Meet the Postdocs

2021-2022 Fellows

Yanaira Alonso
Yanaira Alonso-Caraballo

Neuroscience (Medical School)
Yanaira (Yanay) Alonso-Caraballo is originally from Guayanilla, Puerto Rico. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology-Biomedical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce (2013). She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor under the mentorship of Dr. Carrie Ferrario (2019). Prior to joining the PPFP, Yanay worked as a postdoctoral scholar at McLean Hospital-Harvard Medical School in the labs of Dr. Elena Chartoff and Dr. Vadim Bolshakov. She is also a recipient of the National Institute of Health’s D-SPAN (F99/K00) fellowship, which funded both her graduate and postdoctoral studies. She will continue her postdoctoral studies at the University of Minnesota under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Thomas. Her research is focused on the role of the reproductive cycle and ovarian hormones on the behavioral and neural mechanisms of motivation and reward-seeking in females.  
Dr. Timothy Ebner, Department Chair
Dr. Mark Thomas, PPFP Mentor

Emmanual Bonney
Emmanuel Bonney

Institute of Child Development (CEHD)
Emmanuel Bonney received his Ph.D. in Physical Therapy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 2019. After graduation, he was awarded a grant from the Fogarty International Center to conduct early mental health research in Uganda, where he further explored his interest in a career in developmental psychopathology. His research focuses on understanding cross-cultural differences in neurobehavioral health and developing new technological screening and interventions to improve the lives of children with atypical trajectories such as autism and developmental coordination disorder.

Dr. Kathleen Thomas, Department Chair
Dr. Jed Elison, PPFP Mentor



Hannah Cory Headshot
Hannah Cory

Epidemiology & Community Health (SPH)
Hannah Cory is a registered dietitian and public health nutrition researcher. Her work uses social epidemiologic, mixed, and participatory methods as a means to better understand and dismantle the systemic barriers young people face in building healthy relationships with food and their bodies. At the University of Minnesota, her research will explore how young people's experiences of racism and other forms of discrimination and stigma intersect and impact inequities in chronic disease risk. She received her Ph.D. in Population Health Sciences from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and is also an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Scholar program.

Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Department Chair
Dr. Susan Mason, PPFP Mentor

Katerina Gonzales
Katerina Gonzales

Soil, Water, and Climate (CFANS)Katerina Gonzales is a climate scientist who bridges the gap between climate research and practice. She studies extreme weather events and communication practices that advance climate adaptation. She earned her Ph.D. in Earth System Science at Stanford University in 2021 where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) fellow. Her undergraduate training was in Geophysics at Colorado School of Mines. Born and raised in Colorado, she remembers growing up with wildfires erupting across the region in the summer, and warmer winters leading to more pine beetle tree deaths. Her career mission is now focused on helping communities address the climate crisis through research, education, and service. Kat’s postdoctoral project at UMN engages western water utilities to understand their needs and practices around communicating precipitation impacts.

Dr. Carl Rosen, Department Chair
Dr. Heidi Roop, PPFP Mentor

Maria Gutierrez De Jesus
Maria Gutierrez De Jesus

Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (CEHD)
Maria Gutierrez De Jesus received her Ph.D. in Native American Studies from the University of California at Davis. Her research interests include indigenous-based pedagogies, community-based education, community media, and indigenous cultural and language revitalization. Her research incorporates discussions of culture, language, community-based and land-based education, indigenous epistemologies, and indigenous identities. Through her previous postdoctoral studies at ENES UNAM Morelia (Mexico)-University of California and at UNC-Chapel Hill, she has extended her fieldwork research for her current book manuscript on P’urhépecha indigenous cultural and language revitalization and has taught about indigenous women in contemporary times. She is P’urhépecha and works in collaboration with P’urhépecha-based indigenous radios in Michoacán, Mexico. 
Dr. Kenneth Bartlett, Department Chair
Dr. Elizabeth Sumida Huaman, PPFP Mentor 

Hima Hassenruck-Guidipati headshot
Hima Hassenruck-Guidipati

Earth & Environmental Sciences (CSE)
Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati was raised in both Germany and the US with family spread across the US, Germany, and India. She earned her Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020. Her research explores landscapes that most people would call flat and are especially prone to climate change effects. Her recent work focused on sediment transport across floodplains and shallow lakes. At the U of M, she hopes to run lab experiments to understand the sediment characteristics of lakes. Hima’s interests especially include community-centered and place-based research. As a part of the Kawe Gidaa-naanaagadawendaamin Manoomin/Psiη (First we must consider Manoomin/Psiη/wildrice) collaborative at the University of Minnesota, she hopes to work with tribes to learn more about “muck”, the fine-grained organic-rich sediment surrounding Manoomin, and its deposition in vegetated areas.
Dr. Donna Whitney, Department Chair
Dr. Andrew Wickert, PPFP Mentor

HyeJin Hwang
HyeJin Hwang

Educational Psychology (CEHD)
HyeJin Hwang received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies at the University of Michigan in 2018. Her dissertation studies were supported by the American Educational Research Association Dissertation Grant. She previously worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Florida Center for Reading Research in Florida State University where she was affiliated with a federal grant from the Institute of Educational Sciences. Her research interests focus on reading comprehension and content learning in K-12 settings, especially for multilingual students. At the University of Minnesota, her research projects will investigate potential factors to explain reading comprehension and content learning, as well as design and test interventions to support reading comprehension and content learning in K-12 settings.

Dr. Kristen McMaster, Department Chair
Dr. Panayota Kendeou, PPFP Mentor


Magdala Lissa Jeudy
Magdala Lissa Jeudy

French & Italian (CLA)
Magdala Lissa Jeudy earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University in Romance Studies in 2021. Her research focuses on the ways that French Naturalist narratives complicate our notions of what is “normal,” which define modern medical practices and philosophies from the nineteenth century to our present day. Her work is built on philological, historical, and intersectional approaches that aim to disrupt medical constructs of disability, gender, and race, to advance conversations about health care disparities and equity. As an educator, she is committed to a pedagogy that is a process of inquiry, which allows students to question their deeply entrenched assumptions, reconfigure concepts of normalcy, and accept the unique circumstances of others leading a recognition and celebration of diversity. 

Dr. Susan Noakes, Department Chair
Drs. Jennifer Row & Erin Durban, PPFP Mentors

Juan Fernando Maestre

Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
Dr. Mats Heimdahl, Department Chair
Dr. Lana Yarosh, PPFP Mentor

Merlene Patrice Bourdeau-Quispe
M. Patrice Quipse

Public & Nonprofit Management and Leadership (Humphrey)

Dr. Kathryn Quick, Department Chair
Dr. Kathryn Quick, PPFP Mentor

Aditi Rajendran

Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (CEHD)
Dr. Kenneth Bartlett, Department Chair
Dr. Peter Demerath, PPFP Mentor

Alayo Tripp
Alayo Tripp

Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (CLA)
Alayo Tripp completed a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Maryland College Park. Their doctoral work introduces a theory of sociolinguistic development, motivated by computational modeling of data from infant experiments. As a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department, Dr. Tripp is conducting behavioral studies with both children and adults to empirically assess the impact of social group membership on language processing.  
Dr. Benjamin Munson, Department Chair
Dr. Benjamin Munson, PPFP Mentor

Shahrin Upoma

Public & Nonprofit Management and Leadership (Humphrey)
Dr. Shahrin Upoma is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the management and leadership area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Her research interest lies at the intersection of diversity, equity, and social justice in public and nonprofit management. Through her teaching and research, Dr. Upoma’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion is grounded in her personal experience as a woman of color, first-generation student, and immigrant.  

She holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas. She holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Dhaka and a master's degree in Economics from the University of North Texas.  Her agenda is to produce work that can be used by professionals, industry experts, and others trusted with the decision-making process. 

Dr. Kathryn Quick, Department Chair & PPFP Mentor

Continuing 2020-2021 Fellows

Christpher Hammerly Headshot
Daphne Chan Headshot
Wu Yarn Daphne Chan

Chemistry (CSE)
Daphne Chan received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019. Her research interests are in polymer science and sustainable materials. During graduate school, she developed engineering plastics from underutilized protein feedstock, and explored methods to devulcanize and recycle used tire rubber. At the University of Minnesota, she is developing nanoporous block polymer ultrafiltration membranes, with a particular focus on anti-fouling and functional membranes for challenging separation processes.

Dr. David Blank, Department Chair
Dr. Marc Hillmyer, PPFP Mentor


A. Kelly Lane
A. Kelly Lane

Biology Teaching and Learning (CBS)
Kelly Lane earned her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Georgia in 2018 and previously worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Now a member of the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning, Kelly researches the impacts of social interaction such as mentorship, discussions with peers, and instructors’ classroom narratives on both undergraduate and graduate students’ skill development and sense of belonging in science. Her current projects include 1) identifying the gender narratives biology instructors imply through their teaching and the impact these narratives have on trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students 2) the explicit and implicit expectations for degree completion experienced by biology graduate students, and 3) the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mentorship experiences of biology graduate students. 

Dr. David Kirpatrick, Department Chair

Jessica Horvath Williams Headshot
Jessica Horvath Williams

Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (CLA)

Jessica Horvath Williams earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from UCLA in 2020, and is the co-chair of the Critical Disability Studies Collective at the University of Minnesota. She researches at the intersection of feminist disability studies and nineteenth-century U.S. history and literature, with particular emphasis on domestic and slave labor and early eugenicist discourse. Her current project investigates how female ideality served as a precursor for the development of three ideologies commonly critiqued by critical disability studies: the individual responsibility for health, the absence of futurity for disabled people, and the role of wage labor in the construction of (dis)ability.

Drs. Andrew Elfenbein and Zenzele Isoke, Department Chairs
Drs. Doug Kearney & Jigna Desai, PPFP Mentors