Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Document Type



This Capstone Experience project details my efforts to become a political data journalist. I took the first major step in August 2018, starting First Past the Poll, my politics blog. For three semesters, this website was frequently updated with nonpartisan reports on the latest elections, deep dives on long-term polling trends, and commentary on political numbers more broadly. Hoping to buck the trend of the stodgy prose prevalent throughout politics, my stories combined academic rigor with accessible writing.

As I began to find my footing in the field, First Past the Poll put me in the position to become a part-time Contributing Analyst for Inside Elections, the nonpartisan newsletter based in Washington, D.C. During my final months of undergraduate study at Western Kentucky University, I’ve professionally published new articles on the company website and developed my skills even further.

The following thesis reflects upon and summarizes these experiences, providing original insight on the discipline and interspersed nuggets of advice for future electoral numberphiles.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Joel Turner, Ph.D.


Journalism Studies | Political Science | Statistics and Probability