The Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE) is designed to support research and creative work dedicated to issues of (in)equality, social justice, and inclusivity. Its mission is to (1) facilitate the interdisciplinary teaching and learning, collaboration, research, scholarship, and creative works that seek to promote equality in historically underrepresented communities; and (2) develop, support, and implement academic programs and activities that seek to promote the advancement of historically underrepresented populations in the Academy.
The IRISE postdoctoral fellowship is the signature program to achieve these goals. Under this initiative, departments, programs, and units on campus have the opportunity to engage and mentor a promising scholar in their field or in an associated field. Through their work with you on IRISE-related research, and through additional work with IRISE and in DU classrooms, postdoctoral fellows contribute to the mission of IRISE and larger University strategic initiatives designed to develop knowledge bridges to address complex problems and issues of inequality in Denver and the larger Rocky Mountain West.
Current IRISE Postdoctoral Fellows
E. Dale Broder, Ph.D.
Equity, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math ("ESTEAM")
Growing up in the south, my exposure to science was limited. I am passionate about providing positive science experiences for K-12 and undergraduate students with a larger goal to increase diversity and retention in STEM fields. I received a PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University where I investigated the role that phenotypic plasticity plays in the evolutionary process, exploring a variety of traits including mating behavior, learning, genitalia, handedness, and metabolism. In addition to this work, I also developed active learning resources to teach evolution and the scientific process. I am continuing this work at the University of Denver as well as exploring the relationship between authentic science, dissemination, and scientific self-efficacy in groups of students that are underrepresented in science. I'm also excited about the many collaborative projects I'm a part of with graduate students and faculty in the biology department as well as with the other IRISE scholars.
Angel Hinzo, Ph.D.
Interdisciplinary Indigenous Studies
Angel M. Hinzo (Ho-Chunk), enrolled Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, is currently the Interdisciplinary Indigenous Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Denver. She recently completed her PhD in Native American Studies with a designated emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on Native American history, federal Indian policy, and methods of decolonization. She also received her B.A. in United States history from the University of California, San Diego.
Her dissertation "Voicing Across Space: Subverting Colonial Structures in Ho-Chunk/Winnebago Tribal History" is a historical narrative of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin that concentrates on intertribal, state, and federal relations from the mid-1800s to the present. Her research incorporates feminist and Indigenous methodologies in analyzing primary and secondary sources. Her future research projects are to expand on oral interviews in documenting Ho-Chunk history. When Dr. Hinzo is not working on research, she enjoys beading and other arts.
Pranietha Mudliar, Ph.D.
Environmental Justice and Sustainability
Pranietha successfully defended her dissertation in June 2016 at the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University. In her dissertation, she explored the relationships among socio-cultural heterogeneity such as race and caste, institutions such as rules, and collective action in the context of watershed management in the United States and in India. She employed a case study approach and conducted in-depth interviews to examine the institutions that allow socio-culturally heterogeneous groups to act collectively to improve water quality and quantity. Her results suggest that socio-culturally heterogeneous communities can develop institutions that allow them to overcome any additional costs to collective action that may result from that heterogeneity. The analysis suggests that equity, accountability, symbolic capital, and capacities such as the skills that members bring to a group are key features of institutions that allow socio-culturally heterogeneous groups to develop good governance practices.
Pranietha also holds a Masters in Environmental Sciences and Bachelors in Biotechnology from the University of Pune, India. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, policy journals, and blogs.
As a post-doctoral fellow, Pranietha is interested in developing an environmental justice framework in the context of watershed management to understand how watershed management groups in the United States and India interpret and implement the goals of environmental justice. She is also interested in understanding the different factors that encourage and impede the participation of communities in color in watershed management planning and management.
Daniel Olmos, Jr., Ph.D.
Race, Inequality, Social Change and Policy
Daniel Olmos is the IRISE postdoctoral research fellow for the Race, Inequality, Social Change (RISC) & Public Policy program at the University of Denver. Born and raised in a working class immigrant community in Los Angeles, Daniel completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has long been interested in the relationship between social science research and social justice for aggrieved populations.
His research examines the struggles of Latina/o immigrant working classes in globalized neoliberal urban geographies, specifically the contested spatial control of immigrant self-activity and corresponding demands of 'the right to the city'. Drawing on empirical research in Los Angeles, his recently completed dissertation argued that municipal ordinances regulating immigrant-initiated informal economies constitute local modes of governing migration, and concludes that this policy apparatus not only reproduces the subordinate inclusion of immigrant labor into the political economy of global cities but also provides the basis from which immigrants collectively organize and make claims to space and place as urban citizens. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Denver, Daniel hopes that his previous research will inform his study of Latina/o immigrant communities in the Denver area, and the structural inter-connections between Latina/o immigrants in the United States and political economies in Latin America.
Holly Okonkwo, Ph.D.
In(Equality) in Education
Holly Okonkwo, Ph.D is a cultural anthropologist specializing in science and technology studies (STS), Black feminism and education. Her work explores the ways women of the African diaspora navigate, negotiate and contest multiple ways of knowing, being and becoming in the context of science learning and practice. In addition, she is a member of the Committee on Gender Equity in Anthropology (CoGEA) of the American Anthropological Association.