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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is pleased to announce the 2023-2025 Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity Fellows (CPPFD). Three fellows are from the College of Arts and Sciences.

A group shot of the new fellows, smiling at the camera.
From left to right: Kaneesha Johnson, Rebeca Stiepel, Antonio Florido, Sarah Parijs, Amanda Martínez.

The CPPFD fellows receive a paid two-year postdoctoral position in his or her selected department, funding for research, professional development and networking opportunities, and dedicated time work closely with a faculty mentor(s) in their respective discipline.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill launched the Program in 1983 as part of its continued commitment to building an exceptional intellectual community and advancing scholars from diverse disciplines and lived experiences in higher education.

For more information about CPPFD, please visit this website.  

Kaneesha Johnson, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences

Johnson researches the interconnectedness of public policy, the criminal legal system, and historical institutionalism within the field of American politics. Her work focuses on inequality in punishment systems with a focus on how state-designed systems of punishment are used as forms of social control, and how people subjected to those forms of control respond at the local level.

She is coauthor of Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty, and other works exploring inequalities identified in the criminal legal system.

Johnson earned her BA in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill, her master’s in legal studies from the University of Chicago Law School, and her PhD in government from Harvard University.

Rebeca Stiepel, Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Stiepel’s research interests include evaluating the role of different cell types in the progression of drug resistant epilepsy caused by malformations of cortical development.

She is also interested in leveraging the immune system to combat neurological disorders and applying drug delivery techniques to target cells and tissues of interest while minimizing negative off target effects.

Stiepel completed her BS in chemical engineering and BA in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Southern California. She earned her PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from UNC-Chapel’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Antonio Florido, School of Medicine

Florido is a researcher in the field of neuroscience, specializing in the relationships among the brain, behavior, and mental health. His studies have explored the realm of sex differences in fear memory formation, providing insight into cognitive processes.

His work has been published in Nature CommunicationsBiological Psychiatry, and Biology of Sex Differences. He was also awarded the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Global Fellowship.

Florido completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in mental health research from the University of Almeria in Spain. He earned a PhD in neuroscience from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Sarah Parijs, Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Sciences

Parijs is a literature scholar whose research focuses on connections between race and nature in literatures of the American nineteenth century and postmodern science fiction. She takes an interdisciplinary approach by bringing together literature, critical theory, and history of science studies to explore how nature has been defined in the context of U.S. environmentalism and how those definitions shift in historical conceptions of race.

She is writing a book manuscript tentatively titled, Allegories of Decay in Gaia: Writing an Interconnected Worlds of Parts in American Nature Writing and Science Fiction. The book focuses on the racialized legacy of planetarity and its connection to environmental violence in Transcendentalist and speculative traditions.

Parijs holds a BA in English from West Texas A&M University, a PhD in English from Indiana University Bloomington, and a master’s in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Amanda Martínez, Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

Martínez is a historian interested in the intersection of racial capitalism and popular culture. Her book project, The Industry is Playing the People Cheap: Race and the Country Music Business from Nixon to 9/11, analyzes the role of race and class in the marketing practices of the country music business.

She is an active public scholar, and her writing has appeared in California History and the Journal of Popular Music Studies, as well as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.

Martínez received her BA in history at the University of California, Berkeley, a PhD in history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University.

By Carleigh Gabryel, UNC Research

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