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Sept. 8, 2020

Need an expert on a 2020 election issue?

With the Nov. 3 presidential election fast approaching and early balloting beginning next month, Michigan State University is offering a host of experts to media who can discuss pressing issues to the nation, ranging from politics to health care.

In addition to Trump vs. Biden, a total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress — 35 in the Senate and all 435 in the House of Representatives — are up for election, including two special elections for U.S. Senate.


Below is a selection of MSU experts on a variety of issues. For more experts, contact Caroline Brooks, MSU public relations manager, at (517) 420-8376 or



Dustin Carnahan, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Communication, is an expert in political communication. He can discuss how communication processes — such as exposure to partisan news sources and the spread of misinformation — influence public opinion and political behavior. Contact Carnahan at (614) 214-2196 or


Matt Grossmann, professor of political science, can discuss the candidates, political parties — especially Democratic/Republican differences, and the role of ideology and interest groups in each party — television advertising and candidate messages, campaign consultants, strategy and negativity. Grossmann also directs MSU's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, is a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center and a contributor at FiveThirtyEight. Grossmann can be reached at (517) 355-7655 or

Eric Juenke, associate professor of political science, can discuss Latinx politics, U.S. electoral institutes, state and local elections, legislative and bureaucratic minority representation, Black politics and democratic theory. He can be reached at


Will Repko, MSU's head debate coach, can discuss presidential and vice presidential debates, including the candidates' performances, debating styles and the significance of the debates on the election. Repko can be reached at (517) 202-0178 or


Corwin Smidt, associate professor of political science, studies American electoral politics, presidential primaries, Michigan politics, campaign politics and dynamics in American political behavior. A seminal study by Smidt suggested the American swing voter has largely become a thing of the past. He can be reached at (517) 353-3292 or


Camilia Suleiman, a linguist and the academic director of MSU’s Arabic Flagship Program, can discuss politicians’ use of language about race and gender throughout their campaigns. Suleiman can be reached at (517) 884-4320 or




Charles Ballard is professor of economics and director of MSU’s quarterly State of the State Survey. Nationally recognized as a leading authority on the Michigan economy, Ballard can speak to everything from unemployment to consumer confidence to the approval ratings of state and national political leaders. Ballard can be reached at (517) 353-2961 and


Ronald Fisher, professor of economics, can speak on issues relating to the fiscal and tax implications of social policy. He can be reached at or (517) 355-0293.


Ahmet H. Kirca, associate professor of international business and director of MSU’s International Business Center, can discuss how the U.S. election could affect the global economy. Specifically, he can offer expertise on international trade policy, trade agreements, globalization, international political economy, U.S. international competitiveness and general international business issues. Kirca can be reached at (517) 488 5819 or


Steven Melnyk, professor of supply chain management, has expertise in supply chain risk and resilience. He can share insights about the dynamics between economic changes and businesses around the world, considering impacts on supply and demand and what is needed going forward. Melnyk can be reached at (517) 432-6410 or


Anjana Susarla, professor of accounting and information systems, has expertise in the economics of information systems, social media analytics and the economics of artificial intelligence. She can comment on the role of social media in elections and threats to election integrity via social media and algorithm biases. Susarla can be reached at (517) 432-8350 or




David Arsen, professor of education policy and K-12 education administration, can discuss school funding and the connections between federal and state funding issues, especially in light of COVID-19. Arsen can also discuss the impact the Trump administration has had on the nation’s public school systems, as well as school finance and the privatization of education services. Arsen can be reached at


Brendan Cantwell, associate professor and coordinator of the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education program, can discuss how policy and politics influences higher education in the United States; specifically, higher education funding and how colleges and universities compete with each other, U.S. higher education’s ability to attract foreign students and scholars, organization and governance, policy, academic labor and how U.S. schools can compete with institutions across the world. Cantwell can be reached at


Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science, can discuss education policy and the candidates’ positions on education. Reckhow can be reached at (517) 488-2488 or


Russell Lucas, associate professor of international relations and global studies, is an expert on U.S.-Middle East relations. He can comment on the differences between candidates in regards to the U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern affairs and how those positions are viewed by different groups in the Middle East. Lucas can be reached


Jae Puckett (they/them), assistant professor of psychology, is an expert on how experiences of stigma and marginalization affects LGBTQ+ mental and physical health, especially transgender and gender diverse individuals. Puckett can be reached at


Camilia Suleiman, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, can discuss politicians’ use of language about race and gender throughout their campaigns. Suleiman can be reached at


Matt Zierler, associate professor of international relations in James Madison College, can discuss foreign policy and international issues related to the election, including implications for diplomacy, defense posture and identification of potential threats like Islamic State group and Russia. He can also discuss the Iran nuclear deal. Zierler can be reached at (517) 432-8300 or



Rhonda Conner-Warren, assistant professor of health programs in the College of Nursing and pediatric nurse practitioner, can weigh in on the vaccination debate and the importance of delivering care to improve children’s health.
“I have witnessed the sicknesses, hospitalizations and deaths of children who did not receive immunizations for health issues such as whooping cough, certain types of pneumonia and the flu. The loss of a child from these preventable illnesses is unacceptable.”
Conner-Warren can be reached at (313) 779-2644 or


Len Fleck, professor of philosophy, can discuss health care justice and policy as well as medical ethics in today’s health system. This includes what he considers the “ethical virtue” of the Affordable Care Act. He can also address controversial issues of ethics and public policy related to emerging genetic technologies. Previously, Fleck was a member of the Clinton Administration’s Health Care Reform Task Force. Fleck can be reached at (517) 355-7552 or


Debra Furr-Holden is an associate dean for public health Integration, C.S. Mott Endowed Professor, and member of the Michigan Coronavirus Taskforce on Racial Disparities. She can discuss health equity, health disparities and community-based approaches to public health. She can take on controversial subjects that disparage health outcomes such as the social determinants of health and racism as a public health crisis. She also has expertise in drug and alcohol dependence epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology and prevention science. Furr-Holden can be reached at (810) 600-5658 or


Dawn Goldstein, director of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program at the MSU College of Nursing, can speak to the need for increased mental health care in the U.S. with additional expertise in the effects of opioid use on mental health. Goldstein can be reached at (517) 353-2183 or


Peter Gulick is a professor of medicine in the department of medical specialties in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. He specializes in infectious diseases and can discuss where the state and nation stands today related to COVID-19, and what the future might hold for the public as schools reopen and students return to college campuses. Gulick is also co-director of the MSU Internal Medicine Residency program in East Lansing and director of HIV/ Hepatitis Services at Ingham County Health Department. Gulick can be reached at (517) 230-7059 or



Steven Gold, professor of sociology, is an expert on immigrants and migration, including immigrant entrepreneurs and ethnic community development in the U.S. He has studied the self-employment patterns of immigrants from Russia, Vietnam, Israel and other regions around the world, as well as women immigrants and racial and ethnic groups. Gold can be reached at


David Thronson, professor in the College of Law’s Immigration Law Clinic, can discuss candidates’ proposed immigration policies as well as immigration reform efforts. Thronson can be reached at (517) 432-6916 or



Aaron McCright, professor of sociology, can discuss the political ramifications of climate change. McCright’s research shows that political party identification plays a large role in determining global warming beliefs. People who identify as Republican tend to doubt the existence of global warming, while Democrats generally believe in it. McCright can be reached at (517) 353-6790 or

By: Caroline Brooks

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