Please join me in congratulating three former Futures Initiative Graduate Fellows in completing their PhDs—in the midst of a pandemic, no less. The team will miss them greatly but we are so excited to see where their work takes them next.
Michael Epstein, PhD, Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
Michael Epstein, an FI Fellow in 2019-2020, recently completed his PhD in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program in Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He has accepted a Postdoctoral Associate position at Boston University beginning in September 2020. His doctoral work explores attention and perception in vision using psychophysical and neuroimaging methodologies. His dissertation focuses specifically on the temporal dynamics of ensemble perception—the timing by which one can perceive the overall statistical summary of groups of objects. A chapter from his dissertation titled The Outlier Paradox: The Role of Iterative Ensemble Coding in Discounting Outliers, was recently accepted for publication in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Outside of research, Michael has taught introductory neuroscience and experimental methods courses at City College and Baruch College, and has acted as a Writing Across the Curriculum fellow at the School of Professional Studies. He is additionally involved in public science education programs throughout NYC, particularly with BioBus and the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience’s Brain Awareness Week.
Siqi Tu, PhD, Sociology
Siqi Tu, an FI Fellow from 2018-2020, recently completed her PhD in Sociology and now is a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Her dissertation, “Destination Diploma: How Chinese Upper-Middle Class Families ‘Outsource’ Secondary Education to the United States,” investigates why and how Chinese upper-middle-class families made educational decisions to send their children as young as fourteen to the United States for private high schools. It also documents and analyzes the actual lived experiences of the students who come alone to the United States. It is part of her broader research agenda on how individuals’ identity form and shift and its relevance to global citizenship. She will work on a follow-up project titled “Shifting Ethno-racial Identities Across Borders: A Case of Chinese ‘Parachute Students’” to further examine the shifting ethno-racial identity through the case of Chinese “parachute students” under the increasing tension between China and the United States, and the surge of populist anti-immigrant and anti-globalization sentiments.
PhD, Developmental Psychology
Jessica Murray, an FI Fellow from 2016-2019, defended her dissertation, “Self-Determination in Transportation: The Route to Social Inclusion for People with Disabilities,” on August 19, 2020. Her digital project, Our Mobility, is a research study designed to learn more about individual differences in mobility in NYC.
Featured photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.