Tristan Hightower is a PhD student in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. His primary subfield is American Politics with specific interests in Congress, religion and politics, and political behavior. Currently, Tristan’s research is working toward developing new indicators of religiosity among members of Congress to more accurately measure religion's effect on legislative behavior. Before starting graduate school at Maryland, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He is also a graduate of the Chancellor’s Honors Program at UT. 


Journal Article

Hightower, Tristan M. (2019) "Tennessee's Promise: Education for All?," Pursuit - The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee: Vol. 9 : Iss. 1 , Article 4.

Available at:


Areas of Interest

  • Congress
  • Interest Groups
  • Politics and Religion


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Political Science | University of Tennessee, Knoxville | 2017
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Government and Politics | University of Maryland | Dec. 2020 conferral


  • 2020-05-01
    UMD BSOS Excellence in Teaching


  • "The Geography of Law: Understanding the Origin of State and Federal Redistricting Cases," Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, With James G. Gimpel and Patrick C. Wohlfarth.

Research Topics

  • American Politics
  • Methodology
Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 22CP Student Vice President (2019-present)
GVPT Graduate Student Association First Year Representative (2018-19)
GVPT Graduate Student Association Co-Chair (2019-2020)
Leadership Consultant, Phi Kappa Phi Biannual Summit, July 2019
Mentor, Strive for College, Sep. 2020-Present.
3140 Tydings Hall
Government and Politics Department
thighto [at]
Office Hours
By Appointment