Demography Fellows


Jennifer Brite is a third-year doctoral student in the Public Health program, where she is in the epidemiology track. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in journalism from New York University in 2002 and her Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University in 2012. Her research interests include biodemography, particularly the effects of obesity and socioeconomic status on maternal and child health.

“The Demography Fellowship has allowed me to take a more interdisciplinary approach to my work in public health. I enjoy learning alongside students from other departments, such as economics and sociology, because they often bring a new perspective to a research question. I’ve found the demographic methods taught in the program are well suited to a variety of disciplines and research interests. I'm currently working with Professor Jennifer Dowd to examine the association between early-life social exposures and various later-life biomarkers, such as telomere length and markers of inflammation, in a sample from the Whitehall II study in Great Britain.”


Alka Dev is a fifth year doctoral student in the Public Health program in the Community, Society and Health track. She received a joint Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry and Women's Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1995 and a Master of Health Science Degree (International Health) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1998. Prior to coming to CUNY, she worked as a global health professional for 15 years.

“The Demography Certificate Program has been a unique opportunity to develop research ideas and see them through to completion. I have carried out three research studies that have been presented as posters or papers with exceptional mentorship from Prof. Deborah Balk. The demography program has enhanced by personal and professional qualities.”


Noura Insolera is currently in her fifth year in the Sociology PhD Program at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she is also pursuing a certificate in Demography. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Michigan in 2007 and started working for the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) at the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research. Noura moved to New York City in 2008 and started a Master’s Degree in the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences Program at Columbia University, which she completed in May 2010.

“I am very interested in the cross-section of health and socio-economic status and plan to focus my dissertation research in this area. I am excited to move forward in Demography, Quantitative Methods, and the Sociology of Health and Illness. I am working for the PSID, and also as an apprentice to Professor Richard Alba in the Sociology Department at the Graduate Center. I have found a great support system within the CIDR community, and really feel at home with my professors, advisors, and peers. At a school as large as CUNY, I am lucky to know that I have a group of people that are truly interested in my personal and academic success.”


Annette Jacoby is a third-year graduate student in Sociology and a research apprentice at the CUNY Center for Urban Research. She is mainly interested in immigration, diversity, urban sociology and segregation.

"I like being a CIDR fellow as it has enhanced my view of sociology by looking at the underlying population dynamics and their consequences for society. Furthermore, I have met fellow apprentices through CIDR, with whom I could share my experience and thoughts and even work on projects together. I am currently working on research in a variety of topics, such as individual and contextual determinants of electoral participation (and nonparticipation) in my apprenticeship with Professor John Mollenkopf and the effects of shifting demographic patterns on age-specific segregation patterns with Professor Jeremy Porter. In general, I am interested in how greater diversity of demographic patterns and high migration rates affect social cohesion, solidarity and civic engagement."


Eric Ketcham is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and is pursuing certificates in Demography and Quantitative Methods. His research focuses on international migration patterns as well as language acquisition and retention, among other measures of assimilation and acculturation. He holds a BA in Linguistics and Psychology from Northeastern University.

"The Demography Fellowship has been a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and knowledge within the broad field of Demography. This fellowship offers the opportunity to work closely with professors with a wide array of demographic interests. It is great to have such a tight-knit group of professors and fellows to work with at CIDR. Working with Professor Jeremy Porter, currently I am exploring international migration patterns for first generation immigrants to the United States. After working on a project last year suggesting that step migrants have an advantage in acquiring English language proficiency, we are now working together on a project to explore if this same advantage is present in other immigrant outcomes as well."


Jesica S. Rodriguez-Lopez is a third-year doctoral student in the Public Health program at the CUNY Graduate Center in the Epidemiology Track. Her work focuses on epidemiology methods and quantitative analysis. She works directly with Professor Shiro Horiuchi on his project of defining a new approach to longevity measurement with focus on the modal age at death.

“My interest in demography is based on my belief that demography and public health are two sciences that together are key to understanding the factors and events that shape a population’s composition. My first year of doctoral studies, which included classes from the demography certificate program, has strengthened my conviction in this idea. I have become interested in two topics. First is the aging of the population and how that affects its financial sustainability. The other subject I am interested in is the effect of the current immigrant population on the demographic transition in the US.”


Timothy Roeper is in his fourth year of the Economics PhD program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is a research apprentice at the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR) and a research assistant at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research interests include labor, health, and family economics.

“CIDR is a great interdisciplinary community. The demography fellowship has given me a chance to interact with and learn from faculty and students outside my discipline that are studying the same types of questions I am interested in. The certificate courses and casual conversations in the CIDR office have given me new ways of thinking about my existing research interests and new ideas for potential topics. I have also benefited from the opportunity to work with faculty on research. Together with Professor Neil Bennett, I am studying the economic effects of divorce.”


Duygu Başaran Şahin is a second year Ph.D. student in Sociology and a research apprentice at CIDR. She received a B.A. in sociology from Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turkey in 2008 and a Masters degree in population, health and social policies from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France in 2009. Prior to coming to CUNY, she worked for varios NGOs in Turkey and the U.S., most recently as a program coordinator for a UN based NGO in New York, doing advocacy work to promote human rights of older people. In Turkey, she coordinated a nation-wide education project that aimed to prevent school drop-out at the elementary school level.

"As a first year student I am still exploring what my research interests are. I am broadly interested in social issues relating to aging, family and health. Currently I am working as a research apprentice to Professor Frank Heiland, researching U.S. mortality and retirement.

With regard to my fellowship at CIDR, I am really excited to get into a new field, demograpy, and develop an expertise in quantitative methods that I hope to integrate into my sociological work. I think CIDR has one of the best and most friendly fellows and faculty. "


Guillermo Yrizar Barbosa is Ph.D. candidate in sociology at CUNY Graduate Center and fellow at the Institute for Demographic Research. He received a BA in political science from Tec de Monterrey and a master’s degree in regional development from El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana. His dissertation work, supervised by Prof. Robert Smith, focuses on the social mobility and family life of parents born in Mexico and living in New York City after the last immigration reform in the United States.

"Our complex, dynamic, and diverse societies require a great deal of collaborative and interdisciplinary research work. I strongly recommend the Certificate Program in Demography to people interested in conducting comprehensive and rigorous research projects accentuating a population perspective. CIDR constitutes a privileged space for the interaction, debate, production and exchange of ideas among students and experienced demographers. In my case, with Prof. Holly Reed I have been able to investigate the refugee health disadvantage among U.S. immigrants. Additionally, with Prof. Richard Alba I have been able to study the major ethno-racial transformations taking place in the contemporary American labor force. "


Alice Zulkarnain is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Economics at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is also a research apprentice at the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR) and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

"Through the Demography Certificate Program I have been exposed to inspirational population-related topics and issues that have given me the opportunity to develop a demographic perspective. The analytical tools and demographic training allow me to combine demographic methodologies with economic concepts in my own research in health and labor economics. As a Demography Fellow, I have had the opportunity to work intensively with faculty Research Associates at CIDR. Under the guidance of Professor Sanders Korenman, I have studied the effect of divorce on health in middle and older ages. The mentorship, as well as the support from the other CIDR professors and fellows, have been tremendously valuable to me on my journey to becoming a researcher."

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