Current Graduate Fellows

Yunina Barbour-Payne

Yunina Barbour-Payne – Theatre & Dance

Previous Degree: Northern Kentucky University, Texas A&M University

Yunina Barbour-Payne, a Ph.D. candidate in the performance as public practice program at The University of Texas at Austin, studies how performance ethnography and “Affrilachian” aesthetics intersect with performance, Africana, and Appalachian studies. Her dissertation examines the ways female Affrilachian performing artists defy stereotypes across classifications of race, nationality, and region. Her work expands on the Frank X. Walker’s notion of Affrilachian representation by examining a range of cultural products created by Black women performing artists in the 21st century who have ties to the Appalachian.

McKenzie Carlson

McKenzie Carlson – Geological Sciences

Previous Degree: University of Washington

McKenzie Carlson is a first-year Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin studying geophysics, who’s researching the process of “slow slip” in the Hikurangi Subduction Zone of New Zealand. A subduction zone is an area of the world where two tectonic plates meet, and one dives beneath the other. Subduction zones produce the world’s largest earthquakes and tsunamis, and thus pose a great hazard to the people living near them. Slow slip events occur when the plates move more quickly than normal, but not quickly enough to produce an earthquake. Carlson’s research aims to gain more insight about this process.

Alexcia Carr

Alexcia Carr – Pharmaceutical Sciences

Previous Degree: University of Mississippi

Alexia Carr, a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy in Health Outcomes Division, explores behaviors of patients with chronic diseases and their health outcomes. In particular, she is researching how behaviors and social determinants of health impact outcomes. She ultimately aims to develop innovative programs to improve disease-state management, medication use, and related outcomes.

Danielle Lawson

Danielle Lawson – Biochemistry

Previous Degree: Baylor University

Danielle Lawson synthesizes various natural products through a variety of organic reactions. This includes diterpeniod (+)-Alterbrassicicene C, a complex that possesses inflammatory properties. Her work uses a variety of spectroscopic techniques to characterize these advanced, organic intermediates. She hopes to continue to clarify various proteins’ structure and function, as well as enzymatically synthesize organic products.

Seung Chul (Eric) Lee

Seung Chul (Eric) Lee – Finance

Previous Degree: Yonsei University, University of Chicago

Seung Chul (Eric) Lee is a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin in the McCombs School of Business studying finance. He researches the role that information plays in financial markets. In particular, he focuses on how entrepreneurs can signal their value to secure financing from investors and whether institutional features can be devised to facilitate such a process. This is especially important for fostering the growth of small businesses in emerging markets and developing economies, where screening and acquiring information is costly. Lee aims to expand his research to include corporate innovation, corporate governance, and FinTech.

Juan Macias Diaz

Juan Macias-Diaz – History

Previous Degree: Universidad de Los Andes, University of Connecticutt

In his research, Juan Macias-Diaz revisits the forms of political imagination that motivated indigenous participation in the Comunero Revolt of 1781, the largest insurrection in the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada before Independence. Centering on the experiences and expectations of indigenous communities in the Northern Andes, he explores the ways in which they defied colonial rule by articulating radical projects for political autonomy and decolonized social relations. More broadly, he is interested in how indigenous politics can reshape our understanding of the Age of Revolutions. Macias-Diaz is a Ph.D. student studying at The University of Texas at Austin.

David (Dawie) Marx

David (Dawie) Marx – Civil Engineering

Previous Degree: University of Pretoria

David (Dawie) Marx is a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin in the Cockrell School of Engineering exploring the soil-geogrid interaction in stabilization applications. In a stabilization application (e.g. a road base), the geogrid provides lateral restraint to the soil, resulting in less deformation under applied load. Marx’s work investigates the interaction of individual soil grains with the geogrid structure by combining machine learning with transparent sand, laser illumination, and image processing. By quantifying the mechanisms of load transfer, it is possible to optimize the geogrid geometry for soil, leading to more economical and more sustainable designs.

Katie McCormick

Katie McCormick – Social Work

Previous Degree: Baylor University, University of Houston

A third-year Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Katie McCormick’s research seeks to inform the development and implementation of interventions to advance harm reduction strategies in response to the HIV and opioid overdose epidemics. She is particularly interested in increasing the adoption of harm reduction approaches among HIV service organizations and identifying multi-level factors that influence the implementation of harm reduction interventions. Relatedly, her work identifies the multi-level factors that contribute to occupational stress and burnout among frontline harm reduction workers in Texas.

Lisa Wauters

Lisa Wauters – Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Previous Degree: Boston University, University of Texas at Austin

Lisa Wauters is a credentialed speech-language pathologist and a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Her primary areas of research are the assessment and treatment of aphasia and other acquired communication disorders associated with neurodegenerative disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. Her recent work includes a systematic review of speech-language treatment for primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and primary progressive apraxia of speech (PPAOS). Her dissertation evaluates the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary benefit of pairing remotely supervised transcranial direct current stimulation with speech-language treatment for PPA and PPAOS.