Carnegie Mellon University

President's Postdoctoral Fellows

November 05, 2018

New President’s Postdoctoral Fellows Bring Critical Perspectives to CMU

Kathryn Roeder, vice provost for faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, has announced six new President’s Postdoctoral Fellows.

The President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program started in 2017, when CMU joined a collaborative partnership with the University of California and others to offer postdoctoral fellowship opportunities to outstanding scholars in all fields, whose research, service and other academic pursuits will contribute to the university's diversity and equal opportunities. The program invests in scholars who bring to the university the critical perspectives that come from a non-traditional educational background or an understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for us to enhance the diversity of the campus community,” Roeder said. “Each of the fellows brings outstanding potential for research and creative endeavors, plus they offer their own unique perspectives. I think they are already having an outsized impact on the campus.”

This year’s recipients of the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship are:

Travis Carless is a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the RAND Corporation. Working with Professor Paulina Jaramillo in the Engineering and Public Policy Department, his research will center on risk, life-cycle assessments, and nuclear energy and policy. Carless is a 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and was a Graduate Student Service Award winner in 2017. He was awarded a Ph.D. in engineering and public policy at CMU in May 2018. Carless will start his fellowship in 2019.

Jerard Vincent Gordon is a fellow in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Working with Professor Jack Beuth, his research focuses on developing a Multiscale Modeling and Machine Learning scheme to optimize fatigue performance of powder-based metal additively manufactured microstructures. In his doctoral research, Gordon studied the fatigue behavior of wire and arc additive manufactured of type 304L stainless steel. His other research experience includes experimental mechanics and materials characterization of wire + arc direct energy deposition; additively manufactured austenitic steels, and microstructural exanimation using materials characterization tools. He was awarded a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University.

Kevin Jarbo is a fellow in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. Working with SDS Department Head Linda Babcock and Kody Manke in the Psychology Department, his research will explore how the risk of confirming a negative stereotype about a person's individual or group identity influences whether, and how much, they attempt to avoid potentially negative decision outcomes and experiences. Jarbo’s doctoral work focused on how context impacts how people make risky decisions in a way that avoids negative outcomes, and which brain regions are involved in that process. He is a 2018 recipient of CMU’s Graduate Student Service Award. Jarbo received a Ph.D. in psychology with a certificate in cognitive neuroscience from the Center of the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon.

Diane Nelson is a fellow in the Chemical Engineering Department. Working with Professor Robert Tilton, she is dedicated to exploring the unique properties of fluorinated materials and harnessing those properties to improve drug delivery vehicles. Nelson’s work will refine this perfluorocarbon-based delivery method by characterizing the driving forces for drug deposition on the lung's surface. She has spent the last five years creating and testing her delivery system on various lung diseases, and is currently most passionate about the work she is doing to describe the process of drug deposition onto a surface. Nelson received a Ph.D. (ABD) in biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon.

Tlaloc Rivas is a fellow in the School of Drama in the College of Fine Arts. Working with professors Dick Block and Tomé Cousin, his current work centers on the development of a stage adaptation of Sonia Manzano's novel “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano.” He also will offer a class in LatinX Theatre. Rivas directs bilingual plays, works actively in civic engagement, and promotes equity and inclusion in all facets of the American theatre. He is a core founding member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Union. Rivas is a graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Washington School of Drama.

Sossena Wood is a fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Department. Working with Professor Jana Kainerstorfer, Wood will conduct noninvasive optics imaging that monitors disease in animals and humans; her focus is on developing and designing medical devices that detect neurological damage and/or diseases. Her doctoral research involved developing radiofrequency phantoms, software, and hardware resources to detect neurological damage and/or disease for ultrahigh field MRI applications. She received her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018.

Learn more about the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, its application process and selection criteria.