Hunter, who is a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, was a Kellogg visiting fellow during the 2004–05 academic year. A Latin Americanist, her research includes in-depth study of the military in Brazil and the Southern Cone, as well as work on social policy issues in Latin America, with special attention to the politics of education and health reform.

Her books include The Transformation of the Workers’ Party in Brazil, 1989–2009 (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Eroding Military Influence in Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 1997), as well as Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which she coedited with Kurt Weyland and Raúl L. Madrid. She has also published articles in such journals as Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Political Science Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and World Politics.

Hunter holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

She joined Kellogg's Advisory Board in 2009.