DISI Post-Doctoral Research Associates

The Diversity and Inclusion Science Initiative (DISI) funds postdoctoral research fellowships to support early-career scholars interested in working on research that increases our understanding of the role that diversity and inclusion play in the health and well-being of children, youth, families, communities, and societies. DISI postdoctoral research fellows work closely with two faculty mentors whose work and interests reflect DISI's goals. DISI postdoctoral fellows are also involved in teaching and participate in DISI-related activities.

DISI is not currently receiving applications for the 2019-2020 academic year.

 

Current DISI Post-Doctoral Research Associates

Megan Costa

Megan Costa

Education:

2018 Ph.D. Human Development and Family Studies
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Advisor: Claire Vallotton, Ph.D.

2016 Ph.D. Demography and Sociology (joint degree)
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Advisor: Irma T. Elo, Ph.D.

2014 A.M Demography
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Advisor: Claudia Valeggia

2012 M.S.c. Demography
London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine, London, England
Advisor: Ian Timaeus

2009 B.A. Anthropology (with Distinction)
University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Faculty Advisors:

Natalie D. Wilkens, Assistant Professor
Robert Bradley, Professor

I am a demographer focused on fertility and family demography; my interests lie at the intersection of maternal characteristics and household determinants of child well-being. These characteristics leave their mark in the childhood years and hold long-term implications for health across the life course. My current projects explore how fertility intentions affect child health in the Tsimané—a population that is experiencing rapid demographic, economic, and dietary transitions in the Bolivian lowlands—and in a high-fertility rural population in Kigoma, Tanzania. I am also working with data from the Young Lives Cohort Study to better understand the intersection of child health, multigenerational living arrangements, and aging in low- and middle-income countries. The central goal of my research is to understand how overlapping life course stages—including fertility decisions, aging, and migration events—affect children within their family contexts.

Cassandra Cotton

Education:

2017 Ph.D. Sociology
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec
Advisor: Shelley Clark, Ph.D.

2008 B.A. International Relations
Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick

Faculty Advisors:

Robert Bradley, Professor
Elizabeth Blue Swadener, Professor

I am a family demographer whose work primarily investigates the intersections between migration and family dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa. My current research examines the relationship between women's migration, child fostering, and mother-child relationships in urban informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya. My additional ongoing projects explore the influence of migration in adolescence on young migrant women's maternal and reproductive health outcomes and the impact of mothers' migration patterns on child residence and child well-being across sub-Saharan Africa. My other published work has looked at kin support for single mothers in Nairobi, Kenya, family relationships and father engagement in Cape Town, South Africa, and family structures, migration, and transitions to adulthood in Kisumu, Kenya. The overarching goal of my research aims to understand the role of migration in shaping the lives of women and their children throughout sub-Saharan Africa using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Stacy Morris

Stacy Morris

Education:

2018 Ph.D. Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology,
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Advisor: Jacqueline Lerner, Ph.D.

2012 B.S. Psychology, Theater & Dance
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

Faculty Advisor:

Richard Fabes, Professor

Research Interest: I research prosocial behaviors in youth and adolescents, with direct applications for fostering actively engaged young populations. I am particularly concerned with understanding access to personally meaningful community engagement for youth with regard to their many intersecting social identities, given the range of barriers and supports available in their different contexts. Additionally, I research critical consciousness, or the understanding of structural inequities in society along with the motivation to dismantle inequities. With my research, I hope to provide insight into how to cultivate a generation of critically informed youth, so that their future and current contributions to their communities will lend toward the creation of a more equitable society.

 

Jenny Padilla

Jenny Padilla

Education:

2017 Ph.D. Human Development and Family Studies
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Advisor: Susan M. McHale, Ph.D.

2014 M.S. Human Development and Family Studies
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Advisor: Susan M. McHale, Ph.D.

2012 B.A. Psychology
Minor: Applied Developmental Psychology
University of California, Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Advisors:

Kimberly Updegraff, Professor
Justin Jager, Assistant Professor

My research focuses on the family as a developmental influence, primarily in adolescence and young adulthood. With respect to the larger contexts of family systems dynamics, I am most interested in the role of culture; my work to date has focused on Mexican-origin families. A major goal of my current and future research program is to advance understanding of diversity that is evident within ethnic groups as well as the cultural practices and values that help to explain differences in family dynamics and youth well-being within those groups. To address questions about changes in multiple individuals, dyads, and larger family subsystems—within their changing contexts—I also explore research methods such as quantitative analysis approaches for capturing complex family systems dynamics.

Wen Wang

Wen Wang

Education:

2018 Ph.D. Human Development and Family Studies
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Advisor: Claire Vallotton, Ph.D.

2011 M.S. Developmental and Educational Psychology
Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Advisor: Liqi Zhu, Ph.D.

Faculty Advisors:

Tracy Spinrad, Professor
Carlos Valiente, Professor

Research Interest: My general research interest is young children's development of social-emotional skills and prosocial behaviors, and how culture and ethnicity shape child development in this domain through parenting and parent-child interactions. Currently, I investigate the cultural variances in socializing young children's mastery motivation in family context. I also have done research about cultural variances in parent-infant communication through gestures, and the early development of fairness preference for Chinese toddlers. The long-term goal of my research is to help both researchers and practitioners to understand the diversity of socialization process of child development and provide cultural sensitive service and programs for children and families with different backgrounds.