Post-Doctoral Researchers

Ipshita Pal, (2016-Present)

Ipshita Pal is an empirical social scientist, trained in economics (Delhi) , social work (Delhi) and policy analysis (Oxford, Columbia). Her research program centers around working-age adults as they balance paid work with the rest of their lives, particularly care work, and negotiate between what is best for themselves, their employers and their loved ones. She is interested to understand what external factors, from public policies to working conditions, help and hinder this balancing act and quest for the best possible life, and their implications for the well-being of individuals and families.

Pal is currently a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Columbia University School of Social Work, where she works on the "National Study of the Chaning Workforce 2016", an external project of the Families and Work Institute (PI: Jane Waldfogel). Pal received her PhD in 2016, also from the Columbia University School of Social Work, where she specialized in Social Policy and Policy Analysis.


Laura Nolan, (2015-Present)

Laura Nolan is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Columbia Population Research Center. She received her PhD in Demography and Social Policy from Princeton University's Office of Population Research and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She also holds a MSc in Global Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the measurement of health and economic wellbeing in both developed and developing country settings. Laura has experience working in partnership with both government and non-governmental organizations, and was a 2015 Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellow at the University of Chicago.

While at Columbia, Laura is working with Professors Jane Waldfogel, Irv Garfinkle, and Chris Wimer on the US Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Subbaraman R, Nolan L, Sawant, K, Shitole S, Shitole T, Nanarkar M, Patil-Deshmukh A, Bloom DE. (2015). Multi-Dimensional Measurement of Household Water Poverty in a Mumbai Slum: Looking beyond water quality. PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133241

Nolan L. (2015). Slum Definitions in Urban India: Implications for the measurement of health inequalities. Population and Development Review. 41(1):59-84

Subbaraman R, Nolan L, Shitole T, Sawant K, Shitole S, Sood K, Nanarkar M, Ghannam J, Betancourt TS, Bloom DE, Patil-Deshmukh A. (2014). The Psychological Toll of Slum Living in India: A mixed methods study. Social Science & Medicine. 119:155-169


Lorenzo Almada, (2014 - Present)

Lorenzo Almada is a postdoctoral research scientist at the Columbia Population Research Center. He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 2014 from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and his B.B.A in Economics from the University of Georgia in 2008. Dr. Almada’s research interests focus primarily on policy-driven questions in the field of health economics centered around the effects of food assistance programs and social policies on obesity and other diet-related outcomes.

Dr. Almada’s dissertation examines the effects of the Food Stamp Program on adult weight outcomes. The focus of his work is to uncover the causal effects of the program by applying rigorous identification methods as well as estimation techniques that address data limitations. His work sheds light on the intensive margin causal effects of food stamp benefits on obesity.  Dr. Almada’s work also documents the considerable rates of food stamp participation under-reporting in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 cohort.

As a postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Almada is currently working with Professor Garfinkel on better understanding the relationship between economic hardships, program participation, and obesity using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Almada is also serving as principal investigator on a recently awarded grant from the Institute for Research on Poverty and United States Department of Agriculture to study the effects of SNAP participation on non-food consumer spending. The focus of this project is to better understand how our nation’s largest food assistance program is helping families cover non-food related expenses, including rent/mortgage, utility bills, and investments in child education. Dr. Almada is also serving as co-investigator on a study funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust that examines the extent of food insecurity intensity across different New York City neighborhoods. 

Almada, L., McCarthy,  I., and Tchernis, R. (forthcoming). What can we learn about the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting? (with Ian McCarthy and Rusty Tchernis), AmericanJournal of Agricultural Economics


Elia De la Cruz Toledo, (2014-2015)

Elia De la Cruz Toledo is a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia Population Research Center. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from Columbia University's School of Social Work with a specialization in social policy analysis under the sponsorship of Dr. Jane Waldfogel.

In her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Essays on Women’s Employment in Mexico,” Dr. De la Cruz Toledo analyzed the changes in female employment in Mexico over the past two decades. Her dissertation consisted of three empirical papers that explored hypotheses for this increase in women’s employment: the ‘motherhood penalty’ decreased, universal preschool encouraged mothers’ employment, and the selection-adjusted gender wage gap is no longer significant in the Mexican labor market. To test these hypotheses, she decomposed the role of changes in payoffs and endowments of ‘motherhood’ in explaining changes in women’s employment over the past two decades. Second, she analyzed, through a difference-in-difference methodology, the effect of changes in preschool enrollment on mothers’ employment. Third, she measured the gender wage gap incorporating actual job experience, and cognitive and non-cognitive traits (previously unaccounted for in Mexican studies).

As a post-doctoral researcher, Dr. De la Cruz Toledo is working with Dr. Ronald Mincy on analyzing the effects of fathers' income dynamics on child well-being, and with Dr. Jane Waldfogel on studying the economic valuation of health-related interventions that aim to improve the health of adolescents and young adults, in preparation for a Lancet Commission report on adolescent health. She also has research interests in the dynamics of gender inequality in the labor market, the barriers to women's employment and the opportunity costs of childbearing.

Dr. De la Cruz holds a B.A. in Economics from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico and an M.A. in Public Administration from Columbia University. She has also been employed at several international organizations such as the International Labor Office and the Inter-American Development Bank.


RaeHyuck Lee, (2014-2015)

RaeHyuck is working on multiple projects, including research on the effects of Head Start participation on children in immigrant families and low-income families, research studying cross-nationally public policies and inequality in children’s achievement, and research examining the association between early maternal employment and school readiness among children in immigrant families. His research interest mainly focuses on studying child and family wellbeing in immigrant families and low-income families, cross-nationally public policies and child wellbeing, and protective and risk factors for child maltreatment. He has published multiple peer-reviewed journal articles in a broad range of disciplines including Social Work, Education, Developmental Psychology, Psychiatry, Sociology, and Demography. Selected recent publications include:

Lee, R. H., Zhai, F., Brooks-Gunn, J., Han, W-J., & Waldfogel, J. (2014). Head Start participation and school readiness: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Developmental Psychology, 50(1), 202-215.

Lee, R. H., Zhai, F., Han, W-J., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Waldfogel, J. (2013). Head Start and children’s nutrition, weight, and health care receipt. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(4), 723-733.

Han, W-J., Lee, R. H., & Waldfogel, J. (2012). School readiness among children of immigrants in the US: Evidence from a large national birth cohort study. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(4), 771-782.


Morgan Philbin, (2015-Present)

Dr. Philbin is an NIH-funded postdoctoral research fellow in the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia Unviersity and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received her Masters of Health Sciences in International Health: Social and Behavioral Interventions (2007) and PhD in Health, Behavior and Society (2013) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Philbin's research employs primarily qualitative and ethnographic methods to explore how institutional and policy-level factors are integrated into the daily lives of HIV-positive youth and those at risk for HIV acquisition. In addition, Dr. Philbin has focused on linkage to care and engagement in care among HIV-positive urban adolescents, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM). She has conducted HIV-focused work in the United States, Mexico, and China, and has recently begun research in Vietnam. As a postdoctoral fellow Dr. Philbin is focusing her research on a project conducting community-based ethnography with black MSM to inform an intervention to improve the uptake of health services and adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection. She is also currently examining how state-level policies affect HIV risk and mental health outcomes among Latinos.


Natasha Pilkauskas, (2012-2015)

Natasha is working on several projects, including research on the effects of the Great Recession on fragile families, research on private safety nets/social support and maternal employment. Her research generally focuses on the wellbeing of children, poverty, public policy and family structure.

Pilkauskas, N.V., Garfinkel, I. & McLanahan, S.S. (Forthcoming) The prevalence and economic value of doubling up. Demography.  

Gottlieb, A., Pilkauskas, N.V., & Garfinkel, I. (Forthcoming). Private financial transfers, family income and the Great Recession. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Pilkauskas, N.V. (Forthcoming). Breastfeeding initiation and duration in coresident grandparent, mother and infant households. Maternal and Child Health Journal doi: 10.1007/s10995-014-1441-z.

Pilkauskas, N.V. & Martinson, M. L. (2014) Three-generation family households in early childhood: Cross-national comparisons between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Demographic Research, 30, 1639-1652.

Carlson, M. J., Van Orman, A. & Pilkauskas, N.V. (2013). Examining the antecedents of U.S. nonmarital fathering using two national datasets. Demography, 50, 1421-1447.

Pilkauskas, N.V. (2012). Three-generation family households: Differences by family structure at birth. Journal of Marriage and Family, 5, 931-943.

Pilkauskas, N.V., Currie, J. & Garfinkel, I. (2012). The Great Recession, public transfers and material hardship. Social Service Review, 3, 401-427.


Anna Haskins, (2013-2014)

Anna is mainly working on a project that explores the effects of paternal incarceration on school-aged children's educational outcomes, engagement and schooling contexts using the Fragile Families data. She is also beginning work which investigates the community-level consequences of mass incarceration for children's health and educational development. Her research interests are broadly in the areas of educational inequality, social stratification, race and ethnicity, and the intergenerational social consequences of mass incarceration.

Haskins, Anna R. forthcoming. "Unintended Consequences: Effects of Paternal Incarceration on Child School Readiness and Later Special Education Placement." Sociological Science.

Fiel, Jeremy, Anna R. Haskins and Ruth N. López Turley.  2013.  "Reducing School Mobility: A Randomized Trial of a Relationship-Building Intervention." American Educational Research Journal 50: 1188-1218.

Wildeman, Christopher, Anna R. Haskins, and Christopher Muller.  2013.  "Implications of Mass Imprisonment for Inequality among American Children" in The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration, pp. 117-191, edited by Deborah E. McDowell, Claudrena Harold, and Juan Battle. University of Virginia Press.


Amanda Geller, Associate Research Scientist (2007-2012)

Amanda worked on multiple projects, including the Annie E. Casey parental incarceration project and the OSI work on racial disparities in criminal justice. Her research foci included race, families, and criminal justice research.

Geller, A., Garfinkel, I., Cooper, C. E., & Mincy, R. B.  (2009).  “Parental Incarceration and Child Wellbeing: Implications for Urban Families.”  Social Science Quarterly. 90 (5): 1186-1202.

Fagan, J., Geller, A., Davies, G., & West, V. (2010).  “Street stops and Broken Windows revisited:  The demography and logic of proactive policing in a safe and changing city.”  In Race, Ethnicity, and Policing: New and essential readings, edited by S. K. Rice and M. D. White.  New York, NY: NYU Press.

Geller, A. & Fagan, J.  (2010).  “Pot as Pretext: Marijuana, Race, and the New Disorder in New York City Street Policing.”  Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. 7 (4): 591-633.

Geller, A., Garfinkel, I., & Western, B.  (2011).  “Paternal Incarceration and Support for Children in Fragile Families.” Demography.  48(1): 25-47.

Geller, A., Cooper, C. E., Garfinkel, I., Schwartz-Soicher, O., & Mincy, R. B.  (2012).  “Beyond Absenteeism: Father Incarceration and Child Development.”  Demography.  49(1): 49-76.