Fall 2017: New Faculty, Students, Visitors, Staff Join CDE

This fall, five new faculty affiliates joined the Center’s ranks: Jordan Conwell (sociology and educational policy studies), Michael Light (sociology and Chican@/Latin@ Studies), Corina Mommaerts (economics), Anita Mukherjee (Wisconsin School of Business), and Matthew Wiswall (economics).

Jordan Conwell is completing an Anna Julia Cooper postdoctoral fellowship during the 2017–18 academic year and will begin fall 2018 as assistant professor of sociology and educational policy studies. He earned his PhD in sociology at Northwestern in 2017 with a dissertation that explored racial differences, students’ educational returns, and parental income.

Michael Light, assistant professor of sociology and Chican@/Latin@ Studies, joined the UW–Madison faculty in summer 2017 after spending four years teaching at Purdue University. His research interests include criminology, the sociology of law and punishment, immigration, and stratification. Light completed his PhD in sociology at Penn State in 2013.

Corina Mommaerts is a public economist who studies health and health insurance. She is in her first year as assistant professor of economics at UW–Madison. She received her PhD in economics from Yale in 2016 and then completed a year-long aging and health postdoctoral fellowship at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Anita Mukherjee is an assistant professor at the Wisconsin School of Business, which she joined after completing her doctoral work in applied economics at Wharton in 2014. Mukherjee’s research focuses on public finance, the economics of aging, social insurance, and law and economics.

Matthew Wiswall is an associate professor of economics and affiliate at the Institute for Research on Poverty. Wiswall, who earned a doctorate in economics from UCLA, specializes in applied microeconomics and econometrics as well as labor, education, and demographic economics.

In addition, Megan Zuelsdorff has begun a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the National Institute on Aging. Zuelsdorff completed her PhD in population health sciences at UW–Madison in 2016. Her dissertation explored sociobehavioral and psychobiological mechanisms in cognitive aging. More recently, her research has examined the relationship between cumulative disadvantage and later-life cognition trajectories.

CDE also welcomed six doctoral students into the demography training program this year. Four new PhD students in sociology—Annaliese Grant, Alex Mikulas, Benjamin Rosche, and Julia Thomas—joined the program, along with Max Coleman (third-year, sociology) and María Amelia Gibbons (second-year, economics).

During this academic year, CDE is also hosting two visiting scholars—Arnstein Aassve and Letizia Mencarini. Aassve is professor of demography at Bocconi University. An economist by training, his research has focused on economic and family demography, poverty and deprivation, and comparative social policy. His current work considers the role of culture in influencing demographic patterns and public policy.

Mencarini is associate professor of demography at Bocconi University. She holds a PhD in demography, and her research interests focus on family demography (specifically, fertility, the transition to adulthood, family formation, and disruption) and its links to well-being, time use, and gender. She is currently directing a major project in Europe focused on subjective well-being and fertility.

This summer, the Data and Information Services Center (DISC) welcomed a new director, Charlie Fiss. Fiss began his career with UW–Madison at the Institute for Research on Poverty in 1985 and transitioned to the CDE data library/DISC in 1997, helping faculty and students acquire, use, and preserve datasets. DISC also welcomes Nichole Barnes, who began as the research communications specialist in June. Barnes is working closely with CDE and the Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) to provide better communication about the activities of UW’s two demography centers.