Chancellor's ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Fellows

Alex Catchings Headshot, UCI Office of Inclusive ExcellenceDr. Alexander Catchings

University of California, Berkeley 
PhD in English, 2021

Dr. Alexander Catchings researches literary narrative form and cultural studies. His dissertation taxonomizes a new literary sub-genre called "Wikipedic Novels": novels written after the rise of the Web 2.0, open-source era. These texts explicitly incorporate Internet content with fiction, throwing into flux readers' expectations of authorial trust, characters, and the "facts" that can scaffold story worlds and their representations of culture.

His research at UC Irvine will further explore how Wikipedic novels are able to capture Black digital life, from African American Signifyin(g)'s influence on online "web speak" to the complications of representing a collective discourse from "Black Twitter." He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in English from the University of Washington.

Chancellor’s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Topic: Signifyin(g) in Cyberspace: Digital Life in 21st Century Black Literature

Mentor: Dr. Theodore Martin

Department, School: Department of English, School of Humanities


Katherine Arias Garcia, UCI Office of Inclusive ExcellenceDr. Katherine Arias Garcia

University of California, San Diego
PhD in Education Studies, 2022

Katherine Garcia, PhD was born in Lima, Peru and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Garcia’s research interest are persistence of Latinx first-generation students, Chicana/Latina Feminist Epistemology, cultural assets and premedical pathways. Dr. Garcia’s professional experiences in supporting Latinx students in K-20 have contribute towards her research agenda to critically examining the Latinx graduate pathways. Dr. Garcia uses asset-based frameworks that centers Latinx students cultural assets and knowledge to center Latinx student experiences in higher education. Also, Dr. Garcia is committed to expanding the next generation of Latinx physicians and has created the Latinx Premed Pathways Program with UC San Diego School of Medicine and collaborated with Latinx premeds on a culturally-responsive ‘The Latinx Premed Guide.’ Dr. Garcia was selected as a UC President’s Pre-Professoriate Fellow, for her research and service in advancing equity and inclusion. Her current research topic as a Chancellor's Advance Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine will focus on Latinx cultural assets of premedical students in Hispanic-Serving Institutions and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions to elucidate how Latinx students use cultural assets to persist in two different context.

Chancellor’s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Topic: Latinx Student’s Medical Dream (MD): Maintaining Culture and Community

Mentor: Dr. Glenda Flores

Department, School: Department of Chicano/Latino Studies, School of Social Sciences


Kopacz Photo, UCI Office of Inclusive ExcellenceDr. Elizabeth Kopacz

University of California, Riverside
PhD in Ethnic Studies, 2022

Elizabeth Kopacz is an interdisciplinary ethnic studies scholar with research interests in U.S. empire and transpacific violence, Korean adoption, race, kinship, feminist epistemologies, and histories of science and technology. She received her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Riverside in 2022, and her M.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA in 2014. Her dissertation, Molecular Longing: Adopted Koreans and the Navigation of Absence through DNA, is a multi-scalar exploration of how transnational, transracial Korean adoptees utilize paperwork, popular science, and genetic technologies to navigate material and affective absences produced by the violence of U.S. empire.

Her work has been supported by the American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship, the UC Riverside Graduate Research Mentorship Program, and the Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship. In addition to her scholarship, Elizabeth is committed to making academic knowledge accessible to larger audiences through public humanities work. At UCLA, she directed a short film, Who is Park Joo Young?, that examined Korean adoption, kinship, and DNA. Most recently, she worked as a Documentary Research Assistant for the five-part Asian American series that aired on PBS in May 2020.

Chancellor’s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Topic: Navigating the Unknowable: Transnational Korean Adoption, Genetic Kinship, and the Community Archive

Mentor: Dr. Eleana Kim

Department, School: Department of Anthropology, School of Social Sciences

The UC Irvine Chancellor's ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellowship is a partnership of several campus units including the Offices of the Provost, Graduate Division, and Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.