2018-2020 Scholars Strategy Network Postdoctoral Fellows

Utah SSN Postdoctoral Fellow
Maine SSN Postdoctoral Fellow
San Diego SSN Postdoctoral Fellow

SSN is proud to introduce its second cohort of Postdoctoral Fellows. Each of these Fellows are based at a university in one of the SSN chapters. For the next two years, they will help academics insert research, evidence, and scholarly perspectives into state and national policy debates. The program focuses on building relationships between researchers and policymakers, civic leaders, and journalists to inform and improve the policymaking process.


Sarah Diefendorf Sarah Diefendorf, Utah SSN

Sarah Diefendorf is a sociologist who studies conservative sexual politics. Specifically, Sarah is interested in how and why religious groups shift their beliefs on issues related to gender and sexuality. As a postdoctoral fellow, Sarah looks forward to working with LDS religious leaders and groups, policy makers, public health officials and community organizers on the mechanisms related to Utah’s alarming rate of youth suicide.

Amanda BertanaAmanda Bertana, Maine SSN

Amanda Bertana received her Ph.D. from the Sociology Department at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on the migration-environment nexus, with specific attention to how communities are implementing relocation as a response to ecological degradation.

Jennifer Nations Jennifer Nations, San Diego SSN

Jennifer Nations is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Fiscal Democracy Project at UC San Diego. She holds a PhD in sociology and studies the government and institutional rules that contribute to social inequalities. Jennifer primarily focuses on policies developed within, and for, educational institutions, specifically policies that influence college affordability and the funding of K-12 education. As a fellow with the San Diego SSN Chapter, Jennifer will work to broker long-term relationships between the vibrant academic community of the region and the many organizations and policymakers working for positive social change in San Diego County.


In future years, pending funding and a demonstrated record of success, SSN will look to expand the postdoctoral fellowship to more states, drawing researchers, policymakers, civic leaders and journalists into closer collaborations across the United States.

More information on the 2018-2020 program’s objectives and application process is archived here