Social Science PhD students named 2015-16 Urban Network Doctoral Fellows

Announcement Type: 

The Urban Network has named their 2015-16 cohort of doctoral fellows, of which seven are from the Division of the Social Sciences. Fellows are PhD students in the social sciences, humanities, SSA, and other divisions who meet twice a month during the academic year to develop their dissertations, or to craft a paper of their choice for presentation at an academic conference.

The Urban Network Doctoral Fellowship is the only collaborative, interdisciplinary, urban-focused program of its kind on campus.  Now entering its fourth year, fellows have gone on to a wide range of research and practice positions.  

The 2015-16 cohort includes these students from the Division of the Social Sciences:



Emilio de Antuñano is a Ph.D. Candidate in History specializing in Latin American cities, urban planning and architecture, and the relationship between the social sciences, urban populations, and state institutions during the twentieth century. As a Social Sciences/Mellon Advanced Studies Fellow, Emilio is currently writing his dissertation, tentatively titled Containing a Mass City: Urban Planning People and Space in Mexico City, c. 1930-1950. This project explores Mexico City’s urban explosion and how different institutions and urban actors dealt with the challenge of exponential growth and the resulting massive city. Before moving to Chicago, Emilio earned a B.A. in International Relations from El Colegio de México. In addition to his historical research, Emilio loves exploring cities through literature and running. He considers himself lucky to have lived in Mexico City, Paris, and Chicago.  



Ashley J. Finigan is a doctoral student in the Department of History, where she focuses on 19th and 20th century U.S women's and gender history, African American history, and the modern United States. Other research interests include black women's histories, cultural history, print and musical cultures and black internationalism. As an Urban Doctoral Fellow, Ashley will continue to write and research for her dissertation project, which studies the the National Council of Negro Women, 1935-1975, investigating their charitable work aboard and the encouragement of members to see themselves as cosmopolitan, international black women, through their emphasis on Pan-Africanism.

Ashley has also worked as an archivist at  Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, the Newberry Library and the Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at the Carter G. Washington Branch of the Chicago Public Library. Before attending graduate school at the University of Chicago, Ashley received an M.A in African American Studies from Columbia University, taught high school history as a member of Teach for America and earned her B.A from Amherst College in History and Black Studies. In her spare time she enjoys letter writing and participating in book clubs.



Cayce Hughes is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology, with research interests including the sociology of privacy, urban poverty, social inequality, health and well-being, and culture. His dissertation is an ethnographic and interview-based study focusing on how low-income mothers in a high-poverty neighborhood in Houston, TX, negotiate privacy in their quest for public and private assistance to make ends meet. He is concurrently collecting data for the Houston component of a comparative study of social and organizational networks among low-income mothers in high-poverty neighborhoods in Houston, Chicago, and New York City. Other research asks how doctoral students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics make sense of the gender gap in their professional fields. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Cayce earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from New College of Florida and a Masters in Public Health from Temple University. 



Andrea L. Jenkins, known to many as "Dréa," is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociocultural & Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Currently in the write-up stage, her ethnographic dissertation examines belonging and related social projects in urban American Indian education, especially Title VII programs, the federally-assisted supplemental education programs for American Indian students in non-tribal public schools. She theorizes, in part, that, in certain urban contexts, Title VII programs develop and persist as alternative social worlds, distinct spaces through which American Indian students can access both the educational and cultural building blocks needed to craft positive identities and pathways to success.

A former Fulbright grant recipient, she holds an M.A. from the University of Toronto and an Honors B.A. from the University of Michigan, and her past research affiliations include the American Indian Association of Illinois, the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies, and Imagining America: Artists & Scholars in Public Life. Core to her ongoing work are studies of race and the intersection of multiple forms of marginalization (race/class/gender), K-12 and higher education, and public policy in domestic and comparative/global frameworks, with a particular emphasis on Native North America and the African diaspora.



Nicholas Kryczka is a third-year doctoral student in history, specializing in urban history and history of education.  His research places educational policy at the center of spatial histories of late-twentieth-century Chicago, exploring the role that schools and school reform played in episodes of renewal and gentrification in the urban core.  Magnet schools, which embodied legacies of desegregation and antecedents of school choice, are the focus of Nick’s current research.  In addition to histories of schools and cities, Nick has abiding interests in migration, immigration, oral history, and the place of history and the social sciences in K-12 education.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Nick worked for a decade as a high school teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, where he led course teams in U.S. History and Sociology and held elected positions on union committees.  He earned a B.A. in political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.A. in history at Northeastern Illinois University.  Nick’s time away from Chicago has included stints in Spain and Mexico, as well as journeys through Europe, Africa, India, and South America.  His time away from Hyde Park is spent on the Northwest Side where he raises a family and works with his neighbors and his alderman on issues of local concern.



Zhiying Ma is a Ph.D. candidate at the Departments of Comparative Human Development and of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, trained in cultural, medical, and psychological anthropology. Her dissertation research, consisting of 32 months of fieldwork from 2008 to 2014, has been funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS, the Ford Foundation, the Association for Asian Studies, and the Lemelson Foundation, among others. It examined how the Chinese medico-legal field configures the role of the family in psychiatric care, and the implications such configurations have on postsocialist ethics of care and politics of population governance. She is currently writing up the dissertation.

Ms. Ma is also engaged in a new project on the emerging community mental health apparatus in China. As an Urban Network Doctoral Fellow, she will work on an article on how the translation of global mental health knowledge and the circulation of numbers create “community” as a new public health infrastructure.



Alicia Riley's research as a doctoral student in Sociology has focused on urban poverty. Her qualifying paper explores how race and neighborhood disadvantage interact to influence residential mobility among older adults in the U.S. She also co-designed a mixed methods study with Professor Forrest Stuart on the influence of social media on how youth navigate gun violence in Chicago. Alicia is especially interested in urban neighborhoods for what they can reveal about racial inequality, social disadvantage, and the consequences for health and mortality.

Prior to doctoral studies, Alicia worked on health issues facing Latino communities in the U.S. and Mexico. She completed a M.P.H. degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University and a M.A. in Latin American Studies at Stanford University, where she also earned her B.A.


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