Amber Spry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and the Department of African and Afro American Studies at Brandeis University. Her research and teaching address the dynamics of political attitudes and behaviors in United States politics. Specifically, Amber is interested in political behavior, identity, race and ethnic politics, political psychology, and survey design methods.
Amber's ongoing research examines group policy preferences in a society that is becoming more culturally pluralistic and at the same time experiencing an increase in within-group heterogeneity. She uses novel survey design methods to demonstrate how inferences about group political attitudes may at times differ depending on how individuals are asked to self-identify. In 2015-2016 Amber was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Leadership Alliance Mellon Initiative. Amber earned her Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University in 2018.
Prior to Columbia, Amber studied music extensively. She has performed and recorded professionally as a solo artist and with several groups, and has toured the United States and Europe as a musician whose skill spans several genres. She is a classically trained pianist and vocalist who sings jazz, R&B, and contemporary music.
In 2008 while performing at a national political convention, Amber reached a defining moment in her career. Full of questions and captured by the energy of the event, Amber became motivated to study cultural identity and political behavior in American democracy. She began working at the Urban Institute, a policy think tank in Washington D.C. and has been pursuing research ever since.