2021-2022 APSA Spring Diversity Fellowship Program

The following students were named as 2021-2022 APSA Diversity Fellowship Program recipients during the spring 2021 application cycle. These fellows are currently in the first or second year of PhD programs in political science.

  • Roberto Alas, University of Houston
  • Erika Arias, Syracuse University
  • Kevin Bustamante, University of Notre Dame
  • Sara Contreras, Temple University
  • Misha Cornelius, Howard University
  • Carolyn Anh Dang, University of Virginia
  • Alexandra Davis, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ra'phael Davis, The Ohio State University
  • Micah English, Yale University
  • Devyn Escalanti, University of Central Florida
  • Amara Galileo, University of Delaware
  • Angelica Garcia-Macias, University of California, Irvine
  • Rashaud Hannah, Georgetown University
  • Kaia Kirk, Syracuse University
  • Rosemarie Lerma, Indiana University
  • Anthony Lindsay, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Geidy Mendez, University of California, Irvine
  • Jeremiah Muhammad, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Hui-Yuan Neo, Cornell University
  • Joyce Nguy, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jose Perez, The Ohio State University
  • Natalie Romeri-Lewis, The Ohio State University
  • Carlos Rueda-Canon, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Taylor Vincent, University of Maryland
  • Daniel Zangotita, University of Florida




Untitled design (24)Roberto F. Alas is a first-year PhD student in the department of political science at the University of Houston. He obtained a BA in international relations and Spanish from the University of California, Davis, and an MA in Latin American studies from California State University, Los Angeles. He is interested in comparative policy analysis at the state level, with a particular focus on the implementation choices that minimize negative consequences of legislation. While at the University of Houston, Roberto has served as a teaching assistant for a globalization course and is an ongoing research assistant on an immigration study. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Roberto worked as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Economics and Statistics at California State University, Los Angeles. His courses included Current Issues in Latin American Economics and Economics of the Latino Community. He also served on the Board of Parking Place Commissioners of the City of Pomona from 2016-2020. His intersecting economics and policy experience drives his research, and he hopes to continue working to bridge the gap between economics and policy.




AriasErika Arias is a PhD student in the department of political science at Syracuse University where she is a SU STEM Fellow. Her fields of study are comparative politics and American politics with a focus on social movements, political behavior, public opinion, and state violence. Currently, she is exploring political elite response to gender-based violence issues and the effect it has on the type of mobilization taken, particularly social media grassroots movements. Erika graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in international studies, and Law, Societies & Justice. As an undergraduate she was a McNair Scholar and researched the role of U.S. economic policies on Argentina during the Dirty War. At Syracuse, she is involved with the university’s Graduate Student Organization Diversity Committee and the Maxwell School’s Graduate Students of Color Affinity Group. After completing her doctoral studies, Erika plans to pursue a career in academia, while promoting diversity and inclusion.





Kevin Bustamante is a second-year PhD. student in the department of political science at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include international relations theory and race and ethnic politics. Kevin’s work is centered around the role of race in American Politics and International Relations. His dissertation seeks to show how taking race seriously fundamentally alters our knowledge of state behavior in international politics. His previous research has focused on the politics of state visibility and the impact of foreign direct investment in communities of color within Miami, Florida. He is committed to recruiting and mentoring under-represented minorities into academia. Before attending graduate school, Kevin earned his BA from the University of Miami and triple majored in anthropology, English (creative writing), and political science, graduating with departmental honors in the latter two. He has also worked as a high school teacher and as a research assistant investigating civil war alliances.


Sara Contreras is a second-year PhD student in Temple University’s department of political science where she is also pursuing her graduate certificate in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Sara graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian State University with a BS in international and comparative politics and minors in literature and history. After graduating, Sara moved to Philadelphia where she worked at Medical Students for Choice, a pro-choice non-profit, which helps medical students around the world obtain training to become abortion providers. This experience led Sara to focus academically on abortion policy, reproductive rights, and the relationship the state has to women’s bodies and the relationship women have to the state. Sara is currently researching comparative abortion policy and how underground and clandestine abortion networks subvert the state, particularly in Ireland and Turkey. Other research interests include sexual violence in civil conflict, and why actors choose to adopt sexual violence into their repertoires of violence. Sara was awarded Temple University’s Graduate School’s First Summers Research Initiative for Summer 2021 which provides funding for students to begin their dissertation research early. She aspires to a career in academia where she can pursue her research interests around abortion, reproductive rights, and sexual violence while helping students realize their own passions and gain a foothold in political science.





Misha Cornelius is a second-year PhD student in the department of political science at Howard University majoring in Black Politics and American Government. Her research focuses on the impact of emerging technology on marginalized communities generally and Black communities specifically. She presented a paper on digital voter suppression targeting Black women at the Northeastern Political Science Association Annual Conference in 2020. Prior to attending Howard University, Misha received her BA in political science from San Francisco State University, where she received the 2012 Gary Fan Award for Distinguished Leadership and Service. Upon completing her doctorate, Misha looks forward to pursuing a career in academia and continuing her research at the intersection of race, gender, technology, and social justice while engaging in community activism.





Carolyn Anh Dang is a PhD student in the department of politics at the University of Virginia, focusing on comparative politics and international relations. Her research privileges a mixed-methods approach and explores the conditions under which women’s civil society organizations successfully leverage international laws and norms to participate in peace negotiations and advance gender-sensitive and ethnically-aware peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected countries. She holds a BA in biochemistry, MPH in biostatistics and epidemiology, and MA in social justice and human rights. She has received research funding awards from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Fletcher Jones Chemistry Grant for her biochemical research on mutation pathways of copper chaperone protein aggregates for superoxide dismutase in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. She was also financed by the National Institutes of Health for her clinical and epidemiological research on the congruity of brain metabolic patterns in Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia visualized by FDG-PET. She has additionally received research funding from the Carstens Family Research Grant for her social science graduate work on gender-based violence, situated citizenship, and democracy in India. She aims to use her interdisciplinary training from diverse empirical research fields to contribute a novel and nuanced meaning-making lens to the political science discipline.




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Alexandria Davis is a first-year PhD student and Cota Robles Fellowship recipient studying political science at the University of California, Los Angeles with a concentration in race, ethnicity, and politics. Her research interests are Black public opinion, intersectionality, and political psychology. Her current project specifically focuses on observing the effect of emotions like anger on Black voter apathy in the 2016 presidential election. Alexandria Davis is a recent 2020 graduate of UCLA with a BA in political science and African American studies and was a participant in the Ronald E. McNair Research Fellows Program. Within this program, she produced a senior thesis entitled “God Save the Queen: An Analysis of Race, Gender, and Welfare Stigma on CalFresh Program Participation” that discussed the impact of race, gender, and stereotyping on Black female college students’ participation in welfare programs. Alexandria has future career goals of obtaining a job in academia where she can pursue her research interests and provide mentorship for future scholars of color.



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Ra'phael Davis is a first-year PhD student in the department of political science at The Ohio State University. He graduated with a BA in Philosophy and International Studies from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Before coming to graduate school, he worked as a Program Officer in the Global Ties network, facilitating diplomatic exchanges between citizens of the U.S. and other countries around the world. He serves as the Vice President to the Black Graduate and Professional Student and Caucus and a member of the Graduate Student Committee for his cohort in the department of political science. His research interests are in comparative politics with a focus on peacebuilding, political reconciliation, and African politics. He is currently working on projects about transitional justice and conflict recurrence, and the ways in which civil society activists engage in the politics of reconciliation. After completing his PhD, Ra’phael wants to have a career in academia.




Micah English is a first-year student at Yale University interested primarily in American and comparative politics, with a focus in race and ethnic politics. Specifically, Micah hopes to explore the political attitudes and behaviors of White voters in the United States and Western Europe and is particularly interested in exploring the dynamics of White identity as it relates to gender, sexuality, and class. Micah is also interested broadly in policy formation and hopes to explore how recent protests around racial relations in the U.S. translate into policy outcomes. Prior to starting graduate school, Micah served as a non-profit consultant, a film publicist, and conducted research in the sociology department at Georgetown University. Micah received her undergraduate degree in political science from Duke University and interned with the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity. Micah hopes to become a professor, teaching and thinking with the next generation of political scientists.





Devyn Escalanti is a PhD student studying security studies at the University of Central Florida. Devyn received a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a master’s degree in political science from UCF. She also worked as a research intern for One Earth Future, where she was on a team that promoted co-management fisheries systems among governments and local communities in the Horn of Africa and Somalia. Her research intersects the fields of political science, epidemiology, and geographic information systems to assess the impacts of non-traditional security threats on social and political outcomes from a comparative perspective. Currently, she is working towards her dissertation evaluating the implications of novel infectious pathogens on violent conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Devyn aims to be a senior researcher in the public health sector, where she can advance contemporary research for future public health initiatives.




Amara Galileo is a second-year PhD student in the department of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware. Her fields are comparative politics and international relations with an emphasis on the politics of sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, her research interests include democratization and autocratization dynamics on the African continent, the role of South Africa and Nigeria as regional powers, and African regional organizations. She has been involved in numerous research projects pertaining to topics such as women in African parliaments, opinion change amongst the American electorate, and populist regime changes around the world. She is currently a project associate for The Democracy Project, an initiative which seeks to craft a comprehensive narrative about democratization in sub-Saharan Africa. Amara has also been active in various community groups such as the Delaware Africa Coalition, a nonprofit which seeks to bring greater unity to people of African descent in the tri-state area through social, educational, and political programming. She also volunteers for the Delaware African & Caribbean Affairs Commission which is affiliated with the state of Delaware.



Garcias Macias

Angelica Garcia-Macias is a PhD student studying political science at the University of California, Irvine. As a McNair scholar, she has conducted research on housing discrimination within the Latinx community. Angelica now has a focus on machista acculturation within the Latinx/Chicanx community. Her research focuses on Machismo/marianismo, both the limits and support for Latinx /Chicanx women within political activism and mobilization. Their interest is Latinx/Chicanx politics, genders and sexuality, political participation, and community activism. As a first-generation student of a farm working background, Angelica is devoted to diversifying American politics and providing mentoring opportunities to future students. Angelica aspires to work for a minority-serving institution to pursue professorship in order to pursue their academic and career goals.





Rashaud Hannah is a dual-degree JD/PhD student at Georgetown University. His PhD. studies have a focus in the American Government subfield and his JD studies have a focus in tax law. Rashaud’s research interests reside at the nexus of education, politics, and the law. He is interested in examining institutional change and behavior across the educational services sector, state and local governments, and taxation practices in the United States. With aspirations of becoming a professor, he plans to center his work on understanding the evolving viability of the American dream and the institutions that help shape opportunity for upward mobility. Rashaud is a member of the Georgetown Black Law Students Association. He is also the Networking and Alumni Editor for Volume 35 of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. Rashaud holds a master’s degree from the University of Rochester in higher education administration and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Yale University.





Kaia Kirk is a first-year PhD student in the political science department at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Her subfields of concentration are American politics and public administration and policy, with research interests in Black American citizenship and media and politics. Her broader research interests include Black politics, public opinion and communication, political behavior, and social movements. Currently, Kirk is investigating the long-term impact that voting restrictions have on Black American voters in the state of Georgia. She has also begun to investigate the ways in which different generations of Black Americans perceive political information, focusing on how social media mediates the effects of exposure to depictions of traumatic events among Black youth and young adults. Kirk graduated summa cum laude with a BA in political science from Jackson State University, where she was a McNair scholar. She hopes to pursue a career as an educator at a research institute, where she can develop projects that will be pertinent to grassroot organizations and policymakers speaking for local underrepresented and misrepresented communities.





Rosemarie Lerma is a PhD student in political science at Indiana University. Her research interest is Latino voting behavior, specifically in understanding how Latino voters receive and process information, their changing geographic distribution, and the consequences for congressional races in the 21st century. Rosemarie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Chicana/o studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also holds a master’s degree in political science from California State University, Northridge.







Anthony Lindsay is a PhD student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the department of political science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research interests are in international relations with a focus on conflict forecasting, stock market prediction, and social physics. Anthony is currently building a Conflict Forecasting Engine (CFE) to predict interstate conflict, rare events, and tension between world leaders. Additionally, he is constructing an algorithm to both predict stock prices in OTC markets, and forecast breakout penny stocks. Prior to joining the UNC community, Anthony launched a non-profit education portal called PolyPsych, where he interviewed professors and presented political psychology research on the PolyPsych podcast. He earned his BA in political science from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. As an undergraduate student he worked as a research assistant and podcaster, received the political science department’s Outstanding Paper Award for best senior thesis, and graduated summa cum laude from the honors program. After completing his PhD, Anthony will pursue a career in academia where he intends to continue his research on conflict, international political economy, and political psychology.




Geidy Mendez is a first-year political science PhD student at the University of California, Irvine. She is currently studying race and ethnicity politics with an emphasize on political socialization of U.S. born Latinx children and their undocumented parents. She is also interested in the creation of Latinx identity through political behavior and attitudes attached to social and emotional development. She is originally from East Orange, New Jersey and received her BA in political science and Latino and Caribbean Studies from Rutgers University. She is a proud member of the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute cohort of 2018. As a first-generation college student and daughter to Guatemalan immigrants, she aims to center Central American experiences in the Latinx diaspora throughout her work. After completing her PhD, she hopes to work with communities to make academia accessible for all.





Jeremiah Muhammad is a first-year PhD student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His fields of concentration include American politics, comparative politics, and research methodology. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his master’s degree in public policy and administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Jeremiah leveraged his MPPA degree as the Senior Policy Associate and Program Manager at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. He oversaw the organization’s research, policy, and outreach efforts that impact water-related issues throughout Chicago and Illinois. His work included urban flooding, safe drinking water, and how pandemics affect water issues in environmental justice communities. Currently, Jeremiah researches the politics of crises and their impact on Black American political behavior. Muhammad is also interested in how heightened periods of political extremism impact how Americans engage in political discourse.




Hui-Yuan Neo is a second-year PhD student at Cornell University with a major in Comparative Politics. Her research interests include authoritarian politics, political economy, and political participation, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia. Her current project explores how advanced autocracies manage organizations that are economically useful but potentially politically destabilizing, such as foreign satellite universities and multinational corporations. She has conducted fieldwork in Indonesia and Singapore and has received funding to conduct fieldwork in Malaysia in the upcoming year. Before coming to Cornell, Hui-Yuan earned her BA in political science from the University of Michigan, where her senior thesis was awarded high honors. As a graduate student at Cornell, Hui-Yuan is on the executive board of Cornell’s Society for Asian and Asian American Graduate Affairs. After completing her PhD, she hopes to pursue a career in academia, where she aims to practice inclusive pedagogies and produce public scholarship. As an immigrant from Singapore, Hui-Yuan is also committed to advocating for underrepresented minorities, especially Southeast Asian Americans and immigrants.




Joyce Nguy is a first-year, first-generation PhD student and Cota-Robles Fellow in the department of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She previously graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa at the University of California, Irvine. At UC Irvine, she earned top honors in political science and education sciences, and won the 2019 Harry Eckstein Outstanding Honors Thesis Award for her research on candidate perceptions among women of color in the #MeToo movement. Prior to arriving at UCLA, she won a Fulbright Scholarship and taught English in rural elementary schools in Taiwan. Her current research focuses broadly on immigrant political socialization and Asian American political behavior. Passionate about creating space for diverse voices in the political science field, she hopes to pursue a career in academia, and serve as a mentor for other first-generation emerging scholars.







José O. Pérez is a PhD student in political science at The Ohio State University. Pérez graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in political science and Latin American studies, where he conducted research on social movement protests in Brazil through the Ronald McNair Scholars program. Pérez also holds a master’s in international strategic studies from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he researched Cuban-Brazilian international public health initiatives. Prior to graduate school, he also completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant in Brazil. As a PhD student, Pérez studies international relations and comparative politics, with a focus on the role of race and gender in Latin American international politics. Currently, Pérez is developing his dissertation project that will explore the response of Latin American governments to the recent arrival of Venezuelan refugees, specifically the impact of refugee resettlements on public policies and security. Pérez aims to conduct fieldwork to understand these processes more deeply, and then pursue a position in academia to continue his research on South-South migration and Latin American politics.






Natalie W. Romeri-Lewis is a PhD student at The Ohio State University where she researches the intersection of human rights, law, institutional design, and international organizations. She approaches conflict and transitional justice with a cross-cutting focus on women and ethnic and racial minorities. Her current project examines how post-conflict and post-authoritarian countries investigate and document human rights abuses and who crafts which kinds of remedies, historical memory, truth claims, and narratives. In addition to analyzing domestic violence laws, Natalie examines knowledge production and feminist security studies. From 2021-2022, she will support a peace-reconciliation-development project in Colombia through the Mershon Center for Security Studies. Following graduation, Natalie plans to become a tenured professor and lead research labs on women and justice-related remedies.

After co-founding a non-profit, Natalie worked as a lawyer, international consultant, and senior project associate at the WomanStats Project. For seven years, she designed and taught courses on international development, human rights, and the women-peace-security movement at Brigham Young University. As part of UNICEF and Department of Defense research grants, Natalie trained others to collect and analyze data on the status and human rights of women and children. She has a BA, MSc in applied international development, JD, and certificates in mediation and humanitarian emergencies.





Rueda CanonCarlos Rueda-Cañón is a second-year PhD student in political science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he specializes in American politics. Broadly, his research interests include the role of social identity in political behavior and intergroup relations as well as the impact of mental health on political engagement. His current projects focus on how status threat alters the way individuals define national identity and how depression affects engagement in collective action. Carlos received his BA in political science, with honors, from Vanderbilt University.







Taylor Vincent is a second-year PhD student focusing on international relations and comparative politics at the University of Maryland. She is interested in civil conflict, gender, democratization and post-conflict institutions. More specifically, Taylor looks at how conflict processes shape post-conflict institutions and how these institutions affect the security of women. Taylor has served as a research assistant and teaching assistant at the University of Maryland and has served in various service positions within her department. Taylor received her master's degree in political science from Duke University in 2019 and her bachelor's degree from Purdue University in 2015.







Daniel Hiram Zengotita is a second-year PhD student studying political theory at the University of Florida.  Daniel’s research interrogates disparate imaginings of democratic citizenship in the U.S., Brazil, and the Caribbean. In it, they draw together intertwining-intersecting conversations on affect, judgment, and experience to show how historically marginalized communities contest sexism, homo/transphobia, xenophobia, and racism. Currently, they are researching the relationship between code-switching, language-acquisition, and racialized competency-standards in primary education and their respective roles in the formation of political judgment.


As part of their vision of building a more collaborative graduate program, Daniel, along with Sabrina Marasa, Kelly Richardson, and Glen Billesbach are working to make graduate student efforts visible while improving the quality of their development through workshops, peer-to-peer editing, and additional funding to defray the costs of conducting/presenting research. Together, this group founded the Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Working Group and the Seminar Series on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. The aim of this endeavor is to promote graduate students and their work, but also to show what kind of work students are pioneering and how it can help draw more diverse voices into the discipline of political science.