The Reilly Center is pleased to announce its third and final cohort in the NSF-funded Social Responsibilities for Researchers (SRR) program.  We are fortunate to once again welcome an exceptionally strong and truly diverse set of STEM PhD students. 

All branches of STEM (natural sciences, social sciences and engineering) are represented, but this year social scientists were predominant in the applications.  This year's new cohort consists of ten social scientists (3 sociologists, 3 psychologists, 2 anthropologists and 2 political scientists), four natural scientists (2 chemists, a biologist and a physicist) and two engineers (electrical and biological).  

For 2017, the SRR cohort is:

Sevda Arslan, a first-year doctoral student in the anthropology department focusing on linguistic and social-cultural anthropology. Her dissertation centers on minority migrant populations in plural societies with the example of an Iranic group, called Zaza among many names, originating from Turkey. More specifically, her research focuses on the linguistic, identitarian, and social relations of the Zazaki community in Germany and Turkey.

Emmanuel Cannady, a first-year Sociology student conducting research on race, gender, and social movements particularly mechanisms for pro-social behavior response to racial discrimination and researching the New Civil Rights Movement of the 21st century. Emmanuel wants to find ways for his research to be more available to community organizations, activists, and the general public.

JJ Christofferson, a die-hard skateboarder and sociologist. He works as an urban ethnographer interested in the social construction of neighborhood identity. He is using the SRR program as a conduit to give back to the neighborhood where his research takes place.

Colin Dassow, a first year biology student conducting research on anthropogenic impacts on lakes, particularly fisheries. He is also interested in how anthropogenic impacts affect interactions between ecology and evolution in aquatic ecosystems. He hopes to connect recreational fishery users from Northern Wisconsin to research happening in their area.

Brenna Gomer, a first-year Psychology PhD student conducting research on statistical methodology for non-ideal data (for example, data with missing observations or violated distributional assumptions), particularly in the context of structural equation modeling. She is interested in finding ways to bridge the gap between methodologists and substantive researchers to improve access to cutting-edge statistical methodologies and to determine which methodological issues need future study.

Megan Levis, a second-year Bioengineering student conducting research on the signaling pathways in tissue growth and regeneration. Megan is developing resources for local students to learn about STEM through science fair. She has interests in engineering policy, ethics and science literacy.

Qimin Liu, a first-year psychology student conducting research methodology and behavioral statistics. His current research involves developing statistical methods to correct misused statistical methods in social and behavioral science. He is interested in implementation and dissemination of up-to-date statistical methods in empirical research, in particular, of social and behavioral science.

Brandy Sky Martinez, a second year Clinical Psychology student funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Under the direction of Professors Michelle M. Wirth and Cindy Bergeman, Brandy examines stress and coping using an emotion regulation framework. Brandy aims to make her research more accessible to vulnerable, at-risk populations in communities with limited access to empirically supported mental-health resources.

Rachel Miller, a second year student in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She is working to develop yeast biosensors for use in technology-limited settings, and is interested in exploring how society may be impacted by this work and how to effectively communicate scientific research to the public. She is particularly interested in outreach that encourages scientific development at a young age and makes science more approachable.

Maria Cristina Miranda Vergara, a second-year Biochemistry student conducting research on the role of the protein MMP3 (matrix metalloproteinase 3) in the microenvironment in breast cancer progression. She plans to communicate to laypeople what she does as a scientist in a cancer research lab and how it impacts society to ultimately communicate why additional resources are still needed for research.

Andrea Pena-Vasquez, a second year Political Science student conducting research on transnational migration. She is interested in the factors that promote or inhibit the social, political, and economic integration of immigrants in their new societies. Andrea would like to make her findings accessible to policymakers, community organizations, and the general public.

Kayla Pierce, a second-year sociology student and Presidential Fellow conducting research on group processes, identities, and emotions. Her goal is to assist non-academics in integrating research findings in order to decrease inequality, strengthen family units, and increase quality of life.

Joyce Rivera-Gonzalez, a first-year Anthropology student whose research focuses on human-nonhuman primate interactions in Puerto Rico, particularly through the lens of multispecies ethnography and postcolonialism. Joyce is interested in increasing diversity of perspectives in academia, specifically in the field of anthropology and social sciences. She is also interested in making anthropology accessible for the community and, particularly, to students in the public school system. She would like to develop an interactive after-school program for K-12 students, with the purpose of introducing students to the social sciences and thinking critically about society, with a focus on students from underrepresented communities in the field.

Ilana Rothkopf is a first year PhD student in International Relations and Comparative Politics. Her research interests include international law, foreign policy, and human rights, particularly the politics of international sanctions and their implementation against non-state actors. She is interested in making information about rights and responsibilities regarding U.S. anti-money laundering regulations available to members of the South Bend community.

Nirupama Sensharma, a second-year Physics student from India conducting research on Experimental Nuclear Physics. Her work involves performing experiments to study the structure of various exotic nuclei. She is interested in developing a series of seminars and experimental demonstrations for introducing a non-science population to the basic applications of Nuclear Physics.