Valerie Wirtschafter is a fellow in Foreign Policy and the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative. Her research falls into two thematic areas: (1) democratic resilience and democratic erosion; and (2) artificial intelligence, technology, and the information space, often with a regional focus on the Western Hemisphere. In her role, she also supports data science capacity building across the Brookings Institution, where she provides methodological training to researchers and data analysis support for ongoing data-driven projects.

At Brookings, her research utilizes novel data-driven strategies to explore the scope of foreign and domestic disinformation operations across the new media information ecosystem, including through social media, search engines, and podcasting. She also regularly authors commentaries on contemporary politics in Latin America. Her academic research has focused on new methods for detecting the spread of misinformation, the effect of violence on foreign investment around the world, and the mobilizing effects of misinformation in Brazil, among others. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press, and elsewhere, and her original data collection efforts have helped to inform the research and writing of academics and the media more broadly.

Wirtschafter received her doctorate in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2021. Her dissertation research focused on the role of new media in shaping perceptions of violence in Brazil. She has designed and taught courses on international politics in the digital age and lectures on the role of data-driven analysis for policy research. Prior to her doctoral training, she worked as a researcher focused on Latin America at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a consultant focused on global health and development issues in Brazil. She has conducted research and/or worked in both Cuba and Brazil and speaks both Spanish and Portuguese.


  • American Political Science Association, Centennial Center, member, advisory board
  • Areas of Expertise

    • Computational social science methods
    • Data science and data visualization
  • Past Positions

    • Senior Data Analyst, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, The Brookings Institution
    • Teaching Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
    • Research Associate, Council on Foreign Relations
    • Senior Associate, Global Health Strategies
  • Education

    • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
    • M.A., University of California, Los Angeles
    • B.A., Bowdoin College
  • Languages

    • Portuguese
    • Spanish
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