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 Travel Fellowship

View the 2018-19 recipients' presentations here.

Grant applications are accepted in the Fall semester.  The deadline for 2020-21 funding will be in early October, 2020.  Please see UFunds for additional 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

 2019-20 Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant

Graduate Student Recipients

Felicia Denaud
Graduate Student, Department of Africana Studies

At the Vanishing Point of the Word: Blackness and the Unnameable War

At the Vanishing Point of the Word: Blackness, Imperium, and the Unnameable War activates the category of war as a conceptual analytic for the structural, experiential, and historical dimensions of Black Life/Black Study. What is the relationship between Blackness, Empire, War-Making and how does this entanglement continue to structure the terms of global life itself? In response to these questions, this project theorizes modernity as an unnameable war on the Black captive, or the Man vs. Human Wars. The project brings historically recognizable iterations of war (the civil wars of the Kingdom of Kongo, the Haitian Revolution, the American Civil War, the Berlin Conference, and the building of the atomic bomb) into dynamic conversation while also tending to “minor histories” of war: the expressions and conditions of violence that fail at the threshold, weaponry and healing, testimony from landscape.

The Pembroke award will support research for the chapter “‘You Will Be Born Free and Rebellious or You Will Not Be Born at All’/Giving Birth in the Unnameable War.” This chapter, part of the theoretical bedrock of the project, takes up Black women's reproductive labor in the unnameable war with a particular emphasis on the nexus of abolition, abortion, and the womb.


Warren Harding
Graduate Student, Department of Africana Studies

Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and the Literacies of Belonging

Harding's project, “Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and the Literacies of Belonging,” examines the ways in which Black Caribbean migrant women writers and cultural producers use their creative expression, both textual and physical, to expand geographies of belonging across the African and Caribbean diasporas between the 1970s and 1990s. It questions: 1) How have Black Caribbean migrant women writers and cultural producers advanced a radical understanding of literacy and belonging? 2) How do these women’s raced, gendered, migrant, and Caribbean subjectivities shape their practice and mobilization, both on and off the page? Harding studies with eight Black Caribbean migrant women poets, novelists, publishers, storytellers, and librarians as they undermine heteropatriarchal, anti-Black, nativist, and colonial enactments on the world. As this study grounds geography, it turns to fieldwork between Canada, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States as a distinct methodology that elucidates how these women’s engagement with place remains accountable to the lived experience. Furthermore, Harding's study identifies interiority, relationality, imagination, materialization, and mobility as integral themes that traces how these women transform literary, cultural, and everyday practices of belonging.


Nell Lake
Graduate Student, Department of American Studies

Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid.: The Enduring Moral Politics of 'Women's Work' in America

Nell Lake's Steinhaus/Zisson Pembroke Center Research Grant will enable her to conduct fieldwork at the annual assembly of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The NDWA is a coalition of community organizations focused on the rights and working conditions of domestic workers. This research will form a key part of her dissertation, “Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid.: The Enduring Moral Politics of ‘Women’s Work’ in America,” which examines social hierarchies of women’s paid and unpaid care labor in the U.S. This project extends work Lake did as a journalist before entering her PhD program three years ago: She wrote a book chronicling the struggles of family caregivers to meet the moral and emotional demands of caregiving. This project extends that research on caregiving by examining the politics of care: She applies the lens of moral politics to the social construction of care labor in the 20th- and 21st-century U.S., focusing on the racialization of women’s-work roles and examining how the moral values of “care” and “social justice” get mobilized in contest over care labor. 



Kristen Maye

Graduate Student, Department of Africana Studies

Black Studies Toward a Poetics of Black Critique

Kristen’s project undertakes a critical examination of Black Studies in order to think through the ways in which this knowledge project epistemically intervenes on the genealogy of Critique in Western philosophy. By critically revisiting the struggle for Black Studies, this project reframes and reinterprets Critique as an embodied, ethical and intimate practice that exceeds the authority of the university. Probing the boundaries between Black Studies as a formal university enterprise, and a more unruly, live and idiosyncratic repertoire of critical activities, this work insists that the project of Black Studies at its 1968 inception, became an institutionalized expression of a broader Black Studies tradition being dynamically enacted by deeply politicized cohorts of Black women writers, thinkers and culture workers who, at times, had tenuous relationships to the university, if they had them at all. Their lives and work -- as a matter of their structural position intersecting with their individual biographies -- demonstrate that at stake in the practice of Critique, are the very terms of the condition of being human. Rerouting Black Studies through Toni Cade Bambara and Sylvia Wynter, in particular, this work charts the living practices of black creators, writers and culture-workers who instantiated critique toward the creation of a world that might one day be able to accommodate and sustain the conditions for their being -- human or otherwise.  



Esha Sraboni

Graduate Student, Department of Sociology

Making Meaning of Gendered Violence and the Law: Global Discourses and Local Realities in Bangladesh

Despite significant efforts by transnational and local feminist movements to raise awareness about violence against women and anti-violence laws enacted by regional governments, violence against women is not always regarded as a significant legal problem. Esha Sraboni’s project will investigate how Bangladeshi women frame their experiences of violence, and how these understandings shape their decisions to seek legal recourse. Bangladesh offers an opportunity to advance understanding of factors that shape women's decisions to access legal solutions in the case of violence. The country has made remarkable progress in gender equality initiatives, but violence against women is pervasive and women are limited in their access to justice. Moreover, the country has several systems of state and non-state legal fora that add an additional layer of complexity to understanding how individuals conceptualize justice in the case of violence against women.

While interviews with women will comprise the majority of data collection, the study will also examine the perspectives of policymakers, activists, non-government organization officials and academics who help to shape anti-violence laws and policies, and are thought to shape public understanding of violence against. The project will also interview state and non-state legal authorities that women directly encounter if they initiate judicial procedures for violence. This study will contribute to scholarship on law and society by adding to knowledge of how concepts of violence against women and justice are understood, negotiated, and re-created, and the structural factors that shape women's decisions to pursue legal recourse following experiences of violence. 



Ieva Zumbyte

Graduate Student, Department of Sociology

Tracing the Quality of Public Childcare Services in Urban Settlements 

Ieva's research explores the social, economic and political conditions that explain governance practices in public childcare provision in cities in India. Specifically, she is interested in how public childcare is organized in cities and why some neighborhoods have better public childcare than others. In this project, Ieva investigates variations in the quality of childcare provided through state-led neighborhood centres called anganwadis across informal settlements in Chennai, India. She argues that a comparative analysis of public childcare at the neighborhood level can help us understand local social and governance practices and their drivers that create, sustain or can possibly mitigate inequalities in service provision. 


 

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

2019-20 Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant Recipient

Camila Pelsinger
International Relations; Cognitive Neuroscience

Restorative responses to gender-based violence in the United States & New Zealand

Pelsinger’s honors thesis will examine community-based responses to gender-based violence in New Zealand and the United States and contribute to the ongoing debate about the use of restorative justice for a wider range of offences.  An in-depth analysis of New Zealand’s state-funded restorative justice program response to sexual violence, Project Restore, and transformative justice organizations in the US, will reveal the theories and practices guiding these programs. Specifically, this research will examine the ways in which community-based accountability programs responding to sexual violence in New Zealand and the United States are addressing the flaws in existing state adversarial systems. The research will reveal the conditions that gave rise to the design of community-based accountability programs and how they operate given their state and regional contexts. Pelsinger’s research will hopefully unearth policy changes that might allow for restorative programs to emerge elsewhere around the world. In addition, it is her hope that this thesis will be useful for organizers and victim-survivor advocates who are looking for ways to address gender-based violence in ways that center the needs of survivors and do not replicate violence or harm.


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.



T
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. 

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

2019-20 Barbara Anton Community Research Grant Recipient

Scarlett Bergam '20, MPH '21
Public Health

“They should be taught self-respect, self-confidence and self-love”: The impact of education and conflicting social pressures on the sexual behaviors of South African Adolescents Living With HIV

Scarlett Bergam’s honors thesis will explore the gap between sexual health education and practice in South African adolescents living with HIV. Of all new HIV infections in South Africa, 75% occur in adolescent females. Adolescents living with HIV are at an increased risk for pregnancy, STIs, and transmitting HIV to sexual partners. Through adolescent in-depth interview analysis, Scarlett has found that there are conflicting pressures at play that lead this population of adolescents to make risky sexual decisions: partner and peer pressure, a lack of support in the home, a history of gender-based violence, and societal gender norms. Scarlett will be using this $1,000 grant to develop and disseminate her findings at various conferences in the Spring, as well as begin to develop a continuation of this work for her Masters of Public Health thesis next year. She hopes this project will shine a light on the voices of this unique population in the midst of an ongoing HIV epidemic in South Africa.  


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

2019-20 Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant Recipient

Ella J. Satish
Latin American and Caribbean Studies; PLME

El Programa de Atención Materno-Infantil: The Cuban Maternal Health System as a Model for Care of Black Mothers in the United States

This project analyzes the structure and design of the Cuban Maternal and Childcare Program as a model for improving care outcomes and reducing disparities in healthcare for Black mothers in the U.S. It continues upon a growing body of scholarship that evaluates the Cuban health care system as a model to improve aspects of our current system such as the research done by U.S. social workers in Cuba during the creation of the Affordable Care Act. It analyzes elements of the socialist program for implementation in a U.S., capitalist context.

Specifically, three key aspects: a focus on primary care and preventative medicine, collaboration between different sectors of the medical community and holistic support for patients. For example, recent studies have shown that consistent care provided to Black mothers by doulas and midwives acting as patient advocates helps to decrease complications related to pregnancy and thus maternal mortality. This is an approach to mirroring the Cuban support system for mothers using methods applicable to the country.


 

Enid Wilson Undergraduate Travel Fellowship

The Enid Wilson Undergraduate Travel Fellowship supports travel expenses for 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 Travel Fellowship recipients

2019-20 Enid Wilson Undergraduate Travel Fellowship Recipients

Tabitha Payne, '20
Development Studies

Golden Voice

Tabitha Payne studies LGBTQI Cambodia in past and present through ethnographic participatory-action fieldwork a with a local LGBTQI and marginalized people’s rights group, CamASEAN Youth’s Future. Her undergraduate thesis, Golden Voice, chronicles the experiences of LGBTQI, particularly, trans-masculine people under the Khmer Rouge regime (1975 - 1979). The project consists of a public-facing documentary film component and academic thesis, which argues that the Khmer Rouge ruptured social norms to inadvertently create a unique spaciousness for trans-masculine subjectivities. The work focuses on the experiences of four trans-masculine and lesbian people who were forced to do hard labor in the same young women’s work commune under the genocidal regime. Despite living in a dystopic environment where one person was taken to be killed every 10 days, they were still able to find queer community and partnerships. Her work critically contributes to the wholly slim body of scholarship on Queerness in Cambodia. She plans to continue this activist fieldwork as her graduate school dissertation. 



Camila Pelsinger, 20
International Relations; Cognitive Neuroscience

Restorative responses to gender-based violence in the United States & New Zealand 

Pelsinger’s honors thesis will examine community-based responses to gender-based violence in New Zealand and the United States and contribute to the ongoing debate about the use of restorative justice for a wider range of offences.  An in-depth analysis of New Zealand’s state-funded restorative justice program response to sexual violence, Project Restore, and transformative justice organizations in the US, will reveal the theories and practices guiding these programs. Specifically, this research will examine the ways in which community-based accountability programs responding to sexual violence in New Zealand and the United States are addressing the flaws in existing state adversarial systems. The research will reveal the conditions that gave rise to the design of community-based accountability programs and how they operate given their state and regional contexts. Pelsinger’s research will hopefully unearth policy changes that might allow for restorative programs to emerge elsewhere around the world. In addition, it is her hope that this thesis will be useful for organizers and victim-survivor advocates who are looking for ways to address gender-based violence in ways that center the needs of survivors and do not replicate violence or harm.



Mohammed-Reda Semlani, ‘20
Development Studies; Economics

The economic impact of the Argan tree on the local communities in southwestern Morocco

For his honors thesis, Reda investigates the economic, environmental, and social impacts of the Argan oil market on indigenous North African (Amazigh) women and their communities in Morocco. Since the late 1990s, Morocco’s rural Southwest has benefited from the world’s growing demand for Argan oil, which comes from the country’s endemic Argan tree. While the plant has been used by Moroccans for centuries, it has only recently garnered widespread popularity due to research that links the plant with numerous health and cosmetic benefits. Reda’s thesis identifies the extent to which the commercialization of the Argan plant has allowed local Amazigh female-workers in the industry to gain financial independence as well as an improved quality of life, and the significance this has had on the gender roles of communities in the region. Another critical area of study in his research is the effect of regional environmental damage, caused by the steadily high demand of Argan oil, on the livelihood of Amazigh women and their relationship with the plant. Reda’s research accounts for the socioeconomic imbalances that emerge in developing countries due to forces of globalization, and by also considering similar cases, he demonstrates that such forces often exploit local, indigenous women.