Postdoctoral scholars and fellows enrich an academic community with innovative research and scholarship. They posit new theories on existing research and foster interdisciplinary research.

The scholars and fellows listed below are from a variety of disciplines and hold a variety of perspectives, thereby adding to the scholarly debate for which the University of Chicago is famous. If you are interested in contacting a scholar or fellow, please use the contact email listed with their research interests.

  • Sarah Gaither

    Sarah Gaither

    Faculty Mentor(s): Katherine Kinzler & Amanda Woodward

    Department: Psychology and Fellow in the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture


    Sarah E. Gaither received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Tufts University in 2014 for her dissertation entitled, "Mixed Biracial Experiences from the Target's and Perceiver's Viewpoint."
    She received her B.A. with honors in Social Welfare with a concentration in Psychology and a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007 and her M.S. in Psychology from Tufts University.
    While at the University of Chicago, Sarah will continue her research regarding what contexts or situations affect how racially mixed populations are categorized and perceived, how having multiple racial identities affects behavior for biracial individuals, what types of previous intergroup contact affects future interracial social behavior, and how racial attitudes and perceptions develop during childhood.

  • John F Lopez

    John F. Lopez: 2013-2015 PCEPS Scholar

    Faculty Mentor(s): Claudia Brittenham

    Department: Art History


    John F. López earned a Ph.D. in 2013 from MIT’s History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program, where he undertook a comparative study of the influence of Aztec and Spanish hydraulic practice on Mexico City.
    While at the University of Chicago, John will prepare a book manuscript based on his doctoral research. A second book-length project will scrutinize pre-Columbian architecture in the modern imagination.

  • Ellis P Monk

    Ellis P. Monk: 2013-2015 PCEPS Scholar

    Faculty Mentor(s): Elisabeth Clemens

    Department: Sociology


    Ellis Monk holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Sociology in May 2013. His dissertation, "Color, Bodily Capital, and Ethnoracial Division in the U.S. and Brazil," is a comparative, mixed-methods study of the social and economic significance of skin tone and hair-type as markers of ethnoracial division among African Americans in the U.S. and within the Brazilian population at-large.
    During his time at the University of Chicago, Ellis plans to revise and extend his dissertation into a book manuscript, continue his work on ethnoracial politics and intersectionality in the post-Civil Rights Era, and further develop his research on ethnoracial disparities in health.

  • Traci L Parker

    Traci L. Parker: 2013-2015 PCEPS Scholar

    Faculty Mentor(s): Thomas Holt

    Department: History


    Traci Parker will receive her Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago in December 2013. Prior to entering this doctoral program, she earned a M.A. in the Social Sciences Program from the University of Chicago in 2004. Her dissertation entitled, “Counter Strike: African Americans in American Department Stores, 1890-1989,” considers the efforts to African Americans, both as workers and consumers, in the desegregation of the department store industry. Specifically, her research examines the interrelationship between consumer capitalism and the configuration of race and class.
    As a Provost’s Career Enhancement Scholar in the Department of History, Traci will prepare and expand her dissertation for publication.

  • Sarah Elizabeth Vaughn

    Sarah Elizabeth Vaughn: 2013-2015 PCEPS Scholar

    Faculty Mentor(s): Stephan Palmié

    Department: Anthropology


    Sarah Elizabeth Vaughn received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2013. Most broadly, her interests include political ecology and law, (post)colonial science studies, race and environmental security, and critical theory. During her time as a PCEPS, she will expand her dissertation, “Between a Promise and a Trench: Citizenship, Vulnerability, and Climate Change in Guyana,” into a book-length manuscript. It will explore the emergence of (inter)national legal and scientific mandates dedicated to climate adaptation measures, with a particular focus on the interplay between rights, expertise, and affect within the Guyanese public sphere.

  • Bryan Wiggins

    Bryan Wiggins

    Faculty Mentor(s): Steven Sibener

    Department: Chemistry


    Bryan Wiggins earned his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Washington State University in 2013.  He received his B.S. in Chemistry at Alabama A&M University in 2007. His dissertation, “Structural and Electronic Properties of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines Self Assembled on Conductive Surfaces” focuses on understanding the molecular and electronic properties of organic nanostructures and thin films by utilizing various material characterization methods. Bryan has conducted technical presentations at regional and international conferences and authored/co-authored several journal articles.  He recently published a portion of his dissertation studies (J. Phys. Chem. C, 2014, 118, 4222-4230.).
    During his time at the University of Chicago, he will expand his research by exploring gas phase reactions at the surface interface on various substrates.  He will assemble a one of kind instrument to combine his current expertise with a supersonic molecular beam apparatus to perform novel surface catalysis.

  • Sylvia Zamora

    Sylvia Zamora

    Faculty Mentor(s): Omar McRoberts

    Department: Sociology


    Sylvia Zamora received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Smith College. Her research is guided by questions concerning how Latino immigration is changing social, political and racial dynamics in American society, and how these changes are creating new challenges and opportunities for civic engagement. Her dissertation is entitled, “Transnational Racialization: How Immigration Transforms Conceptions of Race in Mexico and the U.S.” It is a comparative, multi-site project that challenges U.S.-centric approaches to the study of immigrant racialization by examining how Mexicans understand race and inequality in their country of origin, how these views change upon migration to the U.S., and the consequences of this for inter-group relations and immigrant incorporation to the U.S. racial system.
    As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Sociology, Dr. Zamora will prepare a book manuscript based on her doctoral work and begin new research on the relationship between the growing immigrant rights movement and the African American struggle for racial and economic equality.