Penn-Birmingham Transatlantic Fellowship Program: 2021-2022 Fellows

Find out more about the Penn-Birmingham Transatlantic Fellows Program

Carlos Aguilar 

Carlos Aguilar is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

His current research seeks to explore the experiences and opportunities that undocumented immigrants encounter in historically racialized and marginalized contexts. As an undocumented immigrant and DACA recipient, Carlos’ underlying emphasis is to complicate current narratives and theoretical frameworks on these issues. 

Prior to attending Penn, Carlos worked as a Research Assistant/Consultant for The National UnDACAmented Research Project and the READS Lab (Research Enhances Adaptations Designed for Scale in Literacy), engaging on survey/questionnaire design, data collection, and data analysis. 

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.  

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” (parqueologiamigrante.com) 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.

Photo 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. 

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. 

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.  

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. 

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. 

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 honors minor in interdisciplinary studies from San Diego State University.

Irina Chukhray

Irina Chukhray is a doctoral student in sociology at University of California, Davis. Her mixed-method research examines immigrant youth’s institutional adaptation. Specifically, she studies supports and constraints in access to higher education as well as wellbeing among 1.5 immigrant generation (foreign-born students who arrived in the US prior to age 18).  

Prior to graduate school, Chukhray was the Program Manager for an international collaborative study with OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) on students’ socioemotional skills and a Research Analyst for the Houston Education Research Consortium at Rice University (directed by Dr. Ruth N. López Turley).  

Program Manager for OECD study. Chukhray led a team composed of Rice University researchers and Houston Independent School District (HISD) stakeholders in surveying students' social and emotional skills, information that was previously unavailable to HISD, one of the largest school districts in the US. Houston was the only city representing the US in the international study of 10 countries. Chukhray led the team in surveying about 1,500 students in 32 schools (obtained an 87% student response rate).  Chukhray also collaborated and negotiated with school district partners, such as with the Assistant Superintendent of Research and Accountability for HISD and with international partners such as the OECD in France and the Australian Council for Education Research in Australia. 

Research Analyst at HERC. Chukhray conducted research examining high school students' challenges in navigating their post-secondary educational path, tested a stereotype threat intervention designed to boost students' academic performance, and examined the nuances of students sharing the race/ethnicity of their teacher. 

Chukhray’s work led to meaningful change: findings from her HERC research aided the Houston school district in applying for and receiving state funding to hire additional college advisors in order to make advising more equitable. Additionally, the OECD study provided the Houston school district with its first tools to measure students’ socioemotional well-being.

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.

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana 

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana is a doctoral candidate at 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. 

De La Cruz’s first book manuscript draws from her doctoral dissertation. It 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. This digital humanities and community participatory project documents the human consequences of mass deportation through digital storytelling.  

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.  

Her research is supported by the University of California Pre-Professoriate Fellowship, the UC Davis Mellon Public Scholars Program, and the Imagining America PAGE Fellows program. 

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

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 Sociology, Health Affairs, Law & Society Review. 

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. 

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. 

Rachel Hu

Rachel Hu is in the final year of her PhD study, researching transnational entrepreneurial strategies and practices of female Chinese migrant entrepreneurs in the UK. Starting from May 2021, Rachel works as a Community Researcher at Keele University as a part of an international research project collaborating with sociologists and practioners from the UK, Germany, and Sweden. This research project seeks to empower migrant women in Europe by investigating their efforts and practices in exploiting housing and other social resources in terms of the degree of their social adaption to the local culture and immigration policies. 

In parallel, Rachel has been working at different research and teaching roles at the University of Birmingham since 2009. Between 2014 and 2018, Rachel worked as a Research Fellow for a sociolinguistic project funded by the UK AHRC, conducting ethnographic research of Chinese ethnic minority groups living in Birmingham in order to understand their translanguaging practices whist integrating with the local communities. From 2019, Rachel has been teaching business management and entrepreneurship related modules at the Business School of the University of Birmingham, firstly as a PGR seminar tutor before she has been appointed as visiting lecturer at the school from 2021. Rachel is an Associate Fellow of the HEA in the UK and plans to embark on her journey towards a full fellowship of the HEA. 

By taking part in the PMI fellowship programme, Rachel hopes to find/provide mentorship support among established scholars and PGRs in migration studies, plus seeking research ideas and collaboration opportunities across universities and continents.

Koreana Ko

Koreana Ko is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. She is broadly interested in older immigrants, immigration policies and skills-based immigration systems. Her current research explores the interplay between concepts of home and plans and decisions for old age using a case study of older Korean immigrants in the South of England. She holds a BA in Social Policy Administration and Sociology and a Master of Economics in Australian Political Economy from the University of Sydney and a MA in Anglophone Studies from the University of Le Havre. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked in corporate banking in London. 

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. 

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.  

Briana Nichols 

Briana Nichols is a joint Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education and the department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.   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.   

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.

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. 

Alejandra Regla-Vargas

Alejandra Regla-Vargas is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. Broadly, she is interested in the study of race/ethnicity, political sociology, and international migration. For her master’s thesis, Alejandra used data from the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey to examine social, racial, and economic conservatism in the 2016 presidential election. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she received a B.A. in Chicana/o Studies from California State University, Dominguez Hills. 

Joel C. Sati

Joel C. Sati is a Ph.D. Candidate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and a J.D. Candidate at the Yale Law School. His work combines theoretical work on immigration with the philosophy of criminal law. His dissertation focuses on the increased use of criminal legal enforcement tactics in immigration enforcement, the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, and the expanding criminalization of immigration violations. 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. Sati graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the City College of New York in 2016 with a B.A. in philosophy. He has been published in The Washington Post and The Berkeley Blogs, among other national and international publications. 

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. 

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 

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. 

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. 

Sandra Portocarrero 

Sandra is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Columbia University. 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.   

Stacy Topouzova 

Stacy carried out her doctoral research at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford broadly in the field of refugee law. After working in refugee camps in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria for three years, between 2013 and 2016, Stacy resolved to examine how refugee status determination procedures are conducted in practice. Stacy conducted fieldwork in 2016 and remained in ‘the field’ for years afterward. Before this, Stacy completed a Master of Science at 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 Honors Bachelor of Arts at McGill University. 

Andres Villatoro 

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. 

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 endeavors through curation and narrative storytelling, Javier seeks to amplify the themes explored in both his lived experiences and academic research.  

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.