Shirley Han received her PhD from the Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology department at UCSB in the Fall of 2013. She began working with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) as a graduate fellow in 2011 and is currently is a postdoctoral scholar at the center. Her dissertation research took place in Moorea, French Polynesia, where she investigated the responses of herbivorous fish communities to disturbances in coral reef systems. Her current research at CNS focuses on how international students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields decide whether to stay or leave the US upon graduation and their future career plans. She is also focusing on assessing the STEM research environment and culture in Chinese higher education. Shirley received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University where she double-majored and received bachelor’s degrees in both Mathematics and Biology. Shirley also holds a masters degree in Applied Statistics from UCSB. Her work with Richard Appelbaum at CNS examines the larger context of how industrial policies influence the development of emerging technologies, mainly concentrating on China.


  • –present
    Postdoctoral Scholar of Nanotechnology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2011–2013
    Science and engineering graduate fellow, Center for Nanotechnology in Society
  • 2009–2013
    Graduate student researcher, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis


  • 2013 
    University of California, Santa Barbara, PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
  • 2010 
    University of California, Santa Barbara, MA in Applied Statistics
  • 2007 
    Colgate University, BA in Biology
  • 2007 
    Colgate University, BA in Mathematics


  • 2015
    Will They Stay or Will They Go? International Graduate Students and Their Decisions to Stay or Leave the US upon Graduation, PlosONE
  • 2014
    Evaluating the causal basis of ecological success within the scleractinia: an integral projection model approach, Marine Biology
  • 2014
    Persistence and Change in Community Composition of Reef Corals through Present, Past, and Future Climates, PlosONE