Five scholars named 2023-25 CPPFD Fellows

The faculty diversity fellowship provides postdocs with mentorship and funding for research and professional development.

4 women and 1 man all pose for group photo
(From left to right: Kaneesha Johnson, Rebeca Stiepel, Antonio Florido, Sarah Parijs, Amanda Martínez)

The 2023-25 cohort ofCarolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity Fellowswill receive a paid two-year postdoctoral position, funding for research, professional development and networking opportunities and dedicated time work closely with a faculty mentor(s) in their respective discipline. 

UNC-Chapel Hill launched the program in 1983 as part of its continued commitment to building an exceptional intellectual community and advancing scholars from diverse disciplines and lived experiences in higher education. 

College of Arts and Sciences 

  • Kaneesha Johnsonof the political science departmentresearches the interconnectedness of public policy, the criminal legal system and historical institutionalism within the field of American politics. She is coauthor of “Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty” and other works exploring inequalities identified in the criminal legal system. Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill, her master’s in legal studies from the University of Chicago Law School and her doctorate in government from Harvard University. 
  • Sarah Parijsof the English and Comparative Literature department is a literature scholar whose research focuses on connections between race and nature in literatures of the American 19th century and postmodern science fiction. She is writing a book manuscript tentatively titled “Allegories of Decay in Gaia: Writing an Interconnected Worlds of Parts in American Nature Writing and Science Fiction.” The book focuses on the racialized legacy of planetarity and its connection to environmental violence in Transcendentalist and speculative traditions. Parijs holds a bachelor’s degree in English from West Texas A&M University, a master’s in English from the University of Texas at Arlington and a doctorate in English from Indiana University Bloomington. 
  • Amanda Martínezof the American studies department is a historian interested in the intersection of racial capitalism and popular culture. Her book project, “The Industry is Playing the People Cheap: Race and the Country Music Business from Nixon to 9/11,” analyzes the role of race and class in the marketing practices of the country music business. She is an active public scholar, and her writing has appeared in California History and the Journal of Popular Music Studies, as well as NPR, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. Martínez received her bachelor’s degree in history at the University of California, Berkeley, a doctorate in history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. 

Eshelman School of Pharmacy 

Rebeca Stiepel’s research interests include evaluating the role of different cell types in the progression of drug resistant epilepsy caused by malformations of cortical development. She is also interested in leveraging the immune system to combat neurological disorders and applying drug delivery techniques to target cells and tissues of interest while minimizing negative off target effects. Stiepel completed her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Southern California. She earned her doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences from the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. 

UNC School of Medicine 

Antonio Floridois a researcher in the field of neuroscience, specializing in the relationships among the brain, behavior and mental health. His studies have explored the realm of sex differences in fear memory formation, providing insight into cognitive processes. His work has been published in Nature Communications, Biological Psychiatry and Biology of Sex Differences. He was also awarded the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Global Fellowship. Florido completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in mental health research from the University of Almeria in Spain. He earned a doctorate in neuroscience from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.