Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

Center for Research on
Race and Ethnicity in Society

A research center of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University Bloomington


The CRRES staff is instrumental in the functioning and execution of a variety of the Center’s tasks. The Administrative Assistant and Graduate Research Assistant compose and design the annual newsletter; communicate with other campus and Bloomington entities related to research on race and ethnicity; maintain the CRRES website and social media accounts; and design and distribute promotional materials for the Center’s events.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, CRRES Administrative Assistant
Jessica maintains the CRRES office and provides administrative support for the Center’s activities. She assists with the room reservations and scheduling of CRRES events such as the Speaker Series, Coffee with Affiliates, and the Postdoctoral Scholars Program. She makes travel arrangements for CRRES and processes funding requests and reimbursements for the Center. Jessica earned her B.A. in Psychology at Indiana University and brings years of experience in customer service and administrative work to the Center.
If you have questions about travel, CRRES funding or reimbursements, room reservations, scheduling, or general inquiries about the Center, please contact Jessica.

Mai Thai

Mai Thai, 2019-20 CRRES Graduate Research Assistant
Mai Thai (pronounced "my tie") is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology and her research areas are in education, deviance and social control, and race/ethnicity. Her dissertation examines school-police partnerships and how they shape the experiences of youth and their communities. As the lead graduate assistant for CRRES, she manages the Undergraduate Research Program, helps coordinate programming and events, and provides outreach and marketing support. If you have questions about listservs, email communications, promoting a related event/project, or becoming a CRRES affiliate, please contact her at

Chavonte Wright

Chavonté Wright, CRRES Graduate Research Assistant
Chavonté is from Houston,Texas. In 2016, She received her B.A. in sociology from Rice University. Prior to graduate school, her interests in race, education, and mental health led her to classroom teaching and work in college access. Currently a first-year PhD student in Sociology, she studies race, gender, and mental health disparities within higher education institutions. In particular, she is interested in the cultural and social psychological mechanisms through which students persist. Chavonté assists with the organization of the Graduate Student Research Symposium, and coordinates CRRES Graduate Student Affiliates.

Monica Heilman

Monica Heilman, CRRES Graduate Research Assistant
Monica Heilman is Ph.D. student in Sociology. She hails from Colorado, where she earned her degree in Sociology and Art at the University of Denver. After graduating, Monica taught English in South Korea, worked as a freelance digital marketing writer, and began designing enamel pins. Monica's research interests lie broadly in multiracial identity, shifting categorizations of race in the US, and race relations in South Korea. Her current work examines how multiracial individuals present their identities in the face of challenges to and expectations of an adherence to rigid racial categories. Monica assists in maintaining the CRRES website, marketing, and producing web content.

CRRES Social Media Interns

Our social media interns manage the Center’s social media, assist with undergraduate outreach, and contribute to event promotion for CRRES. If you have questions about the CRRES website or Facebook page, please contact

Maya Wilson-Fernandez

Maya Wilson-Fernandez, Spring 2019
Maya Wilson-Fernandez is a graduating senior who grew up in Miami, Florida. She is a Wells Scholar who is majoring in sociology and African-American and African Diaspora Studies, and minoring in Portuguese. During her time at Indiana University, she has been a focus area director in Culture of Care, a student researcher for the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, and a sociology research assistant. She is the founder and director of the I Am Worthy project, which celebrates identity and empowerment through photography and the performing arts. Maya enjoys being active, hiking, photography, and writing. After graduation, she plans to go into media and communications.

JP Pritchard

JP Pritchard, Fall 2018
JP Pritchard is a senior pursuing an individualized major titled “Human Health and Media Sciences,” with a minor in Anthropology. From Fall 2017 to Spring 2018, JP was one of several undergraduate researchers in the CRRES Undergraduate Research Program. JP considers himself a media junkie, and his research interests follow suit. In the CRRES URP, JP assisted in researching how communication technologies like cellphones affect the health and lives of people with various socioeconomic backgrounds. He also started his own original research on how researchers and academics use social media to engage in public scholarship and disseminate sound science. Overall, JP is deeply interested in the ways new media can be used to positively impact public health and the spread of scientific information in the current digital age. After a marketing internship with Texas Tech University in the summer, JP will return to CRRES in Fall 2018 as a social media intern.

Ellen Soyka

Ellen Soyka, Fall 2017, Spring 2018
Ellen Soyka is a fourth-year student in the International Studies BA/MA program concentrating in Human Rights/International Law, Spanish, and the Middle East. Ellen also has minors in Viola, Spanish, and International Education, and her research focuses on human rights, education, women’s rights, religion, and international organizations.

Sarah Williamson

Sarah Williamson, Spring 2018
Sarah Williamson was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. She is now a senior and will graduate this spring with a BA in Art History with a minor in Dutch Studies. She is currently working on an honors senior thesis concerned with global refugee camps and the impact they have on the experience of their inhabitants. Deeply influenced by both her studies at IU and experiences living overseas, Sarah is currently applying to graduate school to study Urban Design and Planning with hopes of learning to create and modify cities that properly cater to their diverse populations. 

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405

Office Hours: Monday - Friday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm