Ph.D. students

Current Ph.D. students

Jin Ai

Jin AiJin Ai is a third-year Ph.D. student at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Her research centers on the intersection of interorganizational relationships and community philanthropy, and developing partnership strategies that improve nonprofit performance. Her primary focus is understanding the collaborative and competitive relationships within nonprofits and across different sectors. Jin is currently working with her advisor, Dr. Laurie E. Paarlberg, on a project examining characteristics of and relationships between local United Ways and community foundations. Before joining the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Jin served as a research fellow in the China Institute for Philanthropy and Social Innovation. She obtained her M.A. in Public Affairs at Renmin University of China, and B.A. in Public Administration at China University of Political Science and Law.

Richard Clark

Richard ClarkRichard Clark received his BS in Bible and Youth Ministry from Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Elizabeth City, NC, and his MA in Theology from Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, OH. He served local churches for 37 years in various ministry roles including youth, worship, and preaching ministry. He is currently the VP for External Relations and Chief Advancement Officer at Johnson University in Knoxville, TN. His research centers on faith-based social entrepreneurs. Specifically, to what degree and in what ways does embeddedness in an evangelical community of faith impact social entrepreneurial orientation, if at all?

Kathryn Dilworth

Kathryn DilworthKathryn Dilworth is in her final year in the Ph.D. program. Her research is in higher education fundraising with a specific focus on academic libraries. She has served in a variety of roles in the nonprofit sector throughout her career and now serves as an assistant dean at Cal Poly on California’s Central Coast.

Dana Doan

Dana DoanDana R.H. Doan is a Ph.D. student at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She has over 20 years work experience leading, advising, and conducting research with nonprofit and community-based organizations in the U.S., Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Her research interests include community philanthropy, equity in the helping relationship, and evaluation. Dana is passionate about bridging research and practice and has published in both academic and practitioner-oriented publications.

Tiara Dungy

Tiara DungyTiara is a doctoral student at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indianapolis, IN, with a minor in Entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business. She graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa where she completed an M.A. in International Relations as well as from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA with a B.A. in Sociology. Her research interests include philanthropy of Africa, black business in South Africa, socially responsible entrepreneurship, and rethinking narratives on informal economies. She has spent most of her academic and professional lives traveling between the U.S. and South Africa establishing rich networks of global learning through corporate social investment, nonprofit management consulting, and participant action research to promote intercultural understanding.

Christina Eggenberger

Christina EggenbergerChristina Eggenberger is a Ph.D. student with research interests in global service learning and the civic outcomes of philanthropic education and action. Prior to starting the doctoral program at Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, she worked for over a decade directing the community engagement efforts at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Christina has a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in higher education administration.

Megan Hillier-Geisler

Megan Hillier-GeislerMegan Hillier-Geisler holds an MPA from the University of Utah and a BA in Folklore and Religious Studies from Indiana University (Bloomington). Her research interests include the application of folkloric archetypes to modern fundraising, philanthropy in public administration, and sports philanthropy. She plans to study the use of personal narrative in online, peer to peer fundraising. She was previously the Director of Innovation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Meng-Han Ho

Meng-Han HoMeng-Han Ho is a Ph.D. candidate and instructor in philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She lived in Germany for five years, earned a master's degree in Nonprofit Management and Governance at Heidelberg University, and worked at several German social welfare associations. Currently, she is working on her dissertation to examine the experiences of clients in different types of human service organizations that serve people with disabilities, such as nonprofit organizations and for-profit organizations. Her dissertation project aims to investigate to what extent organizational ownership matters for clients' experiences. It also identifies different ways a nonprofit organization or a for-profit organization is managed and how these differences might affect clients’ experiences. Her other ongoing projects include service-learning projects in philanthropic studies and nonprofit business partnerships.

Pat Danahey Janin

Pat Danahey JaninPat Danahey Janin is a doctoral candidate at the Lilly School of Philanthropy. Her research interests are in philanthropy and ocean conservation, international environmental volunteering, citizen scientists, philanthropy and government relations. Her current research is a qualitative study of foundations working on ocean conservation in the international arena and how they interact with policy formulation and implementation. She teaches a course on Philanthropy and the Ocean at SciencesPo Paris in France, and has carried out consulting work on philanthropic engagement in ocean science for the UN Decade of Ocean Science. Previously, she worked for 18 years in the business, nonprofit and government sectors. She holds an MBA from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), a post-graduate degree from the Sorbonne Paris IV in French Literature and Civilization, and a B.A. in French and Communication from Colorado State University.

Heather O'Connor

Megan O'ConnorHeather A. O’Connor is a Ph.D. candidate studying nonprofit sector theory and practice with an emphasis on issues related to fundraising and philanthropic behavior. Her current projects focus on message framing in nonprofit communications, the fundraising profession, nonprofit pedagogy, and the intersections of identity and philanthropic decision making. O'Connor is a former fundraising executive who earned the CFRE designation in 2008. She holds an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a BS in Communications from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She shares updates on her teaching and research at

Andy Williams

Andy WilliamsAndy Williams obtained his BA at Furman University and has Master's degrees in Theology from Gordon-Conwell and Harvard. In addition, he has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently in religious international humanitarianism in Rwanda and the Dominican Republic. He is currently in the third year of the Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies program with a minor in global studies. His research interests center around the intersection of humanitarianism and religions. His current research focuses on the development of the notion of human rights in the lead-up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yongzheng Yang

Yongzheng YangYongzheng Yang obtained his B.A. in public administration at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT) and M.A. in social security at Renmin University of China (RUC). He is a Ph.D. student in philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. His research interests center around three aspects: individual philanthropy, government-nonprofit relations, and global civil society.

Kidist Ibrie Yasin

Kidist YasinKidist Yasin is a doctoral student in philanthropy at IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Kidist is originally from Ethiopia, and she received her B.A. and master's degrees in economics from Dire Dawa University and Addis Ababa University, respectively, both located in Ethiopia. She served in a lecturer position for two years in one of the well-known universities in Ethiopia, Adama Science and Technology University. She also won the VLIR-UOS scholarship to obtain an advanced master’s degree in Development and Globalization from the University of Antwerp in Belgium before joining the Ph.D. program in philanthropy. Her research interest is in understanding variations in the motivations for giving across countries and the influences of demographics, socioeconomics, culture, and political and legal environments on giving.