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Mara Ostfeld

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Mara Ostfeld

Research Director, Center for Racial Justice; Faculty Lead, Detroit Metro Area Communities Study; Research Associate, Center for Political Studies

Mara Cecilia Ostfeld, PhD, serves as the research director at the Center for Racial Justice,  a research associate with the Center for Political Studies, and an associate research scientist in the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In addition, Ostfeld is a faculty lead at the Detroit Metro Area Communities Studyan ongoing representative survey of Detroit households that asks residents about their expectations, perceptions, priorities and aspirations. She is an expert in survey research and the analysis of public opinion, with a particular focus on the relationship between race, gender, media and political attitudes. Her book, “Skin Color, Power, and Politics in America,” explores the political, social, and psychological factors that shape how we identify our skin color. 

Her work has been published in journals that include Social Forces, Political Behavior, Political Psychology and Political Communication, and been funded by places including the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Ostfeld is also the primary investigator of the Puerto Rico Public Opinion Lab (with colleagues Mayra Vélez Serrano and Luis Cámara Fuertes at the University of Puerto Rico) in which the research team is implementing the first representative study of political attitudes in Puerto Rico. During national elections, Ostfeld also works as an analyst at NBC and Telemundo.

PhD in political science, University of Pennsylvania; MA in political science, University of Pennsylvania; MPP, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; BA in social work, Rutgers University


Detroit Metro Area Communities Study

The Detroit Metro Area Communities Study is a University of Michigan initiative designed to regularly survey a broad, representative group of Detroit residents about their communities, including their experiences, perceptions, priorities, and aspirations.

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