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Two SBU PhD Students Appointed to First Fellowship on Immigrant Integration

Asha venugopalan

Two Stony Brook University PhD students are among the five graduate students appointed to the Institute on Immigrant Integration Research and Policy’s inaugural Fellowship on Immigrant Integration. Each fellow will focus their work on advancing the knowledge of programs and practices that fully harness the labor-force participation of foreign-born residents of New York State.

Sohee shin web
Sohee Shin

Sohee Shin, a second-year PhD student in sociology, and Asha Venugopalan, a second-year PhD student in political science, will take part in the fellowship’s intensive three-month summer program that connects SUNY and CUNY graduate students with policy experts to research the economic, social, and civic integration of immigrants. Their work will assist the Institute in its mission to accelerate the adoption of promising practices, stimulate responsive policies, reduce the cost of integration efforts, and improve the quality of outcomes for foreign-born New Yorkers.

“Asha and Sohee are excellent scholars and researchers who are highly motivated to advance civic integration and inclusivity for immigrant families in communities across New York and beyond,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “Through this program, their work will focus on progress and policies that support students and families from all backgrounds, like many at Stony Brook University who are the first in their families to attend college. We congratulate Asha and Sohee for their selection as inaugural Fellows and we are proud of their commitment to ensuring immigrants have a welcoming and supportive path to success.”

Asha venugopalan
Asha Venugopalan

“The theme of the 2023 Fellowship is ‘Harnessing the Power of Immigrants’ Economic Contributions.’ Fellows will examine a number of existing mechanisms for strengthening immigrants’ labor-market participation, including workforce development, credentialing and certification, access to capital and banking systems, and access to higher education,” said Dina Refki, executive director of the Institute on Immigrant Integration Research and Policy. “They will synthesize the state of practice and policy implications in each of these areas. The Fellowship is designed to build the pipeline of future scholars, practitioners, policy implementers, and policymakers who are passionate about immigrant integration.”

Shin’s research includes international migration, health disparities, life course perspectives, and social inequality. Throughout her PhD studies, Shin has focused on examining attitudes toward immigrants from the perspective of generational differences and exploring the impact of employment patterns on immigrants’ health throughout their lives. Shin worked at a local NGO in Germany, advocating for the residential rights of refugees. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at the Migration Research and Training Center (MRTC) in South Korea, concentrating on migration-related studies.

Currently, Shin’s research concentrates on understanding the spatial differences in the residential mobility of immigrants and the segregation experienced by Asian Americans. She aims to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that influence the settlement patterns of immigrant communities and the challenges they encounter in terms of spatial distribution and neighborhood composition.

Venugopalan’s research lies at the intersection of group identities, prejudicial attitudes, and political communication within the United States and India. Prior to joining the PhD program, Venugopalan was a researcher at Azim Premji University in India. During her tenure, Venugopalan developed large public opinion surveys to capture the socio-political attitudes of citizens during the inter-election period. Her research on cross-group friendship and intergroup relations was published in Studies in Indian Politics. She has also written on the impact of COVID-19 on intergroup relations. Her research focuses on voter evaluations of marginalized candidates in a polarized political climate. Venugopalan holds an MSc in political science and political economy from the London School of Economics.

“SUNY students are part of a vibrant and dynamic community that embraces and celebrates individuals from all over the world,” said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. “The appointment of three SUNY students to the Fellowship on Immigrant Integration demonstrates SUNY’s ongoing commitment to cultivating an inclusive environment in our communities. Their research through this Fellowship will inform critical policy decisions and ultimately benefit all New Yorkers no matter their background.”

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