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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.