Directors & Staff



Dina Okamoto is the Director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) and Professor of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research focuses on race and ethnicity, immigrant incorporation, as well as intergroup conflict and cooperation in the U.S. context.

Associate Director


Michelle Moyd is the Associate Director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) and Associate Professor of History at Indiana University. She is a historian of eastern Africa, with special interests in the history of African soldiers and warfare. Other research interests include German colonial history, the history of racial thought in Europe, Africa, and the United States, and the history of race as a factor in labor and military recruitment processes in Africa and elsewhere.

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

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology


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

Chavonté Wright

Spring 2019 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

Spring 2019 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.

Alicia Harmon

CRRES Social Media Intern

Alicia Harmon is an IU sophomore from Columbus, Ohio and the CRRES social media undergraduate intern. She is majoring in sociology/African-American and African Diaspora studies as well as minoring in Spanish and creative writing. She is passionate about race and class issues, especially those pertaining to the criminal justice system, housing discrimination, and educational inequality. In the future, she hopes to go to law school, obtain a PhD in sociology, and write. 

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