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King Center launches predoctoral program

The new two-year multidisciplinary program is designed to prepare individuals from low- and middle-income countries for careers in academic research focused on global development.

In July 2021, the King Center welcomed four postbaccalaureate research fellows as part of its new Predoctoral Research Fellows Program.

The predoc program provides recent college graduates from low- and middle-income countries with valuable training and experience with academic research before applying to PhD programs in fields related to global development and poverty alleviation. 

The program operates in partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“Tackling critical issues related to global poverty alleviation takes committed individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences,” says Jessica Leino, executive director. “A goal when developing this new fellowship program was to ensure a diversity of thought, experiences, approach, and identity reflected in the predocs selected.” 

The King Center’s Predoctoral Research Fellows Program particularly encourages applications from students from low- and middle-income countries, as well as from others whose backgrounds and experience would contribute to the diversity of the King Center’s research community. The inaugural cohort spans four continents, with natives of Haiti, Myanmar, Peru, and Turkey. The King Center is committed to creating inclusive research environments and to fostering the growth of the next generation of researchers in global development.

Fellows are appointed as non-matriculated graduate students and work on center-supported research initiatives with King Center Faculty Affiliates; they may take a limited number of courses at Stanford University for credit. The fellowship offers tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend. 

The four predoctoral fellows of this first cohort will work with researchers from the political science and economics departments, as well as the Stanford School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Business.  Each research team that the predoc will join is focused on critical topics related to global development, including female political representation, firm productivity, environmental quality and conflict.  

Another significant focus of the predoc program is the mentoring and training these predocs receive from their teams and faculty leads, as well as from the King Center community at large. 

“Gaining experience in supporting field research activities as well as managing and analyzing large datasets is incredibly helpful in understanding how the academic research process works,” said Nina Buchmann, an economics PhD student who is mentoring the predocs as they settle into their new role this summer. “Helping the predocs navigate the transition from student to researcher has been a terrific experience and will be beneficial to my future academic career as I hope to support students from a wide variety of backgrounds as a faculty member.”  

“I look forward to seeing their skills develop through the two-year program and to help them identify or confirm the discipline they want to continue pursuing as part of their academic career,” said King Center Faculty Director Pascaline Dupas.

Applications will open in November 2021 for positions beginning in July 2022. Please review the program’s webpage for details on how to apply.

2021 - 2023 Predoctoral Research Fellows

Mert Akan
Mert Akan

Mert Akan graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a double major in economics and neuroscience. He started working with economists Pete Klenow and Nick Bloom on King Center’s Firms and Global Productivity initiative. His goal is to pursue a PhD in Economics. He is from Izmir, Turkey. 


Christlee Doris Elmera
Christlee Doris Elmera

Christlee Doris Elmera earned a BS in public health from Georgia State University as well as an MSc in development management and applied development economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her research interests include public health, education, and the economic history of colonialism. She started working with Steve Luby and Jenna Forsyth on the King Center’s initiative focused on lead exposure in Bangladesh, as well as with Professor Saumitra Jha on projects that fall under the center’s Conflict & Polarization initiative. She was born in Haiti and grew up in France.


Eli Thandar Myint
Ei Thandar Myint

Ei Thandar Myint earned a BA in economics, with minors in mathematics and psychology, and a MA in economics from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is passionate about topics on gender and education, as well as social justice issues. She is currently working with political scientists Saad Gulzar and Soledad Artiz Prillaman on research related to improving women’s political representation in South Asia. She is from Yangon, Myanmar.


Diego Tocre
Diego Tocre

Diego Tocre received a BA in economics from the Universidad del Pacífico, Peru. He is interested in learning more about the role of political institutions in developing countries in the efficiency of public spending and economic centralization. He is currently working with Professor Saumitra Jha in projects related to the political economy of indigenous communities and their survival over time in Mexico. He is from Peru.

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