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Three social sciences graduate students have been recognized by the UCI Graduate Division for research excellence. Highlighted below, their work and continued funding for it, will advance academic findings on democratic threats; sexuality, gender and race; and international migration.

Liz MuehlmannLiz Muehlmann, Brython Davis Fellow

Liz Muehlmann, UCI graduate student in political science, is the recipient of the Brython Davis Fellowship. The honor provides financial support to students who demonstrate outstanding past academic achievement as well as future promise, have financial need, are U.S. citizens, and are the child of a service member or veteran of the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps.

Muehlmann’s research focuses on threats to democracy through information and institutions. She studies how unchecked capitalism has undermined workers' rights and expanded corporate influence in society via people's personal and working lives as well as politics. She also looks at the structure, role, and function of the media.

“I’m interested in how access or lack of access to news affects political participation,” she says. “Both of my research areas aim to elevate individuals and promote their informed participation in the American political system.”

Muehlmann is from San Dimas, CA and earned her bachelor’s in philosophy at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She earned her master’s in communications at California State University, Fullerton. She plans to finish her Ph.D. in 2025 and go on to work for an advocacy organization doing policy or data analytics. 

Canton WinerCanton Winer, James Harvey Scholar

Canton Winer, UCI graduate student in sociology, is the recipient of the James Harvey Scholar award. The honor provides financial support to graduate students who demonstrate outstanding past academic achievement as well as future promise, have financial need, and are completing a publishable thesis or dissertation on homosexuality or the life or works of James Harvey.

Winer studies the intersection of sexuality, gender, and race through the experiences of asexual people, which commonly refers to those who do not experience sexual attraction.

“I aim for my research to bring more visibility to the asexual community, which remains understudied in academia but also often unknown even in LGBTQIA+ spaces,” he says. “I also hope that my research can help us more deeply understand how race, gender, and sexuality are inseparable from one another, with each helping to shape and construct the others. My hope is that as we understand these connections more deeply, we will better see how all of our struggles for liberation are linked with one another, opening up new avenues for effective coalition-building and political organizing.”

Winer is from West Palm Beach, FL. He earned his bachelor’s in American studies and sociology at Fordham University. He hopes to continue on in academia as a professor in sociology or women and gender studies after completing his Ph.D. in 2023.

Maira Delgado LaurensMaira Delgado Laurens, Migel Velez Scholarship

Maira Delgado Laurens, UCI graduate student in global studies, is the recipient of the Migel Velez Scholarship. The honor provides financial support to graduate students who demonstrate outstanding past academic achievement as well as future promise, have financial need, and are citizens and residents of a Latin American country, with preference given to citizens of Colombia.

Delgado Laurens studies the root causes of migration into North America from Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries, with a specific focus on the movement of peoples from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela, Haiti, and Cuba.

“I am particularly interested in exploring the root causes of forced migrations, and asking how these causes intersect with notions of race, ethnicity, class, rising authoritarianism, and the negative impacts of an exploitative global political economy,” she says. “I think this study can amplify our understanding of the current surge of forced migration in the Americas and inform the creation of more humane and effective (im)migration policies.”

Delgado Laurens is from Bogota, Colombia. She earned her bachelor’s in sociology at UC Davis and is in her first year of her Ph.D. program at UCI. When completed, she hopes to teach courses and conduct research on international migration, and engage with (im)migrants’ rights advocacy efforts in the Americas.


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