Meet the SSN Graduate Fellows for 2016-2017
Regional and working groups in the Scholars Strategy Network choose a graduate student fellow each year. Our fourth class includes twenty young women and men studying at universities from the North to the South and from the Atlantic to the mid-Pacific. Each is doing cutting-edge research that speaks to critical public challenges.
To learn more about each of the 2016-17 Fellows, click on a name to see the person's full profile with research interests and civic involvements.
Joseph Anthony, Confluence SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Political Science, University of Missouri, St. Louis
Anthony’s research interest include elections administration and voting rights, social movements, and political parties. See his recent Basic Facts brief, “The Importance of Updating the Help America Vote Act,” here.
Rawan Arar, San Diego SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of California, San Diego
Arar’s research focuses on international immigration, refugee studies, race and ethnicity, citizenship, human rights, gender, law, and conflict. Read her recent Basic Facts Brief, “National Challenges in Today’s Global Refugee Crisis,” here.
Michael Baker, Tennessee SSN Graduate Fellow
Master of Education Candidate in International Education Policy and Management, Vanderbilt University
Baker specializes in Information and Communications Technology policy, efficacy, and implementation in K-12 schools. To read the brief he co-authored with Annalee Good and Carolyn Heinrich, “What State and Local Agencies Need to Know Before Making Large-Scale Purchases of Digital Technologies,” click here.
Amanda Bertana, Utah SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Utah
Bertana’s research focuses on relocation as an adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Click here to read her recent brief, “How a Community in Fiji Relocated to Adapt to Climate Change.”
Evan Crawford, Madison SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in American Politics and Political Theory, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Crawford’s research interests include civic engagement, education, elections, and voting behavior. Read his brief, “The Partisan Nature of Nonpartisan School Boards,” here.
Kushan Dasgupta, Los Angeles Unified SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Public Policy, University of Southern California
Dasgupta’s research examines non-union labor organizations and how they organize and advocate in pursuit of policy goals. See his Basic Facts brief, “How Improved Partnerships between Government and Community Organizations Can Help Implement Minimum Wage Increases,” here.
Isaac Jabola-Carolus, New York City SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Sociology, City University of New York
Jabola-Carolus researches labor and social movements, urban politics, and participatory democracy. Read his Basic Facts brief, “How Participatory Budgeting Strengthens Communities and Improves Local Governance,” here.
Estilla Lightfoot, New Orleans SSN Graduate Fellow
Lightfoot conducts research on special education in New Orleans and nationwide, with a focus on how policy changes affect special education funding structures in charter and public schools. Click here to read her Basic Facts brief, “How Revised Charter School Criteria Could Help Reduce the Epidemic of Disconnected Youth in New Orleans.”
Markie McBrayer, Texas SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Political Science, University of Houston
McBrayer is interested in using geography to examine health care inequities across the United States, with a focus on the urban/rural divide. See the Basic Facts brief she co-authored with Ling Zhu, “While California Expands Insurance Coverage, Texas Blocks Health Reform - Despite Greater Needs,” here.
Eric Schwab, Northwest SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Political Science, University of Washington
Schwab studies American political development, security and development assistance, political economy, and economic inequality and housing policy. His recent Basic Facts brief, “Seeking Inclusive Policy Solutions for Greater Seattle,” focuses on Seattle’s increasing racial and economic inequalities.
Benjamin Shestakofsky, Bay Area SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Shestakofsky’s research examines the changing nature of work, organizations, and markets in the digital age. Click here to read his recent brief, “How Software Automation Changes Work - And Creates New Workforce Challenges - In the Digital Age.”
Cirila Estela Vasquez Guzman, Southwest SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of New Mexico
Vasquez Guzman specializes in medical sociology, race/ethnicity, and health policy. See her recent Basic Facts brief, “How Training in Cultural Competence can Improve Medical Education,” here.
Natalie Veldhouse, Iowa SSN Graduate Fellow
Graduate Research Assistant and Master of Social Work Candidate, University of Iowa
Veldhouse’s research interests involve poverty, morality, social policy, and community development. Click here to read the brief she co-authored with David E. Frisvold, “How Food Stamps and Pantries Succeed - and Fall Short - at Alleviating Hunger in an Iowa County and Beyond.”
Kirsten Widner, Atlanta SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Political Science, Emory University
Widner’s research is focused on democratic participation by non-voters, including those who are legally prevented from voting, as well as those who face structural barriers to voting. See her recent Basic Facts brief (co-authored with Richard F. Doner), “School Readiness and Equal Opportunity Start at Birth,” here.
Jennifer Wilczynski, Boston SSN Graduate Fellow
Masters of Science Candidate in International Relations and Affairs, Suffolk University
Wilczynski’s areas of expertise include campaign research and marketing. Click here to read her Basic Facts brief, “The Past and Future of the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
Curtis Williams, New Jersey SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Public Affairs, Rutgers University-Camden
Williams’ research focuses on issues that intersect both education and criminal justice policy, specifically the school-to-prison pipeline. Read his Basic Facts brief, “Best Practices for Police Officers Assigned to Schools,” here.
Youngmin Yi, Finger Lakes SSN Graduate Fellow
PhD Candidate in Sociology, Policy Analysis & Management, Cornell University
Yi studies social institutions and policies that shape racial, ethnic, and immigrant inequality in the United States. To read her recent Key Findings brief (co-authored with Christopher Wildeman and Kristen Turney), “Do Inmates’ Families Do Better or Worse Depending on Whether Fathers are Sent to Jails or to State or Federal Prisons?” click here.