University of Delaware

Diversity research

Center for Study of Diversity announces faculty, grad student research grants


2:02 p.m., Feb. 19, 2013--The University of Delaware Center for the Study of Diversity has announced faculty and graduate student diversity research grants. 

To implement its mission to support faculty diversity projects and research at UD, the Center initiated a faculty grant program last fall. The program was extended to graduate students and they were included in a separate call for applications.

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“This is a great opportunity to foster and support a variety of projects that address diversity initiatives for research, public scholarship and the scholarly development of grad students,” said James Jones, director of the center. “I am particularly excited by the diversity of projects, colleges, departments and approaches represented by the array of grants we were able to award.”

The center has awarded three faculty diversity grants, two of which focus on medical and health sciences students. The faculty grants are up to $3,000 each. It also has awarded five graduate student diversity grants, up to $1,500 each, on a wide range of topics.

The grants are as follows:

Faculty diversity grants

Barret Michalec, assistant professor, Department of Sociology, “The Path Less Taken: Understanding the Experience of Black Pre-Medical Students.” The study will address the lack of African-American representation within medical education, exploring African-American students’ experiences on the pre-medical track and the factors that influence whether these students continue on that track. The study will not only highlight obstacles that these students face, but also promote the design of effective interventions and programs to assist students through these processes and develop avenues for increasing diversity in medical education. 

Cynthia Diefenbeck, assistant professor, School of Nursing, “Factors Influencing Underrepresented Minority Applicants’ Acceptance of Admission Offers to Health Science Majors: A Pilot Study of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program.” To promote the crucial goal of a culturally diverse and competent nursing workforce, the study aims to understand underrepresented minorities’ barriers and facilitators of pursuing a BSN. By surveying and interviewing African-American and Latino applicants offered admission to UD’s BSN program for fall 2012, this study will determine the factors that influence these applicants to accept or decline admission offers to the program. 

Deb Bieler, associate professor, Department of English, “Impacts of English Teacher Candidates’ Urban SAT Course.” The study brings English education majors enrolled in ENGL295 (“Introduction to English Education”) to teach a 10-week after-school SAT preparation course at Howard High School in Wilmington. The two primary goals of this project are to increase the SAT-V scores and college-ready dispositions of lower-income and potential-first-generation high school students at Howard, and to increase ENGL295 students’ understanding of – and teaching skills and dispositions in – diverse communities.

Graduate student diversity grants

Carrie Barnum, master’s degree student, Department of Biological Sciences, “SACNAS Two-Step Mentoring Program Towards Diversity in STEM Fields.” The project addresses the lack of diversity among students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at UD. The new graduate organization SACNAS, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, will use these grant funds to implement a science mentoring program for Delaware high school students.

La Tanya Autry, doctoral student, Department of Art History, “The Crossroads of Commemoration: Lynching Landscapes in America.” The grant funds travel to Maryland, Georgia, and Alabama for dissertation research on sites where lynchings have been marked, remembered, and re-enacted. Through participant observation, archival research, interviews of memorial planners, and photographs, this research analyzes various contemporary modes of memorializing the history of lynching. 

Ashley Kennedy and William Cissel, master’s degree students, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, “Enabling Natural History Outreach to Underserved Audiences.” The department’s graduate student outreach club brings programs about science, biodiversity, the importance of insects and career options in entomology to diverse audiences of students around the state. The grant supports the purchase of new display materials and exotic insect specimens to introduce a more visual and hands-on component to presentations, enabling students to better remember material and to overcome barriers such as auditory problems and language comprehension difficulties with English as a Second Language students.

Katrina Anderson, doctoral student, Department of History, “Traveling the British Atlantic World: Free Women of African Descent and Emancipation in the Black Atlantic, 1770-1865.” The funding supports dissertation research on the social, political and economic realities for free women of African descent in the northern section of the United States, Canada, the British Caribbean and England between the years 1770 and 1865. The research also focuses on the role of travel and how it allowed free black women to dispel myths and assumptions, challenge societal norms and create opportunities for themselves as women and as people of African descent.

Justin De Leon, doctoral student, Department of Political Science and International Relations, “Mapping the Margins” Documentary Film and Discussion Series.” The funding supports a proposed spring semester series of documentary films, guest speakers and discussions about injustice, inequality and systems of social oppression. The selected documentaries will provide the space to discuss the intersections of class, race and gender through themes including consumerism, the global free market, education, women’s rights and colonialism.

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