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The Preparing Future Faculty – Faculty Diversity (PFFFD) Postdoctoral Program is designed to promote faculty diversity by developing scholars for tenure-track faculty positions at the University of Missouri or elsewhere. The PFFFD program is a unique opportunity for emerging scholars. The primary goal of the PFFFD program is to recruit exceptional postdoctoral scholars to retain in tenure-track faculty positions and increase faculty diversity at Mizzou. The fellowships are typically for two years, during which time the scholars focus on scholarship and participate in professional development activities that integrate and expose them to the faculty experience, including the opportunity to teach in their discipline during the second year.

2023 Call for Applications

The call for applications is currently closed.  Please stay tuned; the call for 2024 applications will be posted in due course.


Requirements & Eligibility

Applicants should demonstrate how they can contribute to faculty diversity, such as through membership in a group that is historically underrepresented or underserved in a particular discipline, or through other training or experience. Applicants who have their doctoral degree (or equivalent degree for their field) conferred, or who anticipate successfully completing their degree by July 1 of the year in which they would start the PFFFD program, are eligible to apply. 

Key dates for the 2023 PFFFD selection process

  • Call for applications: August 5, 2022 
  • Application deadline: September 30, 2022
  • Program starts: August 2023 (negotiable) 

Email Dr. Valli Sarveswaran (Director, Office of Postdoctoral Education) at if you have any questions about the PFFFD postdoctoral program. 

Meet our PFF Faculty Diversity Postdocs!

Adaobi Anakwe

Health Sciences

PFFFD 2021-2023

Ph.D., St. Louis University

Adaobi’s research interests are in the preconception health of men and women with the goal of improving the health of families and communities. Specifically, her work applies a social determinants of health and health equity lens to examine Black men’s health prior to having pregnancies with their partner(s), how their health changes across the life course, and what implications these changes have for maternal and child health.

Jaime Barros

Plant Science and Technology

PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, University of Vigo

Jaime Barros studies several aspects of the metabolism of plants using a wide array of techniques from biochemistry through molecular biology to genomics, coupled with isotope labeling and mathematical modeling approaches. Ultimately, his research aims to explore how plants’ metabolism works and use this knowledge to help address global challenges such as food security, climate change, and sustainable production of energy and commodity chemicals. 


Rowan Bell


PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, Syracuse University

Rowan Bell primarily works at the intersection of feminist philosophy, trans philosophy, metaethics, and social epistemology. They also draw on decolonial theory, critical race theory, and sociology. They seek to understand the normative nature of non-ideal social norms, such as gender norms, and their role in our practical deliberations as agents. As a non-binary trans person, Rowan is committed to theorizing with, not about, his community; his primary goal is to articulate hermeneutical resources that marginalized people can use to make sense of themselves. 

Alejandro Figueroa


PFFFD 2021-2024

Ph.D., Southern Methodist University

Alejandro’s research examines how humans interact with and give meaning to their surroundings. He approaches this topic from a variety of perspectives including the reconstruction of ancient landscapes and human-environment dynamics using zooarchaeology and geoarchaeology, landscape studies of modern placemaking, and iconographic and statistical analyses of Mesoamerican rock art imagery. Alejandro is also passionate about community engagement and science communication both in the US and in his home country of Honduras.

Sarah Fischer

Civil & Environmental Engineering and School of Natural Resources

PFFFD 2021-2023

Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park

“Sarah Fischer is a PFFFD postdoctoral fellow in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Natural Resources. Her research interests include the chemistry of organic matter and contaminants, water quality, and field probe optimization. Sarah also values equitable and accessible STEM education.”

Johana Goyes Vallejos

Biological Sciences

PFFFD 2019-2022

Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Johana’s research interests include sexual selection and mating systems, with a particular interest in species that exhibit parental care behavior. In her research, Johana has used frogs as her study system. For her dissertation work, she focused on elucidating the parental care behavior of the smooth guardian frog of Borneo (Limnonectes palavanensis), an unusual species about which very little was known when she began her work. She is interested in understanding this species’ mating system and what behavioral and ecological factors shaped its evolution.

Aída Guhlincozzi

Geography and Women's and Gender Studies

PFFFD 2021-2023

Ph.D., University of Illinois

Aída R. Guhlincozzi studies healthcare accessibility for Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking Latinas in the Chicago suburbs. Her work incorporates community geography, Latinx geographies, feminist geographies, and qualitative GIS theory and methodologies.

Gaurav Kandlikar

Biological Sciences & Plant Science and Technology

PFFFD 2020-2022

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Gaurav uses mathematical modeling, field studies, and greenhouse experiments to study the processes that influence species diversity and dynamics in plant communities. In his dissertation, Gaurav studied how species diversity in southern California grasslands is influenced by the abiotic environment and by soil microorganisms. His research will continue to build towards a more mechanistic and general understanding of how plant-microbe interactions scale up and interact with other processes to influence plant communities.

Michelangelo Landgrave

Public Affairs & Political Science

PFFFD 2021-2023

Ph.D., University of California Riverside

Michelangelo’s research interests are race, ethnic & immigration politics (REIP), state & local politics, and legislative studies. His current research includes developing a theory on when state legislative staffers serve as substantive representatives to traditionally underrepresented populations, and developing experimental nudges to promote equitable service delivery by bureaucracies. 

Knoo Lee


PFFFD 2021-2023

Ph.D., University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Lee researches how data-driven, hypothesis-free data analytics can be used to better analyze/interpret nursing data (e.g., nursing homes monitoring data, nursing records, electronic health records). Specifically, his work has examined secondary school students’ chronic absenteeism behavior with social determinants of health using Causal Discovery Analysis (CDA) with machine learning – prediction models comparison.

Qingli Lei

Special Education

PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, Purdue University

Dr. Qingli Lei received her doctoral degree in Educational Studies from Purdue University and coordinated a multi-year evidence-based problem-solving project funded by the National Science Foundation. Her research is directed toward developing instructional scaffoldings as components of interventions to improve the mathematics and literacy performance of struggling English learners. She is also interested in analyzing teacher-student discourse moves to empower students’ mathematics reasoning and problem solving.

Guadalupe (Lupita) Madrigal


PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, University of Michigan. 

Guadalupe (who also goes by “Lupita”) researches topics related to political communication, with a particular interest in media, race, and immigration. Her dissertation focuses on news media portrayals of immigrant children in the news over the past 30 years, and the consequences of these representations in contemporary politics. She also has a vested interest in Chicana/o and Latina/o studies. 

Quinnehtukqut McLamore

Psychological Sciences

PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Quinnehtukqut McLamore received their PhD in Social Psychology from the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Their research is strongly multimethod and wide-spanning: in general, they focus on “common knowledge,” narratives, extremism, and processes related to group identification. More specifically, they use survey research, lab studies, and psychophysiology research to explore different aspects of questions related to these areas.

Stephen C. Mukembo

Applied Social Sciences

PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, Oklahoma State University

Stephen completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural Education at Oklahoma State University (OSU). His doctoral research focused on integrating agricultural and entrepreneurship education to improve community livelihoods through project-based learning and Youth-Adult Partnerships. Stephen’s research interests include entrepreneurship and innovation in agriculture (agripreneurship), food systems, international agriculture, rural entrepreneurship, and youth and agriculture development.

Josh Parmenter

Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, Utah State University

“Joshua’s program of research uses an intersectional framework to quantitatively and qualitatively examine how experiences of inequity (e.g., discrimination, inequitable structural barriers) or protective factors (e.g., internal and community resilience) influence health outcomes among those with multiple marginalized identities, such as LGBTQ+ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Joshua’s research not only seeks to inform psychotherapy, but also ways mental health practitioners can engage in resistance to transform oppressive social structures and racist policies that perpetuate health disparities among LGBTQ+ BIPOC.” 

Laura Ridenour

Information Studies

PFFFD 2021-2023

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Laura’s research is centered on the philosophy of information and data science, spanning information organization, informetrics, and information retrieval. She is particularly interested in conceptual overlap and divergence in interdisciplinary areas of research.

Roy Anthony Thompson


PFFFD 2022-2024

PhD, Duke University

Dr. Roy Anthony Thompson was born and raised in Jamaica. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with First Class Honors (Summa Cum Laude) in 2009, and a Master of Science degree in Advance Nursing Education in 2013 from The UWI School of Nursing, University of the West Indies, Jamaica. Prior to graduate school he worked as a registered nurse (RN) in the Post-Anesthetic Care Units and Intensive Care Units from 2008-2013. Dr. Thompson also lectured at the University of the West Indies from 2013-2016. Dr. Thompson earned his doctorate at the Duke University School of Nursing and the Global Health Doctoral Certificate from the Duke Global Health Institute. His doctoral dissertation employed both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine employment-related outcomes between Foreign Educated Nurses (FENs) and US Educated Nurses, including an exploration of barriers and facilitators to FENs providing quality care in LTC settings. Dr. Thompson received a Teaching for Equity Fellowship from the Duke School of Nursing. Dr. Thompson was a subject matter expert on the National Commission Against Racism in Nursing, and an Emerging Diversity Leader for AcademyHealth’s Interdisciplinary Research Group on Nursing Issues (IRGNI). Dr. Thompson’s program of research is focused on improving care of older adults and their health-related outcomes, health policies, strengthening Long-term care (LTC) systems, and enhancing LTC health workforce capacity to improve quality of care for older adults.

Former PFF Faculty Diversity Postdocs!

Loren Bauerband

Assistant Professor, Health Sciences, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2017-2019

Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

Health Sciences

Loren’s research investigates healthcare disparities among LGBT individuals as well as the impact of minority stress on health behaviors and lifestyle patterns of transgender and sexual minorities.

Ruchi Bhattacharya

Postdoctoral Fellow, Legacies of Agricultural Pollutants, University of Waterloo

PFFFD 2017-2019

Ph.D., University of Arkansas

Natural Resources

Ruchi’s research is developing an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to understand aquatic biochemical processes relevant for water quality and quantity issues influenced by anthropogenic modifications and climate causes.

Fiorella Carlos Chavez

Assistant Professor, Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University

PFFFD 2018-2021

Ph.D., Florida State University

Human Development & Family Science

Fiorella’s research examines the health impact of stressors among Latinx individuals and families as well as the acculturative stress on Latinx college students’ psychosocial outcomes. Her dissertation work studied Latinx migrant farmworkers and contributes to understanding of how family decisions and relationships help Latinx youth manage life challenges.

Merve Fezjula

Assistant Professor, History, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2019-2021

Ph.D., Cambridge University

Merve’s research is situated at the crossroads of scholarship on African intellectual history, black Atlantic studies, and black internationalism, and adopts an interdisciplinary methodology drawn from anthropology, politics, and literary studies. Merve examines the unknown intellectual history of the Anglophone dissemination of negritude, the movement for race consciousness long associated with the Francophone world. Merve studies the way in which racial belonging was given meaning among African and diasporic subjects during the height of decolonization and desegregation.

Rasha Gargees

Computer Science

PFFFD 2020-2022

Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia

Rasha’s research interests include leveraging cloud computing and high-performance parallel distributed systems for multi-stage big data analytics utilizing intelligent agents and deep convolutional neural networks (DCNN). To this end, she has developed a scalable, dynamic, and secure framework, which can be employed in smart cities. Rasha’s research explores data from various heterogeneous independent sources, accommodating both stream data and batch workloads, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) sensor data and Big Geospatial data.

Les Gray

Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2020-2022

Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park

Les Gray’s research focuses on Black cultural production and its relationship to trauma and terror with examples ranging from blues dancing to police brutality videos. They are interested in performances of spectacular Black pain as well as the potential for joy, healing, and solidarity.

Rachael Hernandez

Assistant Professor, Communication, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2019-2021

Ph.D., Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis

Communication and Public Health

Rachael’s research explores communication about sensitive health-related topics. Currently, her research focuses primarily on 1) interpersonal communication surrounding sexual health, and 2) how implicit biases against social groups (e.g. along the lines of race, gender, and age) have the potential to shape physician-patient communication.

Sarah Jacquet

Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2017-2019

PhD., Macquarie University

Geological Sciences

Sarah’s research interests reside in palaeobiology, systematics, and sedimentology. She uses high-powered imaging, field, petrographic, and geochemical techniques to examine the emergence and diversification of complex animal body plan through the Palaeozoic.

Hector Lamadrid

Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2018-2020

Ph.D., Virginia Tech

Geological Sciences

Hector’s research examines fluid-rock interactions in natural systems. He has made methodological advancements in fluid inclusion analysis techniques, specifically in relation to Roman spectroscopy as a way to determine fluid inclusion in minderals. Hector’s research advances understanding of the roles of fluids in chemical reactions in Earth’s deep interior.

Kaleea Lewis

Assistant Professor, Public Health, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2018-2020

Ph.D., University of South Carolina

Public Health and Women’s & Gender Studies

Kaleea’s research intersects with public health, sociology, and psychology. She examines racism within the institution of higher education, specifically the challenges faced by Black students and faculty as well as the psychosocial well-being of minority students. Her research takes an intersectional approach to studying experiences and perceptions of practices within higher education.

Yang Li

Assistant Professor, Nursing, University of Texas at Austin

PFFFD 2018-2020

Ph.D., University of Michigan


Yang researches the impact of maternal childhood maltreatment and trauma-related psychopathology on perinatal outcomes. Specifically, her work has examined the concept of Allostatic Load as a physiologic manifestation of multiple systems among the mothers and how they relate to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and childbearing outcomes.

Terrell Morton

Assistant Professor, Learning, Teaching, & Curriculum, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2017-2019

Ph.D., UNC Chapel-Hill

Learning, Teaching, & Curriculum

Terrell’s research focuses on student retention and matriculation in postsecondary education. He examines STEM retention for Black females in undergraduate research experiences and the influence of identity development and expression on student engagement.

Current position: Assistant Professor, Identity and Justice in STEM Education, University of Illinois at Chicago

Martha (Sofia) Ortega Obando

Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences, University of Missouri

PFFFD 2017-2019

Ph.D., University of Florida

Animal Sciences

Sofia researches bovine reproductive physiology. She is particularly interested in the underlying genomics of fertility regulation, which are players driving maternal-embryo interactions, and how to regulate them to improve reproductive performance in mammals.

Current position: Assistant Professor, Reproductive Physiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison