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President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Modeled after a program first implemented within the University of California System, the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program seeks applicants whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in higher education and at the University of Maryland. The President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is interested in scholars with the potential to bring to their research and teaching the critical perspective that comes from their educational background or understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education. This program, in particular, encourages applicants who would increase representation in campus units where women and minorities are underrepresented.

Meet the Fellows 2023

Desi Jones

Desi Jones is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology. She received her PhD in Psychological Sciences from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2023. Desi’s research focuses on how autistic people are perceived by their peers, how these perceptions differ for autistic people from underrepresented groups, and how to reduce stigma among non-autistic people. She is also interested in using qualitative methods to better understand the experiences of autistic people with intersecting identities, with an emphasis on Black autistic people.


Katharine Khanna

Katharine (Kate) Khanna is a President's Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University in 2023 and her B.A. in Anthropology and French Studies from Brown University in 2013. Broadly, her work focuses on gender inequality, status processes, and social identity. Kate is particularly interested in the dynamic nature of gender attitudes across social contexts, which she studies using a combination of survey experiments, in-depth interviews, and survey analysis. Current projects examine the durability of gender categories, the relational and intersectional nature of gender attitudes, and the social and symbolic consequences of espousing egalitarian beliefs.

Jayson Maurice Porter

Jayson Maurice Porter was born in Maryland like his great grandmother Winona Amanda Spencer Lee (1909-2012), who worked family farm land in Eastern Shore until the early 2000s. His research specializes in environmental politics, science and technology studies, food systems, and racial ecologies in Mexico and the Americas. He is an editorial board member of the North American Congress for Latin America (NACLA) and Plant Perspectives: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Outside of academia, he loves to connect with other black environmental educators, write creative non-fiction stories, and design environmental-literacy curricula for broader audiences of all ages.



Meet the Fellows 2021

Kevan Aguilar

Kevan Antonio Aguilar is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History. He received his Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on transnational social movements, race formation, immigration, and working-class culture in twentieth-century Mexico. At the University of Maryland, he will work on his book manuscript, Revolutionary Encounters: Race, Ideology, and Exile in Mexico and Spain, which examines the proliferation of transnational communitarian traditions between Mexico’s laboring classes and political refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War. He will also begin research on a second book-length project documenting the activities of Mexican and Mexican American anarchists from the 1920s through the 1970s. Aguilar’s research has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His work has been published in the Journal of Latin American Studies (2021), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mexican History and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2018), and the edited volume, Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW (Pluto Press, 2017). 

Meet the Fellows 2020

Marlaina Martin

After serving as Visual Culture Postdoctoral Fellow in a joint position between UMD's Anthropology Department and The Phillips Collection for AY 2019-2020,  she will return to UMD Anthropology for AY 2020-2021 as the department's first Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow. Marlaina H. Martin received her Ph.D. from the Cultural Anthropology Program at Rutgers University in May 2019. During her time there, Martin received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation as well as a Ralph Johnson Bunche Distinguished Graduate Award and University & Louis Bevier Dissertation Completion Fellowship from Rutgers University. Her research interests include critical race theory, colorblindness, and post-racialism; feminist and Black feminist theory; women's, gender, and sexuality studies; body and embodiment studies; cultural studies and media production studies; and anthropologies of race, gender, and media. Alongside several article and book chapter writing projects, Dr. Martin's in-progress book manuscript examines the numerous negotiations, decisions, and compromises that New York City-based Black women independent media makers – as multiply marginalized subjects – navigate as they work to cultivate relevant professional, financial and social networks across production as well as distribution contexts. Finally, Dr. Martin will collaborate with Dr. Thurka Sangaramoorthy,  fruitfully extending Dr. Martin's research agenda to focus on Black women’s voices in the realm of health and racial justice using visual, media-based, and digital humanities methods. 

David Illingworth

David Illingworth is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests revolve around developing and evaluating mathematical models of human decision-making. The focus of this work has drawn from both cognitive decision theory and general cognitive search theory to formalize a theory of hypothesis testing—the act of acquiring information to evaluate one’s beliefs. The goal of this work has been to elucidate the role of beliefs (hypotheses) in test selection, information foraging, and valuation judgments. Ultimately, this work can be applied to the advancement of decision support systems. 

Riva Riley

Riva Riley is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Maryland. Her research is focused on social behavior and its consequences for individuals in social groups; she is especially interested in how individuals can use their own social influence to change their social environment and improve their prospects. She studies a delightful little fish, Corydoras catfish, to help understand how social influences and group dynamics can modify evolution and ecology and lead to complex social behaviors (as happened in humans). She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and her B.A. from Harvard University.

Gurneet Sangha

Gurneet Sangha is a University of Maryland Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. He earned his B.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and Purdue University. Gurneet plans to use advanced biomedical engineering approaches to improve cardiovascular rehabilitation methodology for underserved populations. Therefore, his research interests include understanding how exercise mode (e.g., endurance versus resistance) and training variables (e.g., volume, intensity, duration) can be optimally prescribed to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. Specifically, Gurneet aims to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular benefits of various training regimes in people of different races and sex. 

Meet the Fellows 2019

Katherine Joyner

Katherine Joyner is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fishchell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland in the laboratory of Dr. Gregg Duncan. Her research focuses on engineering biomaterials to better understand mucosal microenvironments in order to develop new models of muco-associated diseases such as cystic fibrosis and crohn’s disease. She earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Science under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Yu at the University of Maryland Baltimore and a BA in Biology from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She is also the recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.

Jasmón Bailey

Jasmón Bailey is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of South Florida. His research interests include the social psychology of race and racism, intersectionality, labor, and social mobility. Jasmón’s methodological interests include qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method methodologies. His research agenda is to advance scholarship that focuses on how systemic and structural racism influence gendered expectations. Specifically, Jasmón aims to develop a better understanding of how race and gender as status hierarchies are challenged, reinforced, and maintained in social interaction. 

Andrés Buxo-Lugo

Andrés Buxo-Lugo is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland. His research has focused on studying the rhythm, intonation, and intensity of speech as a way of learning about the cognitive mechanisms that allow humans to produce and understand language. Andrés received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Tamanika Ferguson

Dr. Tamanika Ferguson is a University of Maryland President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Communication. She earned a doctorate in Communication, Culture and Media Studies with a joint certificate in Women's Studies from Howard University. She also earned a Master's in Africana Studies and Sociology and a Bachelor’s in Africana Studies from the California State University. Dr. Ferguson is a qualitative researcher and is currently working on several research projects, including a journal and book manuscript under the mentorship of Dr. Shawn Parry-Giles. A scholar of the incarcerated women's public sphere, Dr. Ferguson studies communication and media by and about incarcerated women and their feminist allies. She is working on a book manuscript entitled, Coming from The Inside: Women in Prison Speak that examines incarcerated women’s advocacy and media activism

Dr. Ferguson's interest in women's incarceration builds on her earlier grassroots organizing and non-profit work and personal and family experiences with the juvenile and criminal justice systems in California. She is committed to expanding the voices and stories of imprisoned women to continue the conversation about gender injustices, state accountability, social punishment and policy reforms. She is a yoga practitioner, learning professional, book enthusiast, mentor, feminist and cultural studies pedagogy researcher and aspiring educator from Los Angeles, California.


Mojhgan Haghnegahdar is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland College Park. She received her B.S in chemistry from Shiraz University, an M.S in chemistry from California State University Northridge (CSUN), and an M.S in geochemistry from UCLA. Mojhgan earned her Ph.D. in geochemistry from UCLA. Broadly, her research projects focus on isotope geochemistry and its applications in biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, along with economical geochemistry. For her postdoctoral project, Dr. Haghnegahdar continues her research path in isotope biogeochemistry of methane. Her project is collaborations between several departments and centers at UMD including Geology Department, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Mojhgan’s professional research goal is to use recent advances in isotope geochemistry combining with other techniques to resolve the uncertainties of the global methane budget. 

Minxuan He

Minxuan He is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Broadly, her research investigates how locomotor experiences lead to a broad range of psychological development from perception to attention, from cognition/speech to socioemotional changes in diverse populations and in different cultural settings. A main objective of her research, in collaboration with Dr. Natasha Cabrera, is to understand how experiential factors, including adverse family and socioeconomic situations, ethnic minorities, mediate early child developmental outcomes. She hopes to contribute to knowledge for possible translation of these findings to improve the well-being of young children and families. 

Michelle Magalong

Michelle Magalong is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Historic Preservation at the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation at the University of Maryland. She earned her MA and PhD in Urban Planning at University of California, Los Angeles and BA in Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies & Planning at University of California, San Diego. Her research explores issues of social justice and equity, community engagement, and historic preservation in historically underrepresented communities. Her research is drawn from her practitioner work with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation (APIAHiP), and in serving in advisory roles for governmental agencies and nonprofit groups including the National Park Service, California Office of Historic Preservation, City of Los Angeles, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Magdalene Ngeve

Magdalene Ngeve obtained both her PhD in Biology (Conservation Ecology and Genetics) and her MSc. in Biology (specialization: Environment, Biodiversity and Ecosystems) from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She is originally from Cameroon, West Africa, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Buea. Her research interest includes understanding climate change-induced range dynamics of plant species, how dispersal and gene flow explain contemporary patterns of species distribution and the relevance of these for the management of our ecosystems, which are currently jeopardized by human-induced pressures. As University of Maryland President’s Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Dr. Ngeve would work in the Neel Lab to explore the use of novel bioinformatic technology to understand the historical processes that explain contemporary distribution patterns of the wild celery (Vallisneria americana) across its eastern US range. 


Meet the Fellows 2018

Samuel Braunfeld

Samuel Braunfeld Headshot

Samuel Braunfeld is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mathematics. He received undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science at UC Berkeley, and in 2018 received his PhD in Mathematics at Rutgers, New Brunswick. Much of his research focuses on the symmetries of infinite objects, and how those symmetries are reflected in the behavior of finite pieces of those objects.

I. Augustus Durham

I. Augustus Durham is the President's Postdoctoral Fellow in English. He completed his Master’s and doctorate degrees in English, as well as certificates in African & African American Studies, Feminist Studies, and College Teaching, at Duke University. His book project takes up black studies throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in order to examine how melancholy is a catalyst for genius which is itself revelatory of the black feminine/maternal. Durham has published work in CAA Reviews, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, and Journal of Religion and Health; he also has a forthcoming essay on the film Moonlight in an edited collection on the expressive art of Tarell Alvin McCraney (Northwestern University Press, 2020).

Morgan Edwards

Morgan Edwards Headshot

Dr. Morgan Edwards is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland.  Her research assesses the sustainability impacts of energy technologies and policies.  She focuses specifically on developing methods to represent heterogeneity in technology features and operational contexts in sustainability assessments.  Her current work aims to evaluate and accelerate a diverse set of emerging efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions led by cities, states, and companies in the United States.  Morgan received her PhD in Engineering Systems and SM in Technology Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her BS in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Maria M. Galano

Maria Galano Headshot

Maria M. Galano is a President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Science from the University of Michigan. Broadly, her research investigates how early-life exposure to violence affects child mental health and development in diverse populations. The goal of her research is to understand how various environmental factors -- including family context, social support, and experiences of racism and discrimination -- impact exposure to violence as well as shape the development of PTSD and related disorders following exposure to various forms of violence. She then aims to translate these findings to improve the effectiveness of current evidenced-based treatments for children with PTSD, as well as develop preventive interventions for children exposed to chronic violence.

Eva Hageman

Eva Hageman is a University of Maryland President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s Studies; after the completion of the fellowship, she will serve as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of American Studies and Women’s Studies. She received her Ph.D. in 2016 from New York University in American Studies with a joint Certificate in Culture and Media through the Departments of Anthropology and Cinema Studies. Eva’s primary research and teaching interests are in television, media production, popular culture, fashion and style, media ethnography, documentary, critical race theory, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural and visual studies. Her book manuscript, “‘Relatable Meets Remarkable’: Crafting Race in the Reality Television Industry,” examines reality television and the central role it plays in shaping articulations of race in the 21st century. Previously, Eva was the Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Rhetoric and Communication at the University of Richmond, and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. She has directed two documentaries, Legendary (2010) and You, As Seen On TV (2011). Her writing has appeared on In Media Res and is forthcoming in the anthology Race Post-Race: Culture, Critique, and the Color Line (Duke UP).

Ana Ndumu

Ana Ndumu Headshot

Ana Ndumu is a President´s Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Information Studies, or the iSchool. Her interests include the intersection of libraries, information, along with demography, and she researches library services, information behavior and population changes. Dr. Ndumu´s postdoctoral project will explore information inclusion and access among Black immigrants living in the D.C. metropolitan area. Dr. Ndumu completed her Ph.D. in Information at Florida State University´s School of Information.


Meet the Fellows 2017

Erica Coates

PPFP Fellow Erica Coates
Erica Coates is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Family Science in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of South Florida, and completed her clinical internship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the role of nonresidential father involvement and coparenting in child development among African American families. Her professional goal is to develop and investigate culturally specific, family-based mental health interventions designed to improve the socioemotional outcomes of African American youth from nonresident father households by promoting stronger coparenting alliances among noncohabiting parents

Felicia Jamison

PPFP Fellow Felicia Jamison

Felicia Jamison is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at the University of Maryland College Park. She received her B.A. at Mercer University, her M.A. at Morgan State University, and her Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on the lives and experiences of 19th and 20th-centruy African Americans who lived in the rural South. She is currently working on a monograph that analyzes the strategies Southern black women used to accumulate property during slavery and purchase land during the Reconstruction period. 

Marcus Johnson

PPFP Fellow Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Politics and Social Policy at Princeton University in the Spring of 2017. Marcus’s research focuses on the intersection of race and ethnicity in Latin American electoral politics. His book manuscript, Racial-ized Democracy: the electoral politics of race in Panama, builds on the insight that politics in racially stratified societies cannot be divorced from projects to construct and undergird systems of racial marginalization and inequality. He aims to use his theoretical and empirical approach to disrupt the running assumption in the Latin American politics literature that race does not matter, particularly in the electoral arena. Beyond his research, Marcus takes teaching seriously and approaches teaching as an opportunity to prepare the next generation of citizens and scholars to critically approach real world politics. Marcus will begin a tenure-track position at City University of New York, Baruch College in the Department of Political Science in the fall of 2018.

Theresa Lopez

PPFP Fellow Theresa Lopez

Theresa Lopez completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Arizona, where she also studied in the Cognitive Science Program. As an undergraduate, she earned degrees in biology and philosophy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Lopez works on issues in moral psychology, ethics, and social philosophy. Her primary research focuses on the psychology of moral judgment and moral development, and how scientific findings bear on philosophical questions about prescriptive ethics and moral knowledge. She also has research interests and teaching experience in other areas of ethics, including biomedical ethics.

Kelly Slay

PPFP Fellow Kelly Slay

Dr. Kelly Slay is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education and affiliate faculty in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education. She received her PhD in Higher Education from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.  Kelly’s research explores issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education and is primarily focused in three areas: the implications of campus racial climate for Black students' college enrollment and wellbeing; enrollment management policies aimed at improving campus diversity; and organizational policies and practices that facilitate the success and wellbeing of women and students of color in STEM. Drawing lessons from her professional experiences in public policy and K-16 education, Kelly is passionate about connecting research to practice to help cultivate equitable campus environments that support underrepresented students in undergraduate and graduate education.

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