During his time of employment with GenForward, Matt Nelsen was a Postdoctoral Scholar affiliated with the Department of Political Science and the GenForward Survey at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University in June 2020. Matt’s research examined how local-level institutions, especially schools and neighborhoods, act as microcosms of democracy and has been featured within Perspectives on Politics, Political Behavior, The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, Psychological Inquiry, and the Washington Post. His forthcoming book explores the ways in which civic education courses shape the political attitudes and behaviors of high schoolers along the lines of race and ethnicity. More specifically, he finds that content and teaching practices that center the local knowledge and grassroots political action of marginalized groups have the ability to forge more empowering civic learning experiences for young people.
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Matt received dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and Asian Studies as a first-generation college student at St. Olaf College and holds a M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago. He was also a lecturer in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and taught American Politics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.