College of Arts and Sciences

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

Center for Research on
Race and Ethnicity in Society

CRRES Student Affiliates

The CRRES Student Affiliates are a diverse group of students who have a central interest in the study of race and ethnicity. Research conducted by current CRRES graduate student affiliates ranges from examining racial disparities in educational gaps on a national level to investigating the racialized experiences of immigrant women in new immigrant destinations in the South and Midwest.

Applying to Become a Student Affiliate

Ryan Comfort

Ryan Comfort  rcomfort@indiana.edu
Doctoral Student, The Media School
Ryan’s research examines the production roles, media frames, and audience effects created when Native Americans participate in visual media creation and dissemination. As a Native American (KBIC Ojibwe) producer of short-form documentary narratives himself, Ryan is deeply invested in conducting applied research in Native American communities. He is currently working on a documentary production project with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma on the revitalization of the traditional game of Stickball.

Giselle Cunanan

Giselle Cunanan  gcunanan@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of American Studies
Giselle situates her work in the overlapping fields of Critical Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies to study how colonial histories and narrations of identity shape the material realities of Filipinos’ everyday lives. She is particularly interested in the larger paradoxes of racialization, identification, and resistance as they exist for Filipinos who occupy a vexed position to the U.S. state. Pursuing her questions via ethnography and in-depth interviews, Giselle studies the ways that Filipinos work with and against underlying conditions of subjectivity that structurally positon Filipinos in close relation to non-Filipino groups.

Jessica David

Jessica David  jldavid@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Counseling Psychology
Jessica's research interests include racial identity, stress and coping, and student-athlete health and holistic development. She is also a graduate assistant for the Groups Scholars Program, an initiative created to address low attendance rates of marginalized populations and first-generation college students. As a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Diversity Outreach Team, she works to raise mental health awareness in traditionally underserved populations on IU's campus.

Ryan J. Davis

Ryan J. Davis  ryjdavis@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Higher Education (School of Education)
Ryan's research interests focus on understanding pedagogies that influence learning and success in STEM disciplines, particularly among underrepresented students of color. He coauthored the monograph Racial and Ethnic Minorities Students’ Success in STEM Education (Jossey-Bass) and he has coauthored 10 peer reviewed journal articles about the role of race in the experiences and outcomes of college students.

Carrie Fudickar

Carrie Fudickar  cfudicka@umail.iu.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of History
Carrie’s research interests include the intersections of African American and Native American history, Black autonomy in the American West, and Race and Colonialism. Her dissertation topic covers Afro-Creek resistance movements from the Civil War through the Tulsa Race Riot.

Kirk A. HarrisKirk A. Harris  kirkharr@umail.iu.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Political Science

Kirk studies democracy and development in Sub-Saharan Africa – a research focus that brings together work on the politics of development, ethnicity, and democratic accountability.  Kirk’s dissertation examines how variation in the political salience of ethnicity in Kenya mediates the provision of local public goods like schools, clinics, and roads by Kenya’s Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Dan Johnston

Dan Johnston  dantjohn@umail.iu.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Geography
Dan is a geographer with a background in secondary education. His research interests center on issues of race and immigration here in the United States, and on the colonial discourses perpetuated through the rhetoric of the 'immigrant nation'. His dissertation project looks at community integration among the refugee populations in Boise, ID, and their ability to access their rights to the city in this new urban situation.

Mihee Kim-Kort

Mihee Kim-Kort  rkimkort@iu.edu
Ph.D. Student, Religious Studies
Mihee's subarea in Religious Studies is Religion in the Americas with a minor in Critical Race and Post-Colonial Studies. Her primary research interests are in American Protestantism in relationship to categories of immigration, indigeneity, and diasporic identity in the 20th century to the present. Using ethnographic and textual methods, she explores the racialization of particular bodies through theological discourses of purity along with the phenomenon of American exceptionalism and evangelical Christianity's reification of a (white) U.S. American national identity.

Samuel H. Kye

Samuel H. Kye  skye@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Sociology
Sam’s current research examines middle-class ethnic neighborhoods known as ethnoburbs: ethnic yet suburban neighborhoods of affluence, representing the outcome of unprecedented levels of minority population growth over the past quarter century and the continued movement of minority groups into the American “mainstream.” He is formulating quantitative analysis strategies to add to this growing research field at the nexus of sociology, political science, and American studies.

Jordan Lynton

Jordan Lynton  jylynton@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Anthropology
Jordan's research interests include transnationalism, hyphenated identities, immigrant networks, and cultural associations, principally concerning the Chinese Diaspora in the Caribbean. She has spent extensive time in Jamaica conducting fieldwork on Chinese communities and cultural organizations in Kingston. Her dissertation project utilizes ethnographic methodology with geographic spatial analysis in order to consider identity formation and citizenship negotiation in Chinese-Jamaican communities.

Tamara Mitchell 

Tamara Mitchell  mitchetl@umail.iu.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Tamara focuses on the residual effects of transnational politics and economics in society and literature. By considering texts such as Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, her research questions the ways in which international corporations and growing Neoliberal politics affect culture, and how literature can be engaged as a means of analyzing the increasingly transnational society in which we live.

Stephanie Nguyen 

Stephanie Nguyen  stenguye@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Higher Education (School of Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Policies)
Stephanie is interested in the intersection between organizational theory, sociology of education, history of education, as well as race and ethnicity. Her current research topic focuses on understanding how social movements and campus activism can lead to organizational change to make higher education systems more equitable and relevant to college students of color. Through archival methods and oral histories, her dissertation will examine the organizational history of how Asian American Studies programs are created and established at Midwest research institutions.

Helen Plevka 

Helen Plevka  heplevka@iu.edu
M.A. Student, Department of Comparative Literature
Helen thinks about issues of social inequality through relationships between music and literature. Her master ’s paper considers the ways imperialism is embedded within the history and structures of Western classical music then analyzes how these values can resonate through a contemporary novel. As a former secondary educator and active musician, she continues to seek opportunities to engage with the local community through her research.

Daniel Runnels

Daniel Runnels   runnelsd@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Daniel’s research interests include literature, political thought, and indigeneity in Latin America, with a special focus on Bolivia and the Andes Mountain region. His interests are interdisciplinary, having primarily studied 20th-21st century literary and cultural production related to the nation and indigenous inclusion, and he is currently developing a new interest in architecture, space, and race.

Kevin Taber

C. Kevin Taber   cktaber@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science
Kevin’s dissertation research explores the transnational political activities and activism of sub-Saharan African migrant associations in the U.S. While conducting his fieldwork primarily among Ghanaian organizations, his research is particularly focused on the ways in which ethnic, linguistic, communal, and other forms of heterogeneity within migrant groups may shape collective transnational political efforts.

Paula Tarankow

Paula Tarankow   ptaranko@iu.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of History
Paula’s interests in U.S. History include the history and legacy of slavery and emancipation; genealogies of racial discourses; social justice and humanitarian movements; and human-animal relationships. Her dissertation project recovers the history of southern animal welfare reform and humane education in the post-Reconstruction era. She employs historical methods and draws from multidisciplinary scholarship in the field of Animal Studies to examine the intersections between discourses of race and species.

Mai Thai

Mai Thai   maithai@iu.edu
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology
Mai's 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.

Lei Wang

Lei Wang  lw55@indiana.edu
Ph.D. Student, Department of Counseling Psychology
Lei's research interests involve racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., particularly international students and Asian Americans. She focuses on issues of mental health, cultural orientation, cross-national experiences, and related problems of perfectionism, shame, alcohol use, bystander intervention, and suicidal patterns. Lei has co-led a support group for Chinese international students and currently provides counseling services to Mandarin-speaking students and community members at the Center for Human Growth.

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405
812-855-8016

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