Meet the GGSC’s New Fellows

August 10, 2018

The Greater Good Science Center is proud to present its 2018-19 class of distinguished Research Fellows, which includes excellent UC Berkeley students from the fields of psychology, education, social and cultural studies, and beyond. They are an outstanding group of young researchers who are committed to the greater good.

The GGSC’s annual fellowship program supports the work of UC Berkeley students whose research advances the science of compassion, empathy, and other topics we explore. The program attracts scholars from across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, with a particular focus on the social-behavioral sciences.

This year, our fellows tackle subjects ranging from cultivating hope about global warming to the role of emotions in education and parenting. Please read on for more details about our newest fellows, and visit our fellowships page for more details about the program and summaries of past graduate and undergraduate fellows’ work.

2018-2019 Graduate Fellows

Kaley Curtis (Goldberg Fellow)
Psychology

Kaley Curtis is a third-year doctoral student in UC Berkeley’s Psychology Department. She received her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her B.A. in Education and Public Policy from Brown University. Her research examines how diverse parents socialize and teach their young children, and the ways in which these behaviors influence children’s development. As a GGSC graduate research fellow, Kaley will explore how parent emotion talk longitudinally influences Chinese American immigrant children’s social and emotional development.

Omar Davila Jr.
Education

Omar Davila Jr. is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. His research interests highlight the nexus of discourse, education policy, and boys of color. As a GGSC research fellow, Omar will examine the way political discourses construct notions of merit and, in turn, the way high-performing Latino boys navigate academic settings successfully. The implications of this work are two-fold: (1) understand the way merit goes beyond cognitive skill sets into a more political, social, and performative realm, and (2) understand the way Latino boys develop resilience, overcome urban conditions, and achieve academic success.

Monica Ellwood-Lowe (Hornaday Fellow)
Developmental Psychology

Monica Ellwood-Lowe is a second-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at UC Berkeley. Previously, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University. Monica is broadly interested in how children adapt their learning strategies to fit the demands of their early environments. As a GGSC fellow, Monica will study whether socioeconomically disadvantaged children, at risk for under-performing in school, develop particular cognitive skills in early life. She hopes this line of research will contribute to a better understanding of children’s resilience, strength, and adaptability, which ultimately may be harnessed to combat the structural factors that contribute to the academic achievement gap.

Blanca Gamez-Djokic (Poulter Fellow)
Social and Cultural Studies

Blanca Gamez-Djokic is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Social and Cultural Studies program at the School of Education. Blanca has a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College, and an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Blanca’s doctoral research is interested in the affective worlds of young people; the way emotions and affects circulate in schools; and how teachers and students negotiate and leverage emotions to understand processes of racial formation. As a GGSC research fellow, Blanca will conduct a comparative ethnographic examination of two high schools to investigate the broad spectrum of emotions students experience in school and how students leverage emotions to navigate racializing practices and ideologies. Blanca’s dissertation research is particularly interested in expanding discourses around youth-of-color learning experiences beyond the affective frames of resilience and trauma.

Ozge Ugurlu
Social-Personality Psychology

Ozge Ugurlu is a first-year graduate student at the Social-Personality Psychology program at UC Berkeley. She received her B.A. in Linguistics and Sociology at Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Her research explores developmental and individual difference processes in emotion recognition, and how they might be related to emotion- and self-regulation ability. As a GGSC research fellow, Ozge will investigate (a) how emotion and affective processes are linked with self-control and willpower, and (b) social-developmental precursors of delayed gratification by examining family dynamics. This project aims to clarify parental best practices in communicating self-control strategies to children and, thus, offer opportunities for further interventions and trainings.

Leela Velautham
Education in Math, Science, and Technology

Leela Velautham is a third-year graduate student in the Education in Math, Science, and Technology program at UC Berkeley. She received her M.Chem at Oxford University and an M.A. in chemistry from UC Berkeley. She is interested in better characterizing how people perceive and reason about anthropogenic global warming, in order to develop interventions that increase knowledge and acceptance of the issue. As a GGSC graduate research fellow, she will explore ways to cultivate hope about anthropogenic global warming, and investigate whether there is a relationship between feeling hopeful about our ability to tackle this phenomenon and an increased likelihood of engaging in intrinsically motivated, pro-environmental behavior.

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