Sociology and Social Policy

Monica Bell

Monica Bell

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Monica was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Furman University, an M.Sc. in Equality Studies from University College Dublin in Ireland, and a J.D. from the Yale Law School.

Before coming to Harvard, Monica was an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, where her primary focuses were D.C. public assistance policy and family law reform. Prior to working at Legal Aid, Monica served as a law clerk for a federal district judge. In a previous life, Monica worked on local, state, and presidential campaigns in South Carolina.

Monica’s primary research interests are spaces where criminal justice and family law and policy intersect, particularly in the context of urban and rural disadvantage.

James Biblarz

James Biblarz

Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy
Inequality and Wealth Concentration Ph.D. Scholar

Jimmy Biblarz is a doctoral student in Sociology & Social Policy. Originally from Los Angeles, Jimmy is a 2014 graduate of Harvard College (Social Studies and English) and the resident LGBTQ tutor in Eliot House. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Jimmy is interested in links between equity-focused public policies, features of neighborhoods and schools, and children’s chances of upward intergenerational mobility. His current project traces the rise and fall of racial integration as the ideological focus of social policy, and the subsequent emergence of competing ideologies. More generally, he is interested in stratification and inequality including discrimination processes, urban poverty, race, immigration, social networks, and continuity and change in values and attitudes.

Brielle Bryan

Brielle Bryan

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Brielle Bryan is a doctoral student in Sociology and Social Policy. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a triple major in Sociology, Communication Studies, and Theatre and completed a Master’s of Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy in 2012. Her master’s thesis examined the relationship between childhood welfare receipt and career and financial expectations in early adulthood.

Prior to coming to Harvard, Bryan worked as a research associate at the Urban Institute on the Welfare Rules Database and as a research assistant at the Foundation Center, a nonprofit that collects data on US foundation grant-making.  

Her research interests include poverty, incarceration, youth, social mobility, educational inequality, and neighborhoods.  Her current research investigates the implications of mass incarceration for children and families in the US.

Allison Daminger

Allison Daminger

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Allison Daminger is a doctoral student in Sociology & Social Policy. Her current research centers on using both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the mechanisms by which childhood poverty affects later life outcomes. Originally from New Jersey, Allison studied anthropology and global health at Princeton University and wrote a thesis on HIV/AIDS treatment in Guatemala City. After graduation in 2012, she worked first for an urban agriculture nonprofit and later for a nonprofit consulting firm that uses insights from behavioral science to solve social problems.

Kelley  Fong

Kelley Fong

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy
Kelley is a doctoral student in Sociology and Social Policy, concentrating on poverty, education, and family life. She is interested in how low-income parents experience social systems and supports. Current projects explore the consequences of the child welfare system for low-income mothers, parents navigating public school choice in Boston, and the housing search processes and choices of parents in Cleveland and Dallas.
Kelley received a B.A. in American studies and in history from Stanford University, where she wrote an undergraduate thesis on homeless parents’ interactions with their children’s schools. Before coming to Harvard, Kelley spent two years at MDRC researching community college reforms, and two years working on child welfare system reform efforts. She also has volunteer experience working with homeless families, youth in foster care, and self-represented litigants in housing and family law clinics.

Blythe George

Blythe George

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy
Blythe George graduated from Dartmouth College in 2012 with a BA in Sociology. At Dartmouth, she was a Mellon Mays Fellow and won the national Beinecke scholarship as a junior and was one of two students to complete the College’s interdisciplinary Senior Fellow opportunity. As part of this extended yearlong project, she conducted quantitative and qualitative research on Native student performance in northern California and continued this research after graduation as a data consultant and guidance counselor for area schools. 
She is attending Harvard University as an Ashford Fellow, and received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2014 for her work on concentrated disadvantage on the Yurok and Hoopa reservations, located in Northern California. Blythe is a member of the Yurok Tribe and her first project will examine the intersection of unemployment, gender, and crime on these reservations, which are set within the context of slack local labor markets and deeply entrenched tribal expectations of men as fathers and providers.

Hope Harvey

Hope Harvey

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Hope Harvey is a graduate student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Social Policy and Sociology.  Her research interests revolve around family structure, housing, and household composition.  She has also co-authored work on administrative burden in Medicaid.  

Hope is originally from Southern Indiana. She received her BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College in Minnesota and her Master of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Hope also spent a year in AmeriCorps, where she served as a homeless services case manager at an Austin, Texas non-profit.

Andrew Keefe

Andrew Keefe

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Andrew Keefe is a Doctoral Student in Sociology & Social Policy. He is a native of Minneapolis, MN, and a graduate of Macalester College, where he was a Truman Scholar.

Before coming to Harvard, Keefe was an Albright Fellow and research analyst at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, where he primarily studied barriers to childcare access among low-income children and families, research methods for assessing dual language learners, and policies for enhancing the cultural responsiveness of social services. At Harvard, he is interested in exploring the ways in which culture and politics shape policy research by using mixed methods to compare how low-income parents and policy elites understand the value of publicly subsidized childcare and other social services. Through this work, Keefe seeks to contribute to the growing bodies of work on social capital, the sociology of valuation and evaluation, and social network analysis.

Barbara Kiviat

Barbara Kiviat

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Barbara Kiviat is a Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy. Her research interests revolve around household finance and public policy, and include consumer credit and rental housing.

Kiviat holds a B.A. in The Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. in journalism from Columbia University, and an M.P.A. from New York University, where she was a David Bohnett Public Service Fellow. As a research associate at NYU’s Financial Access Initiative, Kiviat helped launch the U.S. Financial Diaries, a longitudinal study of the economic lives of 300 American families.

Previously, Kiviat was a staff writer at Time magazine. She has also written for FortuneMoneyThe Miami HeraldThe Arizona RepublicThe Chronicle of Higher EducationReuters, and TheAtlantic.com, among other outlets.

Robert Manduca

Robert Manduca

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Robert Manduca is a PhD student in Sociology & Social Policy. Robert is interested in the economic outcomes of people and places: why some cities and regions do well while others do poorly, and how individuals are and are not able to participate in the economic growth of their regions. He studies these topics primarily through the use of quantitative methods on large administrative datasets gathered from governments, corporations, and the Internet.

Before starting graduate school, he worked as a consultant in fair lending regulation, testing for discrimination in mortgage lending.

Alexandra Mitukiewicz

Alexandra Mitukiewicz

Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy

Alexandra Mitukiewicz is a Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy. Alexandra’s research interests center on how labor market inequalities and institutions affect family economic security. 

Previously, Alexandra worked in Washington, DC as a Research Associate at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. There she conducted original research and analysis on work-family policy, the labor market, and human capital development. Prior to joining Equitable Growth, Alexandra worked at the Center for American Progress and Abt Associates, and interned at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. 

Alexandra graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in economics. She goes by her nickname, Olenka.

Kristin Perkins

Kristin Perkins

Ph.D. student in Sociology & Social Policy

Kristin Perkins is a PhD student in Sociology and Social Policy. Originally from Indiana, Kristin earned a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Master of City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

She spent two years as a researcher at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development where she examined the effects of concentrated foreclosure in New York and the impact of the agency's subsidized housing on health outcomes of its residents.

Her research interests include housing and neighborhoods, family sociology, demography, inequality, poverty, and child well-being.

Cresa Pugh

Cresa Pugh

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

A native of Nashville, TN, Cresa is a graduate of Bates College, with a BA in Anthropology and Religion, and the University of Oxford, with an MSc in Migration Studies. Her undergraduate thesis explored the self-appropriation and commodification of Gullah culture, while her master’s thesis analyzed the implications of citizenship for the stateless Rohingya in Burma.

Most recently, Cresa served as an immigration policy researcher in philanthropy, and previously spent four years in Southeast Asia executing economic development projects for refugees and landmine survivors. In addition, she has been committed to prisoners’ rights advocacy through her re-entry work in San Quentin State Prison.

Cresa’s research interests surround the criminalization of blackness, and the intersection of the rise in mass incarceration and immigrant detention. She plans to use her doctoral training as an opportunity to conduct applied social research that will be used to shift domestic and international criminal policy landscapes.

Nathan J. Robinson

Nathan J. Robinson

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Nathan Robinson is a PhD student in Sociology & Social Policy. Nathan is interested in criminal justice policy, particularly in Louisiana. His research focuses on adult education in U.S. prisons and on the politics of indigent legal defense.

Nathan graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in African American Studies and a BA/MA in Politics. He earned his J.D. at Yale Law School, where he co-directed the Green Haven Prison Project and worked for the New Orleans public defender and the ACLU's National Prison Project.

He is also the author of The Man Who Accidentally Wore His Cravat to a Gymnasium, a children's book about fashion and conformity.

Jared Schachner

Jared Schachner

Ph.D. student in Sociology and Social Policy

Jared Schachner is a doctoral student in Sociology & Social Policy. Originally from Los Angeles, Jared received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in Philosophy, Politics & Economics and Urban Studies.After Penn, he spent four years as a management consultant at the Monitor Group, where he advised nonprofit and for-profit clients, including the United Negro College Fund, INROADS, and Friendship Public Charter School, in crafting strategic plans to amplify their social impact.

Jared plans to conduct research at the intersection of urban sociology and educational policy, exploring how educational interventions propel or impede economic opportunity within low-income urban communities.