Current Scholars Bios
New cohort for 2021-2023 bios:
Daniella Reboucas, Ph.D., Psychology and Neuroscience
Tamera Hughes, Pharm.D./Ph.D., School of Pharmacy
Patrece Joseph, Ph.D., Health Behavior
Edem Klobodu, Ph.D., Marketing, Kenan Flagler Business School
Earnest Taylor, Ph.D., Cell Biology and Physiology
Kayla Fike, Ph.D., School of Education
Jamillah Rodriguez, Ph.D., Linguistics
Ganga Bey, 2020-2022
Department of Epidemiology
Maria Gutierrez, 2020–2022
Department of Womenʼs & Gender Studies
Kimberly Jenkins, 2020–2022
Department of Allied Health Sciences
Musa Manga, 2020–2022
Department of Environmental & Engineering Sciences
Sean Matharoo, 2020–2022
Department of Romance Studies
Kerrel Murray, 2019-2021
School of Law
Julian Rucker, 2020–2022
Department of Psychology & Neuroscience
Karen Sheffield-Abdullah, 2019-2021
School of Nursing
Ana María Silva Campo, 2019-2021
Department of History
Deshira Wallace, 2019-2021
Department of Health Behavior
Teshanee Williams, 2019-2021
School of Government
Senay Yitbarek, 2020–2022
Department of Biology
GANGA BEY — Ganga Bey is a post-doctoral fellow in the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has a background in the social sciences, majoring in Anthropology and African American Studies at Princeton University before receiving her MPH from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts. As a social epidemiologist, her work draws on her passion for social science, centering on advancing theoretical frameworks for health disparities research through strengthening the integration of social, social psychological, and biological approaches in Epidemiologic methods. These include intersectionality, social identity, and geroscientific theory.
Entering her second year as a fellow in the UNC department of Epidemiology, Ganga’s research currently focuses on understanding psychosocial and epigenetic mechanisms that influence disparate aging rates between dominant-status and marginalized persons. Specifically, she aims to develop novel measures that capture the identity processes which mediate the effects of chronic stress stemming from social adversity on cardiovascular health in order to identify additional points of intervening on the health consequences of structural inequity.”
MARIA GUTIERREZ — Maria G. Gutierrez earned her Ph.D. in Native American Studies from the University of California at Davis. As a 2020 ACLS Emerging Voices Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she combines her research and teaching at the Center for the Study of the American South and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Maria’s current project examines the connection between indigenous-based pedagogies, community media, and the participation of indigenous people, particularly women, in community and public spaces in relation to indigenous ethnic resurgence in P’urhépecha communities of Michoacán, Mexico that are reclaiming their indigenous language and culture. Maria’s research incorporates discussions about culture, language, race, community-based pedagogies, indigenous epistemologies, identity, indigeneity, and the use of technology and digital means.
Her work in grounded in Native American Studies’ interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological research frameworks and she approaches her work from a hemispheric perspective. Maria is P’urhépecha from Michoacán, Mexico and since 2017, she collaborates with Uekorheni A.C. and Radio Uekorheni, an indigenous-based organization and a community radio in Michoacán. She works with members of the P’urhépecha community to create projects through the use of technology and digital means for cultural and language revitalization.
KIMBERLY JENKINS — Kimberly Jenkins earned her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Indiana University, Bloomington. She received her M.S. and B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her general research interest is the development of grammar and its intersection with cognitive skill in typically and atypically developing, dual language learners, particularly children acquiring Spanish and English.
Additional research interests include the assessment and treatment of language disorders in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Her current work systematically examines the acquisition of grammatical skill in Spanish-English dual language learners longitudinally. The overarching goal of her research is to increase the knowledge base regarding the diverse language profiles of dual language learners, inform theoretical perspectives with respect to dual-language learning and determine the most efficacious treatment approaches to facilitate language learning in dual language learners with language disorders.
MUSA MANGA — Musa Manga, earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (majoring in Public Health Engineering), and MSc. Eng. (Distinction) Environmental Engineering and Project Management at the University of Leeds. He also holds a B.Sc. (First Class Honors) degree in Construction Management from Makerere University. Manga is a Sanitation and Environmental Engineer whose research focuses on planning, monitoring and improvement of sanitation and sludge management practices in the Global South. His research has an emphasis on pathogen and faecal hazard tracking in communities; life-cycle costing of water and sanitation programs; development, optimization and application of sustainable human excreta, wastewater and solid waste management technologies/ strategies to achieve effective pathogen inactivation and resource recovery.
Manga has worked on several projects in urban Africa and South Asia that have evaluated the management and treatment of human waste from different sanitation technologies. He is currently leading research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the unsafe return of human waste to the environment. Prior to joining the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Manga worked at the University of Leeds, where he led a lifecycle cost analysis project of low-cost sanitation technologies in informal settlements of Soweto, South Africa, and findings were published in high impact peer-reviewed journals.
Manga is experienced in conducting high quality qualitative and quantitative field work research on sanitation and faecal sludge management focusing on faecal sludge characterization and mapping in urban environments, behaviour of excreted pathogens in sanitation facilities, faecal pathogen flows in the environment, modelling of pathogen die-off in treatment systems, alternatives to conventional water borne sewerage in dense urban areas, lifecycle costing of sanitation options, effectiveness of rural sanitation programmes, and assessment of environmental and public health risks associated with inadequate sanitation.
SEAN MATHAROO — Sean Matharoo received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Riverside. He is a transdisciplinary scholar of French- and English-language speculative literature, media, and philosophy, which he studies in the contexts of postcolonial studies, the energy humanities, and performance studies. As part of the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, he will be joining the Department of Romance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he will elaborate and update his thesis into a book, which is provisionally titled The Damned of the Anthropocene: Performatively Modeling Energy Aesthetics for a New Structuralism.
Matharoo’s research responds to the Anthropocenic energy crisis and the need to transition to alternative energy sources by studying how literature, media, and philosophy may contribute to the decolonization of petroculture. The idea of petroculture, which limits our linguistic imagination of energy to oil, presupposes that the capability of rationality unique to humans is a sufficient reason to exploit nonhuman nature. Matharoo argues that petroculture’s possibility condition is the colonial-racial reality, which structures the nonwhite, non-European, “irrational,” and ultimately nonhuman nonstraight nonmale as the easy, limitless energy resources of its opposite, the white European rational straight human Man (anthropos). Matharoo’s research proposes that the energy aesthetics in French- and English-language speculative literature, media, and philosophy contributes to the decolonization of petroculture by impelling us to find, in language, the gift of solar-powered futures in excess of petroculture. Important to the project of elaborating and updating his thesis into a book is the structuralist pluralism of francophone Belgian science-fiction author J.-H. Rosny aîné’s Les sciences et le pluralisme (1922), which he is translating into English.
KERREL MURRAY — Kerrel Murray is a Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. His teaching and research interests include property law, administrative law, race and the law, and how the law reinforces or undermines various ideals of democracy.
Before joining UNC, Murray served as a Fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., where he focused on appellate work and judicial policy. Before that, he served as a litigation associate at Covington & Burling LLP, where he worked on complex civil litigation, including a major pro bono case challenging the city of Milwaukee’s stop and frisk practices. He has also served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Murray received his B.A. from the University of Georgia in 2011 and his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2014. His student note, published in the Stanford Law Review, received a 2015 Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award and was a 2013 Runner-Up in the American Constitution Society’s Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition.
JULIAN RUCKER — Julian Rucker earned his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Yale University. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow through the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. He is broadly interested in investigating the psychological factors shaping perceptions of, and motivations to reduce racial inequality across a number of societal domains. His primary lines of research examine how the lay tendency to associate racism with interpersonal biases or with the structural disadvantage of particular racial groups, influences beliefs about societal racial inequality. His work also examines perceptions of racial progress in the United States and namely, the psychological factors predicting and influencing vast over-estimates of societal progress toward Black–White economic equality.
KAREN M. SHEFFIELD-ABDULLAH — Karen’s research focuses on the utilization of holistic, integrative, multi-sector strategies to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being for individuals and communities. She is particularly interested in developing strategies to reduce the long-term health effects of psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression on women’s health and birth outcomes. Her additional interests include the bio-psycho-social benefits of self-compassion, mindfulness, and other mind-body therapies as adjuncts to conventional interventions. This program of research will help to facilitate the development of culturally-relevant interventions to reduce disparities in stress-related adverse outcomes during the perinatal period and provide a platform to guide successful models for women’s health care provision that incorporate stress management and improve wellness across the lifespan.
Karen has a doctoral degree in nursing from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing and a master of science in nursing degree from Yale University. Karen’s postdoctoral fellowship is supported by The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Program on Integrative Medicine, through an NIH T-32 Fellowship Training Grant for Research in Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine.
ANA MARIA SILVA CAMPO — Ana María Silva is a historian of race, gender, and the law in colonial Latin American cities. She earned her Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan in 2018 and holds B.A.s from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Her book manuscript, Roots in Stone and Slavery, studies the formation of religious, gendered, and increasingly racialized hierarchies in Cartagena de Indias, the main port for the trade in African captives in Spanish South America during the seventeenth century. Drawing on insights from urban ecology studies, Roots in Stone and Slavery examines how the political economy of the slave trade generated intense local competition over urban spaces, real estate, and property in persons.
Ana María is also working on two collaborative projects on race and slavery with interdisciplinary teams of researchers. The first one studies the dynamics of enslavement of refugees from the Haitian Revolution in the United States after the ban on the slave trade. The second one compares the histories of South Africans of different racial backgrounds who colonized areas of Patagonia, Argentina, during the twentieth century. As a public scholar, Ana María has curated online and museum exhibits about slavery and its legacies in Colombia and Argentina and written for leading Latin American newspapers, including Argentina’s Clarín.
DESHIRA WALLACE — Deshira Wallace earned her Ph.D. in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Deshira Wallace is a first-year Postdoctoral Fellow under the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Health Behavior and affiliated with the Carolina Population Center. Her research is focused on examining the effects of structural and psychosocial stressors on type 2 diabetes prevention and management in US Latinos and in Latin America. During her Postdoctoral Fellowship, Deshira will continue this line of work with an emphasis on Latinos and Latin Americans of African descent in an aim to further unpack disparities within the Latino population.
TESHANEE WILLIAMS — Teshanee Williams received her Ph.D. in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. Her past professional experiences include working as a research analyst for the North Carolina State Auditor’s Office and the Office of Partnership and Economic Development at North Carolina State University. Her research interests include the application of mixed-method approaches for inquiries related to strategic alliances between the public sector and nonprofits, as well as, public participation in decision-making processes. In the past, Teshanee has worked on research projects focused on the public management aspect of the policy process; these topics include cultural perceptions of genetically modified foods, the economics of community-based public and nonprofit strategic alliances, and risk management with public engagement. Those efforts have produced applied research reports and publications that have been published, are currently under review, and are in preparation. Her career goal is to produce research that helps to bridge the divide between theory and practice. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Government, Teshanee will focus on continuing her research on managing for effective, efficient, and equitable policy outcomes through public sector and nonprofit partnerships.
SENAY YITBAREK — Senay Yitbarek received his Ph.D. in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a USDA NIFA Fellow and Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow through the Program for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work focuses on the community ecology of infectious diseases. One particular focus of his research is understanding how microbial interactions are shaped by host population structure. Senay combines experimental evolution approaches with mathematical modeling. Before joining UNC-Chapel Hill, Senay was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the current President of the Black Ecologists organization in the Ecological Society of America.