Thursday, March 9, 2017

Danieli Evans Peterman ’12, PhD candidate

My research is focused on the social psychology of inequality. So how people come to understand themselves in their place in society. And how that relates to intergenerational patterns of inequality, along socioeconomic lines, along racial lines, along gender lines. And how the law think about that in a way that's more behaviorally realistic. Yale, the PhD program in law, was a good place to pursue that because it gives me the opportunity to take classes in social psychology. To develop empirical research skills. To do human subject research. And at the same time to work within the law school and make sure that the research remains relevant and applicable to law.

My scholarly ideas have evolved a lot, since I started here. I came in with very broad ideas of what I wanted to do. And talking with different people, having an opportunity to do some empirical research, having an opportunity to take classes in psychology has really sharpened my focus a lot. And it's still sharpening, where I'm seeing much narrower, more specific arguments to make. And finding places where there is empirical research that needs to be done. Finding places where research has already been done. There is a constant discourse between me and other students and other professors. And they've pushed back on a lot of ideas in a way that's forced me to formulate things much more precisely. And that's very helpful.

I found my cohort and other PhD students to be extremely supportive, in terms of being willing to read drafts of papers or help me with research questions. Another benefit is access to PhD classes in other schools. So I have been taking a lot of classes in psychology, and I've come to know a lot of the graduate students in the psychology program quite well. And they've actually been really helpful resources, because they helped me to learn about other areas of research that are going on that's relevant to what I'm trying to do. But that I would not come across if I were just siloed in the law school. 

A student perspective on the PhD in Law program at Yale Law School.