Dr. Wright-Smith became interested in human rights and Latin American politics during her undergraduate work at Westminster and continued to pursue research in these fields during her graduate work. Her dissertation, “The Decision to Comply: Patterns of Compliance with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” analyzes the political decisions of several Latin American countries. It investigates their willingness to comply with international court judgments and repair past human rights abuses committed against their citizens. She received a 2010-2011 Purdue Research Foundation Grant to complete her dissertation. Her research was named the 2012 Best Dissertation in the field of human rights by the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Wright-Smith’s research also examines international law and organizations, U.S. human rights policy, and human rights activism. She has presented her work at a number of national conferences in Political Science and International Studies. She has taught classes in International Relations, Comparative Politics, and Women’s Studies, and she plans to lead study abroad trips for Westminster students.
Other Administrative Positions
Director of the Model United Nations program
Ph.D. from Purdue University (2011)
M.A. from Loyola University Chicago (2006)
B.A. from Westminster College (2004)
Dr. Wright-Smith joined the Westminster faculty in 2013. Before arriving at Westminster, she was an Assistant Professor at Georgetown College in Kentucky and an instructor at Purdue University. Dr. Wright-Smith is a native of Festus, MO. She is one of five Westminster graduates in her family and is delighted to have the opportunity to be back at a school that has played such a meaningful part in her life.
Dr. Wright-Smith lives in Columbia with her husband Ryan (a 2006 Westminster graduate), and their dog Winston. She is an avid movie-goer and loves reading about pop culture, exploring new places, and watching St. Louis Blues hockey.