Mellon Research Grant
Call for proposals
Through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the integration of study abroad with students’ senior-level work back on campus, we invite students planning to study abroad in 2014-15 and faculty to submit joint research proposals. Students should develop proposals in conjunction with their faculty mentors to fund independent research abroad. Highest priority will be given to proposals that will lead to independent senior work. Depending on the specifics of the proposed research, these research grants will be between $1000 and $2500, and will be designed to cover research costs. Students should specify the research costs that will be funded by the grant. They can propose to carry out this research either during the time of their study abroad or immediately after their study abroad experience.
Faculty should indicate that they have agreed to work with a designated student or students who will be studying abroad, and may mentor one or more students. Faculty may also work with students on faculty research projects where appropriate as long as students have an opportunity to produce a product which they can call their own. Where relevant, research projects will also need to be reviewed by the College’s Institutional Review Board.
Deadline for proposals from Middlebury College students for student research abroad should be submitted via email by Saturday, February 22, 2014.
Deadline for proposals from students from colleges and universities other than Middlebury who will be studying at C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad should be submitted via email by April 5, 2014.
Please submit proposals to the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs at email@example.com.
If you have any questions about what projects might be eligible for funding under this grant, please contact:
Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
Robert A. Jones '59 House 114
2013-2014 Grant Recipients
2013-14 Middlebury College Recipients
Rana Abdelhamid '15, political science major, "Mobilization in Immigrant Communities"
Jacob Eisenberg '15, environmental studies--geography joint major, "Resilient Food Systems of Vietnam"
Dante Fracomano '15, music major, "The Transaction of Power and Expression of Cultural Values in African Musical Pedagogy"
Forest Jarvis '15, international politics and economics major, "The Politics of Social Justice Movements in Bolivia"
Ioannis Kipouros '15, art history and chemistry double major, The effects of Quantum Theory in the development of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in the 20th Century Europe"
Jia Jun Lee '15, geography major, "Informal Voices in Shifting Amman: Studying the Perspective and Agency of Jordanians Working within the Informal Economy in Amman amidst the Influx of Syrian Refugees since 2011"
Winnie Yeung '15, history major, "Constructing Jordanian nationalist discourse through ancient historic heritage: analysis of excavations, maps, and museum exhibitions"
2013-14 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad
Christina McDonnell '15, Yale University, history of science and medicine major, "Unamuno's Cientificismo: the Intersection of philosophy and Science"
Simone Schriger '14, Bates College, psychology major, "Assessing psychological distance across cultures using a picture-word Stroop task"
Anne Elise Stratton '14, Tufts University, biology and environmental studies major, "Culinary Diffusion and Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Food Insights into Mapuche-Chilean Culture"
2012-2013 Grant Recipients
2012-13 Middlebury College Recipients
Prottoy Akbar '13, math and economics
"Peer Monitoring in a Profit Sharing Workplace: An Experimental Study"
Past studies in experimental economics have looked at how sharing profits with workers improves worker productivity. However, most studies have left ambiguous whether this improved productivity is due to greater incentive on any worker's end to personally work hard or due to greater incentive to monitor your peers (and punish them for slacking). This paper seeks to resolve this ambiguity in an experimental setting by exploring whether peer monitoring is a necessary condition for profit-sharing to improve worker productivity in a workplace. We ran two treatments (one with peer monitoring and one without) on small groups of "workers" and "managers" and found that, despite the presence of free-riding incentives, profit sharing schemes can effectively improve worker productivity even in the absence of peer monitoring. Rather, the presence of peer monitoring may be detrimental to effort levels if worker's feedback to the manager is not both thorough and honest.
Harrison Anixter '13, geography
"Occupations of Residental Space in Buenos Aires as 'Heterotopia'"
Alex Coblin '13, Chinese and political science
"Hukou Reform: A Comparison of the Chengdu and Chongqing Models"
The household registration (hukou) system is one of China's key institutions that proves to be both a blessing and a curse for China's citizens and development. Though initially intended to restrict migration between rural and urban areas, the hukou system has been adapted over the years creating an altogether new and more complex system. The hukou system is currently a main source of China's increasing levels of inequality. Attempting to address these issues, the Chinese central government recently permitted several local governments to enact groundbreaking pilot reforms, such as those occurring in Chengdu and Chongqing. In order to understand China's future, it is necessary to study the hukou system and how it relates to other aspects of Chinese life. This project examined local pilot reforms in Chengdu and Chongqing to understand the impact that pilot reforms will have on the hukou system, China, and the global community.
Caroline Kahlenberg '14, history
"Preaching Gender: American Christian Missionary Education of Women in the Late Ottoman Empire."
Kelley Jordan '14, international and global studies,
"A Qualitative Assessment of the Recently Elected Islamist-led Parliament in Egypt"
Maria Elena Lloyd '13, biology
"The Effects of Artificial Ocean Acidification on the Behavior and Physical Characteristics of the Chilean Mussel Species, Perumytilus Purpuratus"
The oceans of the world currently absorb 30-50% of the CO2 produced by human activity, resulting in a gradual decrease in ocean acidity over time. As acidity decreases and the concentration of shell building materials decreases, marine calcifying organisms like mussels and crabs may have greater difficulty creating calcified structures. Although many organisms can maintain a high level of calcification in acidified conditions, a more holistic look at certain species has revealed unexpected physical and behavioral signs of stress. In this study, a Chilean mussel species, Perumytilus purpuratus, was held at increased concentrations of CO2 in the laboratory over a three-month period and the animals were measured experimentally for reduced calcification rates and stress in both physical and behavioral characteristics. It appears that this species was unaffected by increased levels of CO2 over the course of the experiment, although longer-term studies may reveal more subtle effects on this species.
Mirian Nielsen '14, environmental studies
"Environmental Sustainability in China through a Creative Lens"
Jaewon Oh '13, international studies
"The Relationship Between Catholicism and the FN Vote in France"
Well-established academic tradition indicates that practicing Catholics in France are about twenty times more likely to vote for candidates of the conservative party, the UMP, than non-Catholics. Yet this same trend does not hold for the largest far-right party, the Front National (FN). In fact, practicing Catholics vote less frequently for the FN, and the FN electorate is as secular as any other political party's. After reviewing the existing literature on far-right voting and the Catholic vote in France, I developed two likely hypotheses: the underrepresentation of practicing Catholics in demographic groups most likely to vote for the FN, and a fundamental clash of important values. I tested these hypotheses using voting data for the former, and both survey responses and articles in the Catholic press for the latter.
Paul Quackenbush '14, environmental studies and geography
"A River Runs Through It: The Geolinquistics of Two Trentino Valleys"
Rachel Sider '14, international studies
"Human Security Dilemmas: Social, Political, and Economic Implications of the Syrian Refugee Crisis"
Morris Swaby Eubanks '14, international politics and economics
"The Manifestation of Politics in Brazilian Carnival"
Daphnee Tuzlak '14, geology
"Relationship of Tectonic Uplift and Soil Evolution Along the Pacific Coast of Ecuador"
Kyle Warner '13, sociology and anthropology major
"Ethnogenisis and the Creation of Symbolic Cultural Borders—Maasai and Waarusha Identity in Tanzania"
Napol Wills '14, American studies and German
"The Forgotten Germans: Black Germans and Their Connection to American From 1945 to the Present"
Gregory Woolston '14, international studies
"Inclusion and Exclusion in Amman: Examining the Policies and Design of Informal Settlements Across Scales"
2011-2012 Grant Recipients
2011-2012 Middlebury College Recipients
Sydney Alfonso '12, geography and German
"The Old Men and the Sea: The Overfishing and Pollution of the Bosporus Straight and What it Means for Local Turkish Fishermen."
Old men in black hats tanned by years of hard living, non-apolitically smoke their cigarettes as they fish along the curved shores of the fishing villages in Istanbul. Facing pressure from the Turkish Coastguard (Sahilguvenlik), larger institutions such as Green peace and the EU as well as the large fishing conglomerates, the traditional fishing culture is at risk of extinction. By analyzing the fishing culture through a geographical lens, this research project critically examines the causes that contribute to this ancient disappearing tradition.
Peter Andersen, '13, history and geography
"Chinese Cartography? The Kangxi Atlas and Qint Territorial Claims."
Emily Evans Ashby, '13, international studies
"Guns to Carnations to Autonomy: Devolution through Azorean Resistance to 20th Century Portuguese Dictatorial Regimes"
I will map the rise and fall of the Azorean independence movement, the Azorean Liberation Front, which arose as a conservative backlash to the liberal 1974 Portuguese Revolution. Although its short duration and conflicting features make it difficult to classify, I will chart the development models of three genres of political movements' radical right movements, secessionist movements, and social-based movements and map each of these onto the historical trajectory of the Azores. This way I hope to reveal that, while the movement does not fit neatly into any box, it contains elements of all three in differing amounts. I will tease out the elements most important to the movement's formation and those which ultimately led to its failure, paying special attention to the political environment of Portugal, the legacy of Azorean autonomy, the internal structure of the leadership, and the social and class divisions within the group.
Kate Bass '12, sociology and anthropology
"Pseudo Citizens: Perceptions of US Immigration Law in Rural Michoacán, Mexico"
Nathaniel Brown, '13, international politics and economics
"Bowls of Broken Shards: Poverty and Pottery in Jiangxi Province"
Peter DiPrinzio, '13, international studies
"Where's the Beef? A Historical and Economic Analysis of Effects of Export Controls on the Argentine Beef Industry"
Nathan Goldstone, '13, Russian
"Folk Tales of Russia's Altai Republic"
Zoe Hamilton, 13, political science
"Racist Speech: The Development of Judicial Thought and Practice in France"
Colin Herd, '13, international studies
"Energy and Brazil: Economic Liberation and Industrial Performance"
Emma Loizeaux, '13, environmental studies and geography
"Microgeographies of Forest Resource Use in Rural Yunnan, China"
Northwest Yunnan, China is both one of the country's most ethnically diverse and ecologically rich regions. Local people harvesting wood for heating, cooking, and building is considered the primary threat to this biodiversity hotspot. Through conversations with villagers and my own observations during a fieldwork session this January, I researched what forest resource use and management looks like at the local scale. Examining where forest resources are harvested in each of the two villages and why helps identify factors influencing forest harvesting. These include convenience (how far people must travel to obtain wood), legality (where is it legal to cut wood), ecology (where do the desirable species grow), inter-village relationships (where are the management boundaries between villages), and spirituality (where are sacred mountains located). With these factors in mind we can begin to consider how forest management might be improved in the context of southwest China.
Anna Mack '14, sociology/anthropology and Chinese
"One Hundred Million People Equal: Experiences of Nongovernmental Disability Advocacy in Modern China"
The study of disability in global contexts is fundamental to the field of Disability Studies. Despite growing awareness of the importance of cross-cultural studies of disability, little research has been done on disability in modern China. The United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), signed by China without reservation in 2008, lends itself to analysis of internalization of international disability discourse in modern China. Through case study of Chinese rights advocacy organization Zhengzhou Yirenping, I show how nongovernmental organizations draw on the CRPD and its social model of disability to challenge biomedical definitions of disability instituted by the Chinese state. Using data from interviews with Yirenping clients and advocates and participant observation field notes, I argue that nongovernmental disability advocacy in twenty-first century China is a form of political resistance for persons in civil society. Utilizing the rhetoric of disability rights as human rights in the CRPD, disability advocates in civil society petition for state recognition of the human rights of all Chinese citizens.
Elizabeth Scarinci, '13, international studies
"Moving to Survive: The Lives of Child Domestic Servants in the Andes Mountains"
Thousands of children from remote areas of the Andes Mountains have migrated to cities to work as domestic servants. Most of these children live with their employers, attend school part-time and earn money to send back to their families in the countryside. These children, often younger than sixteen, are vulnerable to physical and verbal abuse and undergo major transformations that threaten their indigenous identities. I will present on my research conducted on the lives of underage domestic workers in Cusco Peru. During the summer 2011, I interviewed domestic workers, their parents, the urban families that employ workers, etc. to ultimately answer the question of whether domestic workers improve their lives by migrating to the city.
Katie Siegner '12, international studies
"Competing Claims Over land Use and Development in Chile: The Example of the Proposed Hydroaysén Dam Project"
The isolated Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia currently sits at the front lines of a heated national discussion regarding Chile’s energy future. The massive Hidroaysén dam proposal seeks to develop the region’s hydroelectric potential through the creation of five mega-dams across two rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. While the project would provide substantial energy to the mines and cities of the north, it would also irrevocably change the river ecology and alter the lifestyles of local populations. During J-term, I used Mellon Grant funding to travel to Chile and conduct field research on the social and environmental impacts of the proposed dam project. I visited several of the proposed dam sites in Aysén and conducted interviews in both Aisén and Santiago with local residents, Hidroaysén employees, politicians, and anti-dam campaigners. My project examines how competing claims over land use and development are addressed in the Chilean post-transitional political system.
Jared Smith, '13, international studies
"Coming Out in Rio: How Gay Identity is Negotiated in Brazilian Culture"
We often underestimate the extent to which social structures, situated in history and culture, affect how we relate to our sexuality. By analyzing gay identity in a different culture, in which the label carries different assumptions and connotations, we can begin to understand how sexual identity is shaped. Urban Brazil is a particularly interesting case, due to deeply embedded class divisions, a long history of cultural imperialism from the global North, and a juxtaposition of violent reactions against and extremely tolerant attitudes towards non-normative sexual identities. Between my semesters abroad in South America, I spent five weeks in Rio de Janeiro, completing a total of twelve 40-minute interviews with young gay men about their "coming out" experiences. This data is presented in combination with extensive secondary research in my International & Global Studies (SO/AN) senior thesis.
Emma Stanford, '12, literary studies
"Perpetual Circle and Ceaseless Change: The Intersection of Poetry and Change-Ringing in the Seventeenth Century"
This project investigates the connection between English change-ringing and seventeenth-century poetry. I study the underlying philosophy of change-ringing and the treatment of its themes, notably change, constancy, and order, in poetic works ranging from Spenser's Mutabilitie Cantos to Milton's Paradise Lost and the devotional poetry of Herbert, Donne, and Traherne. Through a close reading of canonical poetry, belfry doggerel, diaries, and historical texts, I find a symbiotic relationship between change-ringing and contemporary literary ideas, particularly in the poetic treatment of universal teleology and the relationship between human and divine. Research was conducted during summer 2011 at the University of Oxford with the generous support of a Mellon Foundation grant.
Kaveh Waddell, 13, international politics and economics
"Examining opposing Political, Religion, and Social Groups in Post-authoritarian Egypt"
Gordon (Will) Woodworth, '12, history/political science double
"Victories Reversed: The 1938-9 Clash of Mohandas Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose"
The popular Western perceptions of both Mohandas Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose are belied by their interactions in 1939. Gandhi, popularly perceived as the saint-like Mahatma, displayed his willingness to play political hardball to retain his hold on power. Subhas Chandra Bose, a left wing rival to Gandhi within the Indian independence movement, left a political legacy within the movement that controverts his image as an Axis collaborator of minor importance. Using primary source documents including British colonial records, contemporary newspaper reports, Indian National Congress resolutions, and statements issued by Bose and Gandhi, I outline the reasons for their clash and argue that Bose's influence persisted past his ouster from the Congress Party leadership, reappearing in the push for the Quit India movement in 1942.
2011-12 Non-Midd Undergrads studying at C.V.Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad
Benjamin Bates, '12, University of Mississippi, international studies major, Medical Diplomacy within China: An In-depth Analysis from the Perspective of Medical Personnel."
Annabel Bruno, '12, McGill University, international development studies major, "Iraqi Refugees in Jordan."
Ann Dennis, '13, Pomona College, biology and French double major, "Biomimicry in Sustainable Design: How Nature Infiltrates French Architecture."
Katie M. Gray, '13, Tulane University, Latin American studies major, "Securing Underpopulated Borderlands: Policy Responses to Immigration in Brazilian Amazonia."
Amy Huang, '13, Oberlin College, East Asian studies major, "Health Issues and Institutions in East Asia."
Stephanie Huezo, '13, Wesleyan University, Latin American studies major, "Chile Remembers the Disappeared."
Yureli Lopez, '13, Pomona College, science, technology, and society major, "Evaluating the Regulation of Cigarette Disposal in Capital Federal, Buenos Aires."
Marjolene Nowicki, '12, State University of New York, Stony Brook, Spanish language and literature and American studies double major, "Peruvian Immigration in Chile: A Comparison to the Dreams and Realities of Caribbean Immigrants in the United States."
Valentine Sergon, '13, Pomona College, politics major, "Navigating Cultures: Arabs in Argentina."
Sophie Weihmann, '13, Yale University, political science and economics major, "Changing Political Structures in the EU: European Economic (Dis)Integration under Franco-German Leadership