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.
Jackson Adamah is a Ghanaian Th.D. student studying Theology and Ethics at Duke University Divinity School. His research engages questions regarding the morality of debt through dialogue with political and economic theology, anthropology of money, and the history of West African currency exchanges. Jackson received a B.Sc. in Geomatic Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), an M.Div. from Campbell University, and a Th.M. from Duke.
Fernanda Andrade is a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Psychology program. She was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to the U.S. in 2011 to pursue her B.A. in Psychology from Millersville University. Fernanda studies the skills and strategies that people use to pursue their goals, especially as they relate to health, and why people do not always succeed. Fernanda received her M.A. in Psychology from Duke University in 2020 and an M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Towson University in 2018. In her spare time, Fernanda is an aspiring artist and avid reader of fantasy novels.
Laura Asherman is a mixed media documentary artist from Cambridge, Massachusetts and is pursuing an MFA in Experimental Documentary Arts. Since 2008, she has lived and worked in the South, where she started the production company, Forage Films. Laura has worked as a cinematographer for VICE, HBO, and CNN, and directed the award-winning films American Hasi (2019), The Home Team (2019), and Power Lines (2018). Her practice stems from an endless curiosity about the human condition, guided by the principle that personal stories ignite social change. She is drawn to making character-driven films that examine topics ranging from environmental racism, addiction and recovery, and family legacy.
Hunter Augeri is a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English at Duke University. His research explores the cultural shifts and experimental living practices of 20th-century America with a focus on the ideological and material formation of suburbia.
Suhyen Bae is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science. Her research explores how social isolation and loneliness affect political participation and attitudes with a focus on political extremism on social media. She is broadly interested in advancing computational social science research, also working on projects involving Twitter networks and social media campaign advertisements. She is passionate about translating her research into teaching and hopes to learn diverse pedagogical approaches to teach about emerging topics on social media and political science in a way that is relevant to students. Before coming to Duke, she received her BA and MA in Political Science and International Relations with honors and distinction from Seoul National University in South Korea.
Yasaman Baghban is an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts student at Duke University. Born in 1988, she grew up in Shiraz, Iran. After graduating from Shiraz University in chemical engineering, she changed her life's path through art. She received her M.A. in cinema from the Tehran University of Art in 2018. Since then, she has been a lecturer and independent documentary filmmaker. As a Middle Eastern female documentary filmmaker who was born and raised in Iran, social, cultural, and political issues are inseparable from her work.
Mary Dance Berry is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Religion, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament track. Her research interests include the minor prophets, divine judgment/justice, minoritized criticism, and comparative hermeneutics. In her dissertation, she rereads the book of Amos alongside American evangelical and African biblical scholars in effort to shed new light on the text, its theological significance, and the task of interpretation. Mary earned a B.A. in government and classical studies at Sweet Briar College and an M.Div. at Duke Divinity School.
Amanda Bolaños is a first year Th.D. candidate at Duke Divinity School studying Christian Theological Ethics. Amanda received her B.A. from Boston College in 2018, an M.A. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2020, and an M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School in 2022. Her research interests include offering a real, pastoral, and critical perspective in looking at the systematic success and harm of religion in communities. Amanda hopes to ultimately build bridges and create a culture of inclusivity between the Academy and the people through the study and practice of Latinx Liberation theology, feminist theology, Catholic Social Teaching, and virtue ethics.
Ryan Bouabid is a Ph.D. candidate in the Physics Department. He is a nuclear and particle experimentalist who works on detecting rare physics events. Since coming to Duke, he has been passionate about teaching. In 2020 he won the Mary Creason Memorial Award, and in 2021 he won the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Ryan is from Morocco and immigrated to the United States at a young age.
Cristina Carnemolla holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature and a M.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Catania (Italy). She also obtained a M.A. in Romance Languages from the University of Oregon. Her academic interests are multiple, and encompass gender studies, especially intersectionality, Mediterranean and transatlantic studies, and critical theory. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Romance Studies at Duke University. Her dissertation project, entitled “From the ‘Southern Question’ to ‘Southern Thought’: South as a Method”, attempts at bridging the gap between decolonial theories and Global South studies, by focusing on literary and cultural production in Spain, Italy, and Latin America at the turn of the 19th century.
Christina Carnes Ananias is a candidate in the Doctor of Theology program at Duke Divinity School, where her research focuses on the intersection of systematic theology and modernist visual art. Having worked with artists and students for over a decade, Christina taught various art history courses at Charleston Southern University before returning to Duke and now speaks throughout the U.S. on Christianity and the arts. In her doctoral work, she weaves together Christology, late modern philosophy, and the paintings of the French modernists. Carnes Ananias was the inaugural holder of the Bowden fellowship for theology and the visual arts at Duke. An example of her work can be found in Contemporary Art and the Church (IVP, 2017).
Devon Carter is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in musicology who studies the history of the voice. His in-progress dissertation discusses developments in vocal technique and aesthetics in Europe from roughly 1825 to 1850, focusing on the history and invention of the voice as metaphor for the liberal political self, as well as shifting gender norms and expectations around new methods of vocalization in opera singing. Devon is a member of the Duke University Scholars Program (Graduate Consul '22-'23 academic year), a James B. Duke Fellow, and current President of the Music Graduate Student Association. Prior to coming to Duke, he studied music and comparative literature (with a focus in literary translation) at Brown University as an undergraduate. He also occasionally performs with Duke Opera Theater.
Jessica Centers is a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in signal and information processing. She received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2018. At Duke, her research explores non-traditional uses for millimeter-wave radars such as a receiver in vehicle-to-anything communication systems. Jessica also has interests in the areas of engineering education, coding theory, physics motivated machine learning, and data science ethics.
Tyler Marquise Chisolm is from Henderson, NC, and is pursuing a Master of Science in Population Health Sciences in the School of Medicine. He has a B.A. in Psychology from Winston-Salem State University, a Historically Black University in Winston-Salem, NC, and had great opportunities to participate in research and internships both at WSSU and Wake Forest University. He is interested in using research methods to tackle the issue of social determinants in rural communities and underdeveloped countries, specifically food insecurity. He hopes to work for a federal health entity such as the CDC, NIH, or FDA, and to promote his business, The Life Shop, LLC, which will create pop-up shops in communities in need to address prevalent physical and mental health issues.
Tyng-Guang (Brian) Chu is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Religion at Duke University. He is in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible track. His work focuses primarily on creation-imagery and the cosmological dimensions of Israel's cultic tradition in the Hebrew Bible. He plans to further explore how the notion of peace can be seen in creation narratives.
Madeline (Maddie) Clark is a Ph.D. candidate in the Neurobiology program here at Duke. She is interested in understanding how environmental experiences, such as stress or drugs of abuse, alter gene regulation and brain development. Originally from Minnesota, she completed her BS in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she spent three years as an undergraduate research assistant in a Neuroepigenetics and Genomics laboratory. She recognizes the impact a well timed mentor or advisor can have on a young person'ss life, and as such feels passionately about teaching, mentorship, community, and making resources for student development accessible.
Meyra Çoban is an M.A. student in bioethics and science policy at Duke University. Meyra studies the ethics of care and health care. Originally from Germany, Meyra studied philosophy and political science at the University of Edinburgh. Meyra's research is funded by Fulbright, DAAD and the German National Academic Foundation.
Aidan Combs is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology department at Duke. Her work centers on how identities affect and are affected by interaction, especially interactions that occur in anonymous contexts or between strangers. She holds a B.S. in Engineering Physics and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She believes it is important to teach undergraduates of all academic backgrounds to see and think critically about the social forces that shape their work, lives, and world, and is pursuing the Certificate in College Teaching.
Devin Creed is a Ph.D. student in the History Department where he studies modern South Asia and the British Empire. His research interests include famine, food, and capitalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His dissertation examines ideologies and practices surrounding giving and nutrition in times of famine in North India and Bengal. He received a B.A. in Economics and English from Hillsdale College and an M.A. in History from Villanova University.
Amal Dadi is a student in the Science Policy and Bioethics Master’s program. She grew up in North Potomac, Maryland and graduated from Grinnell College in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and French. Prior to joining Duke, she worked as a researcher in nephrology and neurobiology at universities across the U.S. Amal has a background as a racial justice activist and organizer. She is interested in a career focused on research implementation, with an eye towards equity and social justice.
Anna Dai is a Master of Interdisciplinary Data Science student. She has a background in Business Economics from UCLA and worked as a tax consultant in the Financial Services Office at Ernst & Young San Francisco for four years. Anna moved between China, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, Canada growing up and is fluent in English, Chinese, and French. Her goal is to bring positive changes to the workplace, whether it is introducing technology to traditional industries or advocating for racial and gender equality. Outside of work, Anna enjoys skiing/snowboarding, golf, photography, and traveling.
Brooks Emanuel, an Atlanta native, is in the MFA program in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis and the 2022-2023 Graduate Arts Fellow in Social Choreography & Performance. After dancing and choreographing for a decade in New York and Atlanta, he shifted to progressive policy work, including serving as Director of Legislative Services for the Georgia House Democratic Caucus under Leader Stacey Abrams. He then attended NYU School of Law, where he interned with NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ACLU Capital Punishment Project, and NYCLU. Upon obtaining his J.D., he worked at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, representing people on death row, people sentenced to life without parole, and those suffering horrific prison conditions. His MFA research focuses on combining dance and racial justice work.
Gabriela Fernández-Miranda is a Ph.D. student in Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke. She works in the intersection of cognitive psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience to understand the relationship between memory and forgiveness. Gabriela is interested in disentangling this relationship by considering variables as severity of the moral transgression, closeness between victim and perpetrator, and cultural differences. She also works in other projects related to morality, using imagination to overcome negative experiences, and self-control. She earned a M.A. in Psychology from Universidad de los Andes and a B.A. from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia).
Ethan Foote is a bassist and composer working in jazz, new music, and other genres. He performs and writes in many contexts, including dance, theatre, and interdisciplinary art. In his recent chamber compositions, he has been motivated by an interest in how ideas of humanism and anti-humanism can be captured through engagement with gestural extremes. He received an MFA in composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2020 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition at Duke University.
Born and raised in Brasilia, Brazil, Marcelo is pursuing his Ph.D. in Public Policy. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Political Science from the University of Brasilia in 2005 and 2007, respectively. He has also received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego. Marcelo has served in various branches of the Brazilian government, including the Ministry of Labor and Employment, the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil, the National Council for Food Security, and the Ministry of Human Rights (where he served as Joint-Secretary for Racial Equality). He plans to change careers from government affairs to applied research.
Daniela Goya-Tocchetto is a Ph.D. Candidate in Management & Organizations at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She holds a B.A. and a M.S. in Economics from UFRGS (Brazil), a M.S. in Philosophy & Public Policy from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from UFRGS (Brazil). Daniela previously worked as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, teaching courses in economics and political philosophy. She researches political biases and the psychology of socioeconomic inequality. Her main goal is to help provide a better understanding of the cognitive and motivated processes underlying the general acceptance of rising inequalities. Daniela’s work has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Political Behavior, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Journal of Consumer Psychology; and in popular press outlets such as Behavioral Scientist and Politico.
Michael D. Green (he/him) received his Bachelor of Arts with honors in Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Sciences from Dartmouth College in 2021. He is a Ph.D. student at the Duke Department of Population Health Sciences and has research interests in cardiovascular health disparities for Black Americans as well as social determinants of health which influence health inequity. He is interested in Population Health Sciences because of consistently seeing family members enduring adverse experience in the American medical system. Outside of healthcare, Michael is a freelance environmental portrait photographer. He also was a 4-year member of the Dartmouth heavyweight crew team, where he walked on his freshman year, and still enjoys rowing and running.
Hunter is a third-year Master of Divinity student at Duke Divinity School. He is pursuing the Certificate in Faith-based Organizing, Advocacy, and Social Transformation. He graduated in 2019 from Milligan College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Humanities. His interests include political theology, economic justice, community organizing, and legal advocacy.
Braulio Güémez is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology. He was born and raised in Merida, Mexico, and moved to Mexico City to pursue his undergraduate studies in Sociology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His research interests are centered around racial stratification across the Americas using quantitative methods. He worked for three years as a Research Assistant in a research project at El Colegio de México that studies the large-scale tendencies and the mechanisms of racial and socioeconomic inequality in Mexico
Tayfun Gur is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Philosophy. He works primarily in ethics, with interests in the history of philosophy and comparative philosophy. His dissertation explores the role of narratives and storytelling in our ethical cultivation and in shaping how we think about normative issues, with particular emphasis on our conceptions of identity and the possibility of tragic ethical dilemmas.
Rylee Hackley is a microbiologist and geneticist from northern California. She received a B.S. in Microbial Biology for the University of California in 2016 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the University Program in Genetics and Genomics. In her work, she studies carbon metabolism in microbes that live in extreme environments to better understand how genetic networks evolve. She is a member of the Certificate in College Teaching program, a 2021 Preparing Future Faculty fellow, and recently received a 2022 Bass fellowship to teach an undergraduate seminar based on her dissertation research. Outside of Duke, she does science outreach at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, and tutors science at the Emily K. Center in Durham, NC.
Richard Hall is a Ph.D. candidate in the Pratt School of Engineering, where he works in the Bridgeman Lab. His research interests include model predictive control and switched systems. Richard grew up about an hour east of Dallas in Lone Oak, TX, where he discovered a love for engineering. While studying at LeTourneau University for an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, he developed a passion for teaching. Since then, he has been pursuing a teaching career and came to Duke with that purpose in mind. Outside of school, Richard serves as a youth leader in his church, goes backpacking with his wife whenever possible, and tinkers on random projects (especially 3D printers and espresso machines).
Dana Hogan is a PhD candidate in Art History and is enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Gender & Feminist Studies as well as the Certificate in College Teaching. Her doctoral project, “Expanding Worlds: Women Artists and Cross-Cultural Encounters in Early Modern Europe (Working Title)” foregrounds women in the study of cross-cultural circulation of artists and works of art, as well as their subjects and objects. While at Duke she has mentored other graduate students and undergraduate students through the Bass Connections projects Building Duke and Project Vox, and as a Trinity College Peer Mentor. Her approach as an instructor is grounded in connecting historic subject matter and methods with students’ individual goals, strengths, and opportunities for growth.
Shih-Han (Sally) Huang is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at Duke University. She works on ethics, aesthetics, and Chinese philosophy. Her dissertation explores how the Zhuangzi, an ancient Daoist text, can shed light on the question of how to live. More specifically, it finds motivations in the Zhuangzi for establishing the ideal of playfulness as an appealing alternative to the familiar pursuit of meaningfulness.
Sarah Janek, BSN, RN, ACRN, is pursuing her Ph.D. in Nursing through the Duke University School of Nursing. She graduated with honors from University of Michigan in 2020, where her involvement with the School of Nursing Honors Program and Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities introduced her to research. After graduation, she worked as an RN at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in her hometown of Chicago while becoming an HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse. Her research interest is sexual health disparities that stem from race and sexuality, specifically working with Black and Hispanic/Latino men who have sex with men.
Jihyun Jeong is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Duke, studying normative political philosophy and political theory. Her dissertation aims to theorize the ethics of victimhood within the contexts of oppression. It argues that the most important questions about victimhood have been neglected in both political theory and political science. First, what must be our attitude about victimhood—of our own and of others? Second, how can victimhood be channeled to ameliorate oppression? Exploring these crucial questions, her dissertation argues that victims of oppression must accept their victimhood and that victimhood, if rightly conceptualized, can be a positive political resource for the victims’ resistance. Jihyun’s research interests also include hate speech, freedom of speech, and legal theory. Before coming to Duke, Jihyun earned her B.A. in English at Seoul National University, J.D. at Korea University, and worked as a Korean lawyer at the ILO (International Labour Organization) headquarters.
Dillon King is a Ph.D. candidate in the Integrated Environmental Health and Toxicology Program. She graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2017, with a B.S. in Marine Science and a B.S. in Biochemistry. Her research focuses on sex differences in mitochondrial function, mechanisms of chemical-induced toxicity, and the inclusion of sex and gender in toxicological research.
Arvind Krishnamurthy is a Ph.D candidate in Political Science at Duke. Prior to Duke, he graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2017 with a B.A in Political Science. His research focuses on the relationship between democratic institutions and the criminal justice system in America. His dissertation examines how democratizing policing changes the behavior of police officers and attitudes of the mass public.
Anna Kudla is a PhD candidate in Biology. Her research focuses on insect diversity, which she studies through investigations of development and evolution. Her recent work concentrations on the shape differences among species in the insect Family, Membracidae. The amazing 3D forms they take on to look like plant parts, wasps, caterpillar droppings, among other things arises from a single structure called the pronotum. In most insects, the pronotum is a simple flat plate just behind the head. Prior to Duke, Anna worked as a Teach for America corps member in Tulsa, Oklahoma teaching 9th grade biology. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s in biology and a minor in English.
Sinja Küppers is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Classical Studies at Duke University. In her dissertation, she investigates The Social History of Higher Education in the Late Roman Empire. She is particularly interested in how language and institutions reflect social norms and questions of class, diversity and equity. For her presentation on “Studying ‘Abroad’ in Antiquity: Student Movement and Educational Policy” Sinja received the 2021 Presidential Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper by The Classical Association of the Middle West and South. At Duke, she co-founded the first-generation graduate student organization Duke F1RSTS. Before coming to Duke, Sinja received a MSt from the University of Oxford and a B.A. from the University of Cologne.
Warren Lattimore is a Th.D. student at Duke Divinity School. A product of the South Side of Chicago, he serves as the chairman of Camp Restore and president of the Black Clergy Caucus of the Lutheran Church. His academic interests include the history of Black Lutheranism, particularly Dr. Rosa J. Young, and the intersection of racial justice and environmental ethics.
Youran Lee is Ph.D. student in Nursing from South Korea. She received her M.S. and B.S. in Nursing in South Korea and worked as a nurse for three years. She is passionate about developing care systems to decrease health disparities. She has volunteered in many developing countries, including Malaysia, Cambodia, and Tanzania, sensing a global need for nursing care. She was also invited as a young nurse leader to be the Korean representative at the Pre-World Health Assembly (WHA) workshop. For her, the meaning of nursing is providing a helping hand to provide comfort to those in need.
David is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Duke Religion Department specializing in the New Testament and Second Temple Judaism. He received a BA in Religion from Western Kentucky University in 2013 and a Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity in 2017. David’s research focuses on the development of Jewish and Christian identities in antiquity, and he has presented his research at the National Society of Biblical Literature Conference. David’s main passion is teaching and has taught “Introduction to the New Testament” at Duke University in 2021. He looks forward to designing new courses that will engage student development and curiosity.
Jing Hao Liong is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Cultural Anthropology. He is broadly interested in sexual and ethnic politics in contemporary Malaysia, as well as queer cultures and movements in the larger Southeast Asian region. Originally from Malaysia, he is excited for the opportunity to learn more about racial justice efforts in the U.S. and identify points of solidarity that connect racial justice work in the U.S. and his home country. Jing Hao holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Economics-Political Science from Columbia University and an M.A. in Literature and Culture from the Yenching Academy of Peking University
Jingyi Liu is a second-year graduate student in Critical Asian Humanities at Duke University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature from Peking University. Her current research focuses on the literature and political history of modern China, with an emphasis on war reportage and female novels. Her areas of interest include diaspora studies, religious studies, and comparative literature.
Botian Liu is a Ph.D. candidate in the philosophy department. He has a broad interest in philosophy while focusing on ethics and classical Chinese philosophy. His dissertation examines Aristotle and Confucians’ discussions on “how to become a better person” and whether following their advice helps us become one. Botian received a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Duke, and an M.A. in philosophy from Georgia State University.
Warren Lowell is a 4th-year Ph.D. candidate in the joint-degree program in Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University. He researches how housing insecurity, gentrification, and homelessness are related to broader processes of racial inequality in the United States. His dissertation is on the recent growth of real estate investing in historic, Black neighborhoods in North Carolinian cities. In this project, he combines qualitative interviews with investors and residents with geospatial and statistical analysis of real estate transactions to tell the story of how investors have come to own an increasing share of property in Black neighborhoods and what the growing presence of investors in local housing markets means for the future of these neighborhoods and their original residents.
Vladimir Lukin is a PhD candidate in the Program in Literature. He is a film and media studies scholar who is interested in how cultural imaginaries shape our vision of technology and account for the differences in its cultural acceptance. In his dissertation, he traces the cultural history of cybernetics in the USSR and explores how Soviet media—pop-science magazines, films, and sci-fi novels—produced a distinct ‘trustful’ image of the computer. Prior to his time at Duke, he worked as a cultural journalist and managing editor for various Russian media outlets and became interested in pedagogy while working as a mentor for interns.
Mahgul Mansoor is a 2nd year MSc candidate at the Duke Global Health Institute, mentored by Dr. Eve Puffer. Her research interests are primarily in global mental health and implementation science. Additionally, Mahgul’s professional goals are to improve mental health access in low resource settings both within the United States and her home country, Pakistan. Her current project focuses on delivering mental health care in a pandemic within North Carolina
Miguel Martinez is a Ph.D. Candidate in Duke’s Political Science studying Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (REP) and Behavior and Identity broadly. His dissertation focuses on the role that racial ideologies play in forming the foundation for racial political attitudes and behaviors among Mexican immigrants in the U.S. Using a historical, comparative, and an ideological lens, Miguel hopes to show that Mexican immigrants hold a distinctive position in the American racial hierarchy where they can both be victims of discrimination but also perpetuators of it. Prior to arriving to Duke, Miguel graduated from Cornell University. He is a proud Mexican American and first-generation college student.
Tony is a second-year Master of Divinity student at Duke Divinity School where he is a Thriving Communities Fellow studying theology and ministry. He holds a dual degree in Philosophy and Communications and a Master of Business Administration from Spring Arbor University. His current research interests lie at the intersection of theological ethics and community organizing. Prior to joining Duke Divinity School, Tony was a college admissions officer.
Kara McCormack is a PhD student in the Biostatistics department. She has a background in mathematics, and spent time as an adjunct instructor teaching Calculus at community college. In her research, she investigates the synergistic effects of air pollution, the built environment, and structural racism on health outcomes such as breast cancer mortality. Her goal is to share the leading best practices in teaching pedagogy to encourage young women and BIPOC to pursue STEM education. Outside of work, she enjoys teaching yoga, creating mixed-media art, filmmaking, and meditation.
Stephen McKean is a PhD student in mathematics. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and lived in northern Germany for two years as a missionary. He graduated from the University of Utah in 2017 with a BS in mathematics, after which he began his doctoral studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He came to Duke in 2020 to complete his PhD. In his research, Stephen uses algebra to understand the quantitative and qualitative nature of shapes. He is passionate about interactive teaching, course development, and education as a catalyst for personal growth.
Leann Mclaren is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Duke University. Her research interests are in race in American politics, Black political behavior, immigration, and group identity. Her dissertation research explores how Black immigrant candidates navigate identity in political campaigns. Her other projects include mapping Black political behavior through social movements, and political participation. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRFP), among others. She received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut, as well as her M.A. in political science from Duke University.
Originally from North Carolina, Monroe is a graduate student in the Neurobiology PhD program. They completed a joint bachelor’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill and the National University of Singapore, studying biology and graduating with highest honors. They currently research how our lungs respond to environmental challenges, such as viral infection or air pollution, to impact brain function. Monroe has long been interested in citizen science and public engagement and intends on continuing work making science more accessible to broad audiences. Alongside creating and translating research, Monroe is an active advocate in LGBTQ communities with a particular focus on improving opportunity for queer people in North Carolina.
Joseph Mulligan is a PhD candidate in Romance Studies and scholar of 19th- and 20th-century literatures and cultures of Spain, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. Combining intellectual history with literary theory and the sociology of cultural forms, his research interrogates the claims of national culture, theories of popular assembly, education reform in theory and practice, and the role of public intellectuals in the marketplace of ideas. His dissertation, Poetics of Revelation: Communities of the Literary Oracular in Transatlantic Modernism, examines the role of poets who radicalized politically in their youth only to retreat from politics after the Second World War and seek the imagined experience of unity in visionary poetry following the failure of radical forms of communitarian thought.
Judith Mwobobia is a global health graduate student from Nairobi in Kenya. Her formal education background is in microbiology but worked as a journalist for 10 years. Her interests are in health journalism and policymaking; two diverse fields but ones she believes will ultimately improve health and health equity in marginalized regions of the world.
Josue Nataren is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering program studying the heart and developing computational models to study diseases from a multi-physics, multi-scale perspective like Fibrosis and Atrial Fibrillation. He was born and raised in El Salvador. He came to the US in 2015 to Michigan State University to get his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Biomechanics. After graduating in 2019, he started the PhD program here at Duke that same year. Josue enjoyed being an undergraduate learning assistant in his undergrad career for two years; that motivated him to seek opportunities to keep teaching. He taught a pre-college program the summer of 2022, and he is excited to keep developing his teaching skills.
Son Nguyen (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics at Duke. His research focuses on studying the interactions between nucleons, which lead to the formation of atomic nuclei using modern theoretical tools such as effective field theories and lattice field theory. He is passionate about teaching and working with students. In Fall 2021, he was awarded the Bass Instructor of Record Fellowship to teach a physics course on Modern Physics for undergraduate students. Son was born and raised in Vietnam. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Nagoya University, Japan.
Emily Normand is a second year M.T.S. student with a concentration in Theology and the Arts at Duke Divinity School. She is interested in questions of decolonial aesthetics, theological aesthetics, and intercultural and cross-cultural dialogue in the modern and contemporary visual arts, specifically between Latin America and Europe. Her current research is on the lithographs of French-Mexican artist, Jean Charlot, and the significance of his life and work as a pioneer in multicultural art and scholarship. Before coming to Duke, Emily graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame where she earned her B.A. in the Program of Liberal Studies.
Brooke Olmstead holds a B.A. in English and Biblical Studies from Briercrest College and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School. She is currently beginning her second year of doctoral research in Duke’s Graduate Program in Religion. For several years, her research has focused on the reversal (and radicalization) of the Scriptural imagery for war and peace in the Gospel of Luke and in early Christian interpretation. In her more recent work, she asks how the interpretive practices of early Christians (and other readers from late antiquity) can challenge and broaden the scope of her own modern inclinations about reading and thinking. Following patristics scholars John Behr and Hans Boersma, her work defends the place of figural interpretations in the contemporary hermeneutical landscape.
Kira is a third-year medical student at the Duke University School of Medicine. Prior to enrolling in medical school, she received her Bachelor of Science degree at Duke University, where she studied Neuroscience and French & Francophone Studies. She then completed a year of service with AmeriCorps, serving as a medical caseworker for refugees in Pittsburgh, PA. Kira is thrilled to be able to continue her work with Carolina Outreach’s Assertive Community Treatment Team, partnering with individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in Durham to work toward their health goals.
As a dirt road academic, artist, and historian, Kamau is a Ph.D. student in the History Department at Duke. Their research uses historical narratives and oral histories in the U.S. South to explore Black, queer, and trans resistance and resiliency. Kamau is also interested in the history of the environment and unpacking its relationship to capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. Originally from Aiken, South Carolina, Kamau was awarded Charleston’s 50th Most Progressive list in 2015 and the Community Activism Award in 2016. Along with their scholarly pursuits, Kamau holds many political homes and non-profits close to their heart. These organizations are Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Tiger’s Eye Collective, Carolina Youth Action Project, and the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN).
Joseph Quinn is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology. His research explores how social contexts shape can people’s beliefs about different identity groups and affect broader patterns of inequality. Prior to his time at Duke, he worked as a physics teacher at a public high school in D.C., and spent several years evaluating the impacts of educational programs and social policies as a researcher at MDRC. Joe will continue his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina.
Matthew Reale-Hatem is a fourth year Ph.D candidate in the University Program in Environmental Policy. Their research interests are in the economics of natural resources, and currently include projects exploring disease management in aquaculture and ecosystem restoration programs. Prior to Duke, Matthew received a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Economics from Pomona College, and has worked as an educator in elementary schools, including a term of service with AmeriCorps.
Justine Robinson is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at Duke University. Her research interests include conflict resolution, humanitarian intervention, international relations, and U.S. civil-military relations. She grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has also lived in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College in 2017. She then worked at the National Audubon Society at their Washington D.C. location as a Program Associate in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion department. She later earned her master's degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University in 2021. Through this fellowship, she hopes to learn more about the political issues and structure of Durham, North Carolina.
Alejandra Salemi is a Doctoral student in the Population Health Sciences Department at Duke University. She is passionate about the intersection of public health and religion and wants to further explore how religion is a social determinant of public health. She is curious about the ways that religion impacts health decisions and behaviors, especially in different ethnic and racial communities and hopes to be a bridgebuilder between public health agencies and religious institutions. She is a recent graduate of Harvard University, with a Master of Theological Studies with a focus of Religion, Ethics, and Politics and also holds a Bachelor and Master of Public Health from the University of Florida. Alejandra is an immigrant from Colombia and is also passionate about increasing diversity and representation of Latinx scholars in academia, especially in religious and public health disciplines. She is a candidate for ordination in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Maeve Salm (she/hers) is a MSc student in Global Health student from Wisconsin. She recently completed her B.S. in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University and aspires to work toward global health equity through both medical and global health disciplines. In the future, she hopes to support communities in their efforts to improve maternal and child health outcomes as well as refugee and indigenous population health outcomes. While she is particularly passionate about these specific topics, she hopes to learn from and partner with individuals from a variety of disciplines, believing that every field has an imperative role to play in the health of our communities.
Laavanya is a Ph.D. candidate in the Genetics and Genomics program. Her research interests include understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation, population genetics and biology education. For her thesis she is researching the role of non-coding variants in the pathophysiology of polycystic ovarian syndrome. She is passionate about teaching and mentoring undergraduates, often incorporating themes of health disparities and ancestry, given the need for a broader understanding of biological concepts. Laavanya is from Chennai, Tamil Nadu where she graduated with B.S. Biotechnology Engineering from Anna University and earned her Master’s in Biotechnology from University of Pennsylvania in 2015.
Nikita Schwartzman is a second-year M.A. student in religious studies at Duke University. Her academic interests revolve around investigating how gender dynamics and dependencies on colonial theories impacts interpretation of religious law and how it translates to legislation in Islamic countries.
Wan Ning Seah is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Duke University. She studies the history of political thought and is interested in the role of religion in political life, how toleration is sustained in pluralistic societies, and the relationship between theory and practice. Her recent work examines the concept of civil religion in Rousseau’s Social Contract and its normative implications for our understanding of toleration in democratic societies. Prior to Duke, she worked as a Foreign Service Officer at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Wan Ning received her B.A. from Middlebury College.
Wan Ning Seah is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Duke University. Her research focuses on the relationship between religion and politics in the history of political thought. Her dissertation examines the case for toleration in contexts that extend beyond democracy, and the ways in which regime type shapes the practice and conception of toleration. Her recent work examines the concept of civil religion in Rousseau’s Social Contract and its normative implications for our understanding of toleration in democratic societies. Wan Ning received her B.A. from Middlebury College.
Ehsan Sheikholharam Mashhadi is a Teaching Fellow and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Holding graduate 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, Iran Namag, Maydan, and WIT Press. Ehsan also serves as a Graduate Fellow at the Parr Center for Ethics.
Anita Simha is a community ecologist interested in how legacies from the past can influence ecological communities in the present day. Currently, they are a PhD candidate in the University Program in Ecology and are jointly pursuing a Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and a Certificate in College Teaching. They received a BS in Quantitative Biology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2017. As a member of Duke Biology’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism (IDEA) graduate committee, they co-created “IDEA in Biology,” a graduate seminar. Additionally, they have taught about cultural influences on botanical research at the Durham County Library and Duke Gardens. Since 2018, they have served on the Board of Directors of Clean Water for North Carolina.
Jordan Sjol is a cinema and media studies scholar and a PhD candidate in the Program in Literature. His research is broadly focused on media technologies and global power regimes. His dissertation, Cash Flows, tracks the rise of financial engineering in the US from 1958 to the market crash of 1987. He began teaching in 2012 at an experimental middle and high school, and he’s been thinking about pedagogy ever since, including as a member of the Certificate in College Teaching, a Preparing Future Faculty fellow, a fellow of the PhD lab in Digital Knowledge, and a Bass Digital Education Fellow. He also maintains a para-academic practice in the film industry as a producer and writer.
Adam Soliman is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics. He is broadly interested in how we shape and are shaped by our environment, with specific research interests in the economics of crime and education. Adam holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Health Science from Boston University, an M.S. in Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics from Michigan State University, and an M.A. in Economics from UC San Diego. Before starting graduate school, he taught math and economics in Dubai and took a year off to travel.
Kara Stark is a Ph.D. candidate in the Genetics and Genomics Program. She is from St. Louis, Missouri and earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Butler University in 2020. At Duke, her research examines mobile DNA elements called endogenous retroviruses. Prior research has categorized endogenous retroviruses as ‘parasitic DNA’ which can be damaging to human health. However, Kara is exploring how activity of endogenous retroviruses during development may be beneficial. Kara is also passionate about science outreach and hopes to share her love of research with young scientists.
Kevin Sun is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science. He grew up in New Jersey and majored in mathematics and computer science at Rutgers University. His research focuses on combining theoretical computer science with modern advances in machine learning. He is also interested in education; he has written a mini textbook on undergraduate algorithms and has served as an instructor for the same topic. Outside of work, he enjoys writing and tinkering with his website, kevinsun.org.
Becky Tang is a Ph.D. student in Statistical Science. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and received her B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Swarthmore College in 2018. Her research involves developing statistical models for ecological problems, such as understanding the interactions that exist in animal communities. Becky is a proponent of interdisciplinary education, and works as a project manager on a Bass Connections project at Duke to understand relationships between mental health and recidivism. She is passionate about undergraduate STEM education and, in particular, supporting women and students from minority backgrounds in pursuing their academic goals. She is also an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.
Liann Tucker is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology. She is from Los Angeles, California and received her B.A. in Sociology from University of California, Davis in 2017. Her primary research areas are social network analysis and adolescence. She use network analysis to study adolescent mental health and health-risk behaviors. Other areas of her work include social network methodology and interracial victimization and friendships. In her dissertation she focuses on adolescent friendship stability, specifically the consequences of low stability and factors that are related to enduring friendships.
Hwai-Ray (Ray) Tung is a 5th year PhD candidate in the math department. With the guidance of his advisor, Rick Durrett, he has used stochastic processes and dynamical systems to work on a variety of problems in mathematical biology, including cancer, epidemic and ecological modeling. Ray has taught multiple times as a TA and an instructor, and he has had the privilege of mentoring undergraduate research thrice through the Duke math department's DOmath program.
Isaac S. Villegas is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Religion at Duke University. His research focuses on communities in the U.S./Mexico borderlands that have developed religious rituals and liturgies to remember and honor the lives of people who’ve died while crossing through the desert. More broadly, he is interested in the connection between the memorialization of victims and the formation of political imaginations.
Allison Wattenbarger is a doctoral student at Duke Divinity School in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament with a secondary focus in Israel and Palestine Studies. Her research explores the relationship between the academic field of biblical studies and lived theology and politics in Israel and Palestine. Allison received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Div. from Duke Divinity School.
Andrew Wrench is a Ph.D. student in environmental toxicology. He graduated from Howard University in 2021, with a B.S. in Psychology. His research interests include understanding how pollutants lead to diseases like cancer. Eventually, he'd like to work in academia as a professor and conduct research, but also teach and engage others in the field, as he highly values new perspectives and diversity in toxicology, so a clearer picture of the consequences of pollution can be shown. Outside of research and coursework, he loves cars!
Eric is a Sloan Scholar and third-year PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests involve clarifying the concepts learned by machine learning (ML) and making ML more reliable for safety-critical applications. He is from Gainesville, Florida and graduated with a B.E. in Computer Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2019. Eric is partnering with Durham Public Schools (DPS) to provide a free afterschool robotics club for local middle schools that need more STEM-based afterschool opportunities. The initiative aims to promote student interest in engineering disciplines through fun, interactive robotics challenges – students will work in teams to program robots to navigate obstacle courses, understand voice commands, and interact with other robots through Internet of Things (IoT) communication.
Soohyun Yoon (She, her, hers) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies. Her research interests are centered around religious art and women agencies of pre-modern East Asia. While writing her dissertation on Buddhist paintings by women artists of 16th-and 17th-century China, she plans to broaden her research to the fields of Japanese and Korean art, incorporating more diverse religions. She is passionate about teaching and believes that university education should help students to connect to the artworks of the world. Before coming to Duke, Soohyun graduated from Seoul National University, South Korea, with an M.A. in Art History.