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New ASU assistant professor to explore policy, social identities


Portrait of ASU Assistant Professor Kenicia Wright.

Kenicia Wright's research focuses on public policy and social identities in American politics.

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August 30, 2022

This fall, Kenicia Wright joins Arizona State University as a new assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies (SPGS).

“The vision outlined in the charter couldn't have been a better fit for my personal aims and goals,” said Wright. “These factors, as well as my ability to contribute to such rich diversity and passion for excellence and innovation made joining ASU the clear choice for me.”

Wright comes to ASU from the University of Central Florida, where she was an assistant professor. She received her PhD in political science from the University of Houston. Her research focuses on public policy and social identities in American politics.

"We are so excited that Dr. Kenicia Wright has joined SPGS. Dr. Wright is a fantastic scholar whose work is receiving national recognition. And the addition of Dr. Wright to our faculty fortifies our already impressive strength in race/ethnicity and politics,” said Magda Hinojosa, SPGS director and professor.

This fall, Wright will be teaching a political science course on public opinion. In the future, she hopes to teach courses related to social identities — race/ethnicity, gender, class, etc. — and intersectionality.

She spoke with ASU News about why she came to ASU and what she hopes to accomplish while at the university.

Question: What is the focus for your area of research, and why did you choose that field?

Answer: My research interests include exploring the effects of social identities on the policymaking process. I often apply intersectionality to study the overlapping effects of multiple social identities on policy preferences, policy implementation and policy outcomes related to health care policy and education policy. I find it important to develop research that contributes to our understanding of pressing issues and highlights the potential relevance of highly rigorous research for everyday life.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your role as an assistant professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies?

A: Being able to learn and interact with students and the ASU community! I am a first-generation college student, so I am eager to be able to learn more about the interests, goals and experiences of ASU students, as well as the history of ASU and the surrounding communities. I've recently started studying questions related to Latina/o/e/x Americans, so I'm starting to develop that research and connect with the extensive body of ASU scholars with interests in related areas.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as you work at the university?

A: I have two major goals that I hope to be able to accomplish: to continue developing research that centers on important and timely topics of groups that are traditionally under-studied in academic work, and to contribute to the growth and success of students in the School of Politics and Global Studies, as well as ASU students more generally.

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