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Shannon K. Portillo

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 4060T


Shannon Portillo grew up in a mixed household with a Mexican-American father and Polish-Jewish American mother. At the age of 10 her family relocated from her parents’ hometown, Chicago, to Johnson County Kansas. Graduating from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and KU with her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Ph.D. in Public Administration, Shannon is thrilled to call Kansas home. After five years on faculty at George Mason University in the Washington D.C. suburbs, in the Criminology, Law & Society Department, she returned to KU in the School of Public Affairs & Administration in fall 2013. Shannon’s research has always centered on issues of policy implementation. Specifically exploring how informal social structures, based on understandings of race/ethnicity, gender and other social identities, and formal social structures, based on rules and laws, frame policy adherence and implementation. She is currently working on projects exploring the integration of females into special operation combat units in the military and understandings of justice by street-level workers (including police and probation officers). While her research includes a lot of travel time away from Lawrence, when in town she enjoys cooking for her pot-luck loving friends and aspires to one day actually have a garden instead of just talking about it all of the time.


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