Fellowship Program

Our AGEP PROMISE Academy Alliance (APAA) Fellows are excellent and diverse** postdoctoral scholars from the biomedical sciences. These Fellows will spend their 2 year 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 (we call this our Predetermined Pathway) or we will try to assist the Fellow in securing a tenure-track position at another institution within the University System of Maryland (our Flexible pathway). See a visual representation of our program model here. We recently hired 4 new APAA Fellows at UMB, UMBC and UMCP, adding to our 5 previous fellows.  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).  While you enjoy the fellowship and programming, we will be simultaneously be working with departments and institutions to ensure that the climate and environment is one that is inclusive and “ready” to hire, support, and advance colleagues of color. 


Interested in being a fellow? 

We hire fellows through a variety of mechanisms, most of which happen on individual campuses.
We are currently hiring !!

Any scholar interested in a postdoctoral position at the University of Maryland Baltimore (School of Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy) is welcome to look at open positions and inquire with us (rcresisk@umbc.edu) about eligibility for the PROMISE Academy even if it is not mentioned in a job ad.



**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 Pacific Islanders”.

Meet our current APAA fellows below:

Joyce T. Da Silva

Department of Neural and Pain Sciences
University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Dentistry (UMCP)

Dr. Joyce Da Silva is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Neural and Pain Sciences and Chair of the School of Dentistry’s Inclusive Excellence and Equity Committee at the University of Maryland Baltimore. She received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Sao Paulo and her B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from the Nove de Julho University in Brazil. Her research investigates brain mechanisms related to sex and age differences in chronic pain conditions in rodents and humans, as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments that could potentially reverse changes induced by pain and emotional comorbidities, such as anxiety and depression. As a Latina and first-generation college student from an economically disadvantaged background, Dr. Da Silva is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. She has been actively engaged in DEI efforts aimed at dismantling barriers faced by scientists from underrepresented groups and leads her school Inclusive Excellence and Equity Committee that aims to strengthen a diverse and equitable school environment.
Email: jteixeira@umaryland.edu

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 2022 and 2023.
Please contact Director Robin Cresiski, rcresisk@umbc.edu.

Our APAA Fellow Program:

National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Human Resource Development (HRD). NSF AGEP HRD Awards: University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) (1820984), University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) (1820975), University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB) (1820983), and Salisbury University (SU) (1820971), and Towson University (TU) (1820974)

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