Mara Cecilia Ostfeld

Faculty Associate, CPS
Assistant Professor, LSA Political Science
Mara Cecilia Ostfeld


Mara Cecilia Ostfeld earned a BA in Social Work from Rutgers University, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan before joining the University as a faculty member in 2016. Ostfeld is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and is affiliated with the Center for Political Studies in the Institute for Social Research, the Latina/o Studies Program, and the Ford School of Public Policy. In 2014, she received the Circle Award for significant contributions to the harmony and strength of the Latinx and University communities through her work, leadership, and service from the University of Michigan Office of Academic and Multicultural Initiatives.

Dr. Ostfeld's research lies at the intersection of political communication, racial and ethnic politics, and political psychology. She broadly focuses on the relationship between race, media and political attitudes. Some of her scholarly projects explore how news media coverage affects attitudes toward protest activity and immigration policy, as well as the attitudinal consequences of descriptive representation. She is also currently working on a book exploring the interplay between people's political views and how dark or light people perceive their skin color to be. During national elections, Mara also works as an analyst at NBC and Telemundo.

Her work has been published in journals that include Political Psychology and Political Communication, and has been funded by organizations including the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics and the Russell Sage Foundation. In 2018, Dr. Ostfeld was honored with the Lucius Barker Award for the best paper on a topic investigating race or ethnicity and politics by the Midwest Political Science Association.