Morfit and Biglari behavioral science fellows named

Aug. 29, 2017

The Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson School are pleased to announce the recipients of two fellowships for graduate work in applied behavioral science.  The 2017-18 recipient of the Hamid Biglari *87 Behavioral Science Fellowship is Robin Gomila.  The recipient of the Anna and G. Mason Morfit ’97 Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year is Simone Zhang.

Given the strength of their academic progress thus far and the anticipated trajectory of their future research, Gomila and Zhang were selected by the Center’s fellowship committee from a pool of students nominated by members of the faculty across a number of departments.  Each fellowship provides financial assistance to students in any discipline who are pursuing study in the area of behavioral science and public policy.

Robin Gomila is a third-year Ph.D. student in Joint Degree Program in social psychology and social policy. His research projects focus on topics related to social change, prejudice reduction, and experimental methods. In one line of research, he uses qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate how people consciously decide to engage in behaviors that are in direct opposition to strong and widely known in-group norms. Another line of research examines the extent to which “authority sanction” (e.g., exclusionary law, politicians’ hate speech) affects the conditions of intergroup contact and the chance of prejudice reduction following intergroup contact. Prior to beginning his graduate studies, Robin earned a B.A. in psychology at Paris-Descartes University (France).

Simone Zhang is a third-year graduate student in sociology. Her interests are in social stratification, organizations, and social policy. Drawing on surveys, administrative records, social media data, and experiments, Simone’s research examines how people’s everyday interactions with important institutions shape socioeconomic outcomes, social inclusion, and trust in institutions. In one study, she has examined patterns in whose complaints and requests are able to secure the attention of local governments and firms on social media.  In a new line of work, she is examining the sociodemographic correlates of inattentional blindness in a nationally representative sample. Before coming to Princeton, Simone worked in program evaluation and studied housing and education policy at the Urban Institute and the World Bank. She earned an A.B. in Sociology with highest honors from Harvard University.