Whether it’s solving the world’s biggest problems or investigating the potential of novel discoveries, researchers at UCF are on the edge scientific breakthroughs that aim to make an impact. Through the Research in 60 Seconds series, student and faculty researchers condense their complex studies into bite-sized summaries so you can know how and why Knights plan to improve our world.

Name: Kenicia Wright

Position: Assistant professor in the College of SciencesSchool of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Why are you interested in this research?
As a first-generation college student, I find it important to develop research that centers on current events, or timely topics, and that has real-world/practical importance.

Who inspires you to conduct your research?
My research centers on examining the effects of multiple social identities on the policy preferences, policy implementation and policy outcomes. All of these factors are important for understanding and addressing concerning issues related to social inequality in the United States. I am motivated to conduct research in order to improve our understanding of the life experiences of Americans and the ways to promote a more equitable society.

How does UCF empower you to do your research?
I am empowered to do research through the financial support that I receive at UCF and the ideas that are derived from my interactions, discussions and through teaching so many of the intellectually curious, creative UCF Knights.

What major grants and honors have you earned to support your research?
I am the principal investigator of a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (with co-PI, Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies Güneş Tezcür) that will allow us to study the group consciousness, policy preferences and politically related behavior of Latinx/Hispanic Americans; This is the first time a faculty member in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs has been awarded an NSF grant.

I have also recently received smaller grants and awards for my research, including being awarded School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs/College of Sciences research support grants, the Best Paper on Race and Intersectionality Award from the American Political Science Association Conference (Summer 2020), and a second-place prize at the New Perspectives and New Questions in Legislative Studies Conference (April 2021).

Why is this research important?
Research is important for providing insight on important and pressing issues. I examine questions related to social inequality and the effects of overlapping, social identities — understand the relationship between these factors is important for a comprehensive understanding of the factors that shape some of the challenges Americans face, as well as avenues for potentially mitigating them. This is important as American continues to grow and diversify.