Our Fellows

Social Science Works is supported by an increasing group of Fellows.

Our fellows comprise a diverse, international group of scholars, mostly based in Germany, that share the core ideas behind Social Science Works.

They strive to contribute to the societal relevance of social science and to the quality of democratic decision making. For that account, they publish quality articles and blogs on our homepage targeting a broad audience and they can be hired by us to write second opinions on research about which they have expertise. Additionally, they regularly support our workshops – especially the ones on deliberation – as moderators and consultants.

Laila Keeling

Laila Keeling is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University in Boston, studying Political Science and Economics. Most of her coursework thus far has focused on modern political thought and theory, as well as social change in the American political climate. Laila’s interest in immigration politics has largely stemmed from having grown up near the US/Mexico border and therefore witnessing the extensive influence that immigration over the Mexican border has on life and culture within the US. Laila has previously studied the misuse of solitary confinement by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and is interested in comparing the experiences of refugees in Germany and the US. In her spare time, Laila enjoys traveling, baking, and being outdoors. Together with Anjali Zyla, Laila was an intern at Social Science Works in the first half of 2022. During this time, she conducted a large number of interviews with refugees in Brandenburg.

Anjali Zyla

Anjali Zyla is a second-year student at Northeastern University, where she studies Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. She previously completed an internship at a law firm in California that focused primarily on immigration law, where she was exposed to the systemic inequalities facing immigrants and refugees in the United States. As an intern at Social Science Works, she is interested in learning more about the experiences of refugees in Germany and policies that can help them. In the first half of 2022, she and Laila Keeling conducted a large number of interviews with refugees in Brandenburg.

Alessia Arbustini MA

Alessia obtained a Master in Gender Studies with special reference to the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Her thesis addressed how young Muslims challenge islamophobic propaganda in Italy. She holds a BA in Anthropology, Religion and Oriental Civilization at the University of Bologna, Italy. Her main research interests lie in queer and feminist diaspora studies, migration and displacement, gender issues related to new nationalisms and feminist and queer knowledge production. She is currently an educator at a Berlin refugee home for unaccompanied minor refugees. Here she is working with 16 teenagers, mostly male, of 14-17 years of age. In addition, she is a learning support assistant at Nelson Mandela International School, where she supports primary kids with special needs. Previously, she volunteered as a project assistant at Centro Donna Giustizia (women’s shelter) in a project addressed to survivors of human trafficking in Italy. In London, she volunteered as project assistant for the Afghan and Central Asia Association(ACAA), where she assisted Afghan women during English lessons and helped to organize weekly workshops on the topic of their interests (Tea corner project).

Sahba Salehi MA

Sahba Salehi studied International Humanitarian Action (NOHA) at the University of Groningen. She has previously studied International Development at the University of Edinburgh and has an undergraduate degree in English Language. She has experience working with the Danish Refugee Council on a project for Afghan refugee children’s access to education in Iran. Prior to this, Sahba also has worked as a language teacher and an education coordinator in a community center in Tehran. She is passionate about alternative types of education as a means of social change and promoting equality. Her other interests include issues related to working with communities on different areas such as education, participation, and integration. As an intern with Social Science Works, Sahba is excited to improve her knowledge of democracy and deliberation. She is also interested in exploring the impacts of SSW as a local NGO on the community and the challenges, achievements, and learnt lessons of the projects.

Yusril Nurhidayat BA

Zélie Marchand

Zélie is studying political science in France at the Université Paris-Est-Créteil. She focuses on the education for peace, and would like to become involved in the management of humanitarian projects. Indeed, for her, being educated means being able to think for oneself, and therefore not being subject to the ideas and wishes of others. And to be educated for peace is to be led by the believe in an international community and in dialogue over violence. She is convinced that the great challenges ahead can only be solved through international solidarity. As a short-term intern at Social Science Works, she wants to explore the organization’s actions, in particular the deliberative workshops, to understand how these can influence the trajectory of people in difficulty.

Milad Rezaei MFA

Milad began his academic journey in sociology at an “underground” and “illegal” university called BIHE, aimed at those deprived of higher education. Later, as an artist, he obtained his B.F.A in Photography and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University where he explored the notions of oppression, compassion, and what it means to be a human being. During his M.F.A in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at Bauhaus Universität Weimar, he began to teach courses with the title “Mind, Body and Everything in Between: An Introduction to Mindfulness in Arts.” In his socially engaged public art works, he explores the experience of what it means to be a self, not only on the level of personality and psychosocial identity, but also the self as the first-person experience. He is eager to invite and engage human beings to contemplate what it means to be a self. In his recent artwork called “reselfing,” he explores this experience in an audio walk he created for the public in Weimar. If you catch him in the early mornings, you will find him in deep silence, waiting for a poem to land in his heart so he can plant it with ink in his notebook.

Milad shares some of his works at www.miladrezaei.com

Paola Perrin de Brichambaut MA

Paola holds a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Her research examines the impact of urban policy on the human and cultural rights of minority groups. Furthermore, she is interested in the topics of citizenship, migrant and refugee rights, and cultural heritage. Before focusing on Social Anthropology, Paola completed a BA in History of Art at University College London (UCL) and wrote about the intersection of war, psychoanalysis and feminism. She enjoys reading novels and doing pottery in her free time.

Annie Schwerdtfeger

Annie is an undergraduate student at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is studying International and Public Affairs with a focus in Humanitarian Aid. She has completed coursework in International and Refugee Law, Humanitarian Aid, and public policy. As an intern at Social Science Works, she will support in data analysis and social science based research methods. She is interested in learning about how NGOs contribute to shaping policy in different communities across Germany.

Oktay Tuncer MA

Marie-Luise Arriens

Marie-Luise Arriens, born in Dresden, studied acting at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz/Austria after graduating from high school. In 2003 she came to Potsdam for her first engagement at the Hans-Otto-Theater. 2007-2009 followed an engagement at the Theater Bautzen. Since 2010 she has been working as a freelance actress, theater pedagogue and speaker.
Her artistic work focuses on solo productions. In preparation is a play for children from 5 years on. The theme is self-confidence and growth.
In her theater pedagogical work with children, young people and adults, she focuses on personality development, identity issues and body awareness. In 2019, Marie-Louise founded the senior theater group “Die Vielfältigen” in Potsdam, which she has been leading ever since. Together with Mirjam Neebe, she conducted workshops under the motto “Sag mir, wer du bist” (Tell me who you are) for refugee women.

Aryaan Bovenberg

Aryaan studies International Development, with a main focus on Politics and Communication in Development at Wageningen University and Research. During her studies she took part in the Food and Nutrition Security Excellence Program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Further, as a board member of the student group Amnesty International Wageningen she organized evenings and masterclasses on for example refugee rights. This leads to an interest in the deliberative projects of Social Science Works. Aryaan has been working as an intern at SSW from September till December 2020 and is still involved in many of our activities.

Dr. Asaf Leshem

Hacı Çevik MA

Hacı Çevik is s currently working on his PhD at the Department of Sociology of the University of Potsdam. He explores the construction of collective identities of Kurds who migrated from Konya to Germany in the context of theories of collective identity, collective memory and migrant networks. At the same time, he is completing his PhD at the Department of Social Work at Hacettepe University. In this thesis, he examines the experiences of social exclusion and discrimination of Syrian refugees within the framework of socio-cultural integration policies.

Haci completed his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration at Kocaeli University and his master’s degree in Political Science at Ankara University. The title of his master thesis is “Politicization in the Context of Migration to European Countries: Examples of Kulu and Cihanbeyli”. He researched the processes of politicization and nationalism based on Kurdish ethnic identity of Kurdish immigrants who migrated from Central Anatolia to different countries of Europe and how this had an effect in Turkey. For this thesis he conducted field studies in Turkey, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

His interests are migration studies, collective identity, Kurdish political identity, ethnic discrimination, nationalism and politicization, Central Anatolia Kurds, political psychology.

Stavroula Kapsogeorgi

Stavroula studied Political Science at Aristotle University, in Greece. In the context of a Erasmus+ exchange she does an internship at SSW until June 2021. Her main interests have always revolved around Cultural Sociology, Social Movements, Political Communication, Social Policy, and Public Administration. She has volunteered in the Municipality of Thessaloniki in projects on Civil Rights and Social Action. In particular, she helped with creative play for refugee-children. Stavroula likes literature and music, and paints.

Maxime Kuhlmey BA

Maxime Kuhlmey started his career at SSW in October 2019. He is studying social sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin (HU). Earlier, he spent one and a half years in Beirut (Lebanon), gaining work experience at the Orient Institute Beirut (Max-Weber Foundation) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. While in Lebanon again, he now finishes his Master in social science at the Humboldt University.

During his stays in Lebanon he realized once more the necessity of bringing people with different origins, values, opinions and beliefs together. Lebanon is with its 18 different religious sects one of the most diverse (and at the same time smallest) countries in the world. During his research, he found Social Science Works and their deliberative approach, that corresponds with his ideal conception of having a changing and lasting effect on people.

Yamen Fouda BA

Yamen is an architect and urban planner from Syria. He studied at Al-Wataniya University and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. His professional motto is “unless you put a function to your creation – it’s not architecture, it’s just visual art”. Architects not only have to create objects of beauty, but also objects that are practical and functional. To realize this goal, inputs from the social sciences are essential, which also explains Yamens interest in a cooperation with Social Science Works. In the deliberative workshops of SSW in the refugee home in Wünsdorf Yamen was one of the most involved participants. Having experienced the consequences of a lack social deliberation in Syria, he would like to contribute to the spread of deliberation in more and more communities.

Florentin Münstermann MA

Florentin Münstermann is a German graduate of the Erasmus School of Economics Rotterdam, currently living in Potsdam. He holds a Master in Economics and Business Economics, with a focus in Political Economics. Throughout his life he acquired a lot of international and multicultural experiences, which range from living a year abroad in Beijing, studying at an international school in Berlin and participating in an exchange semester at Bocconi University Milan during his bachelor studies in Rotterdam. Flo’s political interests stem from the increasingly controversial political debates and crisis around the globe. He rounded off his Bachelor with a thesis on the topic of political enfranchisement, voting behaviors of expatriate voters and their changing roles modern political campaigns. Flo is also interested in sports and music, and holds a certificate in Music Production and Sound Engineering from dBs Berlin.

Anne Flake MA

Anne Flake is a recent Public Policy graduate of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Before joining the Hertie School of Governance, Anne majored in International Development (BA) at Leiden University College, and worked at local NGOs in Turkey, Myanmar and the Netherlands. Anne previously worked with GIZ for a multisector programme aimed at strengthening the resilience of refugees and host-communities in Syria’s neighbouring countries. For her master thesis, Anne conducted field research in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to study the concept of procedural legitimacy in the interaction between local (government) stakeholders and external aid actors.

Anne is specifically interested in challenges related to inclusive education, (forced) migration, governance in areas of limited statehood, human rights in authoritarian and conflict-affected contexts, and social policy. She believes that deliberation and participatory approaches to policy-making are valuable tools to building more inclusive societies – be they in Germany, the Netherlands or beyond.

Andrew Sorota

Andrew is an undergraduate student at Yale University. He is interested in the nexus of political thought and affect theory, studying the ways in which institutions, public policy, and societal norms shape individual lived experience. As a Dahl Scholar at the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Andrew researches democratic precarity in the United States amidst increasing national diversity. He has also researched institution building efforts in the West Bank through the International Legal Foundation and was selected as a fellow for the Peace and Dialogue Leadership Initiative. At Yale, Andrew has previously served as the Chair of the largest forum for leftist thought on campus, the Chief of Staff of the only student-run political action committee in the United States, and a tutor at a local correctional institution. He has also worked on several progressive political campaigns.

Isabel Navarro BA

Alice Lorch BA

Alice Lorch worked on the Canarian Island Teneriffa for the Loro Parqué Foundation after finishing an apprenticeship as a state-approved foreign language correspondent. During her work, she made her first experiences in project management and member support. In 2010 she moved back to Germany and started working in the cultural department of the German-Polish Foundation Genshagen. There, she improved her skills in project management, controlling and public relations. At the same time, Alice graduated in International Business Communication at the private AKAD university in Leipzig. She wrote her bachelor thesis about the potential projects for the societal integration of refugees. Since October 2019, she works as a freelance project manager at Social Science Works.

Gabrielle Denman

Gabrielle was our intern for the Autumn of 2019. She is from Austin, Texas and is currently working to complete her undergraduate degree in Supply Chain Management at the University of Texas at Austin and has just completed a semester abroad at Copenhagen Business School. She has earned a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas, a field of study based on the analysis of the “great books” of human history, which discuss human nature, ethics, and the meaning of life from various perspectives. She is especially interested in a career working with startup NGOs which are dedicated to creating sustainable solutions to help stabilize the world’s refugee crisis and has experience volunteering with such NGOs in Europe, as well as working at a tech startup in the USA.

Paul Börsting BA

Paul Börsting graduated from Tilburg University in Netherlands with a bachelor degree in “Liberal Arts and Sciences” majoring in Social Sciences. During his interdisciplinary study he focused on a diverse number of topics mainly in the realm of political sciences and sociology, such as migration, identity, international relations, the European Union and political theory. He finished his degree with a bachelor thesis on the expectations, motivations and effects of volunteering by refugees in Germany. In the first half of 2018, Paul was an intern at Social Science Works. Currently, he finishes his Masters at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Sciences Po in Paris.

Besides that, Paul enjoys getting to know other cultures and people – may it be on his travels, during his one year volunteer service in South India, in international workcamps or during his exchange semester in Hong Kong. Additionally, he enjoys music, company, food, hiking and podcasts.

Emma Eden BA

Emma Eden is a Palestinian Israeli graduate from Max Stern Yezreel Valley College in Israel. She studied Psychology and Criminology as part of her dual subject bachelor. During her studies, Emma participated in Model United Nations (MUN) that prepares students to debate social and political topics in conferences all over the world. She worked with youth in distress for 3 years, gathering perspectives on complex social issues. Furthermore, as an Arab woman growing up in Israel she observed the Israeli – Palestinian conflict from both sides and from different perspectives. She examined this in her BA thesis on the integration of Arab female students in Israel. This integration creates an ethnic identity dilemma and Emma analyzed their way of coping with it. Additionally, Emma led a workshop bridging Arab and Jewish students and encouraging them to open a conversation touching on both their issues and concerns. She is currently in Germany, and is researching forced emigration and human rights from a social cognitive perspective.

Namitha Vivek MA

Namitha has always been severely curious about systems and the way they work. This led her to finish a masters in Physics from Chennai, India and more recently graduate with a masters in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy from Furtwangan University in the Schwarzwald. Her master thesis examined the effects of the migration crisis on post-war German national identity.

She spent the first half of 2019 working at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This experience highlighted the need to establish strong multisectoral partnerships and retain the relevance of academia in becoming tangible to civil society.  At Social Science Works she has set out to do just that.
She has studied conflicts of various kinds in India, Germany and Israel and is interested in identity politics, gender theory, forced migration and statelessness, and social hierarchy. In her free time she enjoys marathon walks in forests, rowing, meeting people over numerous cups of ginger tea and attempts to conquer the infamously hard German language.

Drop her an email at namitha.vivek27@gmail.com

Phillip Reißenweber MA

Phillip Reißenweber is a political scientist and doctoral candidate at the University of Greifswald. During the course of his study his main area of interest comprised contemporary questions of political theory as well as questions of methodology and research designs. He is also a communications coach, trained in Nonviolent Communication based on the approach by Marshall B. Rosenberg. His experience with this approach towards intra- as well as interpersonal conflict resolution, with its emphasis on emotions and needs, led him to believe that emotional development is an important prerequisite for the accomplishment of democratic values like political equality and social justice. In his M.A. thesis he brought political science and Nonviolent Communication together by analysing the connections between cognitive-evaluative theories of emotions and the principles behind representative democracy. His PhD thesis partly continues this project by analysing the role of emotions in political deliberation and investigating possible designs for real-world deliberative settings. Settings which are capable to integrate even subtle aspects of
emotionality into public discourse. Besides all that Phillip is a passionate Balfolk dancer, he loves to read novels, cycling and he enjoys listening to music.

Jeanne Lenders MA

Jeanne graduated with distinction for her Master in European Studies at King’s College London, after spending the final semester at the Humboldt University in Berlin. She also holds a first-class Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture from the Radboud University Nijmegen. For her Master’s thesis, she conducted semi-structured interviews with young, male Afghan asylum seekers in Berlin, focussing on their displacement experience and views on German culture and gender relations. Previously, she has volunteered for the Boat Refugee Foundation in Lesvos, where she coordinated an Afghan women’s support group. Next to that, she contributed as a research assistant to a human-rights think tank in Malta and completed a training on refugee inclusion in Southern Italy. Her main research interests lie in social coherence, the power dynamics between majority and minority populations, and the gendered aspects of forced migration.

Akram Yacob MA

Akram Yacob graduated from the Hertie School of Governance with a Master in Public Policy. After spending 6 months at the United Nations Volunteers in Bonn, he wrote his thesis on the topic of improving social media stakeholder engagement using Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Prior to that, he graduated from the Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in Sociology and Corporate Communication. Over the years, his research interests have gravitated towards technology, urbanization and development.

Born and raised in Singapore, he worked for several years in the government in Singapore. Additionally, he has been part of several start-ups from public-service platforms to decentralized AI platforms. He loves animals and has spent time volunteering with the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore) and the Animal Care Center of NYC (ACC).

Raíssa Silveira MA

Raíssa is a Brazilian Masters student for Political Science at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco – Brazil, currently in Germany to expand her research on modern antisemitism. She is a BA in International Relations and a former intern for her country’s Ministry of Foreign Relations on Human Rights issues. Raíssa was also a volunteer for Palestinians’ rights and she specialized in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when her desire to advocate against antisemitism also arose. Furthermore, she has interest for democracy studies, international organizations, media studies, forced migration, MENA studies, theology and political philosophy. She will take part in the Brazilian delegation to TUFTS University – Boston Symposium on Migration in a Turbulent World. She loves travelling and learning languages, and looks forward to developing relevant and accessible research.

Uwe Ruß MA

Sergiu Lucaci MA

Alexandra Johansen BA

Sarah Coughlan MA

Jada Lindblom MA

Christian Kipp MA

Christian Kipp currently studies mathematics at TU Berlin. He holds a master’s degree in Social Science from HU Berlin. In his master’s thesis in Social Science, Christian discussed Ernest Gellner’s theory of nationalism from a philosophical perspective. The topic of his bachelor’s thesis in mathematics is at the intersection of geometric functional analysis and statistics. Christian’s support of SSW is based on the belief that science and democracy should be understood as two aspects of humanism, which can only exist as a unity.

Michael Häfelinger MA

Dr. Sergiu Buscaneanu

Lily Cichanowicz BA

Mafalda Sandrini MA

Mafalda is currently doing her PhD at the Free University in Berlin under the Organizational Communication Division of the Institute for Media and Communication Studies. While studying her master in Media and Communication Management at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Mafalda worked on the research project The Moving Networked, developed by the BoP – Board of Participation Association and the Allianz Kulturstiftung, aimed at creating intercultural bridges between the refugee and local community by implementing lectures and workshops in refugee camps and other facilities. In her dissertation Mafalda is deepening the approach by adopting a meso perspective in order to investigate how organizations are connected within the networked public sphere by adopting social network analysis. Particularly, she is interested in examining the relationships between governmental organizations, NGOs and organizations funded by refugees, in Berlin, in order to gather a holistic picture of relationships’ patterns and their structure.

Paula Herrera MA

Patrick Sullivan MA