Starting from a young age, Dr. Anand Edward Sokhey was surrounded by politics. “I came from a family that talks politics all the time,” he said, reflecting on his upbringing.
This immersion in politics only continued during his years as an undergraduate in Ohio. Sokhey “started doing research in the summers with a professor” where he became interested “in using data to examine questions about social and behavioral science.”
With this experience, it was only natural that this interest in politics stuck with him. “I decided early on in undergraduate that I wanted to go to grad school.” Sokhey said.
Fast-forward to today: a big part of what Sokhey does is conduct “research as it intersects with teaching and mentoring.”
One class that Sokhey enjoys teaching is the PSCI 1101 Intro to American Politics lecture in MATH 100. “I like doing the big intro class because it is fun to meet that many people, it is almost like a performance every Tuesday and Thursday.”
Sokhey concentrates on American politics because he finds “the American system very interesting, with a lot to study within it.”
“I love teaching at the undergraduate level, but I also really enjoy conducting research with graduate students,” Sokhey said.
“My research is about social influence - how our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances structure the information we get and the decisions we make,” he said.
“I got interested in the social nature of political life about the time that social networking and social media was becoming big in broader society,” he noted.
Another aspect of Sokhey’s research focuses on religion and is the incoming director of the LeRoy Keller Center for the study of the First Amendment.
“You get this historical experiment in the United States of people trying and finding different religions - I am interested in how religion provides a context for interaction, mobilization, and learning.”
In his free time, Sokhey paints and draws; his paintings have appeared on the covers of a couple of academic books. Anand majored in Studio Art as an undergraduate (he was a double major with Political Science), but went to Grad School for Political Science. Thus, he “is a big fan of people who have different major combinations.”
For Anand, “one of the things that’s important about learning and living in a college environment is being intellectually curious” and taking advantage of the opportunity to “do and try a lot of different things.”