2016 Grant Winners

Thank you to all who applied for the 2016 Summer Thesis Research Grants. Congratulations to the 2016 winners and honorary recipients for their outstanding work!


Honorary Recipient | Ethnicity, Migration, Rights Summer Thesis Research Grant

Topic: The Motivation Behind China's New Anti-Domestic Violence Law

[...] Last summer, I began looking into women’s issues in China, and I learned that domestic violence is still a very prevalent issue but that the Chinese government just passed its first-ever national anti-domestic violence law in December of 2015. I was intrigued that such an authoritarian regime, which is not held accountable to voters and is not known for its exemplary human rights record, would pass such a law, so I decided to look into the factors that led to the passage of the legislation. I am particularly interested in the tactics of women’s NGO groups on the ground in China, so a large part of my research this summer will consist of interviewing many leaders of these groups who have pushed for protections against domestic violence in China for decades. I hope to find some answers to the broad question of what pushes an authoritarian regime to pass human rights legislation. Read More...


Honorary Recipient | Rita E. Hauser Fund for Human Rights Research

Topic: The Politics of Contemporary Women's Rights in Myanmar: The Paradoxical Case of Aung San Suu Kyi

[...]  Just last year in 2015 [Myanmar] held its first democratic elections, marking the official transition to military to civilian rule. Women are now much more easily able to run for national seats in Parliament. But have they? I am interested in looking at why women have been able to rise to the top of social and economic circles and yet from the statistics they still fall behind in terms of entering the political realm (the exception of course is Aung San Suu Kyi). Better understanding the notions of female power and authority with regards to politics in contemporary Myanmar is essential in terms of the development of the country. I will be in Yangon, Myanmar this summer interviewing key informants regarding this issue. And I am excited to see where my research takes me! Read More...



Honorary Recipient | Ethnicity, Migration, Rights Summer Thesis Research Grant

Topic: Death and Taxis: Taxi Violence and the Politics of Mobility in Post-Apartheid South Africa

I had a transformative summer study abroad experience in South Africa after my freshman year, and I knew I was destined to return. I chose to write my thesis on minibus taxis initially because they had constituted such a lively and dynamic force in my experience of Cape Town's urban landscape: they were crowded, fast, inexpensive, and above all, a venue of the common citizen. Yet, as I researched more, I realized how powerfully the history of this singular industry maps onto the national story of the free South Africa, a point of intersection between everyday mobility and two decades of frustrated social mobility after the fall of apartheid. Writing on this topic has become a project in articulating a history from the bottom up - about people, transportation, and the possibilities and perils of movement within this country. Read More...



Winner | Latina/o Studies Thesis Research Grant

Topic: Disproportionate Effects of Climate Change: How Latinxs in California are Experiencing the Drought

I decided to write on this topic because I’m a native Californian and have lived most of my life in a drought. I have a lot of pride for the state and love learning as much about California as I can. About a year ago, I had come across an article in which NASA warned that California had only one year of water left. In a frantic google search, I came to learn that there were actually towns (only about 3 hours from me!) that hadn’t had water for 2 years. I was shocked that I didn’t know about this before, and that this situation was not being covered very much in the media. I knew then I just had to write and investigate this topic further. Read More...


Winner | Latina/o Studies Thesis Research Grant

Topic: Demystifying the Cuban Food System and Opportunities for US-Cuba Agricultural Relations

Coming into the thesis writing process, I knew that I wanted to write on a topic related to food and agriculture in the Americas.  I eventually decided to write about the US-Cuba agricultural trade relationship after a three-week research course on the Cuban food system in Havana I took this past January.  Visiting various farms and markets, I started to realize just how much food Cuba was importing from other countries, including the United States, to my surprise.  When I returned to campus and started looking more into the topic, I realized that it would make for a great thesis, and my summer research has done nothing but confirm that. Read More...


Winner | Ethnicity, Migration, Rights Summer Thesis Research Grant

Topic: The Making of Elderly Participanthood at On Lok's Jade Center

Upon entering college, I knew that I was interested in the older adult population. I had volunteered extensively at an Alzheimer's day center at home and loved spending time with the elderly, particularly by listening to their stories and learning from their experiences. Anthropology research was a perfect way to continue listening to and growing in the presence of others, so with my interest in elderly care in mind, I developed this thesis project.

As a daughter of immigrants myself, I was fascinated by the post-immigration experiences of elderly Chinese who came to the US with remarkably different customs, histories, and worldviews. When I was introduced to On Lok, a comprehensive health and social program that aims to keep frail elderly out of the nursing home, and learned that it served a large Chinese immigrant population, I knew I had stumbled across my field site. Ethnicity, belonging, and institutional caregiving were intersecting in complex but intriguing ways, and I wanted to learn more. Read More...

Winner | Ethnicity, Migration, Rights Summer Thesis Research Grant
Topic: Researching the Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economy on the Navajo Nation Reservation

Winner | Ethnicity, Migration, Rights Summer Thesis Research Grant
Topic: Ethnographic Research on Muslim Immigrant Youth in the Banlieues of Paris.

Winner | Latina/o Studies Thesis Research Grant
Topic: Analysis of the Constraints and Parenting Style of Parents Living in the Neighborhood of Mott Haven in the South Bronx