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Past Dissertation Fellows


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Nathan Acebo

Indigenous Persistence and Resistance in the North American Colonial Hinterlands: Re-Assembling Puhu Village

I grew up in the east San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area and subsequently attended Cal Poly Pomona, where I completed my BS in Anthropology with an emphasis in Cultural Resource Management. Over the last four years I’ve participated in community based archaeological projects in the Mojave Desert, southern Channel Islands, and California Coast. My current project is based in the southern Los Angeles basin/Orange county area incorporating urban and rural sites.

Rodrigo Carril

The Economics of Public Procurement

Rodrigo Carril is a PhD candidate in Economics at Stanford University specializing in Public Economics. His dissertation seeks to understand how institutional and market factors affect the efficiency of public procurement (i.e. the purchase by the government of goods and services from the private sector).

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Dean Chahim

Draining the Infinite Metropolis: Engineering and the Mundanity of Disaster in Mexico City

Dean Chahim is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on understanding the politics of engineering and the ways that engineering reshapes political and environmental possibilities. For his dissertation, he spent nearly two years in Mexico City conducting ethnographic and archival research on how engineers have attempted to manage flooding amidst unprecedented environmental change, increasingly limited budgets, and the disappearance of long-term planning.

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Gabriel Chiu

The Rise of Entrepreneurship in China

Gabriel Chiu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University.  As an economic sociologist, he is broadly interested in the relationship between culture and the economy. In particular, his dissertation is a mixed-method study of the rise of entrepreneurship and its changing meaning in China. 


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MJ Cho

The Dynamics of Thinking and Feeling Experiences on Smartphone

I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Communication at Stanford University. I specialize in the study of media processing and effects with a particular focus on media sequencing that is enabled by digital media technology.

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Mashail Malik

Political Science
Why do Ethnic Parties Flourish or Die? The Microfoundations of Identity Politics in Pakistan's Megacity

Mashail Malik is a PhD Candidate in Stanford’s Department of Political Science and is a native of Islamabad, Pakistan. Her dissertation project is centered on the politics of ethnicity in Karachi – Pakistan’s largest megacity. Her research agenda further includes topics on political violence, state repression, civil-military relations, and the intersection of identity and economic conflict. 


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Tony Marks-Block

The Socio-ecological Effects of Indigenous Burning in California's Klamath Basin

I was raised in southeast San Francisco where I was active in environmental justice movements and ecological restoration projects. After graduating with a degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University I spent six years developing participatory action research projects with youth of color in Oakland, California, on local air and water quality issues.

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Daniel O'Leary

Socioeconomic status and obesity: an affective science perspective.

Daniel O'Leary is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology Department at Stanford University, working with James Gross. He studies the psychosocial mechanisms that enable successful self-regulation. He is particularly interested in the role that affect, self-efficacy, and socioeconomic status play in healthy decision-making. He uses a combination of lab-based methods, machine learning, and path analysis to study these issues.


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Eric Smith

Broadening the Scope: How Messages of Broad Care Drive Academic Investment

I am passionate about developing social-psychological interventions to increase success & well-being in learning contexts.
This encompasses research on emotion regulation, stress mindsets, mentorship, and broadening instructor messages.

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Michael Webb

What Can Artificial Intelligence Do?

Michael Webb is a PhD candidate in the Economics Department at Stanford University. He studies artificial intelligence, the labor market, and economic growth. His recent research includes a project studying the impacts of automation technologies on the labor market, and another that asks whether researchers are getting less productive (the answer, unfortunately, is yes!).



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Kirk Bansak

Political Science
Improving Refugee Integration Through Data-Driven Algorithmic Assignment

The world is currently experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. The U.S. has long run the world’s largest refugee resettlement program, yet little empirical evidence exists on the efficacy of different approaches to integrating refugees within American society. Currently, the assignment of refugees across domestic resettlement locations is based primarily on local office capacity, and does not leverage the rich insights that historical data can provide regarding which refugees do better in which locations.

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Christof Brandtner

Cities in action: An organizational theory of city agency
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David Markowitz

The Media Marshmallow Test
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Rebecca Perlman

Political Science
Capture Under Precaution: How Industry Benefits from the Precautionary Principle
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Bradley Spahn

Political Science
The Forging of The American Voter: Politics Before and After The New Deal Realignment
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David Yang

1984 or the Brave New World? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Media Censorship in China
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Lauren Yapp

Colonial pasts, future cities: The rise of urban heritage advocacy in contemporary Indonesia


Cordelia Erikson-Davis

Cordelia Erikson-Davis

Sensory Ethnography and the Bionic Eye: What it is to See

I am an MD/PhD candidate at Stanford University in the cultural anthropology department. I draw together theory and methods from the neurosciences and the social sciences in order to explore the links between the political and perceptual; the social and subjective.

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Jane Esberg

Political Science
Sensory Ethnography and the Bionic Eye: What it is to See

Jane is a PhD Candidate in Political Science. She is a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow and a former fellow at the Center for Ethics in Society. Her research has been supported by a Graduate Research Opportunities Award, the Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford’s Center on International Security and Cooperation, the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation, and the Europe Center. She has a BA in International Relations with Honors in International Security Studies, also from Stanford.

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Kaiji Gong

Local Technology Spillover of Multinational Firm

My name is Kaiji (Robin) Gong, and I am an upcoming sixth year Ph.D. student in the Economics department, Stanford University. I work on applied microeconomics, with a focus on innovation, productivity, and international trade. I am particularly interested in how international trade and investment affects firms' productivity and innovation activities.

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Audrey Guo

The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Taxation on Multi-Establishment Firms

I am currently completing my dissertation in Economics, with primary fields Labor and Public Economics. My research interests include social insurance programs and firm responses to taxation. I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona, and I received my undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics from the University of California: Berkeley. My hobbies include cooking, traveling, and photography.

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Sam Holley-Kline

Entangled Archaeology, Industry, and Labor in El Tajiin, Mexico, 1880-2017

Sam Holley-Kline is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. His research interests involve the intersections of archaeology and sociocultural anthropology, as well as the politics of history and archaeology in 20th-century Mexico. He received his BA in anthropology and Spanish from DePauw University in 2012. Outside of his dissertation research, he has participated in archaeological research in Kiuic, Yucatan, and ethnographic research in Cuetzalan, Puebla.

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Amanda Mireles

The Constraints of Progress: Examining Women’s Educational Advantage and Its Unintended Consequences

Amanda Mireles is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at Stanford University. Her research focuses on social stratification processes at work-family intersections. Her dissertation explores how despite educational advantage, women’s status in the labor market has not kept pace with men. Building on theories of gender, status, and occupational feminization, she introduces the concept of college feminization to examine whether men and women are penalized in the labor market when women earn more a majority of bachelor’s degrees.

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Taylor Orth

The Male Care Penalty: Unpacking the Mechanisms that Reproduce the Gender Gap in Care Work

Taylor Orth is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Stanford University. Her research employs demographic and experimental methods to understand the social and economic mechanisms that contribute to gender inequality in the family and the labor market. Her work focuses on the causes and implications of the uneven gender division of care work, highlighting the importance of demand-side forces that constrain men’s involvement at home and reproduce women's place as marginal workers in the labor force.


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Sabrina Papazian

Armenia Beyond Borders: The Transnational Management of Armenian Cultural Heritage

Sabrina Papazian is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, Archaeology track. Her dissertation research focuses on the management and mediation of cultural heritage in Armenia. She is particularly interested in how Soviet forms of heritage management counter, coincide and overlap with modern frameworks of management. Sabrina received her BA in Archaeology and Art History from Cornell University and an MPhil in Archaeological Heritage Management and Museums from the University of Cambridge.

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Jacob Reidhead

Intra-Party Patronage and Party Stability in South Korea and Taiwan

Jacob is pursuing a PhD in sociology at Stanford University. He researches the structure and culture of politics in Korea and Northeast Asia. Jacob promotes complexity, emergence, and process philosophy in social theory and social science research, and advocates dynamic networks as an integrated theoretical and methodological paradigm for advancing that agenda.


Jessica Santana

Entrepreneurial Failure Narratives and Peer Boundary Work

Jessica Santana is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. She holds a Master of Information Management and Systems from UC Berkeley’s School of Information, with certification in the Management of Technology from the Haas School of Business. Jessica’s research evaluates the role of networks in innovation and entrepreneurship. This work is driven by insights from organizational theory, social psychology, network science, and economic sociology.

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Erica Yoon

Modeling polite speech: Tradeoff between communicative goals

Erica is a PhD candidate in developmental psychology, working in the Language and Cognition Lab, directed by her advisor Dr. Michael Frank. Erica graduated from McGill University where she first started to learn about and gained interest in language development. She is now investigating the development of pragmatic uses of language.

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Tongtong Zhang

Political Science
Fining for Living: Central-Local Struggle in the Relaxation of One-Child Policy

Tongtong Zhang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Stanford. Her research focuses on participatory institutions and public opinion in authoritarian regime, with a regional focus on China. Her dissertation examines the sources of variation in participatory institutions across authoritarian countries, as well as the consequences of these institutions on mass opinion and regime durability.