2016-2017 Spring MFP Recipients

The following students were named as 2016-2017 APSA Minority Fellowship Program recipients during the spring 2016 application cycle. These fellows are first and second year graduate students. Complete bios for each fellow appear below and will be featured in the October edition of PS.

Hajer Al-Faham is a PhD student in Cornell University’s department of government. As a student of American and comparative politics, Hajer focuses on race, immigration, identity, and religion with an emphasis on Muslim and Arab communities. After completing her PhD, Hajer is eager to pursue a career in academia where she will research, mentor students, and teach at the university level. Hajer’s goal is to contribute innovative research that will guide policymakers in tackling political issues with greater concern for social justice and equity, especially for marginalized communities. Originally from Washington State, Hajer graduated summa cum laude from Seattle University with a BA in political science and a legal studies specialization. As an undergraduate, she was honored with a number of awards including the John F. Kennedy Political Science Award, the Le Roux Leadership Award, the Spirit of Community Award, the Fred T. Korematsu Fellowship, and the Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen Most Outstanding Undergraduate Award. Outside of academia, Hajer is passionate about community service and outreach. In particular, her experiences as an Iraqi and Muslim refugee motivate her to volunteer in interfaith and diversity endeavors both at Cornell and beyond. 

Stephanie Nayoung Kang is currently a doctoral student in political science/international relations at the University of Southern California. She is also a recipient of the 2016-17 Korea Foundation Graduate Studies Fellowship and the 2015-16 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. Her main research interests lie in the fields of international relations and comparative politics. She is particularly interested in how military alliances, namely security commitments from third-party states, influence state behavior in interstate crisis bargaining. Stephanie received her BA in political science, with honors, from the University of California, Irvine and her MA in international studies from Seoul National University in South Korea. 



David Knight is a PhD student in the political science department at the University of Chicago, where he is also part of the interdisciplinary training program in the education sciences. Before coming to Chicago, David was a certified high school teacher in the city of Boston. This experience of teaching and working in urban communities profoundly informs his research. His areas of scholarly investigation include changing understandings of citizenship in the United States with regard to race, ethnicity, and immigration; how social policies affect the political engagement and incorporation of historically marginalized groups; the sources and measurement of school disadvantage; and the political economy of urban education. Additionally, David holds fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College, trained as a teacher at Stanford University, and began his research career as a master’s student at Harvard University. David expects to continue a program of research that reflects the conditions, challenges, and possibilities of urban communities. His future goals are to support equity and diverse knowledge creation as a professor, and to contribute empirically and theoretically to the discipline of political science.  


Jennifer M. Jackson entered the political science PhD program at the University of Chicago in 2014. Jackson's primary subfields are American politics, political theory, and research methods. Methodologically, she applies mixed-methods approaches to critical questions concerning Black Americans and the politics of publics. Her master's thesis relies upon experimental methods to investigate the influences of mass media framing on public opinion of Black Americans. Her dissertation asks: “Where do Black women self-make?” She argues that Black women's socio-political selves are developed in intersecting spaces which may be (but are not necessarily) controlled by the state. Jackson also works as the Managing Editor for the Black Youth Project where she empowers voices of Black millennials in the digital space.  Born in Oakland, CA, she earned a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Southern California with a minor in sociology. She went on to earn an MA with honors in political science from California State University, Fullerton where she later taught political science research methods and Black politics.


Berny Lazareno is currently a graduate student and Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow in the politics department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He holds a BA in political science from California State University, Northridge; and MA in political science with an emphasis in global politics from California State University, Long Beach.  His research fields of interests are political institutions, comparative political economy, urban governance, and neighborhood associations. Berny is currently studying the influence that local political institutional arrangements have on contemporary urban government policy making. His current research project investigates the emergence of formal neighborhood associations that are established by local governments and institutionally link neighborhoods’ access to the policymaking process. He is particularly interested in identifying how neighborhood associations are used to legitimize or delegitimize local government policies and how local community and/or neighborhood identity impacts residents’ experiences with neighborhood associations. Upon completion of his doctorate, Berny plans to teach at a university and produce research that is relevant to both policy analysts and the Academy. 


Marcus Lee is a second-year doctoral student in political science at the University of Chicago, where he is a 2016 Ford Fellow and a 2015 Point Scholar. Before entering graduate school, Marcus earned a BA in sociology at Morehouse College. His senior thesis, which he completed as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and a 2014 Yale Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, explored the expansion of the non-profit industry during the height of the HIV epidemic (1986 – 1996) and its impact on emergent black gay politics. As a graduate student, Marcus aims to broaden this line of inquiry through a more general investigation of how and why black gay politics emerged, its trajectories, its interactions with other streams of black politics (e.g. black feminism, black nationalism, and radical egalitarianism), and its insights into bureaucratic decision-making, social epidemiology, and the rise of neoliberalism. He is also interested in the extent to which black gay political mobilization fits within and/or troubles existing categories of political engagement, i.e. formal political participation, infrapolitics, and contentious politics. Throughout graduate school and beyond, Marcus hopes to produce work that will impact the world and also the study of race and politics.


Mikaila Leyva received her BA in international affairs from Eastern Washington University and Spanish in 2015. She is currently attending the University of Notre Dame as a PhD candidate in the political science department, focusing on Latino American politics. Coming from a Mexican-American household, she has always maintained a strong connection with her community and continues to do so with her future research. Her research interests include Latino political behavior, multiracial political behavior, and Latino political identity. She hopes that further interest in these topics will continue to mobilize and educate her community.

Jared Loggins is a PhD student in the department of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Before joining UCLA, he studied political science at Morehouse College, where he was a Presidential Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow. His research interests span intellectual history, political theory, and race and ethnic politics. He is currently writing about the imagination, race, and civic virtue in 19th and 20th century American political thought. Questions that motivate his work cut across various thematics including republicanism (broadly understood), black politics, US economic history, and affect theory. He will be entering his second year of graduate studies in fall 2016.

Alysia Mann Carey is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago. Born in Madison, WI, she earned a BA in Spanish languages and literature, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies, and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a PEOPLE Program scholar. She then received an MA in Latin American studies at the University of Texas at Austin with a certificate in women and gender's studies.  Her fields of interests include comparative politics and political theory, with an emphasis on transnational feminism, African diaspora, race and politics, black feminist theory, contentious politics, and gender violence. Her research deals with understanding the ways in which state and interpersonal forms of violence intersect in Black/Afro descendant women's lives in Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Colombia, and how women in these communities are leading movements against anti-black violence. Alysia is fluent in Spanish, and proficient in Portuguese and Haitian Kreyòl, and conversational in Swahili. She has received the Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship for three years, to study Haitian Kreyòl and Portuguese, and the Tinker Field Research Grant to conduct fieldwork in Brazil. She has recently been awarded the SSRC-DPDF fellowship and will be conducting pre-dissertation fieldwork in Colombia this summer.&

Oanh Nguyen is a PhD student at the University of Minnesota where she studies comparative politics and international relations. She is also interested in qualitative methods and methodologies. Her research is centered on the politics of South-South migration specifically within Southeast Asia. Her works seeks to examine two particular aspects of migration: first, to understand how global economics, (inter)national legal institutions, and migration officials together form a system that governs migrant behavior and migrant subjectivity. Specifically, she wants to explore how concepts like “(un)deserving” migrants are constructed and made politically meaningful; and, second, to understand how migrants perpetuate and/or disrupt this system. Her interest in migration is motivated by her experience serving as a legal advocate for urban and detained refugees in Bangkok. At her home institution, Oanh is a fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. She has also co-presented at the APSA Annual Meeting in 2015. After completing her PhD, Oanh plans to remain in public education and work closely with first generation students of color.

Tanika Raychaudhuri is a third-year doctoral student at Princeton University, specializing in American politics. Her research interests include political behavior, identity politics, and minority politics. She is currently working on a project exploring the social factors that motivate Asian American vote choice, under the advisement of Professor Tali Mendelberg. In addition, she is working on collaborative research projects about income inequality and the college experience, and Puerto Rican political participation. She plans to start a dissertation project about how social class status influences the ways in which immigrants are socialized into the American political system. Prior to arriving at Princeton, she graduated with a BA in political science (minors in applied statistics and sociocultural anthropology) from the University of Michigan, with highest honors and highest distinction. While at Michigan, she wrote a senior thesis under the advisement of Professor Nicholas Valentino about the priming effects of Spanish-language political advertising on US Hispanic voters. As an undergraduate student, she worked in Washington DC as a congressional intern for US Representative Rush Holt (2012) and US Senator Frank Lautenberg (2013). She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. 


Erica Salinas is a PhD student in the department of government at Cornell University. Her primary field of study is American politics with a focus on Latino politics, race and ethnicity, and criminal justice institutions. She received a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support her research on the political implications of gang suppression in Latino neighborhoods. Currently, she is working on a joint project that examines the political participation of gang affiliated youth in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her BA in political science at the University of California, San Diego.   


Christine Marie Slaughter is a rising second year doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles studying race and ethnic politics and American politics. Christine’s current interests are driven by a passion in understanding how generational context influences African American’s responses to social and political issues and also how chronic poverty depresses participation among low-income Americans. At UCLA, Christine is a Eugene V. Cota Robles and Ford Predoctoral Fellow. She is an alumna of Spelman College where she majored in political science and comparative women’s studies graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude. While at Spelman, she participated in the UNCF/ Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, and the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers. She presented her senior honors thesis, which focused on race, gender, and civic engagement on college campuses at the Western Political Science Association 2015 Annual Meeting.  While Christine is eager to become a college professor, she is the happiest when given the chance to mentor young African American women to become more interested and creative in participating in politics or explaining politics to her grandmother.