UCLA Associate Professor of Political Science, Lorrie Frasure-Yokley, Shares Her Experiences as a Political Scientist and APSA Member

Dr. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California-Los Angeles. Her research interests include racial/ethnic political behavior, immigrant political incorporation, African American politics, women and politics, and state and local politics.

In 2015, she became the first woman of color to earn tenure and promotion in the Political Science Department at UCLA. Her book, Racial and Ethnic Politics in American Suburbs (Cambridge University Press) is the 2016 winner of two national book awards by the American Political Science Association (APSA), including the Best Book about Race Relations in the United States from the Race, Ethnicity and Politics (REP) Section, and the Dennis Judd Best Book Award in Urban and Local Politics. She examines international and domestic migration to American suburbs and the responsiveness of state and local institutions to the political and policy concerns of immigrant and ethnic minority groups. Lorrie Frasure-Yokley was also an APSA member of the month.

The most challenging aspect of being a political scientist from a research perspective is the lack of high quality survey data that allows researchers who are interested in race, ethnicity, and politics, which is my primary field of interest to answer the kinds of research questions that we care about.

She received her Ph.D. and MA in Political Science from the University of Maryland-College Park, a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the faculty of UCLA, she was a Postdoctoral Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University. She is a first-generation college graduate, born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She is also the chair of the APSA Committee on the Status of First Generation Scholars in the Profession.

What is the most challenging aspect of being a political scientist?

Frasure-Yokley: The most challenging aspect of being a political scientist from a research perspective is the lack of high quality survey data that allows researchers who are interested in race, ethnicity, and politics, which is my primary field of interest to answer the kinds of research questions that we care about. In order to address that, I’ve long worked with a number of scholars pooling our resources to collect a series of datasets that include large samples of racial ethnic minority groups.

The latest endeavor is the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey. It is the largest, user content driven multiracial, multilingual, multi-ethnic survey in the social sciences. Our main goal was in 2016 to make sure we have large samples of racial ethnic minority groups and ask a series of longstanding research questions. So now we’re in the process of publishing a number of papers and books and journal articles. I’m just really excited about the enthusiasm in the discipline for the Collaborate Multiracial Post-Election Survey.

What did you get out of your experience at the APSA Centennial Center?

Frasure-Yokley: The [APSA] Centennial Center Grant is something that I encourage everybody to apply for because it allows you the opportunity to come to the Centennial space and take use and access of the space and to come for writing workshops or organizing writing retreat. We were able to host, what I hope is an inaugural kind of writing retreat, for scholars of black politics who are using an innovative survey, this Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey. The writing retreat, I would say, was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences with my colleagues, getting to know them better, but also getting to know their research agenda better and to help facilitate the research agenda. But one of the best things about being an APSA member is collaboration.

What do you value most about being an APSA member?

Frasure-Yokley: What I value most about being an APSA member are the relationships that I have built. APSA allows you to build stronger partnerships with your colleagues in the discipline that you otherwise wouldn’t have the resources or the opportunity to do so. So I have multiple experiences, both the Centennial Center, but through APSA’s support of the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey, to build relationships within APSA, but those relationships help me build stronger relationships in the discipline among my colleagues.

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