Institution for Social and Policy Studies

Advancing Research • Shaping Policy • Developing Leaders

Graduate Policy Fellow

Graduate Student, Economics

Mohit Agrawal is a Ph.D. candidate in the economics department at Yale University. Mohit is an applied microeconomist and uses structural techniques to study US healthcare, education, and politics. He is currently researching campaign finance reform–specifically, how public financing of elections influences who chooses to run for office, who chooses to donate to candidates, and who chooses to vote.

Graduate Student, Economics

Noriko Amano is currently a PhD candidate in Economics at Yale. Her research focuses on inequality and in particular, explores the effect that different policies have on the well-being of individuals in the long run. Noriko studied a masters in Economic Theory at ITAM and received her B.A. in mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Graduate Student, Political Science

Kassandra Birchler is currently a PhD student in the Political Science Department at Yale. Her research focuses on the intersection of political science and psychology. In her dissertation she is exploring the effect of early childhood trauma on political ideology. She is also studying how people regulate their emotions in the political context, with a focus on people’s tendency to use political content to replace feelings of anxiety with anger.

Graduate Student, Yale Law
Ofra Bloch is a doctorate candidate at Yale Law School, where she also completed her LL.M. degree in 2015. Embracing a historical perspective, Ofra’s work explores questions of inequality and law. In her dissertation, she examines the ways in which affirmative action law and policy successfully fight some forms of inequality while sustaining others. She is currently exploring the shift towards class-based affirmative action in higher education and aims to develop an understanding of its implications and trade-offs.
Graduate Student, Pyschology
Adam Chekroud is a doctoral student in the Psychology department. His research focuses on the use of big data and computational statistics to improve the way we diagnose and treat mental illness. He developed an algorithm that prospectively identifies whether a patient will respond to an antidepressant, and recently founded a mental health startup alongside his PhD research. Adam is currently exploring FDA regulatory frameworks surrounding the use of predictive tools in medicine, specifically concerning recommender systems that arbitrate among already-existing treatments.
Graduate Student, Political Science
Sophie Jacobson is a PhD student in political science focusing on the politics of inequality in the United States. Her research centers on American social policy, incorporating historical institutionalist and comparative political economy approaches. Outside the US, Sophie studies the political economy of child poverty in OECD countries. As an ISPS Policy Fellow, she is conducting a political ethnography of single mothers in New Haven for insight into their perceptions and experiences of democratic governance.
Graduate Student, History
Nichole Nelson is a Ph.D. student in the History Department, studying 20th century American History, with a focus on post-WWII urban and suburban history.  More specifically, her dissertation will examine how small suburban communities that choose to intentionally racially integrate in order to increase their property values, can serve as potential models to achieve racial residential integration nationwide, in light of the U.S.
Graduate Student, Sociology
Nicholas Occhiuto is a third-year doctoral student in the Sociology department. His research interests include economic sociology, sociology of markets, organizations, occupations and work. His dissertation is a comparative case study that examines the impact of smartphone applications (i.e. Uber, Lyft, Flywheel etc.) on the taxicab markets in New York, Chicago and San Fransisco in order to understand how innovation affects market transformation.
Graduate Student, Political Science
Molly Offer-Westort is a doctoral student in political science. Her research is on quantitative methodology for social science research. Her substantive interests are in social identity and redistributive preferences, with a regional focus on West Africa and the Sahel. She has worked with the World Bank Development Impact Evaluation Initiative on evaluations in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Gambia, and for Queen Máxima of the Netherlands in her role as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
Graduate Student, American Studies
Pedro A. Regalado is a PhD student in American Studies. As an urban historian interested in structural inequality, his research focuses on the intersections of urban poverty, immigration, race, and policy. Pedro is currently investigating the relationship between drug enforcement policies in the U.S. as they relate to the incarceration of Latina/os during the early 1990’s and into the 2000’s. He received his B.A. summa cum laude in History from Loyola University Chicago.


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