National Center for Institutional Diversity

Postdoctoral Fellowship Recipients

2013-2014 Postdoctoral Fellows


Stephanie Cook

Stephanie Cook, Dr.P.H.
Stephanie Cook is a 2013-2014 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She received her Dr.P.H. in Social Science Research in Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Cook has an active program of research focusing on the social, individual and cultural factors that relate to health behaviors and chronic illness (e.g. HIV and cancer risk), as well as mental and physical health. She utilized theories and concepts from psychology to address issues of mental health, risk, and affective bond formation in populations of Black emerging and young adults—with a specific interest in Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM). The nature of Dr. Cook’s research crosscuts both the domestic and international domains and can be applied to a range of settings. Her dissertation utilizes multi-level modeling techniques to explore the relationship between mental health and sexual risk behavior with a focus on examining adult attachment style as a moderator of this relationship in a community based sample of young adult Black MSM.

During her NCID post-doctoral fellowship, she plans to further explore potential moderators (i.e. neighborhood factors such as violence exposure, drug use and traumatic events) of the relationship between mental health and risk behavior among Black emerging and young adults—especially emerging Black and Latino men who have sex with men. Her long-term career objective is to be a professor with two main foci; 1) Understanding the mental health and psychosocial predictors of sexual behaviors among sexual and ethnic minorities youth, and 2) Understanding how structural factors (i.e. violence exposure, community poverty, etc.) explain the relationship between mental health and sexual behavior among sexual and ethnic minorities youth. She plans to conduct research and design interventions that will inform health policy and program development. .

Curriculum Vitae

Stephanie Cook

Mosi Ifatunji, Ph.D.
Mosi Ifatunji is a 2013-2014 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has deferred his faculty appointment in the Department of Sociology at UNC Chapel Hill in order to pursue his interests in race, culture and social stratification, as part of the NCID Diversity Research and Policy Program. Dr. Ifatunji's studies what he calls, the 'black ethnic comparative’ or various comparisons between African Americans and black immigrants. The utility of this comparative is that it provides for a quasi-experimental design where ‘racial phenotype’ (i.e., skin color, hair texture and bone structure) is held constant across different population groups, thus allowing for a examination of the degree to which various within group attributes (e.g., human capital and cultural attributes) are responsible for both black ethnic disparities and social inequality more generally. This comparative also allows him to advance theory on ‘racialization.’ Recently, some have argued that the process of racialization includes non-physical features. Since the comparative holds racial phenotype constant across different populations, his research consolidates and tests the viability of this thinking by considering the degree to which the process of racialization is different across black ethnic groups. While on fellowship, he will conduct social experiments to further test for the role of ‘perceived foreignness’ in the process of racialization. He will also work closely with James Jackson, Director of ISR, to begin the process of creating a single portal for quantitative data on the black Diaspora, and to facilitate its use by a broad cross-section of interdisciplinary and international researchers. This portal and its associated working group will contribute to the social demography of black international migrants.

Curriculum Vitae


2012-2013 Postdoctoral Fellows


Angélica S. Gutiérrez

Angélica S. Gutiérrez, Ph.D.
Angélica is a 2012-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Management and Organizations from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Her research contributes to the NCID core priority area of Organizations, Business and Sustainable Development.

Angélica’s primary research interests are in the areas of diversity and negotiations. She examines the challenges to diversity and inclusion. Specifically, Gutiérrez studies how people’s desire for egalitarianism affects their attitudes toward social policies that have differential effects on the representation of racial minorities in universities and in the workplace. Angélica also studies how interethnic ideologies such as multiculturalism and colorblindness influence individuals’ perceptions of racial minority employees. Moreover, she examines the implications of stereotypes for negotiations. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (in press), and she serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for various journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

Gutiérrez also volunteers with non-profit organizations that serve disadvantaged communities. She serves as a presenter on various topics, including negotiations and diversity management, and as a mentor for at-risk youth. In recognition of her passion to give back to the community, Angélica was one of ten Latinas in the U.S. recently honored as the “Next Generation Latina” by Latina Magazine.

Angelica earned her Master’s in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
at the University of Michigan, and B.A. in Political Science (with honors) and Sociology (with
honors) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Curriculum Vitae

Arnold Ho

Arnold Ho, Ph.D.
Arnold K. Ho is a visiting scholar at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan during the 2013-14 academic year, and concurrently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Colgate University in New York. His research examines how biases in our social perceptions and beliefs function to maintain systems of social inequality.

Specifically, he is interested in:

  • Why individuals who qualify equally for membership in more than one group (e.g., biracials) are categorized and perceived as belonging more to their lower status parent group,
  • The endorsement of ideologies and beliefs that justify group-based inequality and discrimination (i.e., hierarchy-enhancing beliefs), and
  • The structure and function of social dominance orientation (SDO), an individual difference variable found to undergird a wide variety of hierarchy-enhancing attitudes and behaviors.

Ho’s research has been published in top academic journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality, and Psychological Science, and has been covered by numerous news outlets, including the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Boston Globe, Psychology Today, and Time. Ho received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University in 2011.

Curriculum Vitae

2011-2012 Postdoctoral Fellows

Angela Dixon

Angela Dixon, Ph.D.
Angela is a 2011-12 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Dixon is a recent Ph.D. graduate from the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. During her graduate student tenure, Dixon was engaged in engineering outreach, working extensively with the Office of Engineering Outreach and Engagement and Multicultural Engineering Programs Office for two years.

Now as a postdoctoral scholar, Dixon will apply her scholarship and research towards the progression of NCID's core priority area of Science, Health, and Pipeline Development. Elements of her proposed research and teaching address aspects of environmental injustices, with a focus on the effects of neurotoxicity on brain development and degeneration. She will develop microfluidic technology to permit characterization of neurotoxic effects from an assortment of chemicals, and in doing so address issues concerning neurodegenerative health, an area where disparities lie. To best implement her research, she will foster collaboration amongst academic units from the School Public Health (SPH), College of Engineering (CoE), and other academic units.

Dr. Dixon is also the recipient of a Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship (2006-09).

Curriculum Vitae
Jessica S. Welburn

Jessica S. Welburn, Ph.D.
Jessica is a 2011-12 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Welburn recently completed her graduate work in Sociology at Harvard University. Her research interests include race and ethnicity, cultural sociology, the sociology of the family and qualitative methodology. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the Harvard Real Estate Academic Initiative Jessica's dissertation explored how African Americans who grew up in middle income households in New Jersey conceptualize their mobility prospects. While at the University of Michigan she will be conducting comparative work on African Americans, social mobility, and health outcomes in Detroit. In addition, Jessica is working with Professor Michèle Lamont (Harvard University) and an international team of researchers on a project comparing the antiracist strategies of stigmatized groups in the U.S., Brazil and Israel. 

Jessica earned her B.A. in sociology (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in 2004 from the University of Pennsylvania.


2010-2011 Postdoctoral Fellows

Rocío Magaña, Ph.D.
Rocío Magaña is a 2010-11 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, where her scholarship contributes to NCID’s core priority areas of Basic Scholarship and Engagement  and Public Policy, Law, and Social Justice. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests lie in political anthropology, sociopolitical landscapes, and migration and borders in North America. Her dissertation, titled Bodies on the Line: Life, Death and Authority on the Arizona-Mexico Border, offers an ethnographic analysis of contemporary struggles over border control, humanitarian intervention, and unauthorized migration in the desert regions of the U.S.-Mexico boundary. This study contributes to the scholarship on borders, security politics, civic interventions, and biopolitics. Her dissertation was recognized with the Kurt M. Landgraf Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and the Sol Tax Dissertation Prize from the University of Chicago.

Upon her residence at the University of Michigan, she plans to revise her dissertation into a book manuscript. In addition to holding an NCID postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Magaña has been the recipient of four fellowships: the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Visiting Fellowship (2008-09), the American Anthropological Association Minority Dissertation Fellowship (2007-08), the Dartmouth College Cesar E. Chavez Dissertation Fellowship (2007-08), and the University of Chicago Leiffer Dissertation Research Fellowship (2005). She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Cynthia Wang

Cynthia Wang, Ph.D.
Cynthia is a 2010-11 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Management and Organizations at Northwestern University. Her research contributes to the NCID core priority area of Organizations, Business and Sustainable Development, focusing on ethical decision-making, negotiations and bargaining, and social diversity/cross-cultural management. Her dissertation, Punishing Deception and Rewarding Honesty, investigates how exposure to socially similar and dissimilar others influences emotions, judgments and behaviors. She was a William H. Newman Dissertation Award Finalist in the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management.  Recent publications include articles in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (in press), Organizational Science (in press), and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (in press).

Her scholarship draws upon theory from social psychology, economics, organizational behavior and sociology. She believes her work is useful as ethical standards and diversity continue to be central concerns with organizations. She also serves as an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore School of Business.


2009-2010 Postdoctoral Fellows

Jillian Baez

Jillian Báez, Ph.D.
Jillian is a 2009-10 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Communications from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her scholarship contributes to NCID’s core priority area focusing on Diversity Issues in Expressive Culture, the Arts, and Media. Her research and teaching interests lie in media studies, feminist theory, and Latina/o Studies. Her dissertation, entitled “Latinas Talk Back: The Latina Body, Citizenship, and Popular Culture,” explored discourses of the Latina body in U.S. popular culture and how Latinas make sense of these representations of their bodies. She is currently revising her dissertation into a book manuscript. Her research has been supported by the Puerto Rican Studies Research Grant from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and the Tinker Field Research Grant for Graduate Student Research in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Báez was a recipient of the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship and the University of Illinois Graduate College Fellowship. During the 2008-2009 year, she served as a dissertation fellow at the Center for Citizenship, Race, and Ethnicity Studies (CREST) at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. She has presented her work at the National Communication Association, Latin American Studies Association, and the International Communication Association among others. She serves as the Secretary for the Ethnicity and Race in Communication Division of the International Communication Association. Her work has been published in the Journal of Popular Communication and Centro (Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies) and a few book anthologies. She enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking at the beach and in the mountains, and relaxing by reading and drinking tea.

In the fall of 2011, Dr. Baez begins her appointment as an Assistant Professor at the College of Staten Island.

Curriculum Vitae

Ruby Mendenhall

Ruby Mendenhall, Ph.D.
Ruby Mendenhall is a 2009-10 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Mendenhall’s research contributes to the NCID’s core priority area of Public Policy, Politics, and Social Justice, focusing on issues of social inequality (race, class, and gender; housing; employment; and wealth accumulation) over the life course and the role of public policy in facilitating social and economic mobility.  Mendenhall is currently involved in a multi-site study, Investing in Enduring Resources using the Earned Income Tax Credit, which examines how families use their EITC for social and economic mobility in Champaign and Boston.

Mendenhall’s research additionally contributes to the NCID’s core priority area of Urban Revitalization and Community Development, featured in a study that examines job loss among middle-class and upper middle-class professionals and executives, and their efforts to avoid downward mobility. This priority area is also highlighted in her dissertation Black Women in Gautreaux’s Housing Desegregation Program: The Role of Neighborhoods and Networks in Economic Independence, in which Mendenhall examines administrative welfare and employment data, census information, and in-depth interviews to determine the long-run effects of placement neighborhood conditions/resources on economic independence.

Mendenhall’s broader research stems from this dissertation and investigates how various policies (housing, welfare, employment, etc.) influence the development of individuals. In the case of housing policies, she seeks to continue to explore how neighborhood conditions influence the life course outcomes (welfare and employment) of low-income families. Mendenhall examines how individuals employ agency in response to perceived structural constraints and opportunities and the strategies they use to achieve economic and social mobility. In addition to her research agenda, Mendenhall has formed, in conjunction with professor Ken Salo, the Community Development Teaching Collaborative, which supervises UIUC students as they engage in research to help the community. Students have interviewed residents in the North End of Champaign about toxic waste in their community, informed the community of their research findings about toxic waste in the area, and engaged in unity marches.

Dr. Mendenhall is an Assistant Professor in Sociology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Curriculum Vitae


2008-2009 Postdoctoral Fellows

May Fu

May Fu, Ph.D.
May Fu was a 2008-09 Postdoctoral Fellow with the National Center for Institutional Diversity and Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan. After  receiving her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from University of California-San Diego, she was an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Colorado State University. Since her fellowship at the NCID, she has moved into a new position as Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California-San Diego.

Her scholarship contributes to NCID's core priority area focusing on Education, Scholarship and Innovation. Drawing on oral histories of movement activists, her research examines the political praxes of Asian American community organizing during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Entitled Keeping Close to the Ground: Politics and Coalition in the Asian American Movement, 1968-1977, her manuscript explores how Asian American radicalism was fundamentally - and dramatically - influenced by the interracial affiliations and anti-imperialist politics that emerged during this formative historical period. In addition to filling a troubling void in U.S. social movement historiography, her work seeks to generate critical dialogues about Asian American communities, grassroots movements, racial formation, and the obscured histories of interethnic and interracial affiliation.

Fu's broader research and teaching interests include comparative ethnic studies, social movements, women of color feminisms, freedom schooling, and Asian American radicalism. Her publications include "On Contradiction: Theory and Transformation in Detroit's Asian Political Alliance" in Amerasia Journal (2009) and "'Serve the People and You Help Yourself': Japanese American Anti-Drug Organizing in Los Angeles" in Social Justice 35:2 (2008). She has also participated in grassroots movements for transformative justice and community accountability, women and transfolks of color against violence, economic justice, and youth-led community organizing.

Dr. Fu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of San Diego.

Uma Jayakumar

Uma Jayakumar, Ph.D.
Uma M. Jayakumar was a 2008-09 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the fall of 2009, she became a Research Investigator at U-M’s National Center for Institutional Diversity.

Her scholarship contributes to NCID’s core priority area focusing on Education, Scholarship and Innovation. Throughout her doctoral training she worked as a research analyst at the Higher Education Research Institute and worked previously as Director of Research at Choices: Access, Equity, and Diversity in Higher Education. These experiences provided her with a rich foundation on college impact research and the opportunities to direct several projects pertaining to the impact of campus experiences and environments on students of color, and to the educational benefits of racial diversity on individual and societal outcomes.  

Her scholarship examines race, equity, and diversity issues in higher education, with a focus on how institutional environments and practices shape access and success among students of color. Her dissertation, which examines the impact of campus climate and environments pertaining to racial diversity on students’ postcollege cross-cultural skills, was named the 2007 Bobby Wright dissertation of the year by the Association for the Study of Higher Education. It is one of only three studies (Bowen & Bok, 1998; Gurin, 1999) to examine the long-term effects of college diversity experiences, and the only long-term study on the topic of diversity in either secondary or postsecondary education that employs structural equation modeling (SEM). She has presented her work at national conferences, co-authored several reports to foundations, and published her work in the Harvard Educational Review and the Journal of Higher Education.

Harvard Educational Review

Diversity Issues in Higher Education Lecture

Dr. Jayakumar is an Assistant of Leadership Studies in the Organization and Leadership Program at the University of San Francisco.