Purdue University

Leadership and Staff

Stacey Connaughton

Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute

Stacey L. Connaughton (Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) is a Professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University and the Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute in Purdue’s Discovery Park. Her published research examines leadership, community-based organizing, and communication campaigns, most recently in the context of political violence prevention initiatives. Dr. Connaughton serves as Director of the Purdue Peace Project (PPP), housed in the Purdue Policy Research Institute. As Director of PPP, Dr. Connaughton has led the multi-stakeholder relationship building, project development, and monitoring and evaluation for locally led political violence prevention initiatives in Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria. In that work, she has worked closely with government, private sector, media organizations, NGOs, civil society, and everyday citizens – both those who affect violence and those affected by violence. From that body of work, she has developed what she calls the Local Leadership Model of political violence prevention and the Relationally Attentive Approach to doing engaged scholarship (i.e., academic-practitioner political violence prevention collaborations). Her published work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Small Group Research, Journal of Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, JASIST, Health Communication, Public Relations Review, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Cross-Cultural & Strategic Management, Military Psychology, among other outlets. She is the author of three books, Inviting Latino voters: Party messages and Latino party identification (2005); Locally led peacebuilding: A closer look (2019) with chapters from scholars, practitioners, and donors in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom; and Transforming conflict and building peace: Community engagement strategies for communication scholarship (forthcoming). She has also published in The Conversation, The Diplomatic Courier, and the G20 Executive Talk Series. Dr. Connaughton’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Russell Sage Foundation and she has secured more than $3 million in gift funds. Dr. Connaughton served as a thought leader on distributed leadership for the U.S. Army Research Institute’s Leader Development Unit (Crystal City, VA). She is a consultant to USAID’s Liberia Strategic Analysis program where she leads the development of a mentorship program and leadership curriculum designed to develop the next generation of Liberian leaders. She has been invited to present her research on virtual teams and virtual leadership to industry, military, and higher educational audiences, and has facilitated workshops and written guidebooks in the areas of virtual teams, leadership, teambuilding, strategic planning, and effective communication in the North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. At Purdue, Dr. Connaughton teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in qualitative research methods, leadership, and political violence prevention. She is the recipient of several teaching awards, Purdue’s 2017 Faculty Engaged Scholar Award, the 2020 Purdue Provost’s Graduate Mentor Award, and Purdue’s 2018 Trailblazer Award – an award given to a midcareer tenured faculty member for innovation and impact in research. Dr. Connaughton has served as the Associate Head and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue and as the Associate Chair of Purdue University’s Social Sciences Institutional Review Board.

Ashima Krishna

Associate Director

Ashima Krishna (PhD, Cornell University, 2014) is Associate Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Practice in the Global Studies Program. She is an architect and historic preservation planner whose research spans the management of historic urban landscapes and adaptive reuse of religious historic structures and landscapes, with a particular focus on intersection with community development issues and resulting policy challenges. Dr. Krishna has examined issues related to historic preservation planning and urban conservation in United States and India and continues to highlight the ways in which the historic built environment can be preserved, managed, and planned for. Her published work has been featured in Journal of Urbanism, Preservation Education and Research, Change Over Time, and Journal of American Planning Association among others. Her forthcoming book, co-edited with Manish Chalana, will be published by Routledge in 2020.

Krista Kelley

Senior Operations Manager

Krista Kelley has nearly two decades of experience in office administration in the airline industry, property management, and in academia. At Purdue University, she served in the Graduate School’s Office of the Dean, and in the Office of the Provost in Faculty Affairs. Krista was also part of the steering committee which began the Clerical and Administrative Assistant Mentoring Program (CAAMP) at Purdue, and served on the CAAMP leadership team with a focus on technology. She has presented and served on panel discussions with CAAMP, mentored a handful of Purdue support staff members, and is a trained Clifton StrengthFinders coach (Krista’s top five “Signature Strengths” are Strategic, Ideation, Woo, Positivity, Communication).

Nandhesh Subash Babu

Communication Specialist

Nandhesh Subash first joined PPRI as part of its inaugural Communication Internship Program in January 2020, where he worked in tandem with an undergraduate team of Communication interns to assist on and further develop PPRI’s creative output across social media, web content, and published materials. Upon graduating from Purdue in May 2021 with a B.A. in Public Relations and Strategic Communication, Nandhesh joined PPRI full-time as Communication Specialist. In this role, he manages PPRI’s social media presence, monitors PPRI-related web traffic and social media analytics, drafts and proofreads news releases, curates web design modifications, and presents internal communication solutions. In addition to his core responsibilities, Nandhesh’s experience in communication research, as well as background in campaign planning and strategies are leveraged to work with and provide input for university-wide events and Indiana state-funded projects.

Kate Mitsch

Administrative Assistant

Kate Mitsch earned her B.A. in Spanish from the University of Southern Indiana. After graduation she worked as a field recruiter for the Indiana Migrant Education Program and as a bilingual specialist for Marion Community Schools. She joined Purdue in an administrative role at the Honors College in 2017 before coming to PPRI in 2018. In addition to her responsibilities at PPRI, she has also helped to organize and facilitate the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program since 2019.

Angela Lasso Jimenez

Visiting Scholar

Angela Lasso Jimenez is a Political Science student at the National University of Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) and a prospective Master's Student in Communication at Purdue University. She has experience as a Research Intern in Colombia's Truth Commission (Comision de la Verdad Colombia), interviewing social leaders and ex-combatants to recompile their learning about peacebuilding. Additionally, she has served as a Research Assistant in different projects about citizen participation in the Colombian Peace Agreement, environmental social justice with indigenous communities, and euthanasia in children and adolescents. During her participation in the Undergraduate Research Program at Purdue (UREP-C), she compared the gender inequalities inside women's elite basketball leagues, and published her work in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research. At PPRI, she supports the creation of the Latin American Policy Center, the organization of Space Policy events, and the policy reports about Human Trafficking in Indiana. Angela's primary interests focus on peacebuilding, feminism, and social justice with Latinx rural communities.

Kathryn Brownell

Associate Professor Of History

Office hours (Mann Hall, 166) | Fridays 1-3 PM Kathryn Cramer Brownell is associate professor of history at Purdue University and a Senior Editor of the “Made By History” column at the Washington Post. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections between media, politics, and popular culture, with a particular emphasis on the American presidency. Her first book, Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), examines the institutionalization of entertainment styles and structures in American politics and the rise of the celebrity presidency. She is now finishing on a new book project on the political history of cable television.