New Faculty Members, 2017-2018

The College of Social Science welcomes new tenure-system faculty members this academic year. Discover what they bring to our programs by perusing their bios and comments on their work.



Department of Anthropology


Camp_Stacey_ANP.jpgStacey Camp
PhD, Stanford University

Stacey Camp comes from the University of Idaho, where she spent the last 9 years. There, she was an Associate Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology, an archaeological repository for the state of Idaho. Her research focuses on the archaeology migrants living and laboring in the late 19th and early 20th century Western United States. Her most research project examines how Japanese prisoners coped with isolation and incarceration in U.S. World War II internment camps. In her future work at Michigan State University, she plans to explore how Japanese migrants' material practices and consumption habits changed over time, as well as differed between the United States, Australia, and Peru.

“My research seeks to examine the long-term effects of forced migration and incarceration of Japanese nationals, and how these changes find expression in material culture.”




School of Criminal Justice


Kennedy_Jay_CJ.jpgJay Kennedy, Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Cincinnati

While completing his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Kennedy was a Graduate School Dean’s Distinguished Fellow and a Yates Scholar. While there he was awarded a Graduate Minority Fellowship from the American Society of Criminology and received several research grants and awards. A graduate of the MBA program at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, his research focuses upon the multi-level antecedents of corporate crime, deviance within corporations, employee theft, the role business ethics plays in decision-making, product counterfeiting and intellectual property theft. Prior to attending graduate school, Jay spent eight years working for a number of corporations in the metro Detroit area, including a major non-profit organization, a family-owned automotive supplier, and a Fortune 100 corporation.

"I ultimately hope that my research helps bring businesses to a place where they are better prepared to plan for, defend against, and respond to the multitude of criminal threats facing them each day."


Wolfe_Scott_CJ.jpgScott Wolfe
PhD, Arizona State University

Scott Wolfe is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. He received his PhD in criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University. Scott’s research focuses on policing, organizational justice, legitimacy, and criminological theory. Much of his work involves practitioner-researcher partnerships and has examined a variety of issues including officer-involved traffic collisions, evidence-based policing, and burglary reduction strategies. Currently, Scott is co-principal investigator on a multiyear NIJ grant evaluating an officer social interaction training program geared toward reducing use of force incidents and improving community trust. His team has partnered with the Fayetteville (NC) Police Department and Tucson (AZ) Police Department for this project.

“I use science to help improve policing strategies, officer and citizen safety, and community relations.”



Department of Economics


de Araujo_Luis_ECON.jpgLuis de Araujo, Associate Professor
PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. de Araujo’s research focuses on strategic problems in contexts where liquidity (or its lack thereof) matters. He has dealt with the characterization of necessary and sufficient conditions for the essentiality of money, and he has also examined the informational role of prices, and the nature of optimal monetary interventions in economies where both money and debt help mitigate liquidity problems. He also conducts research on banking and financial intermediation, as well as on historical issues related to the emergence of money in the economy. In addition to his position at MSU, he is an adjunct professor at the São Paulo School of Economics and an external member of the PhD in Economics and Finance, Tor Vergata, Rome.

"Overall, the goal of my research is to contribute in setting solid foundations for monetary theory, which may help understand how the monetary authority should intervene in the economy."


helmet_green_PMS_567.pngBenjamin Bushong, Assistant Professor
PhD, California Institute of Technology

Dr. Benjamin Bushong, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School prior to arriving at MSU, focuses his research on the intersection of psychology and economics – also known as behavioral economics – and has appeared in the American Economic Review and Neuron. He has worked with the U.S. Army to help soldiers become more psychologically resilient. At MSU, he is also a faculty affiliate in the Social Science Data Analytics Program.



Ajin Lee, Associate Professor
PhD, Columbia University

Ajin Lee received her Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University in 2017. Her main research fields are Public Economics and Health Economics. Her current research focuses on public health insurance programs in the U.S. including the effectiveness of Medicaid managed care and the role of Medicare in access to nursing homes. Other research topics include how social insurance programs influence families' labor market decisions and how a school system affects health and academic performance of children.

"My research exploits quasi-experimental methods to examine the impacts of public policy. Through my research, I aim to understand the determinants of efficient delivery of public programs, focusing on disadvantaged subpopulations."

Department of History


Kaye_Noah_HST_2017.jpgNoah Kaye, Assistant Professor
PhD, University of California-Berkeley

Dr. Kaye is an ancient historian, studying the economy and society of Greece in the age of Alexander the Great. Greece had been the birthplace of one of the world's great city-state cultures, based on the citizen-centered state they called the polis. While a coalition of Greek cities defeated the Persian Empire at famous battles like Marathon, the whole group of them fell under the rule of kings, first Philip and Alexander, and then, their Successors, who oversaw the foundation of new cities on the model of the polis in what we call today the Middle East. He is interested in the challenges and opportunities that the survival and proliferation of the polis presented to the great empires like Rome and the so-called Hellenistic kingdoms, and he is also interested in how ancient peoples negotiated cultural difference and wrangled over cultural prestige. Dr. Kaye’s work spans the divide between history and archaeology with archaeological fieldwork focused on the Greek emporion of Stryme, situated on the north Aegean coast opposite the resource-rich region of Thrace; and in another project, on the rocky coast of ancient Cilicia (Turkey), where he is studying a series of coastal islands and fortified peninsulas for what they can tell us about how ancient borders were controlled on land and sea.

“I am interested in how ancient empires worked, from taxation and coinage to religion and identity, especially the Hellenistic kingdoms that sprung up across Greece and the Middle East after Alexander's conquest of the Achaemenid Persian empire. I love seeing how culture and religion leave their marks on economic behavior; how even an ancient state can change how people see themselves merely through taxes and redistribution.”


Leon_Sharon_HST_2017.jpgSharon Leon, Associate Professor
PhD, University of Minnesota

Dr. Leon's program of research focuses on two areas. First, she is an historian of American religion with a concentration on U.S. Catholicism. Second, she is specializes in digital methods with a focus on public history. As a result, Dr. Leon often is pursing many research tracks at once. Currently, with the support of an NEH digital publication fellowship, she is at work on a digital project to surface and analyze the community networks and experiences of the cohort of people enslaved and sold by the Maryland Province Jesuits in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Simultaneously, she is building a major methodological project on doing community engaged digital public history.

"My research agenda as an historian has always been focused on understanding the ways that community organizations interface with larger social and political justice issues. In both in my individual research and in my public history work, I'm focused on using digital methods to bring communities into productive conversations about the past and its implications for our shared experience moving forward. As a result, I'm very excited to part of the Critical Diversity in the Digital Age cluster at MSU that is bringing together scholars to focus on questions of race, inclusion, cultural preservation, global interconnectedness, and engaged scholarship."


Department of Human Development and Family Studies


Holtrop_Kendal_HDFS_2017.jpgKendal Holtrop, Associate Professor
PhD, Michigan State University

Dr. Holtrop’s program of research focuses on parenting and parenting interventions. Her research activities include adapting and implementing evidence-based interventions as well as examining parenting practices and family processes to inform intervention efforts. Her prior work has focused on adapting parenting interventions for families experiencing homelessness and parents aging out of the child welfare system. More recently, she is pursuing grant funding to study GenerationPMTO, an evidence-based parenting intervention disseminated throughout the state of Michigan. She obtained her PhD from MSU in 2011 and served on the faculty at Florida State University for six years before returning to MSU as associate professor.

“We know that positive parenting practices can serve an important protective function within at-risk families, but these interventions are not widely accessible. I am passionate about addressing mental health disparities by expanding the reach of evidence-based parenting interventions among underserved families.”



School of Human Resources and Labor Relations


McAlpine_Kristie_HRLR.jpgKristie McAlpine, Assistant Professor
PhD, Cornell University

Dr. McAlpine’s research spans three key areas. Her primary research interest is exploring the changing nature of employee work arrangements, specifically the increased flexibility in when and where employees conduct their work (e.g., telecommuting). She examines the effects of flexibility for individuals and teams, and pays particular attention to the contextual factors that shape these relationships. Second, she evaluates how organizations manage diversity and inclusion and how it shapes the quality of employee relationships and experiences. Finally, she studies how individuals navigate the work-family interface and make decisions about their work and non-work lives in the context of dual career couples.

“We spend much of our lives working. I am fascinated by the ways employees and organizations manage where and when people conduct their work. There are more possibilities than ever before for people to work remotely and to connect with others at any time of day.  Yet, as the possibilities for organizing work expand, employees and organizations are wrestling with the most effective ways to meet the goals of individuals, teams, and the organization. In my work, I seek to contribute to our understanding of workplace flexibility and shed light on its implications for multiple stakeholders.”

helmet_green_PMS_567.pngChristian Ibsen, Assistant Professor





Department of Political Science


Lajevardi_Nazita_PLS_175x250_2017.jpgNazita Lajevardi, Assistant Professor
PhD, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Lajevardi is a political scientist an attorney. She completed her BA in political science and French at UCLA and prior to attaining her PhD at UCSD. She went to law school at the University of San Francisco, where she worked in criminal and human rights law. After the completion of her graduate studies, she moved to Sweden to work on the CONPOL project as a postdoctoral fellow at Uppsala University. There, she worked on nationwide registry data assessing contextual and peer effects on political behavior and has also conducted research on refugees. Her research, more generally, spans issues related to race and ethnic politics, voting rights, political behavior, and immigration.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Michigan State community. I am Iranian American woman and the child of immigrants who have encountered ample prejudice and setbacks in their pursuit of the American dream. As a result, I have always been curious about what it actually means to have membership in American society. These personal experiences have also greatly influenced my passions and career trajectory. My research is driven by questions that have a tangible effect on those who are muted in American democracy. I am looking forward to training the next generation of scholars who wish to examine where bias exists in our political and legal systems.”


Minhas_Shahryar_PLS_2017.jpgShahryar Minhas, Assistant Professor
PhD, Duke University

Dr. Minhas’ research interests include network analysis, spatial statistics, conflict studies, political economy, and political institutions. He is also affiliated with MSU’s Social Science Data Analytics Program.






Schibber_Constanza_PLS.jpgConstanza Schibber, Assistant Professor
PhD, Washington University, St. Louis

Dr. Schibber’s research uses Bayesian statistics to uncover the effects of political institutions on elite and citizen behavior. She has a particular interest in latent variable models, the analysis of multilevel data structures, and the application of texts-as-data. At MSU, Dr. Schibber offers quantitative methods courses at the graduate level, and she is affiliated with the Social Science Data Analytic Initiative.

"The core concern that motivates my substantive research agenda is how political institutions affect the correspondence between the policies that citizens and representatives desire and the outcomes that democratic governments produce."


Department of Psychology


Clark_Shaunna_PSY.jpgShaunna Clark, Assistant Professor
PhD, University of California

Dr. Clark’s research seeks to understand how biological and environmental factors shape mental health and human behavior by bringing together advanced statistical modeling techniques and (epi)genomic big data. She is currently working on research projects examining the role of DNA methylation in alcohol dependence, identifying methylation biomarkers for alcohol phenotypes in blood and saliva, investigating environmental factors that mediate the relationship between methylation and alcohol, developing latent variables models to better model mental health outcomes, and applying machine learning techniques to epigenomic data.

“My research involves understanding the role of genetics and epigenetics in substance use and addiction which may prove crucial for predicting disease course, improving disease management, identifying new drug targets, and, more broadly, understanding how genetic variation can affect complex behaviors.”

Donnellan_Brent_PSY.jpgBrent Donnellan, Professor
PhD, University of California  

Dr. Donnellan investigates research questions at the intersections of personality psychology, developmental psychology, and psychological assessment. His current research efforts focus on the assessment of well-being, personality trait development, and methodological reform in psychological science. He currently serves as senior associate editor for the Journal of Research in Personality.

“Beyond finding better ways to measure personality traits and chart the development of personality traits from childhood through adulthood, I am increasingly interested in methodological issues in psychology.  In particular, I focus on finding ways to improve the design, conduct, and reporting of psychological research by emphasizing preregistration, transparent reporting, and greater openness. I hope these efforts increase the rigor of psychological studies so that our research can truly advance knowledge and enhance lives.”


School of Planning, Design, and Construction – Urban and Regional Planning



Noah Durst, Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Durst employs mixed methods – both quantitative and qualitative – to examine the intended and unintended effects of planning and policy-making on issues of social equity. Much of his research to date has examined the challenges and implications of informality in U.S. housing markets.

“My research focuses on issues of social equity in urban planning and urban policy, with a particular emphasis on housing. Where we live determines so much of our lives: access to housing shapes our educational and employment prospects, our exposure to health and safety risks, our ability to accumulate wealth, and our overall sense of fulfillment. Unfortunately, many families in the U.S. lack access to safe, affordable, and secure housing. My research examines the link between policymaking, planning, and housing in this country. I am particularly interested in measuring the impact of planning and policymaking decisions on access to housing for low-income households and in documenting the variety of ways in which informal housing practices circumvent the formal planning apparatus in this country.”