• Ronald Kassimir

    Ron Kassimir is acting co-president and vice president of programs at the Social Science Research Council, providing strategic planning for and fostering coherence across the Council’s programs while also supporting the development of new program initiatives. He also provides leadership for the Religion and the Public Sphere program, works closely on the Council’s Africa-focused activities, and is managing editor of the SSRC’s digital forum Items. From 1996 to 2005, Kassimir was first a program officer and then a program director at the Council, where he managed the Africa Program and, from 2000 to 2005, the International Dissertation Field Research Fellowship Program. In 2005, Kassimir became associate dean at the New School for Social Research and associate professor in the Department of Politics, and in 2007 he moved to the New School’s Office of the Provost, where he worked for six years as associate provost for research and special projects. From 2011 to 2013, he cochaired the university committee that produced an institutional self-study as part of the New School’s reaccreditation process. He returned to the Council in 2013 as senior adviser, and then executive program director. Kassimir earned a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago in 1996. He has published on religion, civil society, higher education, and globalization in Africa, as well as on youth activism and civic engagement. He is coeditor of Intervention and Transnationalism in Africa: Global-Local Networks of Power (Cambridge University Press, 2001), Youth Activism: An International Encyclopedia (Greenwood Publishing, 2005), and Youth, Globalization, and the Law (Stanford University Press, 2007).

    Title
    Vice President of Programs
    Contact
    kassimir@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Mary Kelly

    Mary Kelly is the human resources and administrative assistant at the Council. She graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in acting.

    Title
    Human Resources and Administrative Assistant
    Department
    Human Resources
    Contact
    kelly@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Georgina Lachman

    Title
    Program Assistant
    Department
    Mellon Mays Graduate Initiative Program
    Contact
    lachman@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Laura Laderman

    Laura Laderman, data analyst, performs quantitative analysis and creates data visualizations for Measure of America. She holds a BA in physics and a minor in statistics from Swarthmore College. She was previously a Summer of Maps Fellow at Azavea, where she conducted geospatial analysis for nonprofit organizations. In addition to making maps, she enjoys dancing, hiking, and growing vegetables.

    Title
    Research Associate
    Department
    Measure of America
    Contact
    laderman@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3715
    Staff
  • Sydney Larrier

    Title
    Program Assistant
    Department
    Mellon Mays Graduate Initiative Program
    Contact
    larrier@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Vikki Lassiter

    Vikki Lassiter, Partnerships Specialist, provides strategic direction for stakeholder outreach and expanding Measure of America’s collaborative advantage to support research, advocacy, and bottom-up innovation. Previously, Vikki was the senior advisor and executive director for the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network based at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health. Vikki’s prior work has focused on a number of issues related to change management, health equity, and community-partnered research. Vikki earned an MS in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.

    Title
    Partnerships Specialist
    Department
    Measure of America
    Contact
    Lassiter@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Nicole Levit

    Nicole Restrick Levit is the manager of the fellowships office and the assistant director of the Abe Fellowship Program and the Japan Program. She holds a B.A. in modern literary studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Cornell University. Prior to joining the Council in 2006, Nicole worked in the field of international education, exchange and outreach for five years, first as associate director of the National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies, Indiana University, and then as an international programs officer at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.

    Title
    Fellowships Manager; Associate Director
    Department
    Abe Fellowship Program
    Contact
    levit@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3639
    Staff
  • Brandi Lewis

    Brandi Lewis is the director of human resources and has more than 10 years of nonprofit human resources experience managing all aspects of the HR function. Her passion and expertise is in both operational and strategic HR practices. Prior to joining the Council, Lewis served as director of human resources for New York Cares and director of human resources for Homes for the Homeless. She holds a BA from Southern University at New Orleans, and is also credentialed by the Society of Human Resource Management.

    Title
    Human Resources Director
    Department
    Human Resources
    Contact
    blewis@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Kristen Lewis

    Kristen Lewis is Co-Director of Measure of America and co-author of two volumes of The Measure of America (Columbia University Press, 2008 and NYU Press, 2010) as well as well-being reports for California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Marin and Sonoma Counties. Before founding Measure of America with co-director Sarah Burd-Sharps in 2007, Kristen was senior policy advisor to the water and sanitation task force of the UN Millennium Project, led by Jeffery Sachs, and was co-author of the task force report, Health, Dignity and Development: What will it take? (Earthscan, 2005). She previously worked at the United Nations for many years, first with UNIFEM and then as in UNDP's policy bureau, and has served as a consultant on gender equality issues for numerous international development organizations, including UNICEF and UNFPA. Kristen contributes regularly to media outlets, with articles published in the The Nation, Huffington Post, and Stanford Social Innovation Review, among others, research cited by The New York Times, Forbes, The Atlantic, Washington Post, NPR, Slate, Freakonomics blog, and frequent newspaper and radio interviews. She received a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

    Title
    Director
    Department
    Measure of America
    Contact
    kristen@measureofamerica.org, (718) 517-3689
    Staff
  • Sidney Lok

    Sidney Lok is the program assistant for the Religion and the Public Sphere and Transregional Collaboratory on the Indian Ocean programs. Prior to joining the Council, she worked at a faith-based organization in Prague and was most recently research assistant and executive coordinator at an architecture firm supporting housing need and public transit research. Lok graduated from Cornell University with a BS in environmental engineering and a minor in design and environmental analysis in 2019.

    Title
    Program Assistant
    Department
    Religion and the Public Sphere & Transregional Collaboratory on the Indian Ocean
    Contact
    lok@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Peter Marino

    Title
    Research Associate
    Department
    President's Office
    Contact
    marino@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Lisa Marshall

    Lisa Marshall joined the SSRC in 2014 as Development Officer, in which capacity she coordinates the Council's annual fund and manages the College & University Fund for the Social Sciences. Lisa came to the SSRC from Portland, Oregon, where she spent 12 years fundraising in the arts and social service sectors. She has a BA in English and graphic design from Lewis & Clark College. In addition to her work in nonprofit fundraising, Lisa also offers freelance graphic design and strategic marketing services to a variety of small business clients.

    Title
    Development Officer
    Department
    Development
    Contact
    marshall@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3713
    Staff
  • Mario Martinez

    Title
    Staff Accountant
    Department
    Finance
    Contact
    martinez@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Clare McGranahan

    Clare McGranahan is the associate director of communications. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a BA in religion and philosophy. Before working at the Council she interned for Island Press’s Production Department in Washington, DC. She joined the SSRC as editorial assistant in 2015.

    Title
    Associate Director
    Department
    Communications
    Contact
    mcgranahan@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3709
    Staff
  • Michael Miller

    Michael Miller is program director for the Social Science Research Council's Just Tech program and Media & Democracy program. He received his PhD in political science from the City University of New York, where his research explored how mechanisms of censorship, surveillance, and propaganda vary across media types in China. He serves on the 2020-22 First Draft US Board of Directors, and is a 2018-2020 Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow. Prior to joining the SSRC he was an adjunct professor of political science at Hunter College and Hostos Community College of the City University of New York.

    Title
    Program Director
    Department
    Just Tech, Media & Democracy
    Contact
    miller@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3650
    Staff
  • Weichen Mo

    Weichen Mo is a staff accountant at the SSRC. He graduated from Brooklyn College with a master’s degree in accounting in 2020. When he was a college student, he joined in the VITA Program as a tax return volunteer. He also worked as an accounting intern at Race Forward. Before joining the Council, he was a staff accountant at American Thoracic Society.

    Title
    Staff Accountant
    Department
    Finance
    Contact
    mo@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Lorna Nicholls-Brown

    Lorna Nicholls-Brown is the SSRC's accounting and finance manager. Nicholls-Brown has over 30 years of accounting experience in various industries and joins the SSRC from HLW International LLP, a global architectural firm, where she served as controller. She previously served as controller for the International Center for Transitional Justice for five years and holds a BA degree from CUNY Queens College in accounting and is currently working on an MS in risk management.

    Title
    Accounting and Finance Manager
    Department
    Finance
    Contact
    nicholls-brown@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Cleia Noia

    Cleia Noia is the associate director of the Drugs, Security and Democracy (DSD) Program. She received her law degree from Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie in Brazil and her master's degree in law and diplomacy, with a focus on international development and human security, from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Prior to joining the Council in 2014, Cleia worked as a lawyer in Brazil and consulted on Brazil's drug policy for the Open Society Foundations.

    Title
    Associate Director
    Department
    Drugs, Security and Democracy Program
    Contact
    noia@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3710
    Staff
  • Cyril Obi

    Cyril Obi is program director for the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program, bringing his extensive research, networking, and publishing experience on African peace, security, and development to the Council. After completing his doctoral studies in Political Science at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, he joined the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and was promoted to associate research professor in 2004. That same year, Dr. Obi was awarded the Claude Ake Visiting Chair at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. From 2005 to 2011, he was a senior researcher and led the research cluster on “Conflict, Displacement and Transformation” at the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in Uppsala. He has received academic awards and fellowships from the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Dakar, Senegal; the Social Science Research Council (SSRC); Africa Studies Center (ASC), Leiden; St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford; 21st Century Trust; Salzburg Seminar; and the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI). Dr. Obi is currently a research associate of the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa; a visiting scholar to the Institute of African Studies (IAS), Columbia University; and an adjunct professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Dr. Obi serves on the editorial boards of several reputable journals, including African Affairs, African and Asian Studies, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, African Security Review, Brazilian Journal of African Studies, International Political Science Review, Governance in Africa, Strategic Review for Southern Africa, and Ubuntu: Journal of Conflict Transformation. He is also an international contributing editor to the Review of African Political Economyand serves on the Zed Books Africa editorial advisory board. Dr. Obi is also a member of the Board of Directors of the African Studies Association (ASA) and the International Advisory Board of the International Panel on Exiting Violence (IPEV), Paris. His publications include The Rise of China and India in Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Critical Interventions (Zed Books, 2010), with Fantu Cheru; Oil and Insurgency in the Niger Delta: Managing the Complex Politics of Petro-Violence (Zed Books, 2011), with Siri Aas Rustad; and a special issue of the African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) (Indiana University Press, 2014), with T. Tieku and L. Scorgie-Porter. He has also contributed articles to the following peer-reviewed journals: Review of African Political Economy (2014), Extractive Industries and Society (2014), and South African Journal of International Affairs (2015). Dr. Obi recently contributed a chapter, “Understanding the Resource Curse Effect: Instability and Violent Conflict in Africa,” to Minding the Gap: Conflict Management in a Time of Change, edited by Pamela Aall and Chester Crocker (CIGI, 2016).

    Title
    Program Director
    Department
    The Africa Initiatives
    Contact
    obi@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3673
    Staff
  • Duncan Omanga

    Dr. Duncan Omanga is program officer for the African Peacebuilding Network and Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa programs. Before joining the Council in 2019, Omanga was the Head, Department of Publishing and Media Studies, Moi University (Kenya) and a senior lecturer of Media Studies there. Omanga was until February 2019 a British Academy visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge (2018/9) and is also a 2014 APN (Africa Peacebuilding Network-SSRC) alumnus. He has previously held one of the two 2015/6 African Visiting Fellowships (Centre for African Studies) at the University of Cambridge. Omanga was the nominee for the 2017 Mary Kingsley Zochonis Lecture (ASAUK), SOAS, a lecture that was based on his research on "Social Media, Political Devolution and public Participation in Kenya." Omanga’s research is on the intersection of digitality, security, and democracy in East Africa and his latest research grant was a Facebook-funded research project on "Human Rights, Policing and Digital Landscapes" in Nairobi. Omanga is an alumnus of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS) at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

    Title
    Program Officer
    Department
    African Peacebuilding Network
    Contact
    omanga@ssrc.org, 0787959411
    Staff
  • Fred Palm

    Fred Palm is acting co-president and vice president of administration and operations at the Social Science Research Council, overseeing the Council’s administrative division, including finance, operations, human resources, and IT. As a member of the executive leadership team, he provides guidance on the Council’s organizational development and strategic direction. From 2007 to 2019, Palm held roles at Columbia University, most recently as chief administrative and academic affairs officer for the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and lecturer-in-discipline in the School of Professional Studies, and previously as senior associate dean for faculty and administrative affairs in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Palm has also served as an officer for the Faculty Resource Network, a consortium dedicated to faculty development at New York University. Palm holds an EdD from Fordham University in education, administration, and leadership, an MA from New York University in higher education administration, and an MS from Columbia University in construction administration. Palm’s research interests focus on organizational effectiveness, specifically related to issues of diversity, inclusion, and career advancement.

    Title
    Vice President of Administration and Operations
    Contact
    palm@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3634
    Staff
  • Shana Pareemamun

    Shana Pareemamun is the program assistant for Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa. She graduated from NYU in 2020 with a B.A. in politics and economics. She studied African politics and international development and wrote articles on current affairs in Sub-Saharan Africa for an NYU publication. Shana comes from the small island of Mauritius and has previously lived and studied in Florence, Italy and in London, England while at NYU. She has experience working with non-profits on issues pertaining to education, hunger, and the criminal justice system.  .

    Title
    Program Assistant
    Department
    Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa
    Contact
    Pareemamun@ssrc.org
    Staff
  • Elsa Ransom

    Elsa Ransom joined the SSRC in June 2007 and is now the Assistant Director of the IDRF program. She received her BA in political science and Russian studies from UCLA and her MA in Russian and Central Asian studies from Harvard. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia as an English teacher and Tashkent, Uzbekistan as an intern for the US Embassy and then again as a graduate student conducting research on water resource management. Prior to joining the SSRC, Elsa worked at the Open Society Institute on a fellowship program that brought students from the former Soviet Union to the United States for graduate studies.

    Title
    Assistant Director
    Department
    International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) Program
    Contact
    ransom@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3642
    Staff
  • Jason Rhody

    Jason Rhody directs the Digital Culture program, Social Data Initiative, and the Media & Democracy program at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).  Previously, he served as senior program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), where he helped create the Office of Digital Humanities (ODH). In that role, he developed and managed multiple grant programs that enabled scholars, librarians, and archivists to harness emerging technologies to advance research, encourage scholarly inquiry of digital culture, and foster collaboration across international and disciplinary boundaries.  He created and directed joint grant programs with Jisc in the UK and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in Germany, and contributed to collaborations with the Research Councils UK, FAPESP in Brazil, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Department of Energy (DOE).  He received his PhD in English from the University of Maryland where, prior to joining NEH in 2003, he managed and advised digital humanities projects at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and taught courses in literature and digital media.

    Title
    Program Director
    Department
    Digital Culture
    Contact
    rhody@ssrc.org, (718) 517-3717
    Staff
  • Selena Rodriguez

    Selena Rodriguez is the program assistant for the Sloan Scholars Mentoring Network, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She received her bachelor of arts in both international studies and sociology from Johns Hopkins University in 2017. Her previous undergraduate research with the Global Social Protest Research Working Group of the Arrighi Center analyzed the spatial-temporal distribution of social unrest. While in Maryland, Rodriguez worked for the JHU Tutorial Project, a free after-school program assisting underserved elementary school students in Baltimore City. Prior to joining the SSRC, Rodriguez worked in health-care administration throughout New York, catering to a stratified, diverse population with varying forms of insurance coverage.

    Title
    Program Assistant
    Department
    Sloan Scholars Mentoring Network
    Contact
    srodriguez@ssrc.org
    Staff