2022-2023 APSA Spring Diversity Fellowship Program

The following students were named as 2022-2023 APSA Diversity Fellowship Program recipients during the spring 2022 application cycle. These fellows are currently in the first or second year of PhD programs in political science. 

  • Robert AlvarezUniversity of Houston
  • Salah Ben HammouUniversity of Central Florida
  • Jalen CampbellTemple University
  • Jessica CobianUniversity of California, Los Angeles
  • Juan C. CurielUniversity of Chicago
  • Curtis K. EdmondsSyracuse University
  • Raychel GadsonJohns Hopkins University
  • Kristen GaryUniversity of Florida
  • Paige HillStanford University
  • Maya KhuzamUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Lucia LopezUniversity of Houston
  • Franshelly M. Martínez-OrtizOhio State University
  • Betzaira Mayorga-Calleros, University of New Mexico
  • Tomas OcampoUniversity of California, Santa Cruz
  • Ariel S. Pitre YoungUniversity of Texas at Austin
  • Mishella Romo Rivas, Princeton University
  • Imtashal TariqUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Amorae M. TimesRice University
  • Laura Uribe, University of California, San Diego 
  • Sydney Wade, University of North Texas
  • Devin Wright,  University of California, San Diego 


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Robert Alvarez is a second-year PhD student in the department of political science at the University of Houston. He obtained a BA in journalism from the University of Houston, and an MLA in political science from the University of St. Thomas. His research interests include political communication, public opinion and political behavior, with particular focus on the effects of mass media on political attitudes. While at the University of Houston, Robert has served as a teaching assistant for Latino Politics and Legislative Processes courses. He also serves as a research assistant working on Latino politics. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Robert worked as a journalist covering business and politics. His experience at the intersection of media and politics informs his research and motivates his continued efforts to better understand media’s political function within society. Robert hopes to complete his doctoral studies in 2025, after which he will enter the job market and continue his career as an academic and researcher. 



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Salah Ben Hammou is a second-year Ph.D. student of security studies at the University of Central Florida and co-founder of Jam3a: a Virtual MENA Workspace for Junior Scholars. His research interests are rooted in comparative politics, ranging from civil-military relations, democratization, and authoritarian politics in the Middle East & North Africa. In particular, his work examines civilian involvement in military coups and support for military rule. His work has been published in academic journals such as International Studies Review and Journal of Global Security Studies as well as public-facing outlets such as The Washington Post, Political Violence at a Glance, and the Cairo Review.   









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Jalen Campbell is a second year student at Temple University's doctoral program of political science and fields of study are American politics, and comparative politics. Research is centered on autocracy in American politics; specifically this research analyzes democratic backsliding from the presidency, state governments, and the public. Teaching experience includes the American political system, and the American presidency. Academic achievements include a publication in the Gettysburg Social Science Review, won the Continuity of Government Student Paper Competition, and presented at the NCOBPS conference in 2022. Future goal is to have a balanced career between academia and politics.  









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Jessica Cobian is a PhD student and Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow in the political science department at UCLA. She is currently studying the effects of anti-immigrant rhetoric on the Latino vote. Jessica’s research interests are centered on Latino political behavior, voter turnout, group threat and xenophobia. Prior to attending UCLA, Jessica worked on campaign management and policy analysis on immigration, democracy and technology at the progressive think tank, Center for American Progress in Washington DC. She has previously worked as an immigration campaign manager for Sojourners, a lead organizer for ACCE and a community organizer for Faith in Action in California. She has published at JAMA Network Open, written for Sojourners and the Center for American Progress and has opinion editorials in the Voice of San Diego, Univision, La Prensa and Colorlines. Jessica holds an MPP from American University and a B.A. in political science from UC Riverside.   









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Juan C. Curiel is a first-year PhD student in the political science department at the University of Chicago, with a concentration in political theory and comparative politics. His research interests are in the history and political theory of empire, the history of international law, and the historical influence of anthropological thinking from antiquity to the early modern period on the development of European legal thought. His current research is focused on the legal thought of Hugo Grotius, a seventeenth-century Dutch jurist, which examines one of his largely ignored treatises on the origin of the American Indians. Prior to arriving at UChicago, he earned his BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Ronald E. McNair Research Fellow. As a Fellow, he completed a research project which examined the relationship between the ideas of rationality and a capacity to bear rights in the political thought of Francisco de Vitoria, an influential sixteenth-century Spanish theologian and founder of the School of Salamanca. After graduate school, he plans to pursue a career in academia, and uplift the narratives of cultural minorities and other first-generation scholars.  






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Curtis K. Edmonds is a first-year Ph.D. student, and McNair Scholar, in the political science department at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. His subfields are American politics and the law and courts, with research interests in legislative behaviors of Black members in Congress. His broader research interests include Black intersectional politics, race, ethnicity, and representation in politics, Congress, and constitutional law. Currently, Curtis is researching the legislative behavior of Black women in Congress through their committee preferences, committee work, bill sponsorship, and membership in different congressional caucuses. He has also begun to investigate how Black congresswomen differ from their Black male counterparts. Curtis earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and his masters from George Mason University, where he was a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honors Society. He plans to pursue a career as a researcher and as an educator where he can extend his focus on the intersectional identities of BIPOC members in Congress.  









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Raychel Gadson is a second-year PhD student in the department of political science at Johns Hopkins University studying American politics and law and politics. She is a graduate fellow of the Sustainable Design Practicum, the Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, and the "Rethinking the Right to the City through the Black Radical Tradition" Sawyer Seminar. She received her M.A. in African and African-American studies from the University of Kansas, and a B.A. in mass communications from Kansas State University. Working at the intersection of urban politics, public health and Black feminist thought, her research focuses on Black placemaking in urban environments. Raychel explores the ways that historically segregated Black neighborhoods imagine urban livability, and leverage political knowledge and tools to create environments that meet the needs of residents - specifically Black women. This necessitates engaging with questions regarding environmental justice, housing justice, health equity and the right to the city, the answers to which, she believes, can and must be located in the politics and organizing of Black communities.   








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Kristen Gary is a second-year doctoral student at the University of Florida in the department of political science studying American politics and political theory. Her research interests include rural political activism and black feminist thought. She is interested in the role of black institutions in the Mississippi Delta and their impact on “staying politics” which is how black Deltans leverage resources during periods of mass migration. She further analyzes what resistance looks like in a rural southern context and how communities explain and understand their political environment. Her reason for selecting this topic stems from her own family’s migration from the Mississippi and Arkansas Deltas to Chicago and rural black political mobilization being an understudied topic in the discipline. Before attending the University of Florida, Kristen completed her Bachelor’s in political science at Philander Smith College and her Master’s in public administration at Florida A&M University.






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Paige Hill is a first-year PhD student in the department of political science at Stanford University. Her interests are in comparative politics with a focus on immigrant integration policy, women’s political representation, and intersecting questions relating to ethnic and racial identity formation. The global policy challenges she plans to research are the political and social impacts of increased rates of globalization and diversification. Her current research agenda includes questions regarding gendered experiences with skill-based migration, determinants of variation in voting behavior among naturalized US citizens, and how restrictive food policies shape the social-economic integration of migrants in Europe. Prior to her doctoral studies, Paige worked as an employment-based immigration legal assistant in Philadelphia, PA. She also researched as a predoctoral Emerging Scholar in Political Science fellow with the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University. As an undergraduate student at Temple University, she served as Vice President of the student government and as the 2018 University Commencement Speaker. After completing her PhD, Paige hopes to incorporate her previous experience with local community organizing into her research contributions as an impact-focused scholar.   



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Maya Khuzam is a first-year PhD student in the department of political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research interests are in the field of American politics with a focus in political behavior, race and ethnic politics, and political psychology. Her current work examines the extent to which Arab American Christians can leverage their religious identity to distance themselves from the broader pan-ethnic group and how Islamophobia may forestall their ability to do so. In 2019, Maya graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in political science. Prior to her graduate study, she worked as a Research Assistant at Pew Research Center focusing on Journalism and Media research. After completing her PhD, she hopes to pursue a career in academia and mentor future cohorts of first-generation scholars.   







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Lucia Lopez is an attorney and first-year PhD student in the department of political science at the University of Houston. Previously, she earned her Juris Doctor from Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall School of Law, magna cum laude. She is interested in state courts and state politics, with a particular focus on legitimacy, court independence, and obedience to the courts. Additionally, Lucia is interested in media and elite communication and how these impact the legitimacy of courts and obedience to them. While at the University of Houston, Lucia has served as a Research Assistant for Drs. Ryan Kennedy and Lydia Tiede on a National Science Foundation grant investigating usage of and accountability mechanisms for algorithms in public policy. Lucia brings institutional knowledge to the public law field and hopes to use this knowledge to drive her future research.









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Franshelly M. Martínez-Ortiz is a PhD student in political science at The Ohio State University, majoring in American politics, methods and political psychology. Her research focuses on how social media can influence political behavior. She is the author of “Trump y Facebook: la efectividad de #CrookedHillary en el electorado en 2016”, published for Revista Ingenios Vol. 6 Num. 2 in 2020. She is currently working on projects about identity politics and social media advertisements. Prior to joining OSU, Martínez-Ortiz obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science, focused on comparative politics from University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. After obtaining her PhD degree, Martínez-Ortiz aims to pursue a career in the academia and serve as a mentor for other first-generation latinxs scholars.   






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Betzaira Mayorga-Calleros (they/she) is a DACA recipient and a Ph.D. student at the University of New Mexico. They are also a fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Social and Health Policy, as well as a former Ralph Bunche Summer Institute fellow. Betzaira's research interests are rooted in giving voice to the persistent inequalities in political participation within American politics and public policy, specifically as it pertains to marginalized peoples in race, gender, immigration and sexuality studies. Their interests have led them to focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on the trust of LGTBQ+ individuals and the impacts of ascribed race on police interactions for the first two years of their academic program. They aspire to continue to give voice to the inequalities that persist in American public policy after completing their Ph.D. by instructing future generations at the college/university level and working with think tanks.








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Tomas Ocampo is a PhD student in the politics department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His primary research interests include social and environmental movements in the US and Latin America, with a particular focus on environmental justice. One project he is working on examines how environmental justice activists and non-governmental organizations engage with the state of California and local governments, and assesses 10 years of environmental justice legislation in California. He is hoping to explore environmental and climate justice movements across Latin America and their strategies of engagement with the state and subnational governments. Prior to joining UCSC, Tomas received his B.A. in political science, and public policy, and his Master’s in public policy from UC Riverside, where he interned for local government agencies and taught writing to undergraduate students. As adjunct faculty in the political science department at Riverside City College, he taught courses on American politics, and the United Nations, while serving as co-advisor for the Model United Nations program. Upon earning his PhD, he hopes to continue teaching critical topics within global environmental politics, international relations, and comparative politics, while supporting and mentoring students of color interested in political science.  









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Ariel S. Pitre Young is a second-year PhD student in the department of government at The University of Texas at Austin studying comparative politics and methodology. Prior to graduate school, she received a Bachelor of Arts in French and government. Her research interests focus on ethnic politics in Eastern Europe, nationalism, and the intersection of music and politics through the lens of cultural institutions. Her current project examines radical right parties and ethnic minority representation in Eastern Europe. Ariel is also a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow studying Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian. Ariel is a first-generation college student and graduate student. After completing her PhD, she plans to pursue a career in academia and support first-generation students in their academic pursuits. 









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Mishella Romo Rivas is a second-year Ph.D. candidate in the department of politics at Princeton University. She obtained a BA in political science and jurisprudence and an MA in law and governance from Montclair State University. She has an MA in politics from New York University. She is interested in presidentialism, populism and judicial politics. Before beginning her Ph.D., Mishella worked as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University. She taught Writing for Political Science and Introduction to Comparative Politics to undergraduate students. She has presented her research at the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association and the Northeastern Political Science Association. She has written and co-authored papers that have been published by the American Political Science Association, the National Political Science Honor Society, Latin American Perspectives, and the Oxford Handbook of Latin American Social Movements. While at Princeton, Mishella has conducted research on the politics of horizontal accountability in Latin America. She looks forward to pursuing a career in academia, developing her research, and providing mentorship to the next generation of underrepresented scholars in the field. 










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Imtashal Tariq is a second-year PhD student in the department of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she is a REAL Fellow. Her fields of study are international relations and public law, along with a concentration in research methods. Currently, her research interests focus on norm compliance and coercive reproductive control embedded within the carceral state. Imtashal is committed to addressing the role race and racism continues to shape international relations. Before pursuing a PhD, she worked for UNWomen and UNODC in South Asia and the Middle East. Imtashal holds an MPhil in criminological research from the University of Cambridge. She graduated with BA in international criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Vera Institute of Justice Fellow. After completing her PhD, she hopes to pursue a career in academia and foster a supportive community for BIPOC students.










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Amorae M. Times is a PhD student in the department of political science at Rice University. Her field of study is international relations, specifically focusing on the role of race in hierarchy and power relations. She received a BA in political science from Prairie View A&M University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Amorae conducted research on voter legislation and turnout among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. She completed various research projects at her home institution of PVAMU, as well as a summer project at Harvard University through the Leadership Alliance. In addition, Amorae served as campus organizer for a non-profit political advocacy organization, Deeds Not Words. Following the completion of her doctoral degree, Amorae plans to pursue a career in academia and continue to pursue her research interests while mentoring the next generation of political scientists of color.  










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Laura Uribe is a second year PhD student of political science at the University of California San Diego. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, Laura worked with the ACLU-FL on a statewide voting rights case for formerly convicted felons. She then worked in local government as a management analyst before starting her PhD program. Laura’s research focus is on understanding how community shapes identities and voting behavior in the United States, specifically geared towards Latine voters, and her research has been cited by the Associated Press. She is the current lab coordinator at the Race and Ethnic Politics (REP) lab at UCSD, where she works with a talented group of graduate students and faculty in engaging with community-centered research. Laura believes in the power of representation and mentorship, and she dedicates her time to mentoring undergraduate students of minoritized backgrounds through their academic and career goals. After earning her PhD, Laura hopes to continue engaging in work centered on Latine politics and community influences by pursuing a position in academia. 










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Sydney Wade is a second-year political science PhD student at the University of North Texas. Her fields are American and comparative politics with a focus on racial and ethnic politics, Black American political behavior, and the racialization of welfare policy in the United States. Sydney graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Texas with a BA in political science through the grad-track program. She was a member in the honors college and worked as a supplemental instructor for political science throughout undergrad. Currently, Sydney’s research focuses on linked fate in marginalized communities and racial stereotypes of Black Americans. She hopes to expand her research to explore how racist attitudes can influence attitudes towards welfare policy and the intersectional nature of the history of welfare policy. In the future, Sydney would like to pursue a career in teaching at the college/university level while still conducting research.  









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Devin Wright is currently a Ph.D. student in her second year in the political science department at the University of California, San Diego with a comparative focus on identity politics. She received her undergraduate degree in political science and French at Spelman College in 2020. Informed by personal experiences as a Black woman living in the midwest and southern United States, Wright’s interests sit at the intersection of identity politics and political resistance. Her second-year thesis, for instance, explores how identities interact to complicate perceptions of Black individuals in the United States. During her time at UC San Diego, Wright has worked as the student coordinator for the Center for African Political Economy workshop and as a graduate student research assistant studying African immigrants and development. This summer, Wright plans to serve for the second time as a graduate student liaison for the HBCU Summer Training Academy for Research Success. Through her research agenda and mentorship appointments, Wright hopes to contribute research on intersectional marginalization and further empower students of color pursuing careers in the discipline.