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2021 Cohort of Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows Named

Senior Vice Provost for Research Dawn Bonnell and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research have announced the 2021 cohort of Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows for Academic Diversity, the largest cohort in the program’s history.

Designed to help postdocs advance their careers while enriching the community of scholars at Penn and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the fellowship program has supported more than 70 postdocs across nine of Penn’s schools and at CHOP since its inception in 2010. Half of these fellows have gone on to positions in academia while the remaining have found careers in industry, nonprofits, and government.

“As the new cohort begins their fellowship, we are hopeful that, while advancing their own research and scholarship, they will form the necessary connections to spread the ideals of this program at Penn within their field as well as in the broader community,” says Bonnell. “Additionally, we hope that their experience at Penn positions them for success in the future that will inspire future generations.”

During the three-year fellowship period, postdocs conduct research while participating in training and development to enhance professional skills. New programming and networking events have recently been added to augment the fellows’ research and scholarship activities and to help prepare the postdocs for the next step in their careers.

This year’s cohort, with the majority beginning their fellowships in July, will work across the School of Arts & Sciences, Perelman School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Annenberg School for Communication, and School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The 2021 Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows for Academic Diversity:

Tiffany Joyce Huang will be working with Wendy Roth in the School of Arts & Sciences. Huang’s research is on race and immigration, with a particular focus on the second-generation children of Asian immigrants.

Joanna Medina, who aims to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, will be working in the lab of Penn Medicine’s Zhaolan Zhou.

Onome Osokpo will be working in the School of Nursing with Mary Naylor. Osokpo’s research will examine the individual, cultural, and systemic factors that affect self-care behaviors, such as diet and nutrition, sleep and physical activity, and the use of health care services in the U.S.

Daphne Penn will complete her book project, “The American Dream Deferred,” exploring the educational response to the growing population of unaccompanied minors in the U.S., under the supervision of Emilio Parrado and Roberto Gonzales in the School of Arts & Sciences. She will also extend her research on intergroup relations and the politics of demographic change in new immigrant destinations.

Paulina Inara Rodis will work with Sarah J. Jackson from the Annenberg School. Rodis’ research expands scholarship on digital media, inequality, and identity to examine how women of color perceive and respond to racism and sexism in online networks.

Vinitha Rangarujan will be using network models of the brain to study how perception changes during the human lifespan while working with Penn Engineering’s Danielle Bassett.

Daniel Sanchez will be working with Robert Carpick in Penn Engineering. His project will use nanoscale mechanical probes to study the formation of 2D pleats: tiny, folded structures made from materials that are mere atoms thick.

Jaclyn Welles aims to understand how insulin controls sugar and fat metabolism in animal models of diabetes and liver disease. While working in the lab of Paul Titchenell at the School of Medicine’s Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, Welles’ research will help uncover new signaling pathways that could lead to novel therapies to treat metabolic disease.

Kaitlyn Werner will be working with Angela Duckworth in the School of Arts & Sciences. Her research considers how factors like context, timing, and motivation shape what strategies people choose to regulate their life goals and how successful those strategies are in both the short- and long-term.

Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows for Academic Diversity each receives a stipend of $54,000 a year in their first year with $2,000 increases during the second and third year. In addition, fellows receive annual allowances for travel and research and a relocation expense of as much as $5,000 if they are moving to Philadelphia from another elsewhere.

Originally published in Penn Today on June 4, 2021 Written by Erica K. Brockmeier.