Stanford Provost Persis Drell today announced the first cohort of IDEAL Provostial Fellows. Five early-career scholars in the study of race and ethnicity will join the Stanford campus community for three years beginning in fall 2021 as part of an effort to increase the university’s research and teaching related to race and ethnicity.

The five scholars are:

  • Catherine Duarte, epidemiology
  • Kelly Nguyen, classics
  • Eujin Park, educational policy studies
  • Michaela Simmons, sociology
  • Jordan Starck, psychology

As part of their IDEAL fellowships, the scholars will be assigned to the schools and departments corresponding to the fields of their doctorate, and they will teach one course per year while they expand on their research. Each fellow will be given a faculty mentor selected from among Stanford’s Academic Council faculty. The IDEAL fellows also will be involved in organizing a major Stanford conference that will bring together scholars who are at the forefront of the study of race and ethnicity.

“I am delighted to welcome our first IDEAL Provostial fellows to Stanford,” Drell said. “They are some of this country’s most promising young scholars conducting research on race and ethnicity. Their presence on campus represents a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to interact with them and learn more about their research. Their work holds exceptional promise, and we are excited to support them at this early stage in their careers.”

The objective of the IDEAL Provostial Fellows program is to increase the amount of research and teaching related to race and ethnicity at the university. Much of this work currently takes place in Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. One of the larger goals for the IDEAL Fellows program is to develop a pipeline for diversifying the national professoriate.

IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access in a Learning Environment) is a set of university-wide initiatives developed to create a culture of inclusion, access and equity that infuses all aspects of the university.

Short profiles of the fellows follow.

Catherine Duarte (Image credit: Courtesy Catherine Duarte)

Catherine Duarte

Catherine Duarte is currently a PhD candidate in the division of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar. She holds a master of science in the social and behavioral sciences from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Duarte’s work focuses on examining how education and legal system policy and practices are associated with racial/ethnic health inequities throughout the life course to support systems-level interventions.






Kelly Nguyen (Image credit: Courtesy Kelly Nguyen)

Kelly Nguyen

Kelly Nguyen is a refugee from Vietnam and a first-generation high school and college graduate. She is slated to be the first woman to graduate from the doctoral program in ancient history at Brown University in May 2021. She received her BA in classics and archaeology with honors and highest distinction from Stanford University in 2012.

Her interdisciplinary research and teaching engage classical studies in a comparative manner to explore imperialism, forced displacement and race and ethnicity. Her dissertation is the first major study to examine the history of Greco-Roman classical reception within Vietnamese contexts.

Nguyen co-founded the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus, a professional organization dedicated to increasing diversity within the field of classics, and has served as the inaugural coordinator of its international mentorship program. She also has served as the chair of the board of directors for the Center for Southeast Asians, a non-profit serving the refugee and immigrant populations of Rhode Island, and has consulted on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.


Jordan Starck (Image credit: Courtesy Jordan Starck)

Jordan Starck

Jordan Starck is completing his PhD in social psychology and social policy at Princeton University.

His research to date has focused on the reasons organizations embrace diversity, examining the psychological factors shaping people’s preferred approaches and the downstream consequences of different approaches. He also examines racial bias and its role in perpetuating racial disadvantage, particularly in the context of education and the justice system.

Starck graduated from Davidson College with a BS in psychology and his professional educator’s license, after which he spent four years as a high school teacher and youth program coordinator.






Eujin Park (Image credit: Courtesy Eujin Park)

Eujin Park

Eujin Park is a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Park draws upon Critical Race Theory, Asian American Studies and community-engaged research to examine how Asian American youth and families negotiate with race in and through educational institutions.

She recently conducted an ethnographic investigation of community-based educational spaces in the Chicago-area Asian American community, which highlighted the role of community spaces in youths’ educational experiences and understandings of racializing discourses.

Park earned her PhD in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a concentration in social sciences and a minor in qualitative methods. She also holds an MA from UW-Madison and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.



Michaela Simmons (Image credit: Courtesy Michaela Simmons)

Michaela Simmons

Michaela Simmons is a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She attended the University of California, San Diego, for her undergraduate studies, where she earned a BA in sociology and fine arts.

Broadly, she studies the intersections of racial inequality, poverty and the welfare state. Her dissertation examines the racial politics of foster care development in the early 20th century and centers the experiences of foster youth within the larger sociological frameworks of race, family and childhood. Alongside her research, she works as a graduate writing assistant helping students gain confidence and strength of voice in their written work.





The search for the IDEAL Fellows

More than 650 scholars applied for the five IDEAL fellowships.

Headed up by C. Matthew Snipp, vice provost for faculty development, diversity & engagement, the search committee included Anthony Antonio (associate professor, Graduate School of Education); Rick Banks (professor and associate dean for curriculum, Law School); Jennifer Brody (professor of theater and performance studies, School of Humanities and Sciences); Tomas Jimenez (professor of sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences); Dale Miller (professor, Graduate School of Business); and Vaughn Rasberry (professor of English, School of Humanities and Sciences).

“We were so impressed with the applicants and the quality of their research. The committee members had to make some tough decisions, and I’m grateful to them for their thoughtful deliberations,” said Snipp.

Read more about the IDEAL Provostial Scholars Program on the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development, Diversity and Engagement website.