Penn-Birmingham Transatlantic Fellowship Program: 2022-2023 Fellows

Find out more about the Penn-Birmingham Transatlantic Fellows Program

Hajer Al-Faham  

Hajer Al-Faham is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Political Science. Hajer’s research explores the relationships between politics, inequality, and group identity. She specializes in the fields of race and ethnicity, citizenship, immigration, religion, and urban politics. To date, her research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed venues, including Perspectives on Politics and the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. As a doctoral student, Hajer’s work has been supported by several organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the National Science Foundation, and the American Political Science Association. Hajer’s dissertation, Contingent Citizenship: Muslims in America, studies the political incorporation and exclusion of Arab, Black, and South Asian American Muslims. After completing her doctoral studies in June of 2022, Hajer is eager to conduct civically engaged research while teaching and mentoring the next generation of university students.  

Hajer Al-Faham

Melisa Argañaraz Gomez (she/her/ella)  

Melisa is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her current areas of research include urban geography, Latin American feminisms (Feminismos del Abya Yala), migration studies, and critical race theory with a focus on young people. Her research examines how racialized (im)migrant Latin American children and youth experience, negotiate, challenge narratives of deservingness in cities that promote migration for urban development. She explores how Black, Brown, and Indigenous (im)migrant youth build community, create spaces of care, reciprocity, and solidarity to achieve migrant justice in spaces of erasure. Her research contributes to how we theorize about (im)migrant children and youth and to challenge western terms like citizenship. In her research, she employs a variety of community-based action methods. Some of her projects include “All about Baltimore Map” in partnership with Latinx summer scholars in Centro Sol- Center of Salud/Health for Latinos and “Parqueologia Migrante” ( in collaboration with al Latinas Migrantes and CASA de Maryland. Her research is funded by the Dresher Center for Humanities at UMBC, Baltimore Field School, and UUSC Participatory Action Research Grant. 

She earned a BS in Sociology at the University of Granada, and she holds a master’s degree in Urban Sociology from the University of Amsterdam.

melisa gomezPhoto credit: Mariana Orellana  

Ariana Ávila 

Ariana Ávila is a PhD student of sociocultural/medical anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is interested in addressing questions related to how white supremacy persists within Florida agribusinesses and shapes Southwest Florida’s (SWFL) racialized built environment; how food networks are enacted through practices of care and food security for farmworkers (and their families) from Haiti living in rural SWFL; and how U.S. immigration policies continue to affect food and health outcomes for farmworkers (and their families) from Haiti living in rural SWFL.

At UNC, she is a part of the UndocuCarolina initiative; the Graduate Certificate in Literature, Medicine, and Culture; and, the Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. Ariana earned her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of South Florida and her Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Prior to beginning her PhD program, Ariana served as a Global Health Fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (2016-2019). Ariana is from a Mexican migrant farmworker family, born and raised in Arcadia, Florida. Ariana loves cooking, gardening, plants, and most of the time, blending the three. 

ariana avila

Stacey L. Bevan

Stacey is a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research centers immigrant wellness, children and structural contributions to mental health disparities. Her dissertation investigates the discrepancy between exposures known to contribute to developmental-behavioral concerns in children and access to medical diagnoses that qualify families for community-based services. Stacey maintains a practice as a pediatric registered nurse and collaborates with clinical researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Stacey holds a BSN in Nursing from Penn and a dual BS in International Relations and Biology from Tufts University. Her scholarship is supported by The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation program for Nursing Innovation and Institute of Education Sciences. 

stacey bevan

Ludmila Bogdan 

Ludmila Bogdan's research centers on the interplay of labor migration, human trafficking, and migration information campaigns in Europe. She has a Ph.D. in Political Sciences from the University of Vienna and Postdoctoral Training in Sociology from Harvard University.

Her recent work uncovers why poorer people aspire less to migrate than those from wealthier economic backgrounds in Moldova. Currently, Ludmila is conducting field research in Palermo (Italy) to understand the migration imaginaries of African youth as they navigate the immigration system and life in a new country. She held academic positions at Harvard University, Max Planck Institute, Georgetown University, University of Vienna, and Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. In addition, Ludmila gained practical experience in multilateral diplomacy and international security through positions at the Women in International Security – Austria, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs, and the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. 

Sarah Bruhn

Sarah is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Visiting Fellow at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development. Her research broadly examines how immigration and education policies are experienced by immigrant children and families in geographically specific ways, shaping their opportunities for inclusion in the United States. Her book project, Fragile Belonging: How Immigrant Women Resist Displacement, examines how Latina immigrant mothers navigate racialized federal immigration policies, local sanctuary ordinances, and gendered family roles, while contending with gentrifying neighborhoods. Her research has been published in Teachers College Record, the Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and the Journal of Social Issues (find out more about her research)Sarah received her PhD from Harvard University. Prior to graduate school, she taught kindergarten and third grade in a two-way immersion dual language program in a public school in Washington, DC, and middle and high school English in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. 

Sarah Bruhn

Gabrielle Cabrera

Gabrielle Cabrera is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Broadly, her interests include affect, labor, kinship, gender, diversity, space & place, writing ethnography. She is a contributing author to We Are Not Dreamers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States. Her research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, National Science Foundation, and Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund.  

gabrielle cabrera

Xuemei Cao 

Xuemei Cao is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her research interests include immigration, family, aging, gender, and networks. She published her works in Sociology Compass; Social Science & Medicine; and Innovation in Aging. She is currently working on her dissertation titled “Growing Old American: How Chinese Immigrants Age in the United States”. She holds a MA in sociology and BA in journalism from Sun Yat-sen University, China. 

xuemmei cao

Estefania Castañeda Pérez (both are my last names)

Estefania Castañeda Pérezis a doctoral candidate at the UCLA Department of Political Science. Trained as an interdisciplinary scholar, her research primarily focuses on mental health, gender, race and ethnicity, the conceptualization and consequences of violence, and border politics. Her dissertation examines how the lives of transborder commuters are impacted by their border crossing experiences and interactions with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Secondly, her dissertation examines the various dimensions of violence experienced by transborder commuters throughout their daily lives, including legal, state, and gender violence. She is conducting virtual and in-person fieldwork for her dissertation, including interviews, participant observations, and surveys, at three ports of entry: Tijuana-San Ysidro, Nogales (Sonora)-Nogales (Arizona), and Ciudad Juárez-El Paso. Castañeda Pérez’ educational aspirations and research projects have been motivated by her experience commuting daily from Tijuana to San Diego as a transborder student for a borderless pursuit of education.  Her research is supported by the APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Her work has been published in Politics, Groups, and Identities, and in academic blogs such as NACLA and the NYU Latinx Project Intervenxions Blog. Castañeda Pérez has a master’s degree in political science from UCLA, and a bachelor’s degree in political science with an honours minor in interdisciplinary studies from San Diego State University.

Yareli Castro Sevilla 

Yareli Castro Sevilla is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Harvard University, with a secondary field in Latinx Studies. Her dissertation Imaginarios de Sinidad: Culture, Identity and Memory of Chinese-Mexicans in Contemporary México, takes a migrant-centered approach to explore Chinese-Mexican cultural productions, paying specific attention to self-identities, historical preservation, and community and cultural revitalization. Her dissertation is the first comprehensive study of contemporary Chinese-Mexican communities in México. As a formerly undocumented immigrant and a descendant of Sinaloense Chinese-Mexicans, immigration is an integral part of her story and a guiding factor for her scholarship and approaches to research. Having come from a lineage of migrants, she is passionate about storytelling and a truly interdisciplinary approach to studying immigration. 

yareli castro sevilla

Herrison Chicas

Herrison Chicas is a Ph.D. Candidate in Organizational Behavior at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School. His research examines the psychological effects of immigration on migrants and their descendants. Specifically, Chicas looks at the psychological contract immigrants develop with their children, and how such contract leads to status-striving and well-being outcomes. His work has been supported by UNC Kenan-Flagler’s P. Rao & Venku M. Chatrathi Doctoral Scholarship and by the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s Jenessa Shapiro Graduate Research Award.  

herrison chicas

Bircan Ciytak

Bircan Ciytak is a PhD student at the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS). Her research focuses on third-generation German-born Turks in Germany (migrants without migration experience) and aims to identify factors that shape their sense of belonging and identity, by further considering the role of Diaspora institutions and Umbrella Organisation. 

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Hannover, Germany and graduated with a Master’s degree in International Relations (International Political Economy) at the University of Birmingham. Since 2018, Bircan has been working as a Research and Teaching assistant at the University of Birmingham.

Bircan Civtak

Marie Clancy

Marie's work to date clinically has focused on paediatric oncology and palliative care, with a focus on cultural dimensions and influences. Her master’s in Public Health expanded upon this clinical work with a dissertation focusing on children’s pain in Sub Saharan Africa. Marie has worked in academic nurse education roles for the last 12 years and currently works at the University of Exeter as a Senior Lecturer in the Academy of Nursing and as the nursing Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) lead. 

Marie's PhD work explores the experiences of asylum seeker and refugee families in children’s palliative care services. The study uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis methodology to explore the lived experiences of families and the staff who care for them in hospital, hospice and community care. Marie also utilises creative arts-based research approaches including the creation of poetic works with family members and advisory groups to aid expression and enhance understanding of their experiences. Advisory group members from different perspectives including palliative care, children and young people's health, bereaved parents and refugee associations are crucial to this study and work closely with Marie to share their expertise and help inform the study from commencement to study recommendations.

marie clancy

Oscar R. Cornejo Casares

Oscar Cornejo Casares is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University and a Law & Social Science Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. He is a sociologist of law, race, and migration, researching the intersectional lives of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

His research agenda follows two broad research streams: (1) post-assimilation theories of immigration, race, and ethnicity as well as (2) the micro-sociology of migrant illegality. Oscar’s doctoral research, “The Life and Afterlife of Migrant Illegality,” investigates the long-term consequences of undocumented status through in-depth life history interviews of undocumented and formerly undocumented immigrants from the Chicagoland area. He earned is B.A. in Sociology and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College where he also co-produced the award-winning documentary, Change the Subject. 

Oscar Cornejo Casares

Gabriella D’Avino

Gabriella D’Avino is undertaking a PhD in Social Policy funded by the Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP at the University of Birmingham.

Her PhD looks at the social networks of refugees resettled in the UK through the Community Sponsorship Scheme and the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. She has researched refugee resettlement and community sponsorship programmes for the Home Office in the UK, the SHARE QSN in Europe project and the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub. Gabriella D’Avino is further a Community Sponsorship Champion for Sponsor Refugees and the chair of a community sponsorship group in London.

Gabriella D'Avino

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana 

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana is a doctoral candidate in the Spanish and Portuguese department at the University of California Davis. Her emphasis is on Latin American Literatures and Cultures with a designated emphasis on Human Rights. Her area of research focuses on digital storytelling, testimonial literature, and 20th and 21st Century Mexican, Mexican-American, and Chicano/a Literature and Culture.

Her current research centers on US childhood arrivals and intends to draw attention to a range of ethical-oriented concerns regarding the legal treatment of this group. Specifically, she focuses on the illegalization of a generation of immigrants raised in the country vulnerable to deportation and who have faced deportation. In her contribution, she coins the Childhood Arrivals Critical Theory (CACrit) framework, the Childhood Arrivals Diaspora, and introduces a more general definition of this group.

Her academic path and research projects have been motivated by her upbringing in a mixed-status family, community organizing around immigrant rights issues, and her ongoing participation as a researcher in the Humanizing Deportation project. Her activist-oriented public scholarship includes the Playas de Tijuana Mural Project, an interactive mural on the Mexican side of the westernmost point of the US-Mexico border, which documents the stories and portraits of (deported) US childhood arrivals. Other digital humanities projects include the Leave No One Behind Mural project and DACAmented: DREAMs Without Borders digital storytelling project.  

De La Cruz has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Spanish Latin American Literatures and Cultures from Fresno State.

Lizbeth Santana

Vanessa Delgado 

Vanessa Delgado is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at UC, Irvine. Her research interests include immigration, children of immigrants, Latinx families, and qualitative research methodology. 

Her dissertation explores how immigration laws and policies shape the brokering patterns of Latinx families in Southern California. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 150 Latinx young adults and their immigrant parents, she uncovers how legal status shapes the ways adult children of immigrants serve as language, cultural, and legal brokers for their families. Articles from this project have been published in Law & Policy, Journal of Latinos and Education, and Sociology Compass.  Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation Fellowship, National Science Foundation, The University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS), UC Consortium on Social Science and Law, and other internal fellowships at UCI. 

Vanessa holds a MA in Sociology from UCI and a BA from Washington State University.

Vanessa Delgado

Dylan Farrell-Bryan 

​​Dylan Farrell-Bryan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. candidate at Yale Law School. Her research examines the functioning of immigration law on the ground, with particular attention to how recent changes in enforcement, labor conditions, and decision-making have remapped the immigration court process in the United States.

In her dissertation Dylan examines removal hearings in Baltimore’s Immigration Court, asking how court actors (immigration judges and ICE attorneys) understand and negotiate their preferences, norms, and constraints within the courtroom, and how the exercise of discretion shapes granting relief or ordering removal? Empirically, this research draws on ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and statistical analyses of court proceedings to trace the processes and decision-making that shape the theater – and outcome – of removal proceedings in the immigration courtroom. Theoretically, this research is anchored in theories of occupational identity and legitimacy, street-level bureaucracy, and legal compliance. In addition to her dissertation, Dylan’s research has focused on the changing dynamics of immigrant legal incorporation and subfederal immigration enforcement. Her work has been published in the Annual Review of SociologyHealth AffairsLaw & Society Review. 

Dylan Farrell-Bryan

Kristina Fullerton Rico 

Kristina Fullerton Ricois a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her ethnographic research focuses on the experiences of unauthorized Mexican immigrants and their families who are physically divided –– due to the tightening Mexico–U.S. border –– but digitally close thanks to accessible communication technologies. Kristina’s Master’s thesis found that mothers with children on either side of the border use technology to forge bonds of “digital siblinghood” between siblings who have never met. Her dissertation focuses on the experiences of older adults who are aging while undocumented. Using a transnational lens, this project examines how individuals cope with social exclusion and uncertainty, as well as sources of social support for older immigrants in the United States and for older return migrants in Mexico. 

If Kristina had to sum up the key takeaways from her research in just a few lines, she would explain that most migrants who are undocumented hope to adjust their status in order to be able to return to their communities of origin without having to leave the United States for good. In short, unauthorized immigrants are not just afraid of being deported; they also fear not being able to see the people they love — in both of their home countries — again. Kristina’s research has been supported by Sociologists for Women in Society. 

Kristina Fullerton Rico

Ramon Garibaldo Valdez

Ramon Garibaldo Valdez is a Ph.D. Candidate at Yale University's Political Science Department. His dissertation research focuses on the collective resistance of illegalized migrant communities against the violence of America's deportation machine, both through collective defiance and everyday resistance. Ramon is broadly interested on issues around social movements, race and ethnicity, and immigration. He's currently the student coordinator of Yale's Political Violence and Its Legacies (PVL) Workshop, as well as a fellow with the Institute for Social and Policy Studies at Yale.

Ramon Garibaldo Valdez

Miriam Gartner 

Miriam is a PhD student in the Department of English Literature at the University of Birmingham, based in the College of Arts and Law. Her research focuses on contemporary transnational performances that stage European border politics, migration regimes, and transborder solidarities. By analysing productions from 2016 to 2021, she explores how theatre has interacted with shifting understandings of humanitarianism, community, decoloniality, solidarity, and human rights in recent years.

Before her time at the University of Birmingham, Miriam completed BA degrees in Anglophone and German Language & Literature (University of Innsbruck) and an MA degree in Transnational Studies (University College London). She has also spent time at several media and publishing houses and currently works as a book editor for an Austrian publisher.

Giovanna Antonella Gini

Giovanna Gini is a PhD student working on mobilities in the Anthropocene with a focus on South America. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Trento, Italy; where also in 2018 she completed her MA in European and International Studies with a thesis of the title: ‘Migration as an Adaptation Strategy: A case study of Tanzania’. Since 2018 she is part of the Mobile People PhD programme, a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London and Leverhulme Trust Doctoral - QMUL-LTDS. She also collaborates with the South American Network for Environmental Migrations (RESAMA).

Giovanna Antonella Gini

Maheen Haider ​​

Maheen Haider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She recently received her PhD in Sociology from Boston College.

She  uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the issues of Migration, Race, and Ethnicity. She investigates the complex interplay of intersectional identities (i.e., Race, Religion, and Class) underlined by the political contexts of the post-9/11 and the War on Terror Era. Additionally, her research also examines racialized representations of Muslim identities across popular media, contributing to the knowledge of race, ethnicity, and media studies. This project illustrates the imperialistic and ideological notions of how religion is vilified in contemporary ways to justify the logic of the War on Terror. Articles from this project have been published in the ASA journal of Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. 

Previously, she was the Harvard Immigration Initiative Fellow at Harvard University, and the Clough Fellow at Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy at Boston College. Before moving to the US, she worked with the private sector and non-profit organizations working on social development projects in the UK and Pakistan. 

Maheen Haider

Nuni Jorgensen 

Nuni Jorgensen is a Geography PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and a Leverhulme doctoral scholar. She holds a M.A in Demography from the Centre for Development and Regional Planning (Cedeplar, Brazil). Before starting her PhD at QMUL, Nuni worked as Population Data and Research advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), where she specialised in the monitoring and evaluation of projects focused on human mobility. Her research interests include transnational families, care, migration governance and the temporalities of migration. Her doctoral research analyses how transnational Venezuelan families negotiate migration and care in contexts of political and economic uncertainty.

Nuni Jorgenson

A. Nicole Kreisberg 

Nicole is a David E. Bell Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Population Development Studies. Her research examines the social, legal, and organizational causes of labor market inequalities across and among immigrants. Her first book project combines a field experiment—a correspondence audit study—in-depth interviews, and a survey experiment to evaluate the effects of nativity on Latino males’ employment. Nicole’s research can be found in Social Forces, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and the Industrial and Labor Relations Review.

Nicole holds a PhD in Sociology from Brown University, an AM in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to graduate school, Nicole worked for several non-profit organizations researching refugee resettlement and wage inequalities among immigrants.

Nicole Kreisberg

Eric Macias 

Eric Macias is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies Department at SUNY at Albany. His dissertation explores the ways in which undocumented youth who are pushed-out of school before graduating negotiate a sense of inclusion and belonging in a neighboring county to Washington DC. More broadly, his academic interests are based on topics of race and ethnicity, undocumented migration, citizenship, alternative education, youth studies, Latinx studies, and transnational migration. 

Eric holds a M.A. from the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies Department at the University at Albany. Eric earned an Honorable Mention for the 2021 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Prior to his academic experience, he worked with disconnected youth of color in the Washington DC area for seven years. 

Eric Macias

Leslie S. Molina

Leslie S. Molina is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Glasgow. She holds a Masters in Migration, Superdiversity and Policy from the University of Birmingham and obtained her Bachelor's (dual degree) in Philosophy, Politics and Law and Sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Her current research focuses on a transatlantic analysis of the UK’s and US’s migration policies and enforcement actions. More specifically, her research is a comparative analysis of meso-level, between politics and everyday life, in which migration policies are articulated on the grounds of the state-promoted and state-regulated notions of rights and law. Legal practitioners working within the confines of the laws and politics of migration challenge and negotiate such notions and practices. Her research provides a meso-level analytical exploration on litigation strategies, their underpinning ideologies and aims vis-a-vis state regulations and policies, which she sees as emanations of the racial state, ruled by nationalist leadership. By uncovering such ideologies and strategies of support, her research will provide a particularized account of how the racial state is mediated and how state-legal and policy racism is challenged in practice.

Leslie also works part-time, remotely, at the Neighbors Link Community Law Practice, located in Ossining, N.Y., as a Department of Justice Accredited Representative where she provides pro bono immigration legal representation to immigrants in the community.

Leslie Molina

Natasha Nicholls  

Natasha Nicholls is a PhD student based within the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham, UK. She holds an LLB in Law and Sociology and an LLM in Human Rights Law, both from Cardiff University, Wales.

Her doctoral research focuses on the UK Community Sponsorship Scheme (CS), a community activated refugee resettlement scheme. Her research specifically explores the experiences of the volunteers involved with the scheme, on the relationships between the volunteers and the refugees and how involvement in CS shapes the civil society trajectory of volunteers. She recently co-authored an article which explored the cycle of emotions within CS. She also works as an RA on a project focusing on migrant descendants' intercultural competence.  

Natasha Nicholls

Briana Nichols 

Briana Nichols received a joint Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Education and the department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Latin American Studies at Rutgers University. Departing from scholarship that focuses on future-making in terms of youth mobility, her work centers on youth living in communities of extensive migration who fight for non-migratory futures. Specifically, she examines the intersection between transnational development, international migration, and indigenous youth future-making in Guatemala. Broadly, Briana’s interests include diasporic social and political formations, affect, gender, and youth futures.  Her research has been generously supported by a NAEd/Spencer Foundation Fellowship as well as a University of California Irvine Global Studies fellowship, and her can be found in Language & Communication, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnologies, and VOLUTNAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.  As well as the public facing Center For Migration Studies New York, Anthropology News and Youth Circulations.  

Briana Nichols

Angie N. Ocampo

Angie N. Ocampo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh and a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University during 2021-2022. Her research examines the social and political incorporation of racial and ethnic minorities, with a particular focus on the heterogeneity of the Latina/o/x population in the United States. Ocampo’s work compares multiple viewpoints, examining Latina/o/x political attitudes as well as those of White and Black Americans. Her current project examines where Latinas/os/xs fit into conceptualizations of who is an American, as well as the consequences of being included or excluded from this group. Ocampo received her PhD in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021.

Angie Ocampo

Loïc Pignolo 

Loïc Pignolo is a PhD student and a teaching assistant at the department of sociology of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. In his research, he investigates two informal economic activities in Geneva, namely the dealing of cannabis in the streets and the domestic cleaning for private households. Based on qualitative data, Loïc seeks to understand how economic actors manage to make transactions despite the illegalization of their activities. Moreover, as most of the workers in question are irregular migrants, one of the research goals is to analyze their agency and their experience of ‘undocumentedness’ within those economies. Currently, Loïc is a visiting academic at IRiS, at the University of Birmingham.

Loic Pignolo

Sandra Veronica Portocarrero

Sandra is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Management Division at Columbia Business School. She is an organizational sociologist who investigates the dynamics of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Sandra examines the work lives of DEI workers and how organizations continue to exclude people from minoritized racial groups and disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds despite their intentions to build an inclusive climate. Using primarily qualitative methods, she investigates how DEI shapes interpersonal dynamics and multi-level meaning-making processes in distinct settings—a public university in California, an elite college in Peru, and the U.S. Department of State.

Sandra’s work is funded by the PD Soros Fellowship, the National Science Foundation, and the American Association of University Women. Find out more.

Sandra Veronica Portocarrero

Hannah Postel 

Hannah Postel is a PhD candidate in Demography and Social Policy at Princeton University. She uses novel data to explore the relationship between migration and economic development and provide historical perspective on population movements and policies. Hannah's dissertation examines the effects of a major US historical immigration ban – Chinese Exclusion – using novel tools to link newly collected individual-level historical data. Prior research has been published in the American Economic Review and Population and Development Review.  

After graduating from Middlebury College in 2013, she studied Chinese migration to Zambia on a Fulbright research grant and worked on a range of migration research and policy initiatives at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC. Hannah maintains her policy engagement as a Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute's Human Mobility Initiative and consultant for the International Organization for Migration. Her research is generously supported by the National Science Foundation and the Economic History Association. 

Joel C. Sati

Joel Sati is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy program at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a 2022 J.D. Graduate of Yale Law School. A philosopher by training, his research interests are Criminal Law, Immigration Law, Crimmigration, Privacy Law, and Jurisprudence. His dissertation project, titled A Punishment of the Severest Kind: Immigration Enforcement, Social Degradation, and the Harm of Illegalization, develops an account of illegalization, which I define as state practices of criminalization that use immigration enforcement as the central mechanism of social degradation.

Sati’s interest in immigration is more than academic. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and has lived in the United States since 2002. An illegalized immigrant (DACA recipient) himself, he has also been an immigrant rights activist since 2012. Sati is a 2018 recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and a 2019 recipient of the Thomas I. Yamashita FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE Prize, given to a California-based academic whose work is impactful inside and outside the academy. He has been published in The Washington Post and The Berkeley Blogs, among other national and international publications.

He received his B.A. in Philosophy, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the City College of New York in 2016. From 2017-19, He was a fellow with the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI) and a 2020-21 Fellow at the Immigration Initiative at Harvard.

Joel Sati

Stacy Topouzova   

Stacy holds a PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford and a MSc from the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. She previously studied International Law, Archaeology, and Ethics at Harvard University, and International Law at the University of Geneva. Stacy completed her Hons. BA at McGill University. 

Stacey Topouzova

Andres Villatoro 

Andres is a Ph.D student in the department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. 

His research interests lie in the areas of urban sociology, social class, poverty, gentrification, inequality  within the United States and Latin America. He is particularly interested in how social class manifests itself in urban space, communities, and the built environment. This includes an interest in looking at gentrification and poverty in U.S. and Latin American cities. 

Prior to attending Penn, Andres worked as research assistant with the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago, The University of Chicago Survey Lab, and as a research  and academic specialist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Andres Villatoro

Javier Wallace 

Javier is the “Master Storyteller.” He is the Race and Sport Postdoctoral Associate in the African and African American Studies Department at Duke University. He completed his Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin. Javier’s research revolves around race, class, gender, labor migration, nationality, and transnationalism of athletes from the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. Javier's first book project, Sueños del Norte: Black Panamanian Hoop Dreams & the Realities of Basketball Trafficking, was selected as a top topic on Afro-Latin studies for the Master Mamolen Clark Dissertation Workshop part of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute(ALARI) at the Hutchins Center, Harvard University.

Javier’s work and research have been supported by fellowships and grants, including Joe Arbena Latin American Sport History Grant, The Latinx Project at New York University(NYU) among others. Javier earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida A&M University, one of the country’s premier HBCUs, where he also played offensive lineman for the Rattler Football Team. He is of U.S. and Panamanian heritage and has served as athletic director and physical educator in the Republic of Panama. Javier is also the founder of Black Austin Tours. Additionally, he is the co-founder of the social entrepreneurial projects—AfroLatinx Travel and BlackPackas. In all endeavours through curation and narrative storytelling, Javier seeks to amplify the themes explored in both his lived experiences and academic research.  

Javier Wallace

Paladia Ziss 

Paladia is pursuing a PhD in Sociology/Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. In her PhD, she examines the politics of time in protracted displacement situations in select refugee-hosting communities in Germany and Turkey. Specifically, she is interested in how social relations between refugees and longer-term residents are shaped by temporal structures like temporary legal status, collective histories of migration and imagined futures. She is currently conducting field research in Germany and Turkey with refugee families that are spread across those two countries.

She is an interdisciplinary researcher with interests in gender, global-local connections and multiscalarity, and refugee and migration studies. She holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, and a BSc in Human Sciences from University College London. Before she started her PhD she worked in development and humanitarian assistance in Turkey, Palestine and Germany for several years, specialising in the promotion of gender equality, conflict- and politically-sensitive programme design and implementation, 'refugee integration' and monitoring and evaluation.  

Paladia Ziss