Jatia Wrighten

Jatia Wrighten, Ph.D.

Faculty Affiliate

(804) 828-2076

Founders Hall, 827 West Franklin St.

Office hours: Available with Appointment


  • Ph.D.,  American Politics- George Mason University (2020)
  • M.A., American Politics- University of Maryland College Park (2011)
  • B.A., Political Science- Virginia Commonwealth University (2006)

Research Interests

Jatia Wrighten, Ph.D., conducts research on black women, state legislatures, and leadership, with an emphasis on intersectionality. Her current project examines the differences in leadership attainment that exists between black women, white women, black men and white men in state legislatures and the factors that cause these differences. She created the novel theory, the Heavy Lifter Theory, to explain the primary differences between black male and black female legislators as it relates to leadership in state legislatures. She was most recently awarded a research grant from the Center for Effective Lawmaking to continue her work on black women, leadership and intersectionality. She has also been quoted in the Washington Post, News Week and USA Today. Additionally, she has made a prime-time appearance on NBC 4 Washington news to discuss the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial race. 

She continues to research and provide instruction that emphasizes themes of equality, justice and political effects for the most marginalized groups in the United States as an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Jatia received her B.A. in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University; her M.A. in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park; and received her Ph.D. from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, where she defended her dissertation entitled, “Who Runs the World? An Examination of Black Women and Leadership in State Legislatures.”  Jatia uses her degree to teach and serve as a mentor to a future generation of scholars. When she is not researching and writing, she enjoys traveling with her family.

More Information

Jatia Wrighten's faculty page (VCU Department of African American Studies)