Fellowship Program

We plan on hiring APAA Fellows at the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Salisbury University in the 2020-2021!
The University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore County are no longer accepting applications, but will reopen in September of 2021. As other positions become available, we will post them here. Feel free to contact promisestaff@gmail.com if you have questions.


Our AGEP PROMISE Academy Alliance (APAA) Fellows are excellent and diverse** postdoctoral scholars from the biological sciences. These Fellows will spend their postdoctoral period conducting research, receiving professional development and mentorship opportunities, teaching and visiting the schools in our five-institution alliance. Depending on their postdoctoral institution and the structure of their fellowship, APAA Fellows can convert to tenure-track positions at their postdoctoral institution (true for UMBC, UMB and Salisbury APAA Fellows) or we will try to assist the Fellow in securing a tenure-track position at another institution within the University System of Maryland (true for UMB and UMCP APAA Fellows). See a visual representation of our program model here. We recently hired a new APAA Fellow at UMBC and two new fellows UMCP. We hope to be hiring at UMCP, UMBC, UMC and SU next year as well! To help guide and mentor our Fellows effectively, we created a set of Common Learning Outcomes for APAA Fellows as well as the Expectations for Fellows and their Mentors (see them here).

**To be eligible for this program, NSF requires all project participants to be United States citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States.  The term “national” designates a native resident of a commonwealth or territory of the United States, such as American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  It does not refer to a citizen of another country who has applied for United States citizenship and who has not received U.S. citizenship.  The program “seeks to advance knowledge about models to improve pathways to the professoriate and success for historically underrepresented minority doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, particularly African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Parcific Islanders”.

Meet our current APAA fellows below:

Katherine Joyner

Department of Bioengineering
University of Maryland College Park (UMCP)

Dr. Katherine Joyner is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fishchell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland in the laboratory of Dr. Gregg Duncan. Her research focuses on engineering biomaterials to better understand mucosal microenvironments in order to develop new models of muco-associated diseases such as cystic fibrosis and crohn’s disease. She earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Science under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Yu at the University of Maryland Baltimore and a BA in Biology from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She is also the recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.
Read more about Dr. Joyner’s journey here: https://gradschool.umd.edu/newsroom/katherinejoyner

Email: kajoyner@umd.edu


Andrea Presotto

Department of Geography and Geographic Systems
Salisbury University

Dr. Andrea Presotto received her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia in GIScience after completing a Ph.D. at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on an association between Experimental Psychology and Physical Geography. Her research interest integrates GIScience using spatial analysis, modeling, and landscape feature using remotely sensed data to understand animal navigation and interaction with their surroundings. She centers comparative analysis on understanding the spatial navigation in different animal species, mainly primates, and elephants. She teaches classes in geographic technologies applied to animal navigation and animal landscape, such as Geographic Information Systems and Science, Biogeography, Spatial Statistics, Decision Making with GIS, and Remote Sensing. Her selected publications can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrea_Presotto.

Email: axpresotto@salisbury.edu


David Illingworth

Department of Psychology
University of Maryland College Park (UMCP)

Dr. David Illingworth is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland. He earned his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests revolve around developing and evaluating mathematical models of human decision-making. The focus of this work has drawn from both cognitive decision theory and general cognitive search theory to formalize a theory of hypothesis testing—the act of acquiring information to evaluate one’s beliefs. The goal of this work has been to elucidate the role of beliefs (hypotheses) in test selection, information foraging, and valuation judgments. Ultimately, this work can be applied to the advancement of decision support systems. His selected publications can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Illingworth2

Email: davidai@umd.edu


Nykia Walker

Department of Biological Sciences
University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

Dr. Nykia Walker is a stem cell biologist that studies various stages of breast cancer metastasis. She received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Neuroscience, and Physiology from Rutgers School of Graduate Studies. As a graduate student, Dr. Walker demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes could mediate cancer stem cell resurgence by converting M2 macrophages towards an M1 phenotype. As a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, she leveraged her knowledge of cancer immunology and exosome biogenesis to investigate tumor-derived exosomes’ functional role in priming naïve tissue to become pro-metastatic. To date, she has developed tracking tools to monitor and image exosome uptake in recipient cells. Besides exosome tracking, she investigates transcriptional changes that are involved in facilitating and maintaining cancer stem cell dormancy. 

Dr. Walker joins the Department of Biological Sciences at UMBC as a pre-professoriate fellow. Her research will focus on understanding how cancer stem cells influence immune cell function to facilitate cellular dormancy. She aspires to train and to mentor the next generation of talented, innovative scientists in the areas of stem cell biology, immune modulation and cancer metastasis. Her selected publications can be found here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=jsMvFZ0AAAAJ&hl=en


Riva Riley

Department of Biology
University of Maryland College Park (UMCP)

Dr. Riva Riley is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Maryland. Her research is focused on social behavior and its consequences for individuals in social groups; she is especially interested in how individuals can use their own social influence to change their social environment and improve their prospects. She studies a delightful little fish, Corydoras catfish, which live in the Amazon rainforest. After observing wild fish in the field and conducting laboratory studies, she described a novel communication style, a tactile nudge, that individual fish use to communicate with their fellow group members. She uses this nudging behavior to help understand how social influences and group dynamics can modify social evolution and lead to complex social behaviors (including our own human behavior). She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and her B.A. from Harvard University.


You could be the next fellow!

We will be hiring additional fellows to start in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Please contact Director Robin Cresiski, rcresisk@umbc.edu.


Our APAA Fellow Program:


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