Dawn Rogala works on paintings by Hans Hofmann on site at the University of California's Berkeley Art Museum.

Summer scholars

New CAS program will support 10 doctoral students this year


1:57 p.m., April 6, 2012--Ten doctoral students, working on a wide range of dissertation topics and in a variety of departments in the University of Delaware's College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), have been selected for the college's inaugural Dean’s Doctoral Student Summer Scholars program.

Offered with support from UD's Office of Graduate and Professional Education, the competitive program will provide each recipient with a 10-week, $4,500 summer dissertation research and writing grant. The goal is to enable advanced CAS doctoral students to enhance their scholarship and field-based study, support their data collection and analysis and allow them to focus on dissertation writing. The 10 finalists were chosen from 45 applications. 

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Because the program requires recipients to be committed to public engagement and outreach, they will be asked to share their dissertation research with public audiences during the academic year following the summer award.

Applicants submitted information about their research, along with a work plan and a recommendation from a faculty adviser or department or program chair, to Debra Hess Norris, CAS associate dean for graduate education, for review by a faculty board.

“This competitive grant program responds to the College of Arts and Sciences' 'Leading the Way' strategic plan and UD’s deep commitment to enhance graduate student support and improve time-to-degree completion rates," Norris said. "These awards will enable uninterrupted dissertation writing and ensure greater visibility of our doctoral students’ wide-ranging scholarship—from an investigation of the work of Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann to transitional justice initiatives in Latin America and Africa.”

Following is a list of the recipients:

Kevin Adkin, in the School of Public Policy and Administration, will explore the development of fair and equitable climate change policies for the community of South Wilmington, Del., in an effort to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability. His faculty sponsor is Yda Schreuder, associate professor of geography and senior policy fellow, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.

Lauren Balasco, Department of Political Science and International Relations, will seek to understand how transitional justice initiatives impact the work of human security and human rights actors in their efforts to provide everyday protections, development and justice for peoples in Latin American and Africa. Her faculty sponsor is Matthew Weinert, associate professor.

Sara Brown Bordeaux, Department of Art History, will examine Emanuel de Witt's paintings of the Dutch Calvinist church service, which depict the preacher and congregation within the whitewashed walls of formerly Catholic churches, and how this art redefined the 17th century religious image as a celebration of Calvinist spirituality and community. Her faculty sponsor is Perry Chapman, professor.

Elana Graber, Department of Psychology, aims to examine the effects of daily partner-directed gratitude on relationship intimacy and fears of recurrence in patients and spouses coping with early stage breast cancer to form a better understanding of processes that help couples maintain intimacy and psychological well-being during health-related adversity. Her faculty sponsor is Jean-Philip Laurenceau, associate professor.

April Pelt, Department of English, will work on completing, polishing and expanding “Fashioning Feminist Icons: Interwar Women Writers and the Cultural Work of Adaption." The summer scholarship will allow Pelt to defend her dissertation earlier than previously planned. Her faculty sponsor is Margaret Stetz, Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies.

Toni Pitock, Department of History, is studying how Philadelphia’s first generations of Jewish merchants made the city a permanent node in an extensive Jewish network while their commercial interactions with non-Jews gave them tenuous, valuable access to the dominant culture. Her faculty sponsor is Cathy Matson, professor.

Dawn Rogala, in the Preservation Studies Program, is spending the summer organizing and interpreting accumulated dissertation research on the Abstract Expressionist painter and teacher Hans Hofmann, formulating the structure of her dissertation and preparing first drafts of chapters. Her faculty sponsor is Joyce Hill Stoner, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor in Material Culture.

Dimitrios Skordos, Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, is studying contextual reasoning in children and, specifically, why it is impaired and its implication for cognitive development, language acquisition and communication. His faculty sponsor is Anna Papafragou, associate professor.

Rita Williams, Department of English, is working on the dissertation “So Far Yet So Near: New England Women Write From Cuba, 1830-1860,” which resituates New England as part of the circum-Atlantic plantation culture of slavery rather than as part of a regional binary in which it is associated with freedom and the U.S. South alone associated with slavery. Her faculty sponsor is Ed Larkin, associate professor.

Katie Wood, Department of Art History, is conducting full-time research and writing the third section of her dissertation, "Benjamin West's Nelson Memorial: Neoclassicism and the Atlantic World, circa 1812." Her faculty sponsor is Wendy Bellion, associate professor.

Article by Andrea Muddiman

Photos courtesy of Katie Wood and Dawn Rogala

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