DR. LORRIE FRASURE-YOKLEY
JUNE MEMBER OF THE MONTH
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Political Science
Member since 2002
WHY DID YOU BECOME A POLITICAL SCIENTIST?
first inspired to become a political scientist while an undergraduate at the
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC), where I received outstanding
mentorship from Professors Dianne Pinderhughes (*Notre Dame), Louis Desipio
(*University of California, Irvine) and Todd Shaw (*University of South
Carolina). Over twenty years since first meeting these scholars who changing my
life, I still pinch myself that I now call them colleagues in our discipline. Prior
to pursuing a doctorate, I completed a Master of Public Policy at the
University of Chicago and interned at the United States Government
Accountability Office (formerly the U.S. General Accounting Office) in
Washington, D.C. However, I decided to become a political scientist to have the
autonomy to conduct research and teach others about the socio-economic and
political issues affecting the lives of racial and ethnic minorities in the
WHY DID YOU JOIN APSA AND WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO STAY INVOLVED?
joined APSA because it serves as our professional network to present our work
and connect with scholars in our discipline. However, I continue to take
leadership roles within the association because I want to help our diverse association
continue to evolve and inclusively confront the challenges and opportunities
facing political scientists. I have
served in leadership positions such as co-organizer of the APSA Working Group
on Immigration and U.S. Politics, the Executive Council’s Racial and Ethnic
Politics Section, Best Dissertation Committee, and more recently, the Inaugural
Chair of APSA’s new standing Committee on the Status of First Generation Higher
Education Scholars in the Profession. I am so excited about the work of this
new APSA standing committee, which serves parallel and in collaboration with
the existing status committees on Asian-Pacific Americans, Blacks, Latinos y
Latinas, LGBTQs and Women in the Profession. The goal is to bring focused
attention to the ways in which class, economic inequality, and mobility can
affect political scientists’ ability to thrive educationally and professionally.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF BEING A POLITICAL SCIENTIST? HOW?
I became the first woman of color to earn tenure and promotion in the Political
Science Department at UCLA. The academic pipeline for people of color in our
profession continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of being a
political scientist. This is because for
many departments, diversity and inclusion still equals one or perhaps a few faculty
of color. This challenges scholars of color to proactively balance their research
and teaching goals with broad service demands and intense mentorship of
graduate and undergraduates, both inside and outside of their discipline. I
work collaboratively to provide opportunities for the next generation of
scholars to enter academia, to thrive and to successfully earn tenure. At the
undergraduate level, I co-founded
The Dianne M. Pinderhughes
(DMPF, Inc.), a non-profit organization named after APSA’s first African
American female President. The nonprofit provides multiple scholarships for
undergraduate students, of all backgrounds, to attend and present their
research at the Annual Meeting of the
National Conference of Black
Political Scientists (NCOBPS).
We hope to inspire a new generation of undergraduates to consider a career of
teaching and research at the College/University level. In addition to working
with our outstanding students at UCLA, I work with a team of researchers to
build the academic pipeline of scholars in political science, and the social
sciences more broadly through bringing together a multidisciplinary group of
researchers at varying stages of their academic careers as part of a research
The 2016 Collaborative
Multi-Racial Post-Election Survey
(CMPS) was the first cooperative, 100% user content driven, multi-racial,
multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, post-election online survey in race, ethnicity and
politics (REP) in the United States. We queried more than 10,000 people in five
languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. To include the
most comprehensive list of over 350 electoral, civic and policy-related survey
questions, a team of 86 contributors from 55 colleges and universities
contributed question content. Participating cooperative scholars include junior
and senior faculty from small and large research institutions, HBCUs and HSIs,
as well as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Building the pipeline is
more than just talk about diversity and inclusion. It is a commitment of time,
resources and outreach.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE IN THEIR GRADUATE/UNDERGRADUATE YEARS, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I encourage graduate students to develop a sense of your professional research agenda and goals early on. When a colleague approaches you to join a project or otherwise collaborate, chances are they have established a sense of their goals and considered how you fit into them. Ask yourself, “how does this opportunity enhance or take away from my long-term professional goals and current responsibilities.” The worst advice received as a woman of color in the discipline was, “just say no.” This advice lacked tools regarding how or when to say no to a senior colleague or administrator when you are a graduate student or junior faculty member--particularly if you are first generation, female, or a person of color. To start, I suggest avoid saying yes prior to 24 hours. You might say, “this sounds like an exciting opportunity; give me day or so to think about how this request fits with my current responsibilities for (advancing to candidacy/completing my dissertation).” While you may agree to the request/opportunity, at least you give yourself time to think it through, discuss the best approach/conditions with a mentor to accept, defer or decline. The goal is to try to make the decision that aligns with your priorities/agenda. For undergraduates, I suggest engagement in research with a faculty member via independent study or volunteering their skill set towards an ongoing research project. Do not be afraid to step up and ask for research opportunities.
OUTSIDE OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOURSELF.
I am a first generation college graduate, born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. I attended Chicago Public Schools (K-12). Chicago has a rich socio-political and cultural history as well as a lasting legacy of racial segregation and discrimination. In my interviews, focus groups, or survey research, I draw on my community’s narratives of migration, racial change and integration in Chicago. My upbringing and hometown instilled a pioneering spirit, an ability to overcome challenges, and the knowledge of the importance of paying it forward.
*Indicates current institutional affiliation