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2023 Social Issues Dissertation Award Winner

Catherine Thomas


First Place: Can Psychologically and Culturally Wise Narratives of Aid Better Interrupt Cycles of Poverty and Prejudice?  Evidence from Kenya, Niger, and the U.S.

Catherine Thomas: Stanford University

Catherine Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and of Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford University, a MSc in Global Mental Health from the University of London, and BA in Anthropology from Yale University. Integrating the insights of social psychology, lens of cultural psychology, and tools of behavioral science, she examines psychological drivers of poverty and inequality in the US and around the globe. Specifically, she designs and tests culturally attuned, or “culturally wise,” psychological interventions for reducing poverty, attenuating inequality, and mitigating prejudice against people living in poverty. Her research shows that these culturally wise interventions — psychological interventions that are responsive to culturally specific models of self, agency, values, and relationality — can exert powerful effects on meaning making, behavior, and life outcomes, including economic mobility. In this work, she conducts lab and field experiments across diverse low-income contexts, including in the U.S., sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia, and often through interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships with nonprofits and governments. Her work has been published in journals including Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and in media outlets including Time and Foreign Affairs.

2022 Social Issues Dissertation Award Winners

Joseph Avery


First Place: Legal Data: Bias in the Law, and How Legal Technology can be Built to Help Correct for It

Joseph Avery, Granting University: Princeton University

Joseph Avery is an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami Herbert Business School, a Faculty Member of Miami’s Institute for Data Science and Computing, and an Affiliated Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. 

Dr. Avery’s research interests are at the intersection of business, law, and technology. His primary line of research employs the methods and tools of the computer, behavioral, and management sciences to consider artificial intelligence (AI) in three contexts: (1) perception of AI behavior, especially AI failures; (2) the intersection of AI and moral decision making; and (3) artificial legal intelligence. 

In 2021, Dr. Avery received a PhD in experimental social psychology from Princeton University. He also has a JD from Columbia Law School, and he completed a postdoctoral resident fellowship at Yale Law School. Adjacent to his academic work, Dr. Avery has practiced law, co-created an artificial legal intelligence named Claudius, and co-founded a National Science Foundation-supported legal technology company.




Joyce He

Second Place: Lean In or Don't Lean Out? Opt-Out Framing Attenuates Gender Differences in the Decision to Compete

Joyce He, Granting University: University of Toronto

Dr. Joyce He is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at UCLA Anderson School of Management. She received her PhD in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and her Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on understanding mechanisms for the continued persistence of gender inequality in labor markets, and what organizations can do to disrupt them. In her dissertation work, she departs from approaches that aim to “fix the women” or “fix biases in the mind” and focuses instead on structural changes rooted in organizational design to reduce inequality. Her findings so far demonstrate that changing promotion schemes from an opt-in choice frame (requiring self-nomination) to an opt-out choice frame (applicants are automatically considered) attenuates the gender gap in application rates by increasing women’s participation, suggesting the effectiveness of “opt-out” promotions in closing the gender promotion gap in organizations. Dr He’s research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Academy of Management Journal, Nature Human Behavior, and Journal of Vocational Behavior, and her work has been featured in Scientific American and Harvard Business Review.

2021 Social Issues Dissertation Award Winners

Effua Sosoo


First Place: Psychophysiological and Affective Reactivity to Vicarious Discrimination

Effua Sosoo, Granting University: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Effua E. Sosoo received her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her internship at the Bureau of Prisons. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Her research focuses on the physiological and psychological impacts of racial discrimination on Black individuals. Her clinical interests center on serving and empowering Black and/or incarcerated folx. 

Gabriel Miller

Second Place: The Politics and Policy of HIV/AIDS Incidence and Mortality

Gabriel Miller, Granting University: Texas A&M University

Gabe H. Miller, PhD is a medical sociologist with research and teaching interests in racial health disparities, political and policy determinants of health, LGBT health, critical race theory and racism, and racial and ethnic relations. His recent work has been published in Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, and Gender in Management: An International Journal.  Dr. Miller's dissertation research examined the political and policy determinants of state-level HIV/AIDS Incidence and Mortality.  

Dr. Miller received a BA in Political Science and Africana Studies and a PhD in Sociology with concentrations in health disparities and race and ethnicity from Texas A&M University. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University in the Department of Sociology and the African American Studies Program.


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