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Discover Rackham

Renee Harton

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Ph.D. Candidate in Physics
Rackham Merit Fellow

Renee received a B.S. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Physics at the University of Michigan. Her research interests are condensed matter, optics, and information storage. At Michigan, she is working in the lab of Professor Roy Clarke, where she is investigating the coupling of the magnetic and elastic properties of Iron Gallium thin films. Her dissertation research aims to identify an information storage medium that is more efficient than those currently in use.

Timothy Ryan

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Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science
Rackham Centennial Spring/Summer Fellowship

Tim graduated from Tufts University in 2006 and came to Michigan after two years of policy work in Washington, DC. He studies how public opinion influences the behavior of political leaders. His dissertation asks, what makes citizens accepting of some political compromises, but not others? He is attempting to apply recent insights from moral psychology to understand how the rhetoric that surrounds potential compromises changes how they are perceived. Tim plans to graduate in 2014.

Emily Clader

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Ph.D. Candidate in Mathematics
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award

Emily received her B.A. in Mathematics with a concentration in Philosophy from Columbia University in 2009. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Mathematics studying Gromov-Witten theory, a field of geometry that attempts to make mathematical sense of recent ideas in the physics of string theory. Her dissertation focuses on the Landau-Ginzburg/Calabi-Yau correspondence, an intriguing conjecture relating the number of curves in certain geometric spaces to a rather different set of enumerative data. Aside from her mathematical pursuits, Emily is co-founder of the GradTONES, an all-graduate-student a cappella group. She plans to graduate in 2014.

Benedito Machava

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Ph.D. Student in History
Rackham Conference Travel Grant

A native of Mozambique, Benedito’s research focuses on the making of independent Mozambique and the re-education system established by the fledgling government. Beneath the glossy triumph and patriotism of the new socialist state there exists a gloomy undercurrent wrought with struggle. The re-education system consisted of government attempts to force new citizenry by banishing undesired people to the far reaches of the country without support of social infrastructure to provide subsistence needs. “This is a story that’s never been told; a way of redeeming the voices of people that have been completely forgotten. The government is trying to build Democracy on top of wounds that have not healed, and it is haunting the democratic society and process. By telling this story there will be a catharsis for the country.”

Rackham funded his travel to Mozambique for the pilot phase of his research. He also received funding to attend conferences that have evolved and re-shaped how he thinks about his project. “Rackham funding keeps this tradition that cherishes innovation and on-the-ground field work. Rackham is central to that kind of research.”

Esohe Osai

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Ph.D. Student, Education and Psychology
Rackham Merit Fellow

Esohe partners with the Detroit School for the Arts to create engagement in the classroom, linking local artists and organization with students to infuse their holistic education with artistic endeavors.

“I came to Michigan because of the amazing human capital and the ways faculty and students are thinking in-depth regarding problems and solutions. Michigan strives to challenge the status quo - using research and community involvement to effect change.”

Iván Chaar-López

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Ph.D. Candidate in American Culture
Rackham Merit Fellow

Iván Chaar-López graduated from the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras with a B.A. in History of the Americas and an M.A. in History. As a Ph.D. student in American Culture, he is researching the intersections of affect, violence and different digital media forms in social movements from the 1960's to the present. Iván plans to graduate in 2017.

Ingrid Sánchez Tapia

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Ph.D. Student, Educational Studies
Alfredo D. and Luz Maria P. Gutierrez Fellowship

Ingrid is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Studies. Her research explores how culture and language inform the learning of biological concepts from childhood to adolescence. For her dissertation research, she worked with a Nahua community in the mountains of Veracruz in Mexico. Her proposed approach to science education offers new ways to achieve equality in education in the U.S. and Latin America, where the alienation of ethnic minority students has reduced their possibilities for future access to higher education and legitimate participation in public interest matters related to science and technology.

Alfredo Gutierrez graduated from Rackham in 1974 with a Ph.D. in Economics and pursued a successful career in international banking and finance. In 2005, Dr. Gutierrez and his wife Luz Maria established the Alfredo D. and Luz Maria P. Gutierrez Fellowship, an annual award for a Rackham doctoral student in any field working on a dissertation related to Latin America. For Dr. Gutierrez, the motivation for the fellowship is his gratitude for the support which enabled him to pursue his Ph.D., and his eagerness to help current students who lack the financial means to afford graduate school.

Joel Segel

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Ph.D. Student, Health Services Organization and Policy
Martha and Ernest Hammel Graduate Student Research Award

Joel earned his B.A. in economics from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program at Michigan, he worked for 4 years as an economist at RTI International in the Public Health Economics group. Joel's research focuses on how individuals make preventive health decisions, specifically cancer screening and medication adherence, and how health policy can affect those decisions.

As Rackham alumni, Martha and Ernest Hammel well understand the importance of research funding for graduate students. Because of the support they received while students themselves, Mrs. Hammel earned her Master’s degree in Classical Studies in 1966 while Dr. Hammel completed his Ph.D. in Public Health Administration ten years later. They created the Martha and Ernest Hammel Graduate Student Research Fund to provide research support to current graduate students working in classical studies, organizational behavior, behavioral science research in public health, medical economics, or medical practice behavior.

LaShonda Brenson

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Ph.D. Student, Political Science
John W. Holmes Award for Graduate Students

LaShonda’s research uses an intersectional approach to examine the systemic racial and class inequalities within political institutions. LaShonda links theories of political communication with theoretical conceptions of civil society by examining the effects of both grassroots institutions and elite discourse on the mobilization and participation of minority communities. In the process, she produces work that empowers the communities she studies by informing them of the nature and structure of the political system in which they operate, and its responsiveness to citizen demands.

John Holmes was the son of a railroad employee and a domestic worker in LaPorte, Indiana. Growing up in the civil rights era, he understood the value of his U-M graduate degrees in securing a place for himself in the corporate world. After receiving his Master’s degree from U-M in 1972, and his Ph.D. in 1976, both in Economics, he spent 27 years at ExxonMobil Corporation where he retired as general manager of supply and distribution. Dr. Holmes was also a White House Fellow from 1980-81. Following his death in 2002, his wife Marsha and other family members created the John W. Holmes Endowed Fellowship Fund at Rackham. This fund is awarded annually to a student for whom this financial support will make a critical difference in finishing their degree.

Jaclynn Hawkins

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Ph.D. Student, Social Work and Sociology
Joan B. Kessler Award

Jaclynn seeks to understand the root cause of poverty and health inequalities for people of color, as well as potential remedies, by engaging in public service and research projects. Specifically, she is focused on the health behaviors of African American and Latino men with diabetes - namely, risk and protective factors that contribute to negative and positive health management and, ultimately, health outcomes.

Jaclynn’s ultimate goal is to provide research that will lead to prevention of diabetes, and other adverse health outcomes, and to work with community partners to create community-based interventions, while also training social work practitioners to work with low-income populations.

Joan B. Kessler is an attorney specializing in alternative dispute resolution in Los Angeles. In 1973 she received the Rackham Prize Fellowship from which helped her complete her Ph.D. in speech communication. In appreciation for her funding, she has endowed the Joan B. Kessler Awards to enable exceptional graduate students to conduct research around the world or to participate in professional and academic conferences. The annual Kessler Award has already made a wonderful difference in the lives of 22 women. Dr. Kessler strongly believes in the importance of supporting the next generation of scholars and professionals.