9 Postdoctoral Fellows Join Wesleyan in 2020-21

Olivia DrakeOctober 26, 20209min

This fall, Wesleyan welcomes nine postdoctoral fellows to campus. They include:

Sierra Eisen, postdoctoral fellow in psychology, joins the Psychology Department for two years. She received her PhD from the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where she was a researcher in the Early Development Lab. Eisen studies how children interact with and learn from different forms of media. Her research mainly focuses on how children think about and learn from touchscreen devices and educational apps. At Wesleyan, she will conduct collaborative research with students and faculty in the Cognitive Development Laboratories, directed by Anna Shusterman and Hilary Barth, as well as teaching a seminar course in her area of specialization.

Javier Fernández Galeano, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for the Humanities, is a historian of 20th-century Argentina and Spain. His research and teaching interests include gender and sexuality in Latin America and Iberia, queer history, diasporas and migrations, state violence, prison management, and global activist politics. His first book project traces the erotic lives and legal battles of Argentine and Spanish gender-nonconforming people. He shifts the focus to non-elite actors––rural populations, recruits and prisoners, fans of flamenco music, and defendants’ mothers––and to queer transnationalism in spirituality, folk music, fashion and performance, and visual and material culture. Galeano has a PhD in history from Brown University, where he graduated as a Mellon/ACLS fellow; a MA in historical studies from the New School for Social Research, where he was a Fulbright scholar; and two BAs in history and anthropology from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. He has published in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, the Latin American Research Review, and Encrucijadas, among others.

Kevin Holt, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in African American studies, holds a doctorate in ethnomusicology from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a master’s degree in African American studies from Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies. His research is largely focused on the intersection of race and American popular culture, and in particular attends to how artists and audiences navigate and perform identity, political positionality, and social commentary in the music they produce and hear. His dissertation, Get Crunk: The Performative Resistance of Atlanta Hip-Hop Party Culture, is a multidisciplinary ethnography that examines the musical form (crunk) as a performed response to the policing of black bodies in the 1990s. Holt is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Paul Robeson Fellowship at Columbia University, and the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. He has published articles on hip-hop ethnography in Current Musicology and in The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Music.

Markus Neumann, postdoctoral research fellow for the Wesleyan Media Project, explores he application of machine learning methods to social science data, particularly text, audio and images. He holds BA and MA from the University of Mannheim and a PhD in social data analytics and political science from Penn State. His dissertation relies on tools from phonetics, electrical engineering and natural language processing to study nonverbal political communication, focusing on how U.S. senators shift their vocal style in accordance with the representational needs of their audience.

Robert Rose, a postdoctoral fellow in computer science, recently completed his PhD at Indiana University in homotopy type theory, an emerging field at the intersection of mathematics and computer science. He will be continuing his research as a postdoctoral fellow at Wesleyan while teaching introductory and advanced computer science courses.

Sunrose Shrestha, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and computer science, is teaching Elementary Statistics and Vectors and Matrices this fall.

Sunrose Shrestha, a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and computer science, received his PhD from Tufts University under the supervision of Moon Duchin in 2020. His area of research is geometry and dynamics, and in particular, he is interested in random constructions of surfaces. For his dissertation, he studied random square-tiled surfaces using a combinatorial model based on permutations. Before Tufts, he attended Hamilton College where he majored in mathematics and physics. He is originally from Nepal and he moved to the United States for college. Apart from mathematics, Shrestha likes to play board games, swim in lakes, and meditate.

Nicole Watkins, postdoctoral fellow in psychology, is joinging the Sleep and Psychosocial Adjustment Lab and the Culture and Emotion Lab in the Department of Psychology. She earned her BS in psychology at Wright State University, and her MS and PhD in learning and developmental sciences from Indiana University. Her research and training focus on risk behaviors, well-being, and interpersonal relationships during adolescence and emerging adulthood. As a postdoctoral fellow at Connecticut Children’s in the Center for Behavioral Health, Watkins studied associations between family functioning and family structure on adolescent behavior. At Wesleyan, she will work with Royette Dubar and Patricia Rodriguez Mosquera on projects related to perceptions of support and tension within romantic relationships, as well as associations among sleep, interpersonal relationships, and well-being during emerging adulthood.

Jielu Yao, postdoctoral research fellow for the Wesleyan Media Project, research interests center on political methodology and American politics. Particularly, she is interested in applying supervised, unsupervised, and deep learning techniques to non- traditional data such as text, image/video, and audio. Using political ads data, her dissertation examines crime rhetoric adopted by female and racial/ethnic minority candidates. Yao received her PhD from the University of Iowa in Political Science in 2020. She also holds an MA in economics from the National University of Singapore (2010) and a BA in economics from Fudan University (2006). At the University of Iowa, Yao was the project coordinator of the Hawkeye Poll, a series of national and state public opinion polls, from 2018 – 2019. She was a pre-doc research fellow with the Quantitative Analysis Center and Wesleyan Media Project in 2019. Yao taught courses on applied data analysis, survey research method, American politics, etc. This year she will be teaching a course on machine learning methods for text, audio and video analysis.

Mlondolozi Zondi, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for the Humanities, is a scholar and interdisciplinary artist who is working on a book project titled Unmournable Void, a study of contemporary Black artistic practices that critically tend to colonialism, the transatlantic slavery, and apartheid as events that have yet to end. The manuscript approaches questions of matter, mourning, and ontological absence through an engagement with revolutionary Black thought, psychoanalytic theories, art history/visual studies, and dance/performance theory. Zondi completed a PhD in performance studies at Northwestern University (with certificates in critical theory, African studies, and gender and sexuality studies). Prior to attending Northwestern, Zondi received an MFA in dance as a Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Irvine; and a BA in cultural studies and performance studies from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa. Zondi’s work has been published in The Drama Review (TDR), ASAP Journal, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Propter Nos.