Research Grants and Internships

Research Grants and Internships

The Pembroke Center invites applications from current Brown students, from any concentration or field, to apply for our research grants and internship. Please see individual grant descriptions and guidelines. Students with projects appropriate for more than one grant may apply for multiple grants, although it is unlikely a student would be awarded more than one.

Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grants
Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant
Barbara Anton Community Research Grant
Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant
Enid Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship

View the 2018-19 recipients' presentations here.

Grant applications are accepted in the Fall semester.  The deadline for 2021-22 funding is October 12, 2021.  Please see UFunds for additional information.

Important note for 2021-22 grants: The use of grant monies must comply with the most recent university travel restrictions due to COVID-19. Students should consult the Brown University policies and guidelines for current information.

Apply for all Pembroke Center Grants using UFunds

Steinhaus/Zisson Pembroke Center Research Grants for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

The Beatrice Bloomingdale Steinhaus’33, P’60, P’65, GP’87, GP’91/Gertrude Rosenhirsch Zisson’30, P’61, P’63, GP’91 grants support undergraduate and graduate student research at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Student research may be on any topic related to the work of the Pembroke Center, with preference given to research on women's education, health, community activism, philanthropy, and economic status, and women's rights and well-being in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

Undergraduate students are invited to apply for grants up to $1,000. Graduate students may apply for grants up to a maximum of $2,000. Application materials include:

  • a three to five page description of your research project
  • a letter of support from faculty advisor
  • amount requested and plan for allocated grant funds

The Steinhaus/Zisson Fund was provided by Nancy Steinhaus Zisson’65, P’91 and William Zisson’63, P’91 in memory of their mothers, Beatrice Bloomingdale Steinhaus’33, P’60, P’65, GP’87, GP’91 and Gertrude Rosenhirsch Zisson’30, P’61, P’63, GP’91, and the life changing education that they received at Pembroke College in Brown University. It was established in recognition of their family members who are alumnae and alumni of Brown University, including Margaret Steinhaus Sheppe’60, P’87, Harry R. Zisson’61, William Zisson’63, P’91, Nancy Steinhaus Zisson’65, P’9l, Laura Sheppe Miller’87, Michael B. Miller’87, Alex Zisson’91, and Emma Miller’16. These two women inspired a love of learning in their children and grandchildren, and a strong belief thateducation and self-improvement are important aspects of personal growth that do not stop with the end of formal schooling. They believed profoundly in women's rights and affordable education as a means to achieving these goals.

View a list of all Steinhaus/Zisson Grant Recipients

 2020-21 Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant

Graduate Student Recipients

Jenny DolanJenny Dolan

Jenny Dolan

Graduate Student, Department of American Studies


“Constructing Willpower: The Origins of the Marshmallow Experiment”


Jenny Dolan’s dissertation is a cultural history of willpower. Her project tracks the changing meanings and uses of willpower throughout the twentieth century U.S. and explores willpower’s relationship to gender, race, and middle-class formation. In the chapter “Constructing Willpower: The Origins of the Marshmallow Experiment,” Dolan asks: how did willpower become a scientific fact? Psychologists agree that the most famous willpower experiment—the marshmallow experiment conducted at Stanford University by Walter Mischel and his colleagues—inaugurated the modern study of self-control. Mischel, however, conducted his first willpower experiments on Black and East Indian children in Trinidad during the 1950s, so Trinidad ought to be considered the birthplace of scientific willpower. Analyzing the experimental protocols that enabled willpower to emerge as an object of empirical knowledge, Dolan argues that Mischel did not discover in Trinidad a universal feature of human cognition called willpower. Rather, willpower was crafted by and through empire and the unequal power relations of colonialism.

Deborah FrempongDeborah FrempongDeborah Frempong

Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

Gendered Mobilities: Faith, Belonging and Spatial Geographies of Returnee Women in Accra 

Debbie Frempong’s project looks at returnee women’s modes of belonging through their reintegration experiences in Accra, Ghana, connecting questions about transnationalism, belonging, gendered subjectivities and Christianity. It asks: what do returnee women’s experiences reveal about gender, religion, and belonging in contemporary Ghana? And what is the significance of widely circulating discourses and representations that situate returnee women as figures of modernity? Consequently, it explores how the gendered politics of reintegration produces and mediates ideas of modernity and (post) colonial subjectivities. In doing so, it offers alternative ways to conceptualize the relationship between religion and belonging, looking at how social rupture, continuity and de-territorialism offers various opportunities for local and global forms of practice that coalesce, oppose or exist alongside each other. This project adds to these conceptualizations by highlighting the ways in which Accra’s religious landscape and returnee women’s cosmopolitan feminisms collide. By exploring these questions through the lens of belonging, it endeavors to show how returnee women create new communities and spatial geographies of care.



The Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant

The MacLeod grant supports undergraduate honors research on issues having to do with women or gender, or research that brings a feminist analysis to bear on a problem or set of questions. Students currently working on honors theses in any field are eligible to apply. The $1000 grant is to be used to further research.

Application materials should include:

  • a three to five page description of your honors thesis
  • a letter of support from your thesis advisor
  • a brief description of how you would use the grant funds, if awarded

The grant honors the life of Helen Terry MacLeod (1901-1994) who did not herself have a college education but who helped support the undergraduate, graduate, and professional school educations of her grandchildren, including Joan MacLeod Heminway ’83.

View a list of all Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant recipients

2020-21 Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant Recipient

Sabrina BajwaSabrina Bajwa

Sabrina Bajwa ’21.5

Reproductive (In)justice in Detention Gender and Sexuality Studies; Hispanic Studies


In September 2020, whistleblower Dawn Wooten drew attention to allegations of forced hysterectomies at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. Just two years prior, the Trump administration found itself embroiled in a legal battle as the Office of Refugee Resettlement denied pregnant minors’ access to abortion in detention. Through archival work, reviewing key court cases, and conducting interviews with current organizers, my research traces the historical incorporation of reproductive coercion within immigration politics to illuminate how these seemingly contradictory anti-birth and anti-abortion pushes exist simultaneously. In considering these examples in conversation, I highlight the creative efforts of activists in urging for a reproductive justice-based movement to dismantle the white supremacy underlying the convergence of reproductive coercion and anti-immigration politics.

From 1995-2007 the Pembroke Center awarded Helen Terry MacLeod funds as a prize for an outstanding undergraduate honors thesis that addressed questions of gender or women, or that brought a feminist analysis to bear on a topic of study.

he Barbara Anton Community Research Grant

Undergraduate students doing an honors thesis involving community work related to the welfare of women and children are eligible to apply for the Barbara Anton Community Research grant. The grant provides $1,000 in research support.

Application materials should include:

  • a three to five page description of your honors thesis
  • a letter of support from your thesis advisor
  • a brief description of how you would use the grant funds, if awarded

The grant commemorates Barbara Anton’s many contributions to the Pembroke Center over nearly two decades as director of the Pembroke Associates organization.

View a list of all Barbara Anton Internship Grant recipients

2020-21 Barbara Anton Community Research Grant Recipient

Connor Jenkins
History and Africana Studies

“Fear gave speed to our steps”: Slavery’s Hauntings and the Long Lives of Plantation Geographies in Edenton, North Carolina from 1850 to 1880

 In 1861, Harriet Jacobs anonymously published her narrative about her escape from slavery. In the 1970s, historians located Jacobs’ enslavement in Edenton, North Carolina. To understand regional (mis-)remembering of slavery, I will map Edenton geographies and lineages pre-1865 and post-1865 through correspondence and newspapers. By interviewing Edentonians, I will investigate antebellum legacies in modern space and gender roles. This project simply asks: what changed in Edenton after emancipation? Much historiography considers slavery through geography and gender, yet local histories often omit these analytics. Calculated local forgetting of slavery undergirds spectacular insurrectionary activity and quotidian structural inequality, rendering this project urgent and timely.

The Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant

First awarded in 2008, the Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant supports an undergraduate research project related to issues of women’s empowerment such as gender equality in the workplace, access to reproductive health care, and women's political leadership. Research projects related to women in developing countries, such as micro-finance and access to education will also be considered. The $1000 grant is to be used to further research.

Application materials should include:

  • a three to five page description of your research project
  • a letter of support from your advisor
  • a brief description of how you would use the grant funds, if awarded

The grant honors the life of Linda Pei ’67 (1944-2007). Linda was born in China and grew up in Tokyo. Her parents sent her to the United States for schooling at the age of sixteen. She graduated from Brown with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, earned a master’s degree in teaching from Wesleyan University, and completed a master’s degree in business administration at Stanford University. She founded the Women’s Equity Mutual Fund in 1993 to advance the social and economic status of women in the workplace by bringing to bear the collective power of individual and institutional investors. She also founded a program to integrate entrepreneurial learning and microfinance in a small community in China.

Click here for a list of all Linda Pei Research Grant recipients

2020-21 Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant Recipient

Clare BoyleClare BoyleClare Boyle

Clare Boyle ’20.5

Comparative Literature


 "To Steal a Dream"

“To Steal a Dream” asks who gets to define identity, and what happens when how others see you isn’t how you see yourself. This project is an ongoing collaboration between Boyle and Providence high school student named Lina, whom Boyle met and worked with through the Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment program. Lina fled Syria with her family at age ten and lived in Jordan before being resettled in the United States. The project’s final form will be a multimedia website combining seven podcasts of Lina narrating her transnational journey with collages of her photos and memories from each place she has lived. “To Steal a Dream” constitutes a critical intervention into media representations which position young, female refugees, Muslim women in particular, as perpetual victims in need of saving. In creating the project, Boyle is building on research she undertook as an Undergraduate Fellow in the 2018-19 Pembroke Seminar “What Are (Human) Rights? Imperial Origins, Curatorial Practices and Non-Imperial Ground.”


Enid Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship

The Enid Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship supports innovative research by undergraduate honors students from any department pursuing work related to women and gender.

Application materials should include:

  • a three to five page description of your research project
  • a letter of support from your advisor
  • a brief description of how you would use the grant funds, if awarded

Click here for a list of all Enid Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship recipients