Welcome!

My name is Aaron Rudkin. I am a PhD student in Political Science at University of California - Los Angeles studying American and Comparative politics. I am originally from Newfoundland, Canada.

My dissertation disccuses elite ideology, position-taking, and message transmission in developed democracies including the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. In plain English, this means I am interested in studying how and why politicians take the positions they do, how they communicate these positions to the public, how we as scientists can measure those positions, and how we as a voting public reward or punish position-taking.

I am interested in the application of programming to social science problems. The techniques I use include large scale data scraping and data acquisition, text as data, machine learning algorithms, multidimensional scaling, and analysis of social networks.

My teaching interests include research methodology (probability, statistics, data acquisition, and research design); and American and comparative political institutions.

I am committed to departmental service: in addition to serving as a departmental “math maven” (a general purpose statistics and research design tutor that assists graduate students taking methodology classes), I have also been a graduate student representative for the department’s graduate admissions and graduate studies committees. Finally, I organized the department’s student graduate research methods reading group.

In a prior life I was a full-stack programmer for an academic library, a mid-sized publishing company, and many private clients. My focuses included effective communication with non-technical personnel, data visualization, user-friendly tools, and efficiency gains at scale. I have broad programming, database, and systems administration experience. Aussi, je suis bilingue; j’ai parlé français depuis que j’ai eu 5 ans.

My wife and I reside in Los Angeles. In my (rare) spare time, my hobbies include fine dining, gardening, television, trivia, and cough video games.