Since its launch in 2017, the Population Council’s Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Center has nurtured the next generation of adolescent-focused researchers. Dr. Sophia Chae, a social demographer, was an inaugural member of the GIRL Center team through the Mark A. Walker Fellowship. Named for the Council’s former Chair of the Board of Trustees, this fellowship supported talented young scholars to conduct innovative, rigorous, and practical research to inform policies and programs for adolescent girls.

Dr. Chae played a pivotal role in producing some of the GIRL Center’s first resources. Drawing on more than 20 years of evidence generated by the Council and partners, she conducted cross-country analyses to understand how girls’ lives evolve through their adolescent years and to assess which interventions are most effective and cost-efficient.

Notably, she co-authored the GIRL Center’s research brief, Global State of Evidence on Interventions to Prevent Child Marriage, and contributed to the development and launch of the Adolescent Data Hub, the largest catalog of open-access data on adolescents living in low- and middle-income countries. She also co-authored an analysis on gender norms and health for a Lancet Series.

After completing her two-year fellowship, Dr. Chae joined the Department of Demography at Université de Montréal, Canada where she is currently an Assistant Professor. Her research is examining how the institution of marriage is changing as sub-Saharan Africa undergoes rapid socioeconomic transformations, and how husbands’ migration affects the health and well-being of their wives in Mexico, Mozambique, and Nepal. She credits her fellowship with growing her expertise on the research questions that matter to her the most.

Learn more about our Fellows.