2014 Provost's Postdoctoral Fellows

Scholar: Sarah Gaither

Faculty Mentor: Katherine Kinzler

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 for her thesis entitled "Having an Outgroup College Roommate Affects Future Interracial Interactions." Before graduate school, Sarah worked as a lab manager at the University of California, Los Angeles where she focused on infant cognition and perceptions. In general, Sarah's research interests include social psychology with an emphasis on mixed-race populations, racial identity flexibility, racial categorization, intergroup contact, and interracial interactions. Sarah investigates these topics with both adult and child populations. 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. She will also be teaching a class examining different types of social identities and how different social groups are perceived.

Sarah has a number of publications in journals including Developmental ScienceDevelopmental PsychologyJournal of Experimental Social PsychologyChild DevelopmentPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. Her work has been funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and a Clara Mayo Grant and a Grant-in-Aid both from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Her work has also earned her the Society for Personality and Social Psychology's Outstanding Graduate Research Award, Tufts University's Outstanding Academic Performance at the Doctoral Level Award, and The Provost's Multiethnic Graduate Student Alliance Award. 


Scholar: Bryan Wiggins

Faculty Mentor: 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.  He employed advanced surface sensitive microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to carry out his investigations.  The molecules of interest are potential candidates for active materials in optical, electronic, and energy devices.  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.).  

Bryan is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards during his graduate tenure including: National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Alternate Sponsored Fellowship at Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory, Outstanding Graduate Seminar Award, Washington State University’s Center of Materials Research Scholarship and the Abelson Scholarship from the College of Arts and Science at Washington State University.  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.

Scholar: Sylvia Zamora

Faculty Mentor: 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. Her published work on African American and Latino coalition building appears in Latino Studies (forthcoming) and the edited volume Just Neighbors?: Research on African American and Latino Relations in the United States (Russell Sage Foundation Press 2011). Her work has been recognized with awards by the American Sociological Association sections on International Migration and Racial and Ethnic Minorities and has been funded by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Social Science Research Council Mellon Mays Foundation, John Randolph Haynes Foundation, UC Center for New Racial Studies, UC Institute for Mexico and the U.S., UCLA’s Institute for American Cultures, Chicana/o Studies Research Center, and Latin American Institute. 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.