Linguistic theory, sexual identity, and economic modeling are among the research topics funded in fall quarter through the School of Social Sciences’ prestigious Fellowship in Honor of Christian Werner. Created through a generous $4.4 million gift from the estate of former social sciences faculty member and dean Christian Werner, the fellowships cover tuition and fees for one quarter and include stipends for research support. Since the fellowship’s establishment in summer 2018, 27 social sciences graduate students have received support to further their research that aims to create positive change in societies, economies, and for human well-being.

Learn more about the fall 2019 Werner fellows below:

greg lauroA Ph.D. candidate in logic and philosophy of science, Greg Lauro investigates technical problems in the formal sciences. His dissertation research advances debates in formal semantics and philosophy of language by refining the logical systems traditionally employed in the analysis of natural language. His current project is a generalization of the intensional type theory that popularly underlies semantic theories developed by linguists. This work is jointly conducted with Prof. Sean Walsh (Philosophy, UCLA), and the Werner fellowship “will permit our continued collaboration,” he says.

Lauro received his bachelor's in mathematics, linguistics, and philosophy from UC Davis. He is also a Pedagogical Fellow with the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation at UCI. 

Jess LeeJess Lee is a sociology Ph.D. candidate at UCI. She received her bachelor’s in gender studies from Mount Holyoke College.

Her research focuses on ethnoracial and sexual minorities, with an emphasis on how socio-structural characteristics affect individuals’ understanding of their identity-based group boundaries and membership. Her research has been published in the Journal of HomosexualityRSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of of the Social Sciences (co-authored), and the Society Pages (co-authored). Lee’s dissertation examines the implications of ethnic heterogeneity among Asian Americans for their racial group boundaries and positioning in the larger U.S. society. She finds that Asian Americans are not simply subscribing to the existing American racial order, but rather actively participating in nuanced and subtle power struggles both among themselves and with other ethnoracial groups, perpetuating the existing systems of inequality.

“The Werner Fellowship allows me to focus time and efforts on applying to academic jobs and continuing my dissertation research,” she says. 

amaze lusompaAmaze Lusompa, economics Ph.D. candidate, is developing a more accurate, robust, and efficient statistical method to estimate the impact economic shocks - or changes in macroeconomic government policy - have on the economy. 

“The Werner fellowship relieves me of teaching duties for the quarter and gives me more time to set up and run computationally demanding Monte Carlo simulations that cannot be run on standard computers, as well as write mathematical proofs studying the behavior of the methods,” he says.

Lusompa received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. 

sandy wengerSandy Wenger is in her fifth year of the Ph.D. program in anthropology. She recently returned from a year of fieldwork in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she’s been studying how queer men in Malaysia navigate competing societal ideas about masculinity, sexuality, and the body. She focuses on how romantic relationships and the men’s understanding of love shape the ways in which they negotiate their sexual desires, inform their body image, and impact their approach to what it means to be and act like a man.

“The Werner Fellowship provides me with extra time (as I don’t have any teaching responsibilities this quarter) to focus on my research,” she says. “It enables me to spend more hours on transcribing, organizing, and analyzing my data, and think through the structure and content of my dissertation. I feel like the Fellowship gives me a head start that will destress the timeline constraints we international students experience, which makes me especially grateful.” 

Wenger earned her master’s at the University of Ken (UK) and bachelor’s with honors at the University of Stirling (UK).

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