Thinking Matters Post-doctoral Fellows
Post-doctoral fellows who lead Thinking Matters sections and tutorials are recruited from a national search for up to a three-year term. They are chosen because of their familiarity with the problems and topics of the courses as well as experience and expertise in working with freshmen. The regular and close contact with students significantly enhances freshman learning, particularly in the crucial areas of critical inquiry, analysis, reading and writing.
Ayça Alemdaroglu’s research focuses on theoretical and ethnographic issues related to the Middle East and Turkey. Specifically, her work examines social inequality, generational change and youth experiences, gender and sexuality, rural-urban migration, constructions of space and place, experiences of modernity, nationalism and eugenics. Her most recent research is on transnational higher education companies and the expansion of for-profit higher education institutions in the global South. She is currently working on her book manuscript entitled Knowing your place: inequality, subjectivity and youth in Turkey, which provides an ethnographic study of young adults’ experiences of class, gender and political inequality in contemporary Turkey.
Ayça studied political science and sociology at the Middle East Technical and Bilkent Universities in Turkey. She completed her PhD in sociology at the University of Cambridge, UK. During her PhD, she was a visiting scholar at New York University’s Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies Departments. Before becoming a lecturer in the Thinking Matters Program, she was a postdoctoral scholar in Stanford’s Anthropology Department.
Jelena Batinic received her Ph.D. in East European history from Stanford. She also holds two master’s degrees, in women’s studies and history, from the Ohio State University, and a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from the University of Belgrade. Her research interests include war and society, gender and revolution, and nationalism. She is currently completing a book project on the mobilization of women in the Yugoslav Resistance during World War II. In addition to Thinking Matters, she has taught courses in Stanford’s Department of History.
Noëlle Boucquey received her PhD from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her research interests combine elements of political ecology, cultural and economic geography, and environmental history. Her research projects examine human-environment relationships and the role of coastal and marine spaces in mediating those relationships. Her dissertation work examined conflicts between commercial and recreational fishing groups in order to explore how the socioeconomic, political, and material spaces of fishing are continually negotiated. Her postdoctoral research has focused on how coastal regions are interpreting US marine spatial planning policies. When not thinking about human-ocean relationships, Noëlle enjoys hiking, sailing, and helping her garden grow.
Amos Bitzan received his A.B. from Princeton University (2003), where he majored in German Literature and minored in Judaic Studies. He completed his Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Berkeley (2011), specializing in the histories of Late Modern Europe and the Jews. His research is about how the “People of the Book” discovered the practice of reading for pleasure in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His dissertation, “The Problem of Pleasure: Disciplining the German Jewish Reading Revolution, 1770-1870,” argues that the great turn of Jewish intellectuals toward historical writing in the nineteenth century was in part motivated by anxieties about the solitary and pleasure-seeking reading of young men and women.
Tara Carter received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego (2010) and specializes in historical archaeology and the application of social network theory. As an archaeologist, Tara’s research has focused on the Norse Viking Age colonization of Iceland, with a particular interest the culture’s series of striking social transformations that began with an independent society ruled by chieftains, to one ruled by state-level institutions, and later to one subjugated under the rule of foreign kings. While at UCSD, Tara taught several courses including Making of the Modern World, and the Introduction to Anthropological Archaeology. When not teaching or excavating in the freezing cold setting that is ICE-land, Tara enjoys running, hiking, and daydreaming about the day she can have a dog.
Regina R. Clewlow’s research focuses on understanding individual and household transportation and energy choices, and the potential impacts of technology and policy interventions to shape future demand. Her studies utilize several methodologies, including econometric analysis, discrete choice modeling, statistical analysis, interviews and survey to develop advance behavioral models of travel and energy consumption behavior.
Regina received her Ph.D. in Engineering Systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds a B.S. in Computer Science and M.Eng. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. Before becoming a lecturer in the Thinking Matters Program, she was a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley in the Institute of Urban and Regional Development.
Mik Dale joined GCEP as a Post-doctoral Researcher in February 2011. Prior to this he undertook his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with the Advanced Energy and Material Systems (AEMS) Laboratory at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His doctoral thesis was Global Energy Modelling - A Biophysical Approach (GEMBA) which married net energy analysis with systems dynamic modelling to study the interaction of the global economy with the energy sector. Mik also carried out a number of community-based energy-related projects whilst in New Zealand and was especially involved with Transition initiatives: local groups seeking innovative ways to address the twin challenges of Peak Oil and Climate Change.
Mik also hold a Master's Degree in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Bristol, UK.
Andy Dosmann studied the evolution of animal personality for his Ph.D. thesis at The University of Chicago. Using Belding’s ground squirrels as his study species, he researched links between behavior, stress physiology, and immune function, and how natural selection operates on those traits to generate animal personality. At Stanford, his research addresses relationships between behavior and immunity in ants, the genomics of those traits, and the impact ants’ bacterial communities have on their behavior and immune responses. When not teaching or researching, he loves eating, traveling, rock climbing, and music.
Kari Roesch Goodman studies how species form and diversify, combining tools from evolutionary genetics and animal communication to examine what promotes speciation and diversification in evolutionary radiations of insects. She earned her Ph.D. through the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at U.C. Berkeley and her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Montana. When not teaching at Stanford, she performs postdoctoral research at U.C. Berkeley.
Jennifer studies the religions of Iran/Middle East and the Mediterranean in late antiquity. She is especially interested in how religions respond and adapt when they are exposed to a multiplicity of other religions. Her scholarship focuses on Mandaeism as an example of a religion that both was shaped and helped to shape traditions like Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam. She earned her PhD in Religious Studies from Indiana University, an MA in Women’s Studies and Religion from Claremont Graduate University, and has a BA in Religion and Classics from Kenyon College.
Jamie received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and her Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University. Her dissertation focused on the role of the retinoblastoma gene family in cell cycle control and differentiation in stem cells and cancer. In addition to Thinking Matters, she is also an instructor for the undergraduate bio lab course 44X. When she is not teaching or doing science outreach, Jamie enjoys reading, traveling, cooking and attending musicals.
Sarah is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research engages debates on race, indigeneity, and the environment in South Africa. Her doctoral thesis for Stanford’s Department of Anthropology focused on the social and ecological relations in the farming of South African rooibos tea. In this research, she examined how connections between race and botany have legitimized political, social, and economic hierarchies. Her current project explores social science theory and public policy in a time of climate change. By connecting ideas about plant and human mobility to convictions about cultural and ecological indigeneity, she address how fears over climate change not only unsettle livelihoods, but also yield new understandings of temporality, existence, and place.
Sarah has experience teaching, tutoring, and lecturing at Stanford University, the University of Washington (where she received her Master’s Degree in Geography), the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa (where she served as a visiting scholar), and Dartmouth College (where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Geography with Environmental Studies).
A native New Yorker, Kevin Kim received his B.A. in English literature from Columbia University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Stanford University. His main teaching and research interests are twentieth-century U.S. foreign relations history, U.S. political history, Asian-American history, and, increasingly, the development of U.S. capitalism (particularly, the evolution of U.S. finance and industry in the post-World War II period). His doctoral dissertation, "Challenging Monoliths: Henry Wallace, Herbert Hoover, and the Rise of America in the World, 1874-1965," examines the politics and ideas of the nation's two most prominent political dissenters from Cold War "consensus," former New Deal official and U.S. vice-president Henry Wallace, and ex-U.S. president Herbert Hoover. In his spare time, he loves to cook, get lost in the dangerously infinite aural world of Spotify, and indulge in anything but books. Really!
Dr. Khameeka N. Kitt recently completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Biology at Stanford University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. from Saint Mary’s College of California (Moraga, CA) and went on to the University of Arizona to complete her Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy. Her graduate work focused on how the small GTPase Rab14 is involved in the transportation of proteins from one part of the cell to another to maintain cellular function and organization. Her work at Stanford focused on the dynamics of how epithelial cells make contacts with other epithelial cells and the proteins that serve as “the glue” that holds cells together. Her work involved analyzing protein complexes in normal and cancer cell lines to better understand the mechanisms involved in cancer initiation and progression. Over the past five years, Dr. Kitt has published her findings in several research journals, including Traffic and PLoS One. In addition to her work as a scientist, Dr. Kitt has a passion for science education. For the past four years she has been involved with the San Jose Science Tech Museum through the Genetics Department at Stanford University educating youth and the community about DNA and cell biology. Furthermore, she has been invited to give seminars about the cell biology behind cancer at local breast cancer awareness conferences. As a scientist, her goal is to not only understand the complexities of the human body at the molecular level, but to educate others about science and medicine.
Hania grew up in Austria and came to Stanford via the University of Edinburgh (B.S. in Biology / Neuroscience) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D. in Neuroscience). Her PhD thesis focused on the effects of early auditory experience on the development of auditory areas in the brain as well as the perception of sound. She is generally fascinated by all things brain, and in particular the many ways the brain can change—which is why she loves teaching. In her free time, she likes to take advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer, travel, and read.
Hailing from the Bavarian Alps, Karola received her PhD in philosophy at Stanford after an MSc in linguistics at Edinburgh and a BA in philosophy at Brown (and a few years of vagabonding around the world). Her PhD dissertation focuses on the attunement of animals (including humans) to their environments and argues against the symbolic systems approach to mental representation. In addition to philosophy of mind her research interests include cognitive science and Nietzsche. When not philosophizing, Karola likes to write, direct, produce, and perform theater, which she does together with Alexi Burgess through A/K/A Theater Company. Frequently, she can also be spotted on the aerial silks…
Andy holds a PhD in Environmental Science Policy and Management from UC Berkeley, a Master's in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida at Gainesville, and a Bachelors in Mathematics from Duke University. His PhD research examined wildlife conservation in southern Africa from an interdisciplinary perspective, including the organizational dynamics of community-based conservation projects in Zambia, patterns of land use change outside national parks, and development of a new method for detecting spatiotemporal patterns in wildlife movement data. He has also worked with international development projects for USAID, the UN, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia. His current research applies the tools of social science to understand the potentials and pitfalls of sustainability initiatives.
Nicole Martinez received her BA from Princeton University in Anthropology and Latin American Studies. She then completed a law degree at Harvard Law School and worked in public interest law and international project finance. Nicole studies Comparative Human Development at University of Chicago, where she received a Master's, with a particular interest in mental health policy. She was a Greenwall Fellow in Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.
Kara McCormack received her PhD in American Studies at the University of New Mexico, where her work focused on cultural studies and popular culture, specifically in the areas of the Mythic West, tourism, heritage, and science fiction. Her dissertation, “Imagining ‘the Town too Tough to Die’: Tourism, Preservation, and History in Tombstone, Arizona,” looks at how popular culture, the concepts of history and authenticity, preservation, and economic exigencies continually circulate and interact at the site. At UNM, she taught a number of undergraduate classes in popular culture, including Introduction to Popular Culture, Introduction to Southwest Studies, Urban Legends, and Science Fiction in American Culture. Future research includes an examination of the ways science fiction and the frontier myth interact and coalesce. She is also interested in exploring the production and consumption of Soviet-era western and science fiction films, focusing specifically on the dialogic relationship that developed in the realm of popular culture between the world’s two most powerful nations at the time.
Nate Olson holds a PhD and MA in philosophy from Georgetown University and a BA in philosophy and English from St. Olaf College. His dissertation Ties that Bind: Respect and Relationship-Based Responsibilities explores why relationships like those with our friends and family members are the source of moral obligations. More generally, he works on topics in ethics and social and political philosophy related to the question of how our personal commitments affect what we ought to do. Prior to attending graduate school, he taught middle school English in rural Louisiana through the Teach for America program.
Melinda T. Owens received her BS from Caltech in Biology and her PhD in Neuroscience from UCSF. Her PhD thesis research focused on the formation of orderly maps in the visual system. In particular, she studied how the brain uses both biochemical molecular cues and neural activity to organize connections between different brain areas. She is also very interested in using innovative techniques for teaching science, especially biology, to undergraduates. When she is not teaching, she enjoys glass flameworking, traveling to places where there are penguins, reading science fiction, and puzzlehunting.
Inga Pierson received her Ph.D. in Italian Studies from New York University in 2009. Her manuscript, "Towards a Poetics of Neorealism: Tragedy in the Italian Cinema 1942-1948," explores the unique manifestation of a tragic discourse in films by Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti and Giuseppe De Santis. She is planning a second project that deals similarly with late modernism in Italian and French cinema. Before coming to Stanford, Inga was Visiting Assistant Professor at Colgate University in Romance Languages and Film and Media Studies. She has taught courses in Italian literature, language and culture as well as film history and media theory.
Jess is from Toronto Canada, and came to Stanford in 2007 with a B.Sc. in Physics and Geology from the University of Toronto. She worked in the field of Environmental Geophysics and recently finished her Ph.D., which involved using satellites to monitor groundwater resources in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Besides her pure science work she is also interested in the intersection of science, policy and decision making with respect to water resources. In 2012 she attended the Woods Institute for the Environment's DC Bootcamp, where Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars learned how their science can have a voice in the world of policy making. Water is also an important component of her free time, as paddling, surfing and swimming take the edge off a tough work week.
Taylor, Stacey Wirt
Stacey received her B.A. in Biology from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Stanford University. Her dissertation focused on uncovering new mechanisms for cell cycle control in mouse embryonic stem cells and neural progenitors. She went on to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in genome engineering, where she worked to develop nuclease technology for editing disease-causing mutations in human stem cells. In her spare time, Stacey volunteers at the San Jose Tech Museum, likes to camp and hike throughout Northern California, and is an avid photographer.
Ruth Tennen received her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and her Ph.D. in cancer biology from Stanford University. Her graduate work examined the intersection between epigenetics and disease: how human cells squeeze two meters of DNA into their nuclei while keeping that DNA accessible and dynamic, and how DNA packaging goes awry during cancer and aging. As a graduate student, Ruth shared her love of science by teaching hands-on classes to students at local schools, hospitals, and museums and by blogging on the San Jose Tech Museum’s website.
After completing her Ph.D., Ruth moved to Washington, DC to serve as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. Working in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, she collaborated with colleagues in DC and at U.S. Embassies abroad to promote scientific capacity building, science education, and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. She managed the Apps4Africa program, which challenges young African innovators to develop mobile apps that tackle problems in their communities. She also traveled to South Africa and Ghana, where she delivered lectures and workshops designed to spark the scientific excitement of young learners. In her free time, Ruth enjoys running, reading, quoting Seinfeld, and cheering for the UConn Huskies.
Matthew Walker received his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages & Literatures (with a minor in Critical Theory) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. Before coming to Stanford, Matthew taught for two years at the University of Pennsylvania as a visiting lecturer in Russian language, literature and culture. He also taught this past summer in the Russian School at Middlebury College. His main research interests are nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature and the history of aesthetics and literary criticism in Russia and Europe.
Terrance Wiley (Southern Methodist University, B.A.; Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.; Princeton University, M.A, Ph.D.) has research and teaching interests at the intersection of religious ethics, theology, legal theory, political philosophy, and African American Studies, with a special concern with nonviolent social movement theory and praxis. Terrance is currently working on a manuscript, Angelic Troublemakers: Religion and Anarchism in Henry David Thoreau, Dorothy Day, and Bayard Rustin, which interrogates the theological anthropologies, ethics, political philosophies, and social theories of three exemplary American religious radicals.
Adam Zientek is a historian specializing in 20th century European military history and wars of insurgency and counterinsurgency. He received his BA in History summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley (2004) and his MA and PhD in History from Stanford (2007, 2012). His manuscript, Wine and Blood, examines alcohol consumption among French soldiers on the Western Front during the First World War. He is interested in the developing field of “Neurohistory,” which seeks to use contemporary research in the neurological and cognitive sciences to inform social and cultural history. He enjoys eating burritos, hanging out with his dog Oscar, and cage fighting.