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Faculty Member Lauded for Mentorship

January 4, 2024
Tabitha Bonilla
Bonilla studies political science 

Northwestern University's Tabitha Bonilla received the 2023 Adaljiza Sosa-Riddell Mentor Award from the American Political Science Association for her tireless support of Latino/a graduate students in political science.

Bonilla, associate professor of human development and social policy, in the School of Education and Social Policy, was nominated by Nicolette Alayon a doctoral candidate in political science in the Weinberg College of Arts of Sciences.

“Tabitha’s outstanding mentorship played a transformative role in my academic journey,” wrote Alayon, who is studying relationships between celebrities and influencers on social media and is particularly interested in TikTok. “Her unwavering support has given me the confidence to explore new research directions, challenge myself intellectually, and pursue ambitious academic goals.”

Bonilla’s own research examines how political communication and identity shift the public’s understandings of representation, public policies, and social movements.  In 2019, she received the Fund for Latino Scholarship, which encourages and supports recruiting, retaining, and promoting Latina/o political scientists and research on Latino politics in the United States.

Her latest book, The Importance of Campaign Promises, explores what candidates say and uses surveys to explain how voters respond to pledges by politicians and the nuanced nature of promises. Rather than looking at whether promises are kept, the book examines the purpose of promises, what they signal, and how they affect the way voters make decisions.

In addition to her School of Education and Social Policy position, Bonilla is a faculty fellow at the Institute of Policy Research and faculty affiliate at the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy.