The Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows Program encourages early-career scholars to pursue a career in academia by supporting their postdoctoral work at Princeton University. The program recognizes and supports scholars who can contribute to the University’s diversity, broadly defined, including members of groups underrepresented in the academy or in particular disciplines, ranging from racial and ethnic minorities to women in STEM.
The program aims to appoint an average of twelve postdoctoral fellows/associate research scholars per year, each holding a one-year appointment renewable for a second year.
Candidates must be nominated by a member of the Faculty who will serve as their sponsor or PI. All assistant, associate and full professors may nominate a candidate and serve as their sponsor/PI. A call for nominations, along with the guidelines of the program, is distributed annually and nominations may be submitted on the DoF website during the nomination period. The Faculty Advisory Committee on Diversity is responsible for the review of nominations and the selection of the Fellows.
The Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows program activities are led by three faculty directors:
The Faculty Directors serve as resources to the fellows, meeting with them monthly as a group to discuss their work and to provide them with opportunities for further exchange and professional development.
The Office of the Dean of the Faculty provides administrative infrastructure for the program. Regan Mumolie, Academic Affairs Administrator in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty is the central point of contact for the program. She is responsible for administering the nomination, selection, and recruitment processes, and fields inquiries and requests for assistance from prospective nominees, from faculty interested in the nomination process, from PIs, from department managers and other department staff, and from the postdocs themselves.
Renita Miller, Associate Dean for Access, Diversity and Inclusion, in The Graduate School provides program development and community building for the program. Renita works closely with the faculty co-directors to develop meaningful programming, focused on supporting the fellow’s professional development.
- Twelve scholars named Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows with aim to enhance diversity in academia
- Sixteen scholars named Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows with aim to enhance diversity in academia
- Twelve scholars named Princeton’s first Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Current Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows
R. Kōnane Bay will join the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, where she intends to develop a new class of materials within the emerging field of engineered living materials. Bay holds a Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bay received multiple awards for her Ph.D. research, including the ACS Eastman Chemical Student Award in Applied Polymer Science in 2019 and Best Poster Award at the Annual Meeting of the Adhesion Society in 2019. She was an APS Frank J. Padden Jr. Award finalist in 2020. Bay will be advised by Sujit Datta, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering.
Bailey Brown will join the Department of Sociology, with a focus on how structural and cultural social processes limit opportunities and outcomes for families and contribute to the persistence of inequality, as exemplified by families’ school selection processes for their kindergarteners. Brown is completing her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, where she previously earned a M.Phil. and an M.A. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. Brown will be advised by Jennifer Jennings, professor of sociology and public affairs, Woodrow Wilson School.
Kofi Christie will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a research objective to design and produce a novel, multifunctional polymer membrane that can be used in applications that leverage renewable forms of energy to generate clean water. Christie hold a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Morehouse College. Christie will be advised by Z. Jason Ren, professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.
Rodrick Kuate Defo will join the Department of Electrical Engineering. His proposed research will answer several open questions in the field of nanophotonics and provide new tools and design insights in the area of materials engineering. Kuate Defo completed his Ph.D. in physics with a secondary field in computational science and engineering at Harvard University. His bachelor’s degree in math and physics is from McGill University. Kuate Defo will be advised by Alejandro Rodriguez, associate professor of electrical engineering and director of the Program in Material Science and Engineering.
Paola Estrada is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Molecular Biology, where she studies how small molecules are made by the human microbiome and how these molecules are involved in mediating interactions with the host and surrounding microbes. Estrada holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, master’s credits in biochemistry from Hunter College, and a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is advised by Mohamed Abou Donia, assistant professor of molecular biology.
Javier Masís will join the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, studying the phenomenon of learning within the framework of bounded optimality, working toward a broader, more comprehensive theory of cognition. Masís holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University, a master’s degree in biology from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Princeton. He will be advised by Jonathan Cohen, the Robert Bendheim and Lynn Bendheim Thoman Professor in Neuroscience, professor of psychology, and co-director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.
Samantha McBride will join the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her research combines materials science, fluid physics and water chemistry toward developing antifouling materials for improving sustainability and lowering costs associated with water treatment. McBride holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Nevada. She will be advised by Howard Stone, the Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Diogo Melo will join the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, with a focus on the general problem of mapping genotype to phenotype for complex traits, and understanding how genetic networks drive phenotypic evolution. Melo’s degrees are from the Universidade de São Paulo, from which he has a Ph.D. in genetics and evolutionary biology and bachelor’s degrees in evolutionary biology and in biology and applied mathematics. He will be advised by Julien Ayroles, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.
Ravaris Moore will join the Department of Sociology, advancing research that quantifies the effects of community gun violence and school shootings on children’s educational trajectories. Moore is an assistant professor of sociology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He completed his graduate training at UCLA, earning master’s degrees in sociology and economics, as well as a Ph.D. in sociology. Moore also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Morehouse College. Prior to matriculating at UCLA, Moore contributed to several national evaluations as a research programmer in the Human Services division of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Moore will be jointly advised by three faculty members: Patrick Sharkey, professor of sociology and public affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; Yu Xie, the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Sociology and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and director of the Center on Contemporary China; and Tod Hamilton, associate professor of sociology, and a Charles G. Osgood University Preceptor.
Lotanna Micah Nneji will join the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where he will conduct the first DNA metabarcoding analyses of the diet composition and niche relationships of herbivorous birds—ostrich, guineafowl, spurfowl and bustard — at Princeton’s Mpala Research Centre in Kenya. Nneji holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Abuja, Nigeria. He will be advised by Robert Pringle, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.
Eziaku Nwokocha will join the Department of Religion as a scholar of Africana religions with expertise in the ethnographic study of Vodou in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Her research is grounded in thorough understanding of religions in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States, in gender and sexuality studies, and Africana studies generally. Nwokocha holds a Ph.D. in Africana studies from the University of Pennsylvania and was a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. She has a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor’s degree in Black studies and feminist studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara, where she was a Ronald E. McNair scholar. Nwokocha will be advised by Judith Weisenfeld, the Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religion.
Elizabeth Paul will join the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, with interests in problems at the intersection of advanced numerical methods and plasma physics applications. She is completing her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland-College Park. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton. She will be advised by Amitava Bhattacharjee, professor of astrophysical sciences.
Jose Roque will join the Department of Chemistry, focused on broadening his scientific repertoire to include transition metal catalysis, particularly with Earth abundant metals such as iron and cobalt. Roque is completing his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley, where he worked under Professor Richmond Sarpong. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Florida International University. Roque will be advised by Paul Chirik, the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry.
Anthony Urena will join the Department of Sociology. He is completing his Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and human biology from Brown University. Urena employs qualitative methodologies to examine the social dimensions of disease risk perception within disproportionately affected communities. At Princeton, Urena’s postdoctoral research will focus on how Black and Latino men who have sex with men make sense of the contemporary HIV epidemic in the United States. Urena will be advised by Frederick Wherry, the Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology.
Aala Abdelgadir will join the Department of Politics, with a focus the legacy of initial government responses to newly arrived Muslim immigrants to Europe, and the extent to which early policies governing the settlement of immigrants determined Muslims’ opportunities to become incorporated into the host society and thereby shaped their socioeconomic outcomes. Abdelgadir holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and a B.A. from Yale University. She will be advised by Rafaela Dancygier, professor of politics and international affairs and director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice.
Chelsey R. Carter will join the Department of Anthropology. Her research takes an interdisciplinary lens to explore the ways structural inequities constrain the lives of Black people in the United States. Methodologically and theoretically, she draws on cultural anthropology (particularly Black feminist anthropology and medical anthropology), Black studies, Women, Gender, Sexuality and Queer studies, public health, and medicine to explore the contours of Black people’s experiences with neurodegenearative diseases (like ALS) and the consequences of anti-Black racism. Carter is interested in how the everyday experiences of Black patients, those often deemed inconsequential to doctors, may help us understand Black people’s relationships to their own subjectivities, space, survival, community and care. Carter holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology and master of public health from Washington University in St. Louis. She received a B.A. from Emory University. Carter will be advised by Laurence Ralph, professor of anthropology.
Esteban Cisneros-Garibay will join the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research focuses on simulation-oriented prediction for efficient combustion-system design; state-of-the-art reactive flow simulation via reduced chemistry; and uncertainty quantification to guide sub-grid moment methods. Cisneros-Garibay is currently completing his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received a MS in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington and a BS in mechatronics engineering at Universidad Panamericana. Cisneros-Garibay will be advised by Michael Mueller, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Ashley Fidler is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry, advised by Marissa Weichman, assistant professor of chemistry. Fidler holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, a MPhil in chemical engineering and biotechnology from the University of Cambridge, and a BS in chemistry and biology from The College of William and Mary. Fidler is interested in applying tailored spectroscopic techniques to answer fundamental scientific questions with far-reaching implications. In the Weichman lab, she utilizes her previous experience developing novel spectroscopic techniques for the study of ultrafast electronic dynamics in the Leone and Neumark Groups at UC Berkeley/LBNL to design and execute experiments controlling benchmark, condensed-phase chemical reactions via strong light-matter coupling in optical microcavities.
Jahmour Givans will join the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, where he will focus on cosmology theory and use observations of the universe to measure the masses of tiny neutrino particles. Givans holds a PhD in physics from The Ohio State University and a BS in astrophysics from Brown University. He is advised by Jo Dunkley, professor of physics and astrophysical sciences.
Philip V. McHarris will join the Department of African American Studies and the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab. Philip’s main areas of research include racial inequality, housing, and policing. His current research focuses on the experiences of residents of a high-rise public housing development in Brooklyn, NY as they navigate concerns surrounding safety, policing, building conditions, and cycles of poverty. He holds a PhD in sociology and African American studies from Yale University and a BA in sociology from Boston College. McHarris will be advised by Ruha Benjamin, professor of African American Studies and the founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab.
Elise A. Mitchell joins the Department of History. She holds a Ph.D. in history from New York University and a B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work examines the social and cultural histories of enslaved Africans and their descendants, focusing on the history of the body, gender, public health, and medicine in the early modern Caribbean and Atlantic World before 1800. Mitchell is working on a book manuscript about enslaved Africans' social, political, and therapeutic responses to smallpox epidemics and how they endured and contested European public health and medical interventions in the Caribbean region. She is also developing a digital history project based on her research database of over 300 smallpox outbreaks, which occurred among enslaved people in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British ships and Caribbean islands and coastal territories between roughly 1518 and 1806. Mitchell is advised by Keith Wailoo, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs.
Angie Ocampo joins the Department of Sociology. She is an interdisciplinary scholar studying race relations, immigration, and how these are shaped by politics, with research and teaching interests centering on innovative ways to study multiple actors in the racial hierarchy, specifically the multifaceted nature of the Latino population. Ocampo holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and BA from Brown University in sociology and ethnic studies. She is advised by Filiz Garip, professor of sociology and public affairs.
Diego Reinero joins the Department of Psychology, where his interdisciplinary research investigates how people's moral and political views change through conversations and social networks, and why such changes can be so difficult. Reinero holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from New York University and a B.S. in both psychology and business from Skidmore College. He is advised by Alin Coman, associate professor of psychology and public affairs.
Tommy Rock joins the Department of Geosciences where he will initiate a program to expand the identification, monitoring, and communication of environmental hazards related to legacy uranium mining and ongoing oil and gas exploration in the Navajo Nation. Rock holds a Ph.D. in earth science and environmental sustainability and a M.A. in sustainable community from Northern Arizona University, and a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona State University. He is advised by John Higgins, associate professor of geosciences, Mark Zondlo, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Eduardo Cadava, Philip Mayhew Professor of English.
Lucia Stein-Montalvo joins the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where she will apply her mechanics expertise to adaptive architectural design, aimed at reducing energy needs and improving ventilation in urban landscapes. Stein-Montalvo holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Boston University and B.S. in mathematics from Davidson College. She is advised by Sigrid Adriaenssens, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Elie Bou-Zeid, professor of civil and environmental engineering.
Mathurin Wamba joins the Department of Geosciences. With a focus on the volcanic plumes underlying the French Polynesian Islands, Wamba seeks to understand their geodynamical role and relationships with oceanic plates and continents. Wamba holds a Ph.D. in seismology from the University of Paris, a M.S. in geophysics from the University of Paris Cité Sorbonne, and from the University of Dschang a M.S. and B.S. in physics. He is advised by Frederik Simons, professor of geosciences.