2021-22 Udall Center Fellows Announced!

06/04/21 01:00:pm

The Udall Center welcomes its 32nd cohort of fellows supported by the Udall Center Fellows Program, which provides the recipients’ department with a stipend to cover their teaching responsibilities. This allows the awardees to focus on propelling their policy-related research forward. For more information about the Udall Center Fellows Program, please visit http://udallcenter.arizona.edu/udall-fellows-program.

The 2021-22 awardees are:

Jennifer Earl, Professor, School of Sociology, SBS

Mark Kear, Assistant Professor, School of Geography, Development & Environment, SBS

Orhon Myadar, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Development & Environment, SBS

Ricardo Valerdi, Professor, Department of Systems & Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering


Jennifer Earl is a Professor in the School of Sociology. Dr. Earl studies social movements and the sociology of law, with research emphases on the Internet and social movements, social movement repression, and legal change. Substantively, she has translated these broad interests into internationally-recognized research on social movements, particularly focused on: young people’s participation in politics and social movements; the impact of digital and social media usage on protest and social movements; and the repression of protest and social movements, particularly on the policing of protest. (Read more.)

As a Udall Center Fellow, Dr. Earl will develop a collaborative NSF proposal on important and unaddressed questions about how targets of social and political protest—including both policymakers and corporate executives—learn about, understand, and make decisions about how to react to that protest. She intends to collaborate with other universities to make this a multi-campus project, with UA as the lead campus. This work ultimately will lead to better understanding the mechanism related to policymaking, including understanding how policymakers respond to extra-institutional influences like protest.


Mark Kear is an Assistant Professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment. Dr. Kear is a financial geographer with research and policy interests in urban resilience and vulnerability, housing affordability, and consumer finance. What unifies these areas of research is a concern with the development and reform of financial markets to ameliorate inequalities related to climate change, housing access and quality, and urban development. His emphasis on financial innovation and the development of new markets draws his attention to financial market peripheries – to places, and people underserved by mainstream financial markets. One such periphery is the mobile and manufactured housing (MH) industry, which is the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U.S. and home to over 20 million Americans. Dr. Kear’s work on MH explores how the historical and present-day differential treatment of this type of housing in law and policy produces and reproduces resident marginality through financial exclusion, social stigmatization, and environmental hazard exposure. (Read more.)

As a Udall Center Fellow, Dr. Kear will utilize a transdisciplinary research team from UA and ASU to study the connections between heat and health in MH communities by using a novel method for measuring and analyzing what he calls household thermal security (HTS), or the ability (or inability) of a household to maintain a stable thermal environment consistent with basic health, social, and financial needs. As he publishes their past and emerging findings, he will also be expanding the broader impacts of his work through engagement with the public, existing community partners and policy makers about what can be done to improve quality of life in MH communities in Arizona and beyond.


Orhon Myadar is an Associate Professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment. Dr. Myadar’s research focuses on geographical understandings of place, displacement, forced mobility and sense of belonging. She studies politically and socially-constructed borders that shape the belonging and exclusion of marginalized individuals, as well as their physical and social mobility. Her recent book Mobility and Displacement (Routledge) examines the historic and ongoing displacement of Mongolian nomadic herders.

Dr. Myadar’s current research examines forced mobility and displacement in the context of political turmoil. She currently leads an interdisciplinary team of UA researchers from geography, urban planning, and public health fields studying the impact of transportation and mobility-related challenges on the well-being of refugees following resettlement, as well as the strategies households, non-profits, and jurisdictions might adopt to address those challenges. Using a mixed-methods approach, they hope to unpack the complexity and intersectionality of the challenges faced by refugees. (Read more.)

As a Udall Center Fellow, Dr. Myadar will produce a report aiming to inform efforts by planners, refugee resettlement agencies, and others to improve refugee resettlement outcomes.


Ricardo Valerdi is a Professor in the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering. Dr. Valerdi is an engineer who specializes in the economics of software. His research is on systems engineering, cost estimation, and sports analytics. He is particularly interested in how private companies and government agencies develop and buy software, and more specifically, in exploring the economics of software in the context of military products and on the policies adopted by the Pentagon to incentivize defense contractors to perform a certain way, which applies not only to fighter aircraft, but also to maritime, space, and cyberspace systems that the military purchases. Dr. Valerdi studies how defense contractors estimate cost and quantify risk in situations where there is high uncertainty or long time horizons, and how certain government policies incentivize certain behavior that may benefit or hinder the success of software-intensive military products. (Read more.)

As a Udall Center Fellow, Dr. Valerdi intends to complete the manuscript of his book on DoD acquisition policies (tentatively titled “Good Decisions, Bad Outcomes”), as well as write a research proposal to further explore the consequences of DoD acquisition policies on the success of military projects with particular focus on the software involved in Next Generation Unmanned Systems, and in the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

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