Congratulations to our 2023 PSTC Graduates!

May 22, 2023

On Thursday, May 18, members of the PSTC community gathered to celebrate the graduation of 12 PSTC trainees who will receive PhDs from the Brown University Graduate School this month. Representing the breadth of PSTC’s research themes and interdisciplinary purview, this year’s cohort of Economics, Sociology, and Public Health PhDs have matriculated with a wide variety of expertise, experiences, and ambitions. In celebration of their exceptional talents and accomplishments, PSTC faculty, staff, and trainees expressed well wishes for the Class of 2023 and reflected upon the unique contributions of this year’s cohort of emerging scholars. 

To our 2023 PhD Graduates,

Congratulations! It has been our greatest privilege to watch you transform from the talented group of predoctoral trainees who first arrived in Mencoff Hall into the accomplished, diligent scholars you are today. Thank you for sharing your hard work, determination, and unparalleled talents with us during this leg of your academic and professional journeys. Wherever life and work propel you next, we rest assured knowing that you will continue to strive to leave a lasting, positive impact on the world and its populations. You are always welcome here at PSTC, should you ever choose to come back home. 

Love & best wishes,

All of us at PSTC 

About the Class of 2023: 

Chien-Tzu Cheng (Economics)
Dissertation Title: Essays on Health Economics
Placement: Postdoctoral Fellow, Ohio State University; Assistant Professor, Osaka University

Stephanie Hamin Kang (Economics)
Placement: ISO New England 

Tate Kihara (Sociology) 
Dissertation Title: International Migration and Social Mobility Across the Pacific: A Historical Analysis of the Japanese Population in the Continental United States
Placement: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Tokyo; Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan

Assaf Kott (Economics) 
Placement: Assistant Professor, Ben Gurion University

Erin Mellett (Anthropology)
Dissertation: Experiences of Deaf Immigrants in the Rhode Island Area and Issues of Language, Identity, and Belonging
Placement: Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology, University of Memphis

Juan Pedro Ronconi (Economics) 
Dissertation Title: Essays in Development Economics with Applications to Latin America
Placement: Assistant Professor, School of Business and Economics at Universidad de los Andes, Chile

Matthias Schief (Economics)
Placement: OECD, Economics Department (Policy Studies Branch)

Haoming Song (Sociology) 
Dissertation Title: Family Inequality: The Social Organization of Family Life among Sexual Minorities
Placement: Assistant Professor of Sociology, Case Western Reserve University 

Shunsuke Tsuda (Economics)
Dissertation Title: Conservation and Economic Geography in the Amazon Rainforest and Other Essays on Development Economics
Placement: Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Essex

Rachel Yorlets (Public Health) 
Dissertation Title: Circular Migration and HIV Care Engagement among Adults in Northeastern South Africa
Placement: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Boston University Clinical HIV/AIDS Research Training Program at Boston Medical Center

Alex Yarkin (Economics) 
Dissertation Title: Essays on the Political Economy of Migration, Culture, and Development 
Placement: Postdoctoral Fellow, LISER and UC Davis 

Cai Yifeng (Anthropology)
Dissertation: Urban Gay Men’s Experiences of Intimacy, Kinship, and Competition in an Increasingly Digitalized China
Placement: Owner and director of a very successful business in Shanghai

Reflections from the Class of 2023: 

“People I met at PSTC have been central to my PhD experience. I benefited a lot from their support and friendship. Thank you very much.” — Tate Kihara (Sociology) 

"I have been benefiting from the rich opportunities at PSTC for the past six years since my first day of graduate school. It is no exaggeration to say that without PSTC I wouldn't have become the kind of scholar that I wish myself to be." — Haoming Song (Sociology) 

“My fellowship, traineeship, and S4 involvement at PSTC has expanded my cross-training outside of epidemiology significantly.” — Rachel Yorlets (Public Health) 

“I was a PSTC trainee since my 4th year as a PhD student, and for my last, sixth year, I received an Interdisciplinary Fellowship from PSTC to work on topics related to migration and political economy, as part of my dissertation. I learned a lot from talking to colleagues and peers at PSTC and benefited from the time the fellowship gave me to focus on research.” — Alex Yarkin (Economics)