University of South Florida


USF faculty experts available for interviews on key issues throughout 2024 election cycle

The University of South Florida offers a variety of faculty experts to discuss key issues relevant to the 2024 primary and general elections.

Listed below are some of USF’s experts by topic, along with their focus area. Members of the media interested in an interview are asked to contact Kevin Watler (, who will work to accommodate interview requests within the experts’ schedules.

In addition, if there is interest in a topic not listed, USF’s Experts Guide is another resource to quickly locate faculty members by keywords, expertise or college. 


Edwin Benton

Professor of political science and public administration

  • State and local government politics
  • Government finances and fiscal behavior
  • Welfare and housing policy  

Rob Mellen Jr.

Assistant professor of political science

  • Presidency 
  • Interaction among government branches
  • Congressional politics
  • Presidential primaries and caucuses

Janna Merrick

Professor of political science

  • Public policy
  • American national government 

Jianing Li

Assistant professor of mass communication

  • Mis/disinformation
  • Contentious politics
  • Social inequality 

Susan MacManus

Professor emeritus of political science

  • Florida politics
  • Political issues
  • Women in politics 
  • Voter demographics 

Darryl Paulson

Professor emeritus of government

  • Florida politics
  • American government
  • Political campaigns 
  • Voting rights 


Josh Scacco

Associate professor of communication studies

  • Political campaigns
  • Misinformation and disinformation 
  • Social and digital media
  • Public opinion

Lawrence Hall

Distinguished university professor of computer science

  • AI regulation
  • AI in image processing
  • AI and its effects on jobs and the workplace 

John Licato

Assistant professor of computer science

  • How large language models such as ChatGPT can be used in political messaging
  • AI in spam communications
  • AI’s impact on cognitive biases in political communications 

Stephen Neely

Associate professor of public administration

  • Media and politics
  • Public policy
  • Survey research on policy and election topics 

Monica Ancu

Associate professor of mass communication

  • Social media and politics
  • Political campaigns 


Jason Salemi

Associate professor of epidemiology

  • Infectious disease
  • Public health surveillance
  • Maternal and child health, birth defects

Jay Wolfson

Distinguished professor of public health, medicine and pharmacy

  • Differences in candidates’ approach to health care and policy
  • Health care finance
  • Health policy and practice

Ryan Wagoner

Division chief, Morsani College of Medicine Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences

  • Social anxiety related to news consumption 
  • Social anxiety related to interactions on social media
  • The philosophy of individuals not assuming the worst in others

Michael Teng

Assistant professor of internal medicine

  • Infectious disease
  • Allergies and immunology
  • Biomedical engineering

Jill Roberts

Associate professor of public health

  • COVID-19
  • Public health guidelines and implementation
  • Broad perspective on infectious diseases

Katherine Drabiak

Associate professor of public health law

  • Health policy
  • Health law
  • Bioethics/clinical ethics


Chris Meindl

Associate professor of geography

  • Regional geography
  • Water management
  • Environmental policy

Christian Wells

Professor of anthropology

  • Environmental justice and underserved communities
  • Soil/water/air contamination; brownfields
  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and White House Justice40 Initiative
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Feng Hao

Associate professor of sociology

  • Human causes of climate change
  • National and international climate policy
  • Renewable energy deployment
  • Public opinion on environmental issues

Gary Mitchum

Professor of physical oceanography

  • Global sea-level rise
  • Broader connections between climate change and hurricanes
  • Impacts of sea-level rise, storm surge and hurricanes


Edelyn Verona

Professor of psychology

  • Psychology and crime
  • Violence prevention
  • Pathways to incarceration and reentry
  • Mental health and criminal justice

Jessica Grosholz

Associate professor of criminology

  • Recidivism
  • Prisoner education
  • Prisoner reentry


George W. Burruss

Professor of criminology

  • Policing
  • Homeland security
  • Victimization in cyberspace

Giti Javidi

Professor of cybersecurity

  • Cybersecurity governance and policies
  • Cyber threat intelligence and risk management
  • Security in smart infrastructures (smart cities, smart power/utility grids, smart vehicles)

Thomas Hyslip

Assistant professor of criminology

  • Computer hacking
  • Cybercrime
  • Digital forensics

Stephen Gary

Associate professor of information and intelligence studies

  • Cyber threats to the 2024 elections
  • Cyber threat actors and reasonings 
  • Cyber threats to public and private sectors


Michael Snipes

Associate professor of economics

  • General economics and policy
  • Inflation
  • Housing and cost of living

Brad Kamp 

Associate professor of economics 

  • Microeconomics 
  • Information economics 
  • Trade 

Richard Smith

Associate professor of economics

  • Health care economics


Golfo Alexopoulos

Professor of Russian and Soviet history

  • Russian politics and history 
  • US-Russian relations
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 
  • Authoritarianism and political violence in Europe

Tatsiana Kulekevich

Instructor of political science

  • Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • International political economics, migration and protest politics
  • Democratization, international security and ethnic politics

Steven Roach

Professor of international relations

  • Global governance
  • Critical international theory
  • International criminal court
  • Global ethics and warfare 

Thomas Smith

Professor of foreign affairs

  • International humanitarian law
  • Middle East
  • Laws of war

Adib Farhadi

Assistant professor of economics

  • Great Power competition
  • Violent extremism
  • Religion, conflict and peacebuilding


Elizabeth Aranda

Professor of sociology

  • Undocumented young adults in Florida
  • Immigration policies
  • Latinos/as and racial profiling; Latinos/as and voting behavior
  • Puerto Rican migration; Puerto Ricans in Florida

Heidi Castañeda

Professor of anthropology

  • Borders
  • Migration/immigration
  • Migrant health

Jody McBrien

Professor of educational studies

  • International migration and refugee resettlement
  • Families affected by war
  • Global refugee population growth (from 9.2 million in 2004 to 35.3 million in 2022)


Jim Cardoso

Senior director, Global and National Security Institute; U.S. Air Force (ret.)

  • National security
  • Military and defense industry
  • Aviation
  • Special operations

David Oakley

Academic director, Global and National Security Institute; former U. S. Army field artillery officer

  • Intelligence, including CIA/Department of Defense relations
  • U.S. foreign policy
  • Civilian-military and civilian-intelligence relations
  • Irregular warfare

Tad Schnaufer II

Research and strategy manager, Global and National Security Institute

  • NATO
  • Military studies
  • Foreign policy
  • Hybrid warfare

Zacharias P. Pieri

Associate professor of political science

  • Extremism -- both domestic and international, including jihadist movements
  • Far right activity in the U.S.
  • Antisemitism

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