Predoctoral Research Fellowship

Program Information

Applications will reopen in early 2025.

Launched in 2022, the PDRI-DevLab Predoctoral Research Fellowship Program supports outstanding young scholars from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with interests in international development and potential for success in an academic career in the social sciences.

The program provides exceptional young scholars with an opportunity to work with leading Penn faculty on a variety of international development research projects, invest in their technical research skills, enroll in classes, and become part of the international development research community at Penn.

While at Penn, Predoctoral Fellows receive ongoing mentorship from Penn faculty, including advice and support on PhD applications. We expect individuals to work in this role for 1-2 years, before starting PhD level studies in the social sciences, or moving into applied social science careers.

Current Predoctoral Fellows

Mahda Soltani

Born and raised in Iran, Mahda Soltani, holds a B.S. in Computer Science, a B.A. in Political Science with Departmental Honors, and a B.A. in Law, Societies. Leveraging her interdisciplinary background, Mahda harnesses the transformative capabilities of data science and artificial intelligence to promote global peace and enhance international relations.


Yezgi Ecem Yilmaz

Born and raised in Türkiye, Ezgi Ecem holds a B.S. in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. Previously, she worked as a research intern at RTI International and as a consultant at MSI International. Her coursework and interests include political economy, rural development, international law, and gender equality with a passion for improving the welfare of socio-economically and historically disadvantaged groups for promoting social justice and peace.