consequences," he is interested in both the desirable effects of political disagreement (e.g., critical re-evaluations of existing practices) and its undesirable effects (e.g., political prejudice, biased information-sharing). Dr. Ekstrom has a courtesy appointment in the Psychology Department and is affiliated with the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Minnesota and his B.A. in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Rupal Mehta, Ph.D.

[email | faculty website | cv]

Dr. Rupal N. Mehta is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently a Faculty Fellow with the Nebraska Strategic Research Institute and a Research Collaborator at the Center for Peace and Security Studies (cPASS). Previously, she was a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow in the Belfer Center's International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an Adviser to the Director’s Strategic Resilience Initiative National Security and International Studies Office at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her research interests lie in international security and conflict, with a specialization in nuclear proliferation/counterproliferation, extended deterrence, emerging technologies, and elite decision-making (at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and political psychology). Her first book, Delaying Doomsday: The Politics of Nuclear Reversal (Oxford University Press, 2020) explores the conditions under which nuclear aspirants stop their pursuit. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Strategic Studies, The Washington Quarterly and her commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), BBC News, War on the Rocks, International Studies Quarterly, and the Washington Post's Monkey Cage. She received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Affiliated Graduate Students

Zeenat Ahmed


Zeenat Ahmed is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Peter's University, New Jersey. Her research interests are in political psychology, covering political ideologies, political identity, and political ideology belief systems.

Kyle Hull


Kyle is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Saginaw Valley State University. Kyle’s research interests range in focus from political institutions to political behavior. His current research focuses on the study of attitudes towards public servants with disabilities.

Dean Jackson 


John Jostes


John is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Concordia University, Nebraska. He is primarily interested in the relation between social identity, belief systems and moral values as they apply to political polarization and the amelioration of intractable conflict.

Łukasz Niparko


Łukasz W. Niparko is a human rights advocate (M.A./LL.M.) in international human rights law from the European University Viadrina and a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is an alumnus of the United World College (UWC-USA) and St. Lawrence University (SLU). He served with various NGOs, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Humanity In Action (HIA, where he currently is a member of the Leadership Council), and Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH). He is a co-founder of the Peace and Liberal Arts Education Center (China), Anne Frank Project: Poznań (Poland), and Global Dialogue Center at SLU. He was the Pat Cox Fellow in the European Parliament and worked with the Delegation Chair to the Korean Peninsula and EU-China Group. His interests concern legal prevention of discrimination and international affairs.

Noelle Troutman

[email | website | cv]

Noelle is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S.-Asia Grand Strategy Predoctoral Fellow at the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California, and Research Adjunct in the Defense and Political Science Division at the RAND Corporation. She studies international security and is interested in how actors make decisions—primarily integrating neuroeconomic frameworks with research on war and peace. She specializes in alliance politics, nuclear security, and neuroeconomic decision-making. Noelle received her B.A. in political science from the University of Northern Iowa and M.A. in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Carly Gartner 

Carly Gartner is a sophomore majoring in Political Science. She is interested in the reasons behind the political decisions that people make. After graduating, she plans to either attend graduate school or work in a related field.

Ritsa Giannakas 

Ritsa is majoring in political science and economics with minors in psychology and statistics. She is interested in the way psychology influences decision making and itsimpacts in her fields of study. After graduating, she intends to attend graduate school and pursue research and a professorship as a career. On campus, she is involved in the UCARE program, ASUN, NHRI, and Chi Omega.

Aleks Glowik

Aleks is a sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Political Science, with a minor in Criminology. She is very interested in the connection between morality and political ideology, and whether one has more of an effect on the other. After graduation, she plans to attend law school to pursue a career in civil or corporate law. On campus, she is involved with two committees in ASUN and Alpha Chi Omega.

Claire Jumper 

Claire is majoring in political science and psychology and has a special interest in public policy research and evaluation. She is interested in the ways that public policy can create change in communities and the intersections of political science and psychology within social policy. After graduating, she plans on traveling and possibly pursuing graduate school. On campus, she is involved in Sustain and Phi Sigma Pi and is a member of the Policy Scholars program with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.

Matt Price

Matt is majoring in political science with minors in history and Spanish. He has a strong interest in how political ideologies affect the way individuals engage with political identity, polarization, and activism. After graduation, he plans to attend law school where he would like to specialize in civil rights law, environmental law, or immigration law. On campus, he is a member of the Chamber Singers. He is also heavily involved in the Lutheran Center.

Zein Saleh

Zein is majoring in political science with minors in Arabic and Psychology. He is particularly interested in social categorization, political socialization, and the psychology behind racial prejudice. On campus, he is involved in ASUN and Debate. After graduation, Zein hopes to attend both law and graduate school to study the intersections between American government, political psychology and the legal system.

Jessica Stump

Jessica Stump is a senior majoring in Political Science and Psychology with a minor in National Security Studies. Her research interests revolve around moral psychology and its application to political identity and social behavior. Additionally, Jessica is interested in developmental psychobiology and the complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors in relation to the development of political attitudes and various behavioral outcomes. Jessica plans to continue to graduate school after earning her BA at UNL. Jessica involves herself on campus through ASUN, Chi Omega, and the University Honors Program.

Christian Washington 

Christian Washington is a senior political science and Spanish double major. Her research interests surround the influence of genetics on political behavior, and the ethical implications of this area of study. After undergrad, she hopes to pursue degrees in both law and psychology. On campus, Christian is involved in the Black Student Union and the Association of Future Black Lawyers.

Lab Alumni

Affiliated Graduate Students
Frank Gonzalez, Assistant Professor at University of Arizona
John Peterson, Assistant Professor at Palo Alto College
Stephen Schneider, UX Researcher II at Microsoft
Allison Skinner-Dorkenoo, Assistant Professor at University of Georgia
Clarisse Warren, Research Analyst at The Olinger Group
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Molly Arnold, Fiserv
Melissa Baker, Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso
Jacob Berggren
Allison Black, Georgetown University Law Center
Megan Elbel, University of California-San Diego
Justice Forte, Yale Law School
James Gunn, Baruch College
Allison Haindfield, United States Senate
Josh Harris
Alyssa (Meyer) Culbertson, Nebraska Medicine
Kate Ng Shi Qing
Josh Pierce
Marley Sandberg,
Grace Stallworth, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sarah Sweeney, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Faculty and Postdoc Collaborators

Wil Cunningham, University of Toronto
Russ Fazio, The Ohio State University
Maital Neta, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dominic Packer, Lehigh University
Ya Hui Michelle See, National University of Singapore
Jay Van Bavel, New York University