List of Fellows
The Presidential Fellowship is funded by the President of the University and awarded by The Graduate School. This highly competitive award is the most prestigious fellowship awarded by Northwestern.
All recipients become members of the Northwestern Society of Fellows (which includes former members and distinguished faculty members). Presidential Fellows still completing their degrees are listed below. See the links at the top for Fellows listed by induction year.
Adebola is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering under the advisement of Professor Keith EJ Tyo. Her research examines the potential of using yeast-based biosensors as a low-cost option for healthcare diagnostics. Yeast-based biosensors have been used in a variety of fields, but have yet to be explored in this capacity. Yeasts have well studied mechanisms for detecting and responding to different molecules in their native environments. Adebola's research seeks to rewire these sensory pathways to instead detect molecules that are indicative of disease and found in easy to access human specimens, such as blood or urine. After detecting the molecule, the yeast can be genetically altered to respond by providing a visual readout to the user. Information gained from this work can provide further insights on how to better design yeast-based biosensors for the healthcare field.
Robin Bartram is a PhD candidate in Sociology. Her main areas of interest are urban sociology, cultural sociology, and the sociology of knowledge. Informed by these subfields, Robin’s dissertation is a study of housing inspections and building code. Specifically, Robin investigates what matters – about buildings and their residents and owners - to building inspectors when they decide 1) what counts as a violation of the municipal code; and 2) what course of action to take from a range of possibilities, such as fines, court cases, demolitions, evictions, or allowing property owners time to improve housing conditions. This project combines observations of inspections-in-action with interviews, court room observations, and geospatial analysis of census data to reveal links between on-the-ground interpretive decisions and city-wide patterns in inequality. Overall, this project affords a theory of how social characteristics shape the interpretation and regulation of physical artifacts, as well as how physical characteristics enable or limit governance of people and places. Visit her Sociology Department web page.
Kristen E. Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in the chemistry department under the advisement of Professor Michael R. Wasielewski. She came to Northwestern from Marietta, GA after completing her BS in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Kristen currently researches energy conversion efficiencies in organic molecules which are designed to enhance natural energy- and fuel-generation processes found in photosynthesis. Photosynthesis functions because green chlorophylls are arranged in a way which encourages communication between adjacent molecules. One important mechanism by which these molecules can interact is through movement or vibrations of their atoms. Using ultrafast lasers which act as a camera imaging at a rate of 100 billion images/second, Kristen studies the vibrations between atoms to understand how they contribute to high efficiencies. Information regarding specific vibrational frequencies provides insight into complex systems and allows for a more informed design of a solar device. View Kristen's research website.
Daniel is a physicist researching networks and complex systems. Many things we encounter in our everyday lives such as the power grid, social groups, financial markets, and even materials can be viewed as networks of interacting components. Building models of these complicated networks that capture their observed behavior is an area in which excellent work has been done. Daniel’s research focuses on the inverse problem: constructing a network that exhibits a desired behavior. His primary research is on the design of microfluidic networks. A microfluidic system is composed of a network of tiny pipes embedded in a plastic chip the size of a small coin. The pipes are about the width of a strand of hair and carry only a few nanoliters of fluid. These systems are used widely to perform small scale experiments in chemistry and biology but also have a growing number of biomedical applications, including rapid bed-side diagnostic tests and wearable health monitoring devices. Daniel designs the network of pipes in these systems so that fluids flow through them in an automated or pre-defined way, removing the need for external control systems like pumps and computers. His work is theoretical and computational, and he combines techniques from network science with the physics of fluids. Daniel received Bachelor of Science degrees in physics, mathematics, and economics from Louisiana State University prior to coming to Northwestern to join Prof. Adilson Motter’s research group. Visit his research group's website.
Emma Chubb is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History and a member of the Middle East and North Africa Studies Program. Her research examines the relationship between national identity, visual representation, minority communities, and postcolonial migration in North Africa and the Middle East, where she has been involved in exhibitions, publications, and artist residencies since 2007. Her dissertation analyzes how contemporary artworks represent diversity in response to the specific social, historical, and political contexts of 20th and 21st century Morocco, and it explains the emergence of a generation of artists in Morocco who came of age during the postcolonial period. Analyzing the representation of minority Berber, Jewish, and emigrant communities in recent photographs, sculptures, videos, and multi-media installations, she questions how visual representation regulates the political and social recognition of who does and who does not count as Moroccan. In turn, her research illuminates the ways in which visual images and technologies—from the movies we watch to the phones in our pockets—impact how we understand identity and minority communities and the importance of these communities to revised accounts of postcolonial national identity. Visit the Art History Department’s website.
Cynthia (CC) DuBois is a doctoral candidate in Northwestern University’s Human Development and Social Policy program. She strives to conduct policy-relevant research in the field of labor economics that is significant and innovative, informed by multiple disciplines, and addresses timely and relevant social issues. Her current research employs econometric methods to draw causal conclusions regarding the impact of race-based affirmative action policies on hiring outcomes. Her dissertation focuses on measuring the impact of both “soft” and “hard” affirmative action policies. “Hard” affirmative action policies mandate the direct consideration of minority status during the hiring process, while “soft” affirmative action policies are designed to change the composition of the candidate pool, rather than the criteria used during hiring. CC received a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago’s Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy.
Juliette Galonnier is a PhD candidate in the joint PhD program in Sociology between Sciences Po Paris and Northwestern University. Juliette’s dissertation provides a comparative analysis of the experiences of “white” converts to Islam in France and the United States. The objective of her project is to highlight the role of religion in the social construction of race in these two countries. Juliette’s research shows that white converts to Islam often spark off reactions of incredulity, suspicion and fear because of the perceived discrepancy between the color of their skin and their religious choice. By virtue of their “anomalous” status, they render visible the racial expectations attached to Islam as well as the religious expectations attached to whiteness. Using in-depth interviewing with converts and ethnographic observations in convert supports groups, Juliette analyzes how white converts to Islam relate to their allegedly dissonant religious and racial identities on the two sides of the Atlantic. France and the United States are two Western democracies that have both entertained a troubled relationship to Islam, especially in the post 9/11 context. Yet, they also have different racial stratification systems, different understandings of religion and secularism, and have historically had different encounters with the Muslim world. Because of these similarities and differences, they offer fruitful cases for sociological comparison. This enables Juliette to contrast the different shapes that the conflation of race and religion has taken across national contexts. Visit Juliette’s Northwestern Sociology and Sciences Po webpages.
Lauren Geary received a BS in Biology from Illinois Wesleyan University and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences (IBiS) graduate program. Her thesis work, under the advisement of Professor Carole LaBonne, focuses on understanding the unique behavior of stem cells, as they hold enormous potential for the treatment of disease. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the remarkable ability to either stay unspecialized, or to undergo cell specialization and form any different cell type imaginable. How a stem cell decides to stay a stem cell and how it begins the process of cell specialization, however, is not entirely clear. For this reason, Lauren’s dissertation research is aimed at determining the specific instructions needed to control stem cell decisions during development. Such information is imperative as scientists and physicians continue to work towards making stem cell-based therapies a reality. In addition to her scholarly work, Lauren is dedicated to education and community outreach, and is an active member of numerous outreach initiatives that provide youth mentorship and encourage scientific curiosity throughout the community. View the IBiS website.
Adam Hockenberry is a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences (IBiS) graduate program where he is co-advised by Professors Michael Jewett and Luis Amaral in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He graduated from Temple University with a BA in Anthropology and joined the IBiS program in the fall of 2010. His primary research is focused on understanding how organisms harness redundancy in the language of DNA in order to encode specific sequence signals that regulate gene expression. Just as the choice of synonyms can provide information about an English speaker’s educational level or geographic origin, the biased use of synonyms in an organism’s genome can provide information about its life-history and the relative importance of individual genes. The ability to translate genome sequences into hypotheses about the functions of individual genes within organisms and of individual organisms within complex communities presents a unique statistical challenge. However, a better understanding of the rules by which genes are written in different organisms has a practical benefit, namely increasing the production (and decreasing the costs) of biologically produced medications such as insulin. Visit Adam’s Google Scholar page.
Bethany is a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama. Her research explores the relationship among performance, law, and racialization. Asking the question “How do you know when you see an Indian?” she identifies and analyzes an embodied repertoire of Indianness that marks a character as Native American on the theatrical stage and marks a Native American as Indian within the legal and juridical tradition of the United States. Using racial representation as a lens through which to interpret both performance and law she draws upon Theatre Studies, Native American Studies, and Cultural History. Drawing connections between significant shifts in federal Indian policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and contemporaneous popular, theatrical entertainment she questions the ways in which Native Americans were constructed and circulated by Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers. Bethany co-founded and leads the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies, a graduate student led colloquium dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration among scholars of Native American and Indigenous Studies. Visit the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama program's web page.
Kelly is passionate about nature conservation in cities, especially in her home city of Chicago. Her research investigates the possibility that green (planted) roofs, when considered as part of a solution to plant conservation, could be useful tools in providing additional habitat, creating corridors to assist species migration, and even serve as sites for preserving native prairie species. Kelly’s dissertation includes assessing the efficacy of using a habitat analog approach in constructing prairie-style green roofs, measuring gene flow to determine genetic isolation of green roof populations, and using chronosequences to predict the assembly of green roof plant and insect communities in the future. Her overall aim is to highlight the feasibility of using these unique urban habitats as sites to help preserve local biodiversity. View Kelly’s research webpage.
Rob is a doctoral candidate in the Rhetoric and Public Culture program. His research is focused on the interface between law and public life — especially concerning the ways in which judicial institutions are authorized, legitimated and understood in U.S. public culture. His dissertation explores the development of a public conception of nation-state sovereignty in the United States during the early nineteenth century, centered upon the figure of the pirate. Between 1815 and 1830, piracy in the Caribbean Sea increased substantially, raising numerous questions of considerable legal, political, and cultural importance. In the dissertation, he analyzes texts such as Supreme Court opinions, legal treatises, newspaper reports and editorials, congressional testimony and statutes, popular literature – both fiction and non-fiction – and public performances, in order to examine how Americans understood the literal and figurative limits of U.S. legal authority. Much work has been done on the role of the territorial frontier in the creation of a national image in American culture; in contrast, this study takes the non-territory of the ocean as its point of departure to investigate how Americans cultivated the limits of the nation-state’s sovereign jurisdiction both within the nation and without. View the Comunication Studies website.
Jaimie Morse received a BA in Political Science and Economics from UC Berkeley and an MA in Public Health from UCLA. She is a Science in Human Culture Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellow at Northwestern and a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies. Jaimie’s dissertation traces the historical emergence of sexual violence in war as a focus of global human rights advocacy and how medical evidence has been used to document sexual violence as a war crime and an instrument of genocide. Her research explores how global networks of human rights activists, doctors, and nurses have advocated for increased collection and use of medical forensic evidence in conflict zones to corroborate allegations of sexual violence in war, document patterns of war crimes and facilitate prosecution in international and domestic courts. Such attempts are part of broader shifts in human rights advocacy to document human rights violations using rigorous, standardized methodologies. In this project Jaimie traces the origins, purpose and apparent effects of recent attempts to develop and implement medico-legal interventions to document, characterize and address gender-based violence in the context of war. She brings together approaches in science and technology studies, law and society, and sociology of culture to understand how medical evidence may influence what counts as gender-based violence in conflict and with what effects. Combining archival research with interviews of experts, healthcare practitioners and activists, she argues that medical evidence collection techniques produce commemorative objects and function as tools of governance, influencing what comes to count as gender-based violence in war, which crimes are deemed justiciable and ultimately how events come to be remembered. View the Sociology website.
Elizabeth Rodriguez works on the intersecting fields of gender, sexuality and politics in early modern England, roughly from 1500-1700. Her research tracks representations of consent, beginning as a development in statute law during the sixteenth century and ending with its most fraught realization during the English Civil War. In chapters that contextualize a variety of canonical and lesser-known texts — from plays and poems to legal depositions and political tracts — Elizabeth’s project excavates the manifold, and sometimes contradictory, modes of articulating consent that were imaginable. She argues that the period witnessed a conceptual shift in which the legal and ethical recognition of women’s sexual subjectivity provided the vocabulary later used to describe the proto-liberal political subject. Elizabeth is also interested in the public humanities and is a PreAmble Scholar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater where she lectures on the performances’ literary-historical contexts. View the Department of English website.
Marlous is a comparative economic historian interested in the historical roots of the global economic divide and specifically in the economic legacies of colonialism. Her work focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa and is methodologically situated at the intersection of global history, economics and political economy.
Her dissertation, titled "Financing the African State: Development and Transformations of Fiscal Systems in the Long Twentieth Century", explores state capacity building in Sub-Saharan Africa through the lens of taxation. In other ongoing and previous projects, Marlous has looked at the development of material living standards in Africa from a global comparative perspective. View the Department of History website.
Shuang Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Driskill Graduate Program (DGP) under the advisement of Dr. Edward Thorp in the Pathology Department, Feinberg School of Medicine. She came to the U.S. as an exchange student from China . After finishing her undergrad in East Tennessee State University, she joined the DGP program in the fall of 2012. Her research focuses on the inflammatory response after heart attack. Cardiovascular disease has become the leading cause of death in the United States. Even though the advances in pharmacological treatments improved the survival for heart attack patients, the residual risk of post-heart attack heart failure remains high. This necessitates the development of complementary approaches to preserve heart function. During heart attack, the damaged heart muscle cells recruit macrophage, an important immune cell who is in charge of debris clearance, from the blood. The process of debris clearance by phagocytes is termed efferocytosis. Shuang’s research focuses on the reprogramming process within macrophages upon efferocytosis. The major respects of her work are: 1) trying to enhancing inflammation resolution in the heart by targeting the interaction between dying cardiomyocytes and macrophages. 2) elucidating the role of mitochondrial metabolism in efferocytosis mediated inflammation resolution. Her ultimate goal is to identify molecular targets involved in efferocytosis to enhance inflammation resolution in cardiovascular diseases. Visit her lab's website.
Justin Zullo is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Performance Studies, and a sound engineer, musician, and teaching artist. His work focuses on Chicago-based arts organizations that use hip-hop performance as a tool for education and community building. Situated at the intersection of performance theory, urban ethnography, and sound studies, Justin’s dissertation examines how the embodied aspects of hip-hop culture (e.g. breakdancing, beatboxing, fashion, etc.) offer alternate methods and spaces for learning, and how this type of learning functions in response to local political challenges such as youth-of-color criminalization and educational disinvestment.
These political contexts set the stage for Justin’s ethnography of two specific sites: (1) Kuumba Lynx a Chicago-based hip-hop community arts organization, where he works with instructors and students to better understand their artistic responses to local issues; and, (2) Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, a five-story detention center for incarcerated young people under the age of 18, where he teaches residents digital music production. His fieldwork at these sites spotlights the strictures black and brown young people face in Chicago, and theorizes the philosophical approaches and artistic methods hip-hop pedagogy offers to these constraints.