Academic Research

MPSA picture

Ross presenting his research at the 2017 Midwestern Political Science Conference in Chicago, IL

Network Analysis of Political Donor Polarization in Wisconsin Gubernatorial and Legislative Races, Presented at 2017 Midwestern Political Science Association Conference, Advised by Professor Michael Wagner, University of Wisconsin School of Journalism

  • Since the 2012 recall election of Governor Scott Walker, political polarization in Wisconsin has become a major topic of research. Research on Wisconsin’s politics has shown that there is mass polarization in Wisconsin’s electorate. However, there is little research done on polarization of political donors. This study intends to fill this research gap by studying networks of political donors in Wisconsin. Data from the Wisconsin Campaign Finance Information System is used to create network analyses of donors to candidates for Wisconsin’s gubernatorial and state-legislative races. Through network analysis in R and Gephi, this study found that political donor networks have become more polarized since the 2012 recall elections. This conclusion that donor networks—the people who are funding the state’s elections—have recently become more polarized provides context for the mass polarization of Wisconsin’s electorate.
  • Poster presented at the 2017 Midwestern Political Science Association Conference
  • PowerPoint presented at the 2017 University of Wisconsin Undergraduate Research Symposium


Laboratory of Oligarchy: Tweets from the 2012 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall, funded by a 2016 Welton Honors Summer Research Grant, Advised by Professor Michael Wagner, University of Wisconsin School of Journalism

  • Coded in R with dictionary-based semantic sentiment analysis to track the opinions of Twitter influencers and non-influencers on liberal and conservative topics during the 2012 Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, concluding that non-influencers were overwhelmingly positive on liberal topics, and influencers were disproportionately negative on conservative topics.
  • Handout presented at 2016 Welton retreat


Issue Saliency in Political Television Advertising in Wisconsin During the 2016 Presidential Election, Co-Authored with William Hoverman, University of Wisconsin, Journalism 676: Political Campaign Analysis


Student Government Elections and Student Org. Endorsements at the University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, Political Science 544: Introduction to Survey Research


The Road to Understanding Inequality, Undergraduate Reseach Scholars Program, Mentored by Professor Michael Wagner, University of Wisconsin School of Journalism

  • Accepted into the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program which seeks to bring together underclassmen with faculty and staff to promote a “diverse and inclusive scholarly community” to “develop leadership through peer mentoring”
  • Studied under Professor Michael Wagner, learning how to conduct academic research from the ground-up by looking at the differences between media representation of inequality and academic research on inequality


Research Assistant, Professor Barry Burden, University of Wisconsin Department of Political Science

  • Utilized Winstat software to match participants in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study with signers of the Wisconsin Recall Petitions as a part of the ongoing effort to add political information to the sociological study