Get to know our ‘Explainers-in-Chief’

Get to know our ‘Explainers-in-Chief’

by Janina Schmidt -
Number of replies: 0


Our team of U.S. election experts: Goldfield, Thoet, McCuan, Johnson, Stavroudis, Riley, Sickinger, Garrett.

Have you been wondering recently what demographic will decide the election (hint: keep an eye on single women voters in swing state suburbs on Election Day), what the 2016 trends in political cartoons are, or how social media have become such an important aspect of political campaigning? Then look no farther, because Teach About US is featuring a distinguished team of experts on the 2016 election – and they are ready to answer your questions!

»Do you or your class have a question that’s too tricky for Google or too personal for Wikipedia?«

All of our experts happily agreed to get in touch with you, our project participants, and answer your questions on this upcoming election. Do you or your class have a question that’s too tricky for Google or too personal for Wikipedia? Then look up our experts in the Virtual Town Hall and post your questions directly under the profile of your expert of choice. The Teach About US team will bundle your questions and forward them to our experts. Their answers will be posted here on our blog.

And here they are…


Amanda ThoetAmanda Thoet graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in May 2015 where she studied English, German and Communication Arts and Sciences. After working in the Public Affairs sector as an intern at the U.S Embassy in Berlin, she will start a Master’s program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where she will be concentrating in Diplomatic Studies this fall. Amanda will serve as an expert about the state of Pennsylvania and presidential elections in general. Read more about Amanda Thoet here.


As a U.S. native Christianna Stavroudis  received a B.A. in Applied Linguistics from the Christianna StavroudisUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County and an M.Sc. in Clinical Linguistics from the University of Groningen / University of Eastern Finland / University of Potsdam. She teaches a variety of courses at Bonn University’s English and American Studies Department and frequently lectures in "Green Ink: German and American Political Cartoons on the Environment." Therefore, her special expertise rests in political cartoons on the election in Germany and the U.S., Maryland, and Texas. More information about Ms. Stavroudis will be provided here.


Christina SickingerChristina Sickinger is pursuing majors in Economics and German Studies and a certificate in International Relations. This summer, she interned in Florida with Congresswoman Gwen Graham as well as with her county government, and she enjoyed the opportunity to learn about both federal and local government.  She will serve as an expert on the state of Florida. Read more in her profile here.


Christer GarrettAs a Professor for American History and Culture, Professor Crister Garrett is currently working on a research project exploring the politics of transatlantic environmental governance. His special expertise focuses on U.S. politics and society in general, understanding cultural difference in an international context, and electoral affairs in California and Michigan. Click here for more information about Professor Garrett.


David GoldfieldDavid Goldfield, PhD, is a native of Memphis, grew up in Brooklyn and attended the University of Maryland. He is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author/editor of numerous books and textbooks, serves as Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and is former President of the Southern Historical Association. Check his profile here.


Dr. David McCuanDr. David McCuan is a Professor of American Politics, International Relations, and Public Administration at Sonoma State University. His expertise rests in two broad areas – American politics and International Relations. He does research in two areas – state and local elections; and the study of terrorism. His teaching responsibilities include courses in both international and national politics, international security and terrorism, state and local politics, campaigns and elections, and political behavior. Read more about Dr. David McCuan here.


Dr. Jason JohnsonDr. Jason Johnson is Associate Professor of Political Science and Scholar in Residence at Hiram College in Northeast Ohio. He is the author the book Political Consultants and Campaigns: One Day to Sell, which has been featured in Campaigns and Elections magazine and on National Public Radio. Dr. Johnson frequently appears on U.S. television and radio as a political analyst as well as public speaker, offering his expertise on political campaigning, social and digital media. For information about Dr. Johnson click here.


Matt RileyLast but not least, Matt Riley currently studies Public Policy, German and Policy Journalism at Duke University in North Carolina. At Duke, Matt writes as a journalist and investigative reporter at The Chronicle, the student paper, and has covered political stories ranging from Virginia congressional campaigns, North Carolina state politics, and a profile of lead U.S. negotiator in the Iran nuclear negotiations. Thus, his expertise is the presidential election with the focus on the U.S. states Virginia and North Carolina. Check his profile here.


Again, we appreciate the willingness of our 8 experts to work with us in this project and answer all of your questions about the presidential election system.

AND now it’s your turn… Please don’t hesitate to address any of the U.S. election experts and post your questions directly in the database. They will be forwarded to the experts and we will post their answers in the blog.

So stay tuned and grasp at the unique chance of getting your questions answered by U.S. election experts. 


Janina Schmidt obtained her B.A. in teaching Economics and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Leuphana University Lüneburg in 2014. After earning her Master's degree (expected 09/2017), Janina intends to teach ESL as well as English for Specific Purposes with an economic focus at vocational schools. As a student assistant she currently supports the development of the U.S. Elections Project 2016.
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