2018 University Graduate Fellows

Graduate Studies anticipates distributing approximately $1,000,000 in university graduate fellowship (UGF) funding to doctoral programs. The intent is to support departmental efforts that are aligned with the strategies and action items identified in strategic goal 2 of Bold Aspirations, the University’s strategic plan. That goal is to “Prepare doctoral students as innovators and leaders who are ready to meet the demands of the academy and our global society.”

Ashleigh Bakke | Business 

Research Interests

Bakke’s research interests focus on factors affecting audit quality and the audit marketplace. She is particularly interested in archival exploration of audit and accounting standards and regulations, accounting disclosures, and auditor characteristics.  

 

 


Moneika Sutton | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

Sutton’s research focuses broadly on risk and protective factors in youth who engage in high-risk behaviors. Specifically, she is interested in identifying factors which may moderate the links between stressful life events and behaviors such as delinquency and substance use. Sutton is also interested in studying barriers to successful treatment outcomes and treatment motivation in youth who engage in high-risk behaviors. She ultimately hopes for her research to have direct implications on community and clinical settings including juvenile detention centers, treatment facilities, and schools.  

 

 


Brittany Bohrer | Clinical Psychology

Research Interests

Bohrer's research interests are in the field of eating disorders. Her research aims to answer three straightforward yet complex questions: 1) How do we define eating disorders? 2) How do we ask about eating disorders? and 3) How can we help persons with eating disorders? She works to answer these questions in two primary lines of research, the first being the diagnosis and assessment of eating disorders. Bohrer's second line of research is in the development and dissemination of treatments for persons with eating disorders. Her master's thesis examined predictors of treatment seeking for eating disorders in a large, nationally representative dataset. Bohrer is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, which will be a study to examine the effects of a brief, online treatment for eating disorders in adolescent girls with Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

 

 


Rachel Doyle | Clinical Child Psychology 

Research Interests

Doyle is interested in the predictors of suicidality, depression, and anxiety in children. More specifically, she seeks to understand the relationships among childhood adverse experiences, aggression, and hopelessness.  

 

 


Alexandria Rae Chase | Communication Studies 

Research Interests

Chase is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Studies where she researches the relationship between gender, violence, and sports. Her dissertation examines the rhetoric of violence in professional sports as it relates to gender, race, social class, and domestic violence. She has presented research on this topic at the National Communication Association and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender conferences. A paper on this topic has been published in Argumentation and Advocacy titled “Expanding what it means to play like a girl: Gender, performance, and redefinition”. Chase served as an Assistant Basic Course Director the past two years while teaching classes in public speaking, persuasion, and rhetoric and popular culture. Additionally, she is an assistant debate coach at the University of Kansas where she coached the 2018 National Debate Tournament Champions.

 

 


Lynzee Flores | Communication Studies 

Research Interests

Flores is a first year doctorial candidate in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Her research interests are focused in political communication with an emphasis on media effects and U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy. Flores hopes to also pursue research in U.S. and Latin American foreign relations as well as film and television effects of public, foreign policy and diplomacy.

 

 


Shristi Pawnikar | Computational Biology

Research Interests

For her Masters, Pawnikar worked on two projects in the field of molecular docking and molecular dynamics with an emphasis on structural bioinformatics. One of the projects aimed to shed light on the structural aspects of flavonoid-induced Cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibition, an area that is relatively unexplored, to demonstrate the formation of conformational as well as thermodynamically stable COX-flavonoid complexes. Her second Masters project focused on COX-targeted anti-inflammatory profile of Labdane diterpenoids, that included in silico investigations of their anti-inflammatory potential to provide a structural basis for their observed in vitro anti-inflammatory activity. Pawnikar's academic pursuits have directed her interest to particular areas like molecular modeling and simulations, cheminformatics, structural bioinformatics, gene prediction methods, and comparative genomics. She wishes to explore the research going on in these fields and also look forward to discovering new areas of interest.

 

 


Naomi Betson | Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Betson is interested in restoration ecology. She is focused on exploring links among phenology, global change, and ecological invasion in tallgrass prairies. Moreover, Betson is interested in determining how the phenology of flowering plants in remnant and restored tallgrass prairies influences their ecological outcomes.  

 

 


Kimberly Kankiewicz | English

Research Interests

With a focus on twentieth and twenty-first century American literature, Kankiewicz is interested in marriage narratives and portrayals of married women, the discourse of women's ambition, and gendered representations of technology use. She has a Master's degree in Composition and Rhetoric from Colorado State University and is also interested in the pedagogy of creative writing.  

 

 


Yee-Lum Mak | English

Research Interests

Mak's interests are the use of writing in health contexts, especially for children with chronic illnesses and their siblings, the relationship between K-12 writing education and college composition, and writing program development. Her past research was for Other-Wordly, her book on words that have no single-word equivalent in other languages but that encapsulate complex emotions, experiences, or cultural values.

 

 


Nathaniel Pickett  | Geography and Atmospheric Science

Research Interests

Pickett's research concerns the long-term political effects of the 1986 Chornobyl disaster in Ukraine by investigating how groups created, controlled, presented, and leveraged information about the disaster and its effects to advance their political agendas. His other research interests include spatial processes of mass violence and the technologies and politics of knowledge production.  

 

 


Titus Firmin | History

Research Interests

A Louisiana native, Firmin is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas. Firmin’s research interests lie at the intersection of the U.S. military, race-labor relations, and the rise of socio-economic inequality. His dissertation analyzes the All-Volunteer Force (AVF) and Total Force Policy and explores how the institution of the military reduced inequality within their ranks in regards to race, class, and gender and explores how recruiting policies reinforced economic disparity within civilian communities.  

 

 


Trevin Garcia | Linguistics

Research Interests

Garcia's research interests are in phonetics and dialect change. He has previously done research on the Latinx English dialect used in Southwest Kansas. He would like to continue his research in phonetics by examining how body modifications affect speech.  

 

 


Hyoju Kim | Linguistics

Research Interests

Kim's research interests focus on phonology, phonetic sciences, and second language acquisition, specifically how native speakers perceive foreign words. His main goal is to study more about loanword phonology and discover many phonological and phonetic factors that might attribute to the foreign language acquisition.  

 

 


Brittany Knowlton | Mathematics

Research Interests

Knowlton's research interests are in dynamical systems. Her previous research focused on bifurcation and stability analysis of neuronal burster models. In particular, illustrating how bifurcations of codimension one and two help describe the dynamics of the system, including the existence of equilibrium points, periodic orbits, and homoclinic connections.  

 

 


Xiang Xu | Mathematics

Research Interests

Xiang completed his undergraduate degree in mathematics at KU. He is interested in mathematical analysis. Specifically, he focuses on Radon transform and its application, especially on the mathematical point of view. Xiang is also interested in Fourier transform and some distribution problems.  

 

 


Pengjian Guan | Medicinal Engineering

Research Interests

Guan's research interest is focused on the microstructure, especially the Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) of Lithium-ion batteries by using simulation method. He has also developed a new structure of the cathode electrode to improve the battery performance.

 

 


Hans T. Tchienga | Medicinal Chemistry

Research Interests

Tchienga's research interest involves designing and synthesizing chemical molecules with therapeutic benefits. Through his work, Tchienga wishes to contribute in the fight against infectious diseases

 

 


Wendy Aquino Nunez | Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

 

 

 


Kara Caine | Music Education and Therapy

Research Interests

 

 

 


Rucha Mahadik | Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Research Interests

Mahadik’s research interests include the stabilization of large molecules for formulation development. She hopes to further apply this research to developing drug delivery methods. Mahadik's previous research involved protein purification, x-ray crystallography and small molecule formulation.  

 

 


Si-Won Song | Philosophy

Research Interests

Song is a current PhD student who specializes in the cognitive science and ethics field of Philosophy. He is especially interested in the extended mind hypothesis, and how recent advances in cognitive science may help us reevaluate ethical theories such as virtue ethics.”

 

 


Andres Abrew | Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests

 

 

 


Timothy Lee | Psychology

Research Interests

Lee's research interests are focused on how members of historically advantaged groups maintain and respond to threats to their higher status positions. Some of the questions that my current research seeks to address are: What are the psychological processes that account for why much of mainstream America tends to view Asian Americans through a different lens than other racial minority groups? What are the psychological and social consequences of Asian Americans being viewed relatively favorably for other minority groups (e.g., Black and Latino Americans)?  

 

 


Sarah Hofmeyer | Public Affairs & Administration

Research Interests

Hofmeyer's research interests include urban planning, political ecology, and social policy. Her most recent research (undergraduate thesis) evaluated knowledge and attitudes about education policy amongst educators and teaching majors in the state of Iowa.  

 

 


Erick Taylor | Public Affairs & Administration

Research Interests

Taylor’s research interests center around the intersections of public administration, education policy, sports, and social equity. Through his research Taylor plans to highlight systemic roles that levels of government (i.e. local school board, state legislature, U.S. Dept. Education) and Non-governmental organizations (i.e. NCAA and AAU) play in the development of academic and athletic identities in students. Of particular interest, is the prioritization of athletic identity vs. academic identity among student-athletes in minority populations and their post-collegiate outcomes.  

 

 


Shelby Clark | Social Welfare

Research Interests

Clark's research and scholarly interests include using compassionate skill sets to improve the outcomes of mental health programs and interventions. She is also interested in the intersection of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. During this academic year Clark will be working as a graduate research assistant on the Kansas Assessment Permanency Project (KAPP). KAPP is a public-private-university project aimed at implementing trauma-informed and evidence-informed practices into the Kansas foster care system.  

 

 


Andrew Kim | Sociology

Research Interests

Kim’s research focuses on the areas of stratification and inequality. Currently, he is exploring earnings (dis)advantage by race and gender in labor market. His previous research involved the measurement and assessment of returns to education overtime in both labor and marriage market.  

 

 


Ivan Segovia | Spanish and Portuguese

Research Interests

 

 

 


Paloma Perez Clark | Special Education

Research Interests

Pérez-Clark is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include comprehensive, integrated, three-tiered (Ci3T) models of prevention, school-based interventions with students at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), social and emotional learning (SEL), and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS).

 

 


Timmia Hearn | Theater

Research Interests

Hearn’s practice and research focuses on using theater as a catalyst for social conversations and transformations. She combines a range of theater theories and practices to produce work which focuses on audiences of the African and Caribbean Diasporas. Her current research focuses on Caribbean theater practice, as theorized by theater practitioner Tony Hall in his “Jouvay Popular Theater Process”. Hearn seeks to explore how to use this practice more broadly in community-oriented and social change focused theater in the Midwest and beyond.  

 

 


Pere DeRoy | Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests

DeRoy seeks to analyze human trafficking as a discourse through the lenses of Mythology, and policy review framework, against the background of securing and protecting livelihoods for trans and cis people of all genders. She has an interest in utilizing methodologies of intersectionality and feminist theoretical framework to investigate human trafficking policies against the lives people are managing to live. DeRoy's research interests intertwine ideas of poverty, development, capitalist labor processes, gendering of the labor market, gender injustice, immigration; globalization, and women’s sexuality.

 

 


Rachel Trusty | Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests

Trusty's research examines the intersection between queer and feminist theory in regards to contemporary Art History practices. She specifically focuses on how activist art movements can be effective modes of social change and how archives and museum practices can be used to combat historic erasure. Trusty also examines the weaknesses in past movements, including trends that further marginalize people of color or people in the LBGT+ community. The aim of Trusty's research is to create applicable solutions to make art activism and archival practices more intersectional and accessible.  

 

 


 


RT @ku _fnsa: Don’t forget. We are having lunch today... thanks to @pepsi at KU. https://t.co/ssI5Ipd9Ms


Dean's Message

KU Safety

KU Safety

The first studio art class at KU began in 1869
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today