Graduate Fellows


Kenan Graduate Fellows

Shawn N. Bhimani
Shawn Bhimani is a Ph.D. student in Operations Management at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Using analytical and empirical tools, he seeks to model solutions for organizations operating outside of standard business contexts; such as those dealing with limited infrastructure, grey markets or corruption. With academic interests related to humanitarian aid, his current research focuses on the role of business, government, and NGO’s in providing appropriate actions to address key issues, such as human trafficking. Professionally, Shawn has worked for the U.S. Department of Energy, small business startups, a Supply Chain consulting firm, and subsequently spent five years working in supply chain management within the private energy industry before returning to academia.

Joshua Bruce
Josh Bruce is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Duke. His research is broadly focused on how humans understand who they are, what they are supposed to be doing, and what everyone else ought to be doing as well.  Specifically, he is interested in the relationships between morality, worldviews, and preferences for governance structures/institutions. He is also interested in the role of culture in organizational and economic contexts.”

Eleanor Hanna
Ellie Hanna is a third-year Ph.D student in Psychology and Neuroscience, mentored jointly by Kevin LaBar and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. She synthesizes methods from cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, and philosophy to investigate questions about emotion and moral judgment. Her dissertation is about the basic science of the emotion disgust and its effect on how we engage with information; given what we know about the cognitive correlates of disgust, is it ever appropriate to recruit disgust as a justification for moral decision-making or interpersonal behavior? Prior to coming to graduate school, she worked with individuals with autism, in both a direct care context and in clinical neuroscience research. She enjoys hanging out with lemurs.

Nura Ahmad Sediqe
Nura Sediqe is a Ph.D. student in Political Science, specializing in race & ethnic politics. Her research focuses on public opinion and political behavior within the context of group identity formation for emerging minority groups in the U.S. She is particularly interested in questions of intersectional identities and what conditions make specific identities, such as race or gender, salient within a political context. Her dissertation focuses on identity formation patterns amongst Muslim Americans. She works closely with Duke’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences. Professionally, she’s worked in the civil rights field in varying capacities. She attained her Honors B.A. from the University of Michigan and Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Danielle Vance-McMullen
Danielle Vance-McMullen is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy with a concentration in Economics. Danielle’s research examines policy-relevant factors that affect the efficiency, effectiveness, and, ultimately, character of the nonprofit sector. Her dissertation focuses on the effects of the recent, dramatic growth of nonprofit organizations and proliferation of cause-related buying opportunities on donor behavior. Prior to enrolling at Duke, Danielle worked at a consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations, mostly in Chicago. She previously completed graduate degrees in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.

Giulia Ricco
Giulia Ricco is a PhD student in Romance Studies at Duke University, working on both Italian and Brazilian literature. Her main interests are the representation of violence in literature, politics of memory and metafictional cinema. Her research will analyze cases of literary texts that were able to influence institutional decisions, therefore acting outside of their aesthetical realm and manifesting their ethical potency. She is originally from Bologna, where she obtained both her B.A. (2010) and M.A. (2012) in Foreign Languages and Literatures, with an emphasis in Portuguese and English.

Kena Wani
Kena Wani is a PhD student in the History Department. Her dissertation explores the arrival of communication satellite technology and television in India between 1970s and 90s. Specifically, she focuses on the early phase of experimentation and developmental television that was geared towards agrarian care and education. Her project aims to study the themes of media and development by taking into consideration the history of satellite technologies, transnational expertise and the politics of broadcasting. Her work further examines the ways in which such techno-scientific cultures produced two quite contradictory subject positions – the rural Indian peasant and the global human species, and the constitutive role they  played in the practice and discourse of development in post-colonial India.

Claire Payton
Claire Payton is a  Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department. Her dissertation explores the transnational nexus of interests and actors that shaped the impact of international development on Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during the Duvalier period (1957-1986).  By documenting how international development actors got a foothold in the country in the second-half of the twentieth century, her research places the common perception of Haiti as a place in need of “saving” in its historical context. Her work further examines how development ideologies were mobilized by the Duvalier dictatorships in order to secure resources to govern locally. Additionally, she is the creator of the Haiti Memory Project, an oral history archival collection that documents first-person testimonies of survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

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Brett McCarty
Brett McCarty is a Th.D. candidate in theology and ethics at Duke Divinity School. His focus is in bioethics, and his current research project investigates the hospital as a space of moral formation, attending to the ways in which medical practitioners are shaped and produced within modern medicine. By analyzing the differing social imaginaries displayed in treatments of the body within paradigmatic medical spaces, he aims to offer more thoroughgoing accounts of the fundamental moral issues encountered in modern medicine, and so enable better understandings of the conditions and possibilities of moral agency for medical practitioners.

Robert L Reece
Robert L. Reece is a PhD candidate in sociology at Duke University, where he takes an intersectional critical race approach to research on the American South, colorism, gender/sex/sexuality, and digital technology. His dissertation explores how the legacy of slavery continues to shape racial inequality in the American South. He is a co-founder of Still Furious and Brave, a blogging collective of scholar-activists that focuses on issues that rest at the intersections of race, region, and feminism, and founder of Magnolia Fresh, a fashion blog that seeks to cater to black men in the South. He is also a member of the editorial board for Scalawag magazine, a quarterly magazine that focuses on southern politics and culture.

S​imone Tang
Simone Tang is a PhD student at the Fuqua School of Business. Broadly, she is interested in how ideological (e.g. desire for order) and relational (e.g. desire for loyalty) motivations impact decision­-making. How do these motivations positively or negatively influence, for example, social, moral, and economic decisions?

Ori Sharon
Ori Sharon is a doctoral candidate at Duke Law School. In 2013, he received his Master’s degree in Environmental Law (LL.M) with honors from Duke. A scholar of the complex interactions of property law, environmental markets, and moral theory, Sharon is currently writing a doctoral dissertation on regulatory-induced environmental innovation.


Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow

Alex Cunningham
Alex Cunningham is a second-year student in the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke. He works primarily in moving image (single-channel, performative, and installation), pushing and exploiting the constraints of both analog and digital media. His work explores the complicated co-existence of humans as a geologically new species of animal and of geography which operates on a time-scale so different from our own. He has begun using language and text in conjunction with image to convey deeper meanings through abstract and poetic juxtapositions.