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Introducing the Latest HSS PhD Alumni – Class of 2020

Today Caltech hosts its 126th commencement ceremony virtually, and the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to present our latest group of PhD recipients. Finishing the requirements, presenting a thesis, defending a dissertation, and forging ahead with research in the time of COVID-19 required focus, grit, and, above all, perseverance. Please join us in wishing them, and the entire class of 2020, well in their future endeavors!

Seo-young Silvia Kim graduates this month after defending her thesis, Three Essays in the Dynamics of Political Behavior and Political Data, with Jonathan Katz as her advisor. Her research interests are American politics and political methodology, and she was the recipient of the 2019-2020 Lance E. Davis Fellowship. She looks forward to starting her new position as an assistant professor in the department of government at American University in Washington, D.C., this August.

During his final year in the HSS Social Sciences PhD program, Vadim Martynov (MS '17, social science) received a 2019 Repetto-Figueroa Family Graduate Fellowship, and he completed his dissertation, Essays on Social Learning and Networks, with Omer Tamuz as his advisor. His research is in microeconomic theory, with a particular emphasis on social learning, networks, and game theory. He will be a quantitative researcher at Citadel in New York.

Song Qi joined the division as a third-year graduate student, and he received the 2016-2017 Davidson Psychobiology Fellowship and the 2018-2019 Lipper Graduate Fellowship. After defending his thesis, Decision Making Under Threat: An Ecological Framework, in July 2019 with Dean Mobbs as his advisor, Qi became a postdoctoral scholar in affective neuroscience in the Mobbs lab. There, he continues to explore the neural mechanisms underlying fear, anxiety, and decision-making.

Alejandro Robinson-Cortés received his PhD this month after completing his dissertation, Essays on Market Design and Industrial Organization, with Matthew Shum as his advisor. He will start his new position as a lecturer in the department of economics at the University of Exeter Business School in the United Kingdom this fall. As a graduate student at Caltech, he received the 2017 John O. Ledyard Prize for best third-year paper in HSS and a 2019 Lance E. Davis Fellowship.

Read about these students and our departing postdoctoral fellows in the 2019-2020 Next Steps publication.