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WCED Graduate Fellows, 2017-18

Miranda García is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. She received a BA in anthropology and minor in art history from the University of Chicago, where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow. Her research interests lie at the intersection of consumption, mass media, and sociopolitical change in Cuba. Specifically, she intends to study Cuba’s growing underground advertising industry, and what its inherent narratives, motifs, and themes reveal about collective desires, imaginations, and expectations of change. Miranda’s research builds on her industry experience in marketing and branding strategy, as well as her undergraduate thesis, “Things Remembered: Objects of Memory Among Cuban Americans,” which examined personal and collective memory through an ethnography of Little Havana nostalgia shops. 

Albert Hawks, Jr. is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. He holds an MDiv and STM from Yale University, as well as a BA in political science and religion from Pepperdine University. His STM thesis was titled “American Nur: Islam, Media Symbolism, Transnational Identity, and the Incorporation of Muslim Immigrants in the American Civil Sphere.” Continuing in a similar vein, A.J.’s current research interest lie in comparative Islamic social movements in Southeast and East Asia in countries where Islam is a minority religion. In particular, his focus is on the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea.

Kasia Klasa is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Management and Policy. She graduated from the nursing and healthcare management dual-degree program from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving both a BSN and BSc in economics from the School of Nursing and Wharton. After working as an operating room circulating nurse, she returned to school and earned an MPH in global health management and policy from University of Michigan School of Public Health. Kasia is currently conducting comparative health policy research in collaboration with the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. She is interested in understanding the relationship between regional and municipal policies, planning, and politics within metropolitan urban areas in high-income countries and their respective health systems and health outcomes.

Erin L. McAuliffe is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. She received her BA in political science and German from The Ohio State University and her MA in international studies (Southeast Asia) from the University of Washington, with a FLAS fellowship in Burmese. She has worked for the German Bundestag and more recently with NGOs and educational institutions along the Thai-Myanmar borderlands and in Myanmar on a data exchange and literacy assessment and curriculum. Erin’s primary research interest is in how both society and the state define ethnic and religious minority groups and political privileges and how people respond to such categorization. She is particularly interested in how people in Myanmar have activated ethnic identities in different situations to either fragment or consolidate communities of political ethnicities.

Tyler Paige is a REES MA student whose research interests include the human body, its various subjectivities, chronic illness, labor, and daily life in general. He hopes to eventually do ethnography in rural Siberia and to explore both traditional and visual ethnographic methods. As an undergraduate, Tyler lived in Russia on three occasions for almost one year in total. He studied Russian language in Moscow, independently studied in Novosibirsk, participated in some fieldwork around the region, and taught writing in Moscow. Tyler received a BA in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jonathan Poser is pursuing a dual MA/MPP in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies and public policy. He earned his BA in Slavic languages and literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Since then, he has taught English in Ukraine and worked for American Councils for International Education in Ukraine and Moldova. Jonathan is an advanced Russian speaker and is beginning to learn Ukrainian. He intends to research the roles of nationalism and national identity formation in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. 

Rebecca Selin is a first-year master's student in Southeast Asian studies. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Rebecca first visited Indonesia while a student member of the Oberlin gamelan as part of a winter term project entitled “Music, Disaster, and Islam in Indonesia.” Since earning a BA in geology from Oberlin College in 2014, she taught English as a Fulbright grantee in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia after interning in the invertebrate paleontology department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Rebecca's potential research interests include interfaith relations in majority-Muslim but constitutionally religiously plural Indonesia, as well as environmental policy surrounding palm oil production in the rapidly developing nation. 

Mai Ze Vang is a first-year MA/MPP graduate student in Southeast Asian studies and public policy. Her research focuses on the societal position of ethnic minorities in Thailand, an interest sparked by her experiences as a Hmong refugee in Thailand and through her time in the country as a Fulbright fellow. She holds a BA in Asian Studies with a focus on Southeast Asia from the University of Michigan.

Htet Thiha Zaw is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science. Originally from Myanmar (Burma), he holds a BSc in global economics and finance from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Thiha’s interest in education took root in his undergraduate years, when he contributed to (and eventually co-authored) a paper on estimating wasted financial resources due to inefficiency in 123 developing countries over 10 years. After graduation, he assisted in research projects on education policies in Syria, Iraq, and Myanmar (Burma). Thiha is interested in studying how the distribution of socioeconomic resources, particularly education, interacts with the relations between and within identity groups in Southeast Asia.