A vibrant interdisciplinary community of scholars, students, and practitioners dedicated to understanding the moral challenges of our time and creating scholarly frameworks, policy, and practice to address them.
Ehsan is a Teaching Fellow and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Holding master’s degrees in architecture and religion, his work examines the religiosity of non-religious architecture. He draws on urban projects recognized by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture to show how spatial practices function in the construction of religious subjectivities. Ehsan has received recognition from institutions such as the University of Miami, Dumbarton Oaks’s Mellon Initiative, and the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute. His work has been published in the American Academy of Religion’s Reading Religion, Maydan, CLOG, and WIT Press. Ehsan also serves as a Graduate Fellow at the Parr Center for Ethics.
Raymond Allen (he/him/his) is an Indigenous American scientist who grew up on his tribe’s reservation in Northern Wisconsin, and is a PhD candidate in the Duke Biology Department. Ray’s research focus is on early embryo development, and is minoring in Science & Society. Outside of lab, he is heavily involved in inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism (IDEA) in STEM as a BioCoRE Scholar, through Duke’s SACNAS chapter, and the Biology graduate student IDEA committee. Feel free to follow his Instagram (@ray.l.allen) or Twitter (@Ray_L_Allen) to see his posts on science outreach, and Native & LGBTQIA+ topics!
Jacquie is a 2nd year Masters of Public Policy student at the Sanford School of Public Policy. She has 9 years of experience working as a community organizer on climate, environmental, and energy policy. She graduated from Eckerd College in 2010 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She’s worked to organize young people around climate change at the Southern Energy Network, mobilized voters for local, state, and federal elections while working at the NC Sierra Club, and most recently on energy policy and poverty at the NC Justice Center. Jacquie hopes to pursue a concentration in social policy while at Sanford.
Jack Brooks is a 5th-year PhD candidate in clinical psychology. She researches strategies for improving the effectiveness of digital health interventions, in order to improve access to healthcare and reduce health disparities.
Elizabeth Brown is a fourth year Ph.D candidate in art history working under the advisement of Dr. Kristine Stiles, France Family Distinguished Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. She studies contemporary art and visual culture in the United States. Her dissertation explores artist Theaster Gates’ social and architectural collaborations and interventions, particularly his non-profit ReBuild Foundation, established in 2010, which is an extension of his Chicago-based studio practice in all media.
She received her B.A. in Art History from Manhattanville College, New York. She completed her M.A. in Art History from Hunter College, New York. There she wrote her master’s thesis on the disorienting late eighties and early nineties installations of L.A.-based artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) and New York-based artist Cady Noland, focusing on the contradictions and hypocrisies of American culture, which their art brought to light. Before entering the doctoral program at Duke, she held positions at the Guggenheim Museum and The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York.
Andrew is a Master of Management Studies student at Fuqua focusing on Management and Technology. His research focuses on understanding more about the role that religion and theology play in refugees' attitudes toward work, to advise policymakers on how to better integrate refugee populations into local economies. Andrew has a bachelor's degree from Duke in economics with a minor in history and a certificate in Jewish studies.
Jared is a PhD Candidate in Political Science studying the political dynamics of contemporary antiracist behavior. More specifically, his dissertation attempts to offer an empirical account of how antiracism operates under racial capitalism, focusing specifically on the ways in which the neoliberal order conditions antiracist behaviors among white Americans who classify themselves as “progressive” Democrats. In so doing, he attempts to situate the concept of antiracism in political economic, rather than attitudinal terms. Jared received his BA in Political Science from Louisiana State University, and his MA in Elections and Campaign Management from Fordham University.
Elsa is an intellectual historian concentrating on Spain and its possessions in the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Her dissertation explores how changes in the definition of public happiness accompanied the rise of absolutism in Spain. Originally from Chicago, Elsa has a BA in Latin American studies from Bennington College and an MA in Ibero-American history from Duke. Her other interests include twentieth-century French, German and Brazilian philosophy, medieval theories of pedagogy, and women’s writing in contemporary Latin America. She has published or presented papers on all these topics. Her dissertation research took her to Madrid and to Mexico City on a Fulbright-Hays grant, and she is now Bass instructional fellow and Capper fellow at Duke. In her spare time, she likes exploring walking routes of Durham with her dog Ivo and listening to music, most recently Hamilton Leithauser's new live album.
Jessica Covil is a PhD Candidate in English at Duke, pursuing graduate certificates in African & African American Studies and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies. Her work explores myth, motherhood, and feminist praxis in contemporary works--especially those that center care and create more just ways of being through poetic "openings." A poet herself, she enjoys reading at local open mics, and her poems have been published in SWWIM Every Day, What Rough Beast, Whale Road Review, Rise Up Review, The Maynard, and One Hand Clapping.
Crystal E. Peoples is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Duke University. Her research focuses on trends and consequences of racial and gender inequality in higher education, with a particular interest in the role of social networks in perpetuating these inequalities. She has published work in The American Behavioral Scientist, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, and The International Journal of Contemporary Mathematical Sciences. She completed a B.S. in Mathematics from Longwood University in 2012 and an M.S. in Sociology with graduate minors in Mathematics and Statistics from Iowa State University in 2015.
Amanda Farrell is a fourth-year medical student who is passionate about women’s health, health equity, and global health. She is originally from the West Indies but moved to New York when she was nine. An aspiring OB-GYN, she is especially interested in how racial disparities affect outcomes in women’s health.
Georgina Fierro Keene, PA-C, MHS, grew up in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas. She came to Durham to attend the Duke Physician Assistant Program and stayed in the area after marrying one of her classmates (Mike). Georgina has worked in women’s health locally for over two decades, most recently in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Duke. She did her undergraduate studies at Stanford University and received a Master of Health Science from Duke. While in Divinity School, Georgina is continuing in her role as Clinical Services Director at Pregnancy Support Services of Durham and Chapel Hill, a local Christian nonprofit.
Alejandro is a second-year Mechanical Engineering and Material Science MS student with an emphasis in Aerospace Engineering. His research interests are in Fluid Mechanics, Structural Dynamics, Vibrations, and Energy Harvesting. He is a TA for both a Leadership and Management course and Business Ethics course. He has a BS in Astrophysics and Physics from the University of Georgia.
Iris is a third-year Art History Ph.D. student specializing in contemporary Middle-Eastern art. Her dissertation examines maps, mappings, and spatial subversions in the artworks of contemporary women Middle-Eastern artists. She is interested in exploring the intersections of gender, race, migration, and cartography.
Shin-fung is a PhD student in Religion (World Christianity) at Duke University. As a native Hongkonger and a Methodist, his current research focuses on the development of Methodism in Hong Kong and China. His area of interest also covers the intersections of Christianity and migration, diaspora study, and Hong Kong study.
Tara Jean Weese is currently a Ph.D. student in the Duke University Philosophy department and a J.D.-L.L.M. (International and Comparative Law) student at Duke Law. Tara's research interests are primarily in political and legal philosophy. More specifically, she is interested in victims' issues and victims' rights, the role of the adversarial system in determining the role of victims, victims of human rights abuses and international criminal law, and feminist philosophy pertaining to sexual assault. She also has an interest in restorative justice, reparations, and nonconventional methods of dispute resolution for serious harms.
Ayanna Jessica Crystal Legros is completing a Ph.D. in the Department of History at Duke University. Her research focuses on the importance of sound cultures and radio in the lived experiences of Haitians based in the metropoles of Port-au-Prince and New York City during the Duvalier regimes (father and son). She has lived and worked in the Dominican Republic, Spain, Bolivia, and Colombia in the non-profit sector around issues of education, land rights, and racial justice. Through this fellowship, she hopes to gain more clarity about global and local justices issues and has grown tremendously throughout her time in Durham, North Carolina. When she is not conducting research, she is thinking about art history and working on her garden. She is excited to participate in this fellowship and learn from a collective of students across a diverse range of disciplines and fields of study across campus.
Sarah Jobe teaches, studies, and ministers at the intersection of prisons, Practical Theology, and Biblical Studies. She is particularly interested in the theologies that emerge from within incarcerated life and the theologies that support mass incarceration from the outside. Utilizing Christian theology, black feminist theory, collaborative ethnography, biblical studies, clinical psychology, trauma studies, gender studies, and queer theory, Jobe seeks bodied forms of thinking that have the power to fuel just and liberating practices. As an ordained Baptist minister, Jobe serves as a chaplain at North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women. She also works with Duke Divinity School's Prison Studies Program. Her work appears in Religions, The Journal of Reformed Theology, Teaching Theology and Religion, Sojourners, and Christian Century, and she is the author of Creating with God: The Holy, Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy. Her current dissertation project is entitled (Ad)ministering God's Yes in a World of No: A Practical Theology of Prison Chaplaincy.
Kevin Kiley is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology with interests in culture, quantitative methods, and social theory. His research focuses on developing tools to measure culture and adjudicating theories of attitude and behavior change over the life course. In particular, he studies the social and cultural forces that lead to attitude stability over time, as well as how attitudes relate to each other. He has an MA from the University of Chicago and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Taimur Kouser is a first year Masters student in the Bioethics & Science Policy program. He graduated in May 2020 from Harvard University with a joint degree in neuroscience and philosophy and a language citation in Modern Standard Arabic. Taimur is passionate about the intersections of a variety of fields including medicine, law, ethics, philosophy, and more. He cares deeply about the Muslim community and wants to explore the issues that they face and their roots in more depth and learn how to effectively educate others about them. He is especially eager to address issues through a sociocultural, instead of political, lens. He is looking forward to a year of learning, community building, and growth.
Arvind is a Ph.D Candidate in Political Science at Duke University in the Political Behavior and Race and Ethnic Politics subfields. He received his B.A. in Political Science with honors and distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a co-author of the Oxford University Press Book Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty and his research also appears in the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and The Wake Forest Law Review. This work fits within his broader research agenda, where he study the politics of criminal justice in America, focusing on questions of racial inequality and institutional design using causal inference methods.
Alberto La Rosa Rojas is a Th.D. candidate in Duke Divinity School. Alberto’s experience as an immigrant from Peru informs and fuels his research which engages the ethical and theological dimensions of migration and the human longing for home. His work weaves together insights from the reformed theological tradition as well as Latinx theology to think about how migrant’s and citizen/natives can cultivate a flourishing common home.
Jason Lee was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be entering his first year of the Daytime MBA program at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. He previously worked in the industries of sales compensation and public accounting.
Gabriella (Gabby) Levi is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science with interests in both comparative politics and international relations. Her research concerns public attitudes toward various forms of political violence. Her dissertation focuses on how armed group violence against civilians, governance, and ideology shape civilian support for armed actors in civil conflict. She grew up in Massachusetts and has a bachelor's degree from Columbia University.
Leon Li is a fourth-year graduate student in Psychology and Neuroscience working in the Tomasello Lab. Before attending Duke, Leon completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, where he conducted research on language and moral development. For his dissertation research at Duke, he is excited to continue investigating these two topics as well as their intersections, such as how people construct and enact forms of morality using language or how children engage in moral reasoning with other people.
Hengming Li is a first year ECE Ph.D. student working with Professor Maiken Mikkelsen on nanophotonic devices for quantum information. He received his joint undergraduate-master’s degree from Appalachian State University, and worked with Professor Francois Amet on solid state physics research. One fun fact about the research: a rainbow plot in a paper they submitted to Nature Physics ended up on the magazine’s cover page this summer. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he was overjoyed when he received the news.
He got to enjoy a lot of outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, archery, and hiking during his time at Appstate. He also enjoys learning and creating music, as well as experimenting with cooking and baking in his free time. He was a founding member of a student inclusive excellence group at Appstate; so he hopes to gain more knowledge about inclusion, diversity, and racial justice, as well as to connect with other passionate people on the topics via this fellowship opportunity.
Ofelia Lopez is a PhD student in the Romance Studies department. Her research focuses on the relationship among race, blackness and literary discourse. Ofelia´s doctoral dissertation, After of the Skin: Representations of Race in Post-independent Cuban Literature, addresses the ways in which race is named and problematized in Cuban literary texts of the Republic, the Revolution and the Special Period. She is also interested in the intersectional relations among history, gender and subalternity.
Ife Michelle Presswood (Charlotte, NC) is an MFA student in the Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis in Dance Program. Her research, centered at the intersection of Dance, Race and Humanities, aims to investigate the performance of the embodied identities/realities of Black Women Artists and how these embodiments are expressed using art. Through the lens of dance, she analyzes inner and inter corporeality’s of Black Women Artists through choreographic works and curated methodology in order to demonstrate and vivify the need for effective safe spaces (contextualized through misogynoir) and its accompanying attributes: i.e. resources, opportunities, safety/empathy, care and quality training, that allows for valuing, vivification, fluidity and self-autonomy of Black Woman and their artistry.
Amnazo Muhirwa is third-year PhD student in the School of Nursing. Her research interests fall at the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender and health. She is committed to conducting research that elucidates the mechanisms in which chronic stress becomes biologically embedded and impact the health of African American women.
Sonia is a second-year dual degree student i.e. MEM/MBA. She is interested in a career focused on building sustainable business models, managing ESG risks as well as crafting climate mitigation and adaptation strategies for private sector organizations. Prior to school, she worked as a financial risk consultant at KPMG serving clients majorly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Brandee Newkirk is PhD student at Duke University in the Art, Art History and Visual Studies Department. Her research focuses primarily on modern and contemporary African American art with a focus on social justice. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona where she worked with the university’s Black Student Union. She is also currently a member of her department’s Anti-Racism Task Force.
Darwin Perry is a third-year graduate student at Duke Divinity School. His research interest lies at the intersection between race, religion, and penal reform. Prior to joining Duke Divinity School, Darwin studied Philosophy and African American studies at Grand Valley State University.
Allison Raven is a PhD candidate in history focusing on the intersections of race and education in the twentieth century United States. Her dissertation, “Separate but Equitable: Race, Liberalism, and Abandoning Desegregation in Austin, Texas” examines the end of public school desegregation programs and the shift to frame education as “equitable” rather than “equal.” Allison holds a B.A. in History from Rice University and worked as a middle school teacher in Houston, Texas prior to beginning her graduate work at Duke.
Hannah Read is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Duke. Before Duke, she completed her MA in Philosophy at Tufts and her BA in Philosophy and Literary Studies at The New School. Her work falls primarily within moral philosophy and moral psychology. She has additional interests in social and political philosophy, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of education. She is currently working on questions concerning the role of empathy and perspective taking in the moral life.
Hadley Reid is in her fourth year at Duke completing her MD and a Master’s in clinical research with the Duke Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP). She is originally from Chapel Hill, but did her undergrad at Stanford University before working at a non-profit in Seattle and ultimately returning home to the Triangle for medical school. Her research centers on examining the patient-provider interaction and its differential effect on health outcomes in non-Hispanic Black and White patients with Type II Diabetes. She is one of the founders and current leaders of Duke Med for Social Justice (DMSJ) and also serves as a student facilitator for the Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities Course for first year medical students.
Alyssa Reyes is originally from Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Media Studies, and earned a Master’s in Special Education from CUNY Hunter College. After 5 years of teaching math and special education in NYC’s Brooklyn and Harlem neighborhoods, she is thrilled to pursue her passion for social justice at Duke Law School.
Joseph is a PhD candidate at Duke University in the Department of Sociology. He is primarily interested in the sociology of religion, with a specific focus on how religious beliefs and communal worship practices intersect. He is currently studying discourse around immigration issues among evangelical opinion leaders and how that discourse has changed over time.
Siri Russell is a first-year student in the weekend executive MBA program. Her formal educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a master's degree in Community & Economic Development. Siri's commitment to equity is demonstrated by her professional experience which includes her current role as the director of equity and inclusion for Albemarle County, VA where she leads efforts to ensure equity is centered in program and service delivery. She also serves on multiple nonprofit and community task force geared towards promoting social and financial resiliency.
Jake Silver is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Cultural Anthropology. His dissertation project examines the atmospheric and extraplanetary scales of Israel’s occupation, lifting attention upward to the ways colonial and anticolonial conflicts extend vertically into outer space through domains such as astronomy, astrophysics, science fiction, meteorology, and space travel. For the past two years, he has conducted ethnographic work largely with Palestinian astronomers attending to the ways that something as seemingly simple as the sky is a site of powerful political struggle and (possible) transformation. His prior and current work is motivated by antiracist and anticolonial convictions, and he is passionate about the political potential of anthropological thinking when its methodology and pedagogy is rooted in solidarity and social justice.
Jasmine Smith is a Ph.D. candidate in political science. Her dissertation focuses on Black political behavior and political polarization. In her work she tries to add more nuance to Black voting behavior by explaining how Black voters decide between candidates in Democratic primary elections. She holds a BA in political science from Indiana University. Her work, “Linked Fate Over Time and Across Generations” has been featured in Politics, Groups and Identities.
Malcolm Smith Fraser is a proud Jamaican American in his first year of the SSRI’s data science MS program. While originally from the DMV, he now calls the Seattle area home. He received his BS in biomedical engineering from California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo in 2019. Recently, he was part of a team of consultants doing very exciting work around racial equity in the city of Fresno, California, and he looks forward to building on and sharing what he learned as a Race and the Professions Fellow.
Alma Solis is second year Ph.D. student in the Evolutionary Anthropology department in Dr. Charles L. Nunn’s laboratory. Her research focuses on understanding how anthropogenic changes in land use, in northeastern Madagascar, impact infectious disease ecology, while also addressing health disparities by investigating disease exposure risk mediated by occupation. Her research interests are evolutionary medicine, infectious diseases, One Health, global health, and addressing health disparities. She is a Ford Foundation Fellow who hope to continue to advocate and promote diversity and inclusion in academia.
Joshua is a doctoral student of history at Duke University. His research analyzes 19th and 20th century Black Migration in the United States. He is interested in the political, economic, and social factors that made migration possible and questions of emigration, citizenship, and belonging in the aftermath of Reconstruction.
Perry is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Religion. His research focuses on the intersection between religion and American culture and politics. Currently, he is doing ethnographic research on the contemporary sanctuary church movement, and is concerned with the relationship between religion and citizenship in the US.
Khanh Vien (She/her/hers) is a queer Vietnamese-Cantonese American PhD graduate student in biology. She was born in Vietnam, to parents who were Vietnamese boat people, then moved to East Oakland in California at the age of two. Khanh is a first generation PhD student, poet, activist, community builder, and prolific mentor. At Duke, she established her program’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion committee, presented and curated a workshop for the national oSTEM (a LGBTQ in STEM professions group) conference, as well as pushing for diversity and inclusion while being on the program’s recruitment committee. Khanh's research revolves around understanding how the brain shapes itself and what cues are required to organize neural circuits. She uses the fly olfactory system to understand how multi-level combinatorial codes that mold the brain and affects olfactory function. She hopes to one day uncover the mechanism behind the teratological effects of Agent Orange and mitigate the number of casualties.
Allison is a doctoral student in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Duke Divinity School. She studies hermeneutics and biblical interpretation and is particularly interested in texts of covenant and conquest and their reception in Jewish and Palestinian Christian traditions.
Unique Whitehurst is from Long Beach, CA. She is a member of the Duke University School of Nursing’s ABSN class of 2020 and MSN class of 2023. Upon accepting admission to DUSON, Unique was selected as a Health Equity Academy II Scholar which involves promoting diversity in nursing and leadership. Prior to coming here to Duke, she graduated with honors from South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and chemistry. After matriculating from my undergraduate institution, she held positions in the psychiatric/mental health setting at Del Amo Behavioral Health Facility and in the emergency medicine setting at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Supplementary to my primary work in these settings, she was heavily involved with community youth populations through endeavors which included teaching in a STEM pipeline program hosted by the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. Currently, she is a member of the “Closing the Gap on Hypertension” Bass Connections Project team, mentor in the Women and Math Mentoring program, executive board member of DUSON’s Active Minds organization, member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and volunteer for the VA Healthcare System.
Meghan Woolley is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at Duke University. Her research examines the role of emotions in the early Common Law in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England. Her dissertation explores how cultural norms about emotions shaped how people navigated legal cases, reflecting on the relationship between law and social practice. She is also interested in the ethical implications of how society values (or devalues) emotions. Meghan received a B.A .from Hamilton College and an M.Litt. from the University of St Andrews.
Vani Yadav is an international graduate student from India in the Duke Medical Physics program. Vani is interested in advancement of medical imaging technology and works in the Magnetic Resonance engineering laboratory in the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center. Her research involves developing RF/shimming coils for pre-clinical small animal imaging. She hopes to work in the field of MR engineering and neuroimaging in the long term. Apart from cool physics applications to healthcare, Vani is passionate about gender and social equality.
Jasmine Young is a first-year student in the MS in Interdisciplinary Data Science Program. She is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina and graduated in the spring from Princeton University with an Operations Research & Financial Engineering degree. She is passionate about applying data science methods to racial and social issues.
Somia Youssef is a PhD candidate in political science, with research interests in comparative political theory and philosophy, the history of political thought, and contemporary democratic theory. Her academic work examines asymmetrical power relationships between political actors, focusing on the ethical and political challenges of bridging theory and practice. How can individuals and groups live and work together meaningfully under actual conditions of uncertainty? Her dissertation seeks to understand group dynamics in Ibn Khaldun’s political theory. Somia grew up in North Carolina after immigrating with her family from Egypt. She holds a BA in political science and a BA in foreign languages, Arabic language and culture, from North Carolina State University.