Assistant Professor
Location city: 
Yale-NUS College
After I graduated from Michigan, I joined Yale-NUS College, a brand-new liberal arts college in Singapore that is a partnership between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. At Yale-NUS, all students are required to take a first-semester course entitled “Comparative Social Institutions” that introduces them to the social sciences. The course is team-taught, with economists, psychologists, political scientists, anthropologists, historians, and me, the lone sociologist, designing the syllabus together and taking turns to give lectures on topics like race, markets, the family, and the state. But every social science discipline has its own language and worldview, which can lead to some passionate debates about what to include and what angle to take on any given topic. I was immensely grateful for the weekly seminars that Mary Corcoran used to hold for the joint PhD students in economics, political science, and sociology back at the Ford School. Those sessions helped me familiarize myself with the economics and political science literature, and better appreciate these disciplines' approach to social problems and data analysis. It is because of that seminar that I now feel so comfortable in such an interdisciplinary space. As an assistant professor with a research specialization in international migration, I constantly draw on migration research conducted by economists and other non-sociologists. Thanks to Elisabeth Gerber’s program evaluation class and Ann Lin's immigration policy class, I have the analytical and quantitative skills to read, understand and critique such papers, and explain them to my students. In fact, there was a rigor associated with all my classes at the Ford School that is invaluable to me now that I have to teach my own classes. But this rigor was coupled with the most incredible, individualized care and attention paid to each and every joint PhD student’s needs. During my years at the Ford School, I always knew that there were people at the Ford School who were actively looking for ways to support my career goals and financial needs. Mary Corcoran, who was the director of the PhD program at the time, and Michelle Spornhauer, who was the PhD program coordinator then, were indefatigable when it came to finding fellowship opportunities for me, corralling my letter writers to submit their reference letters on time, or simply checking in with me every so often to make sure I was doing alright. They made me, an international student, feel at home in Michigan.