2019 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.”

Shane Lynch | American Studies

Research Interests

Lynch is a first-year doctoral student in the American Studies Program at the University of Kansas. His research has involved Indigenous knowledge systems, Indigenous theory, Indigenous epistemologies, environmental justice, Federal Indian law, and digital humanities. He plans to expand his knowledge of Indigenous digital humanities through his work in the American Studies program. Shane is currently a HASTAC scholar working on a digital humanities project that intertwines oral histories, oral tradition, and mapping of the Pee Posh culture. Additionally, he is developing a 2D pixel art video game based on the O’odham creation story. Both projects are a continuation of Gila River community cultures who created a confederation that predates the conception of the United States.

 


McKenna Lohr | Anthropology

Research Interests

Lohr’s research interests include anthropological genetics, ancient DNA, bioarcheology, and human osteology. She is interested in utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach combining history, osteology, and DNA analysis in order to determine as much information as possible about the individual(s) at an archaeological site as well as how these individual experiences can speak to a broader sense of community amongst a population.

 

 


Monalipa Dash | Architecture

Research Interests

Dash has completed her master’s degree in Urban Design and is currently working towards her Ph.D. She is interested in analyzing policies and guidelines related to city development from user’s perspective. Dash intends to examine people’s behavior in open spaces which may help in reevaluating city level guidelines for open spaces. 

 

 


Yu Ding | Business

Research Interests

Ding’s research interest is operation management, which includes dynamic programming for capacity management, complex system modeling, and optimal control theory. His research also includes the statistical modeling techniques that apply on data-driven analysis, multi-dimensional data analysis, and spatiotemporal data analysis.

 

 


Jae Kim  | Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering

Research Interests


Kim is pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, focusing on the performance of wood structures and their interactions with natural hazards. His dissertation work involves the development of new standards of practice for light-frame wood building construction and maintenance, intersecting state-of-the-art structural engineering research, and community disaster resilience. This work is dedicated towards reducing the vulnerability of communities which are especially at risk of severe storms and earthquakes.

 

 


Christopher Gomez  | Clinical Child Psychology 

Research Interests

Gomez is interested in barriers and facilitators of mental health help-seeking behaviors among ethnic minority and immigrant populations. He is specifically interested in the effects of adverse events on treatment engagement and clinical outcomes. Gomez is also interested in racial/ethnic disparities in patterns of service use among youth in community mental health and the child welfare system. 

 

 


Rebecca Griffith  | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

 

 

 


Mo Han | Communication Studies 

Research Interests

Han is a first year doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include intergroup communication, aging, nonprofit organization, prosocial behaviors across groups, and quantitative research methods. Her past research examined how elderly volunteers negotiated age identity. 

 

 


Savaughn Williams | Communication Studies 

Research Interests


Williams is a first year doctoral candidate in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Her research interests are focused on interpersonal communication with an emphasis on identity, race, and interracial friendships. Williams hopes to also pursue research in race communication across different contexts, such as family communication.

 

 


Hung Do | Computational Biology

Research Interests

Since high school, Do has always been fascinated by the interactions between macromolecules, including proteins and pharmaceutical compounds. That is the reason why for his graduate research, Do plans to study biomolecular dynamics as well as their motions, both in vivo and in vitro environments.

 

 


Ceyda Kural | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

  

 

 


Sharif Tusuubira | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Tusuubira is interested in molecular population genetics and quantitative genetics.  He is focused on understanding the molecular population genomics of cryptomonas. 

 

 


Javaria Ahmad | Electrical Engineering

Research Interests

Ahmad’s research interests are in the computer science fields of data mining and security. During her research on data mining, she developed a mathematical model for predicting movie success and therefore, introduced a useful tool for stakeholders and movie audiences. Relationships between several attributes were studied, for example, actors, genres, and ratings. This research was published in the 8th ICCCNT 2017 conference in India. Ahmad’s master thesis was focused on security and analyzed the tradeoff between security and memorability of existing fallback authentication methods. She devised a way to combine pictures and words as hashtags for proposing secure and memorable authentication. This study was conducted by collecting user input on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

 


Jade Harrison | English

Research Interests

Harrison specializes in 21st century African American women’s writing. She compliments her studies in African American literature with the field of Digital Humanities. Harrison's research underscores the importance of utilizing digital tools and data analytics methodologies to uncover the circulation histories of contemporary Black women’s literary art, as a means of further expanding contemporary African American women’s literary studies. Harrison holds an M.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington, and is currently a Ph.D. student of African American Literature at KU.

 


Zachary Parker | English

Research Interests

Parker's research centers on questions of representation of queer identities throughout 19th, 20th, and 21st-century American literature. By examining how authors express their queer identities, he hopes to find solid threads that connect a variety of queer experiences together while remaining critically aware of both intersectional identities and cultural concerns. Additionally, he is also interested in the ways that digital spaces allow for re-centering marginalized voices and experiences, particularly in academic contexts.

 


Katelyn Grote | Geography and Atmospheric Sciences

Research Interests

Grote’s research addresses how environmental impact assessments for development projects consider, include, and impact Indigenous populations in the United States. Through comparative case studies, Grote will identify patterns of success and inadequacy in environmental assessments regarding Indigenous populations. Her aim is to provide preliminary guidance for more adequate representation and greater understanding of Indigenous cultures and worldviews by incorporating Indigenous methodologies.  

 

 


Fatema Panahi | Geology

Research Interests

Panahi is pursuing a Ph.D. in Geology with a focus on structural geology and geochronology at the University of Kansas. She is interested in using geological mapping and U-Pb geochronology to better understand the structural evolution of Mojave Desert in California. She also is interested in the geochemistry and petrogenesis of intrusive rocks in this area. 
Panahi has a master's in geology from the University of Tehran. Her master’s thesis was on economical geology and genesis of Salang’s pegmatites, Afghanistan, with special reference to the economic potential of tantalum and niobium.

 

 


Andrew Collins | Linguistics

Research Interests


Collins's primary research interests lie at the interface between Second Language Acquisition and Neurolinguistics. They involve exploring the neurocognitive and psycholinguistic demands of learning a second language. Collins's goal is to be able to use a person's neurolinguistic individual differences to create a model capable of predicting their ultimate second language attainment.

 

 


Claire Bodemann | Mathematics

Research Interests

As a Ph.D. student studying mathematics, Bodemann intends to expand her knowledge in various areas of the discipline. Previously, Bodemann conducted research on the topic of dynamical systems modeling human curiosity which describes the multiple state-interacting processes inscribed in stimulating curiosity. She hopes the publication of the model will benefit research and application in the field of Artificial Intelligence. This research, supported by the Department of Defense, has sparked Bodemann’s interests in furthering her studies regarding dynamical systems.

 

 


Stephen Long | Mechanical Engineering

Research Interests

Long's research interest is in the field of continuum mechanics. He develops mathematical models for non-classical fluids with and without memory that are consistent with the laws of thermodynamics, and simulates their response under various flow conditions using numerically stable finite element methods.

 

 


Kathia Antillon | Medicinal Chemistry

Research Interests

Antillon is a Ph.D. student interested in developing modifications for small molecules and peptides in order to enhance their effectiveness and selectivity. She hopes to widen the scope of how these peptides and small molecules, as well as the techniques used to develop them, can enhance the field of Medicinal Chemistry with the ultimate goal of creating better overall therapeutics.

 

 


Kyle Gossman | Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research Interests

Gossman is a first year PhD student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology department. His research interests focus on neurodegenerative disease, specifically Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Gossman wishes to find more therapeutic drug targets for these diseases. His previous research involved synthesizing potential Asian carp toxicants and the effects of nuts on cytokine levels in patients with Type II Diabetes. 

 

 


Linh Toan | Philosophy

Research Interests

Toan's research interests involve various ideas in mathematical and philosophical logic, philosophy of math, and philosophy of science.

 

 


Kurt Hamblin | Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests

Hamblin’s research interests are in obscured Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). Previously, he worked on constructing Spectral Energy Distributions of AGN in the Stripe 82X survey, namely finding the existence of strong mid-infrared emission across all X-ray luminosity bins. 

 

 


Ian Stewart | Psychology

Research Interests

Stewart's research interests broadly focus on intergroup relations and group identity (e.g., ethnicity, gender). He is currently interested in: (1) the factors that moderate the relationship between intergroup contact and prejudice, (2) how Asian Americans differ from other racial/ethnic minority groups in the context of national identity, and (3) how gender and sexism influence economic decision-making.

 

 


D’Arlyn Bell | Public Affairs and Administration

Research Interests


Bell’s research focuses on the politics of public administration and political inequality.  She analyzes how nonprofit organizations working with low-income communities construct and shape legal norms with respect to tax-law limitations on political activity. This work seeks to understand how the political and legal consciousness of these organizations influences their motivation to challenge systems and structures of oppression both in the state and society.  Bell examines how nonprofits intersect with social movements, the welfare state, economic theory, labor markets, political development, and institutional processes and procedures. 

 


Laura Muneton | Sociology

Research Interests


Muneton’s research interest centers on the contradictions between the formalization and development of democracy in the United States and its effects on the restriction of individual agency with regards to the right to dissent against “intolerant” structural practices.  Specifically, she seeks to study how social, economic, and political crises have been used to manipulate interpretations of constitutional amendments to coerce individuals to cede power to arbitrary authority. She seeks to connect a holistic historical analysis on the political and social factors influencing institutional changes to a study on the effects of pragmatism on interpretations that aligned with neoliberal interpretations of previously objective legal principles. Muneton’s research focus is heavily influenced by the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, Enlightenment Continental Theory, Critical Legal Studies, and Georg Lukács. 

 


Manuel Rodriguez | Spanish and Portuguese

Research Interests


Rodríguez-Pérez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas.  For his master’s research he examined the narrative movements of the late 19th century and looked at the 20th century to determine ways that realism affected the literary movements of each decade.  His current interest focuses on comparing novels from both the Iberian and Yucatán peninsulas to show how the different approaches to realism affected and continue to shape contemporary novels of each region. Since it is human nature to question and transform reality to suit one’s needs, he proposes that the nature and effect of realism may have evolved in contemporary literature into “fabricated realism”; that of the protagonist’s reality. Rodríguez-Pérez wishes to focus his research on the ways in which authors explore the ever changing landscape of the portrait of what is “real”.  He aims to explore and weave the natural realities created by authors of the 19th century, show their presence in contemporary literature, and show their continued effect on the literary canon.

 


Nicholas Hoekstra | Special Education

Research Interests


Hoekstra is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. His research interests are centered on strategies for implementing inclusive education in low-resource and low-income contexts. As more countries include provisions for inclusive education as part of their education policies, it is necessary to understand how students with differing learning needs can be incorporated in a diverse range of classrooms. In particular, Hoekstra is interested in the application of systems such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RTI).

 


G. Branham | Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests


Branham's research examines interactions between the LGBT community and the healthcare industry, with a particular focus on cases of transition-related regret following sex reassignment. She aims to analyze what effects both practitioner-led approaches and the efforts of activist movements have on the relationships between gender non-conforming patients and their providers. The goal of this work is to foster a better understanding of the complexity of trans/gender identity and to explore ways that healthcare providers might better serve the LGBT community.