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 Internship Grant
Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant
Enid Wilson Undergraduate Travel Fellowship

View the 2017-18 recipients' presentations here.

Grant applications are accepted in the Fall semester.  The deadline for 2018-19 funding is October 4, 2018.  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 that education 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

 2017-18 Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant
Undergraduate Student Recipient

Zoë Gilbard '18
History and Public Health

Eugenics in Rhode Island’s Progressive Era Psychiatric Institutions: The Treatment of Women and Immigrants

Zoë’s thesis research charts the influence of Progressive Era eugenic ideas on psychiatry at the local and national levels, examining race, class, and gender within the immigrant-heavy population of Rhode Island. Where did Rhode Island’s physicians, and specifically psychiatrists, fit into the larger national dialogue on eugenics? How did the discussion and application of eugenics in mental institutions affect immigrants and women within the state?

While most historical analysis of eugenic ideas about women and gender focuses on sterilization policies and the birth control movement, Rhode Island’s discourse on eugenics centered on immigrants, the waning power of the asylum, and marriage restriction. Zoë will explore both the ways in which eugenics was used both rhetorically and concretely to control undesirable groups, including immigrants and women, in the realm of psychiatric institutions. Additionally, she will investigate women’s involvement in eugenics in Rhode Island, and the ways in which it affected them outside of the traditional narrative of purely controlling reproduction.

A local history of psychiatry and eugenics in Rhode Island will help historians and contemporary psychiatrists in the state to understand both the pervasiveness of the ideology, as well as the ways in which it lives on in modern therapeutic systems including women’s reproductive health, gene therapy, and other cutting-edge sciences. 

2017-18 Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant
Undergraduate Student Recipient

Aja Grande '18
Science, Technology, Society

The Pursuit of Pono in Hawai‘i Education Politic

Aja's interdisciplinary research is framed around the ethnography of Jessica Worchel in her support to open the Hawai‘i public education realm for multiple perspectives, ways of being, knowing, and modes of decision making that give room for indigenous world view and voice. As Jessica’s work is seated within a global context of similar attempts to invoke indigenous values in learning across systemic levels, this study weaves the history of Hawai‘i’s transition into U.S. democratic politics, with a focus on shifts in educational framework, spanning from pre-annexation missionary involvement, through Hawaiian education studies campaigns in the 1960s, to the present. Drawing from a broad range of evidence in the fields of anthropology, history, and science and technology, this research aims to reveal the implications behind indigenous revival through Jessica’s strive for pono, or what is ‘righteous,’ ‘just,’ or ‘balanced,’ in Hawai‘i’s education policy. Embedded in this ethnography are oral histories from native and sovereign Hawai‘i descendants, literature from Hawai‘i education anthropologists, Hawai‘i public education archives, as well as film and media of traditionally stewarded land by individuals who malama i nā ahupua‘a, or those who ‘care for our island earth.’ 

2017-2018 Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant
Graduate Student Recipient

Daniel McDonald
Graduate Student, Department of History

Mothers on the March: Grassroots Women's Resistance in Military Brazil

Daniel McDonald's dissertation project examines how urban residents and grassroots groups in São Paulo negotiated state repression, economic crises, and urban problems during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) and the long transition to democracy (1974-1996). Combining digital humanities methods with social and urban history, this project uses previously unavailable textual sources and oral interviews to analyze the rights-based politics that emerged among everyday citizens of Brazil’s largest metropolis, especially with women’s groups in São Paulo’s working-class East and South Zones (Zona LesteZona Sul). Beginning with the surge of neighborhood groups at the height of regime repression during the late 1960s and early 1970s, his dissertation documents the grassroots welfare activism that placed São Paulo at the forefront of reimagining citizenship in the decade after Brazil’s return to democracy in 1985.

2017-2018 Steinhaus/Zisson Research Grant
Graduate Student Recipient

Katsí Rodríguez Velázquez
Graduate Student, Department of Africana Studies

Claiming the Anjelamaría Davilá: Black Women in the Decolonization of Puerto Rico

This research focuses on the decolonizing and anti-racist critiques present in the works of four Black female Puerto Rican artists: poet Ánjelamaría Dávila, novelist Mayra Santos Febres, and Michel and Lydela Nonó of the performance group Las Nietas de Nonó. The project centers the work of Ánjelamaría Dávila, a Black feminist, nationalist, anticolonial and anti-capitalist Puerto Rican poet writing in the late 60’s and 70’s who died in 2003 of what has been framed as Alzheimer’s. Dávila’s work has been largely left out of the Puerto Rican literary canon and the scarce scholarly interpretation of her texts silences the anti-racist critiques present in it. Thus, this research uses the metaphor of her “broken memory” to disrupt the constant silencing and erasure of Black women’s bodies, voices, and works in Puerto Rican national narratives and anti-colonial resistance struggles. Rodríguez Velázquez traces the presence and relevance these Black artists give to blackness and anti-colonial thought in their work; explores how their standpoint challenges questions of nationality in Puerto Rico; and, discusses how the anti-racist and decolonial critiques intrinsic to Black women’s writings and performances constitute significant contributions to the Black diasporic feminist and Black radical tradition as well as scholarship on anti-black violence in Latin America, the hispanophone Caribbean and North America.

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

2017-18 Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant Recipient

Brigitte Dale '18

Radical Actors: The WSPU’s Staging of the Suffrage Campaign

Brigitte Dale’s history thesis examines the representation of the British women’s suffrage movement in contemporary media and historical memory, questioning the accepted notion that the suffragettes of the Women’s Social and Political Union were ‘radical.’ Dale argues that, although the suffragettes were violent in the latter portion of their eleven year campaign, characterizing the entire movement as radical based on militancy is a mistake. By examining the theatrical and performative nature of the campaign, Dale claims that the women’s presence in public, not their violence, made them radical. The suffragettes occupied the same streets as actresses and prostitutes, disavowing Victorian domesticity by dramatizing their campaign for a public audience. Historians retroactively characterized the suffragettes as radical because of their violence, but contemporaries did so initially because of their presence.

Tens of thousands of suffragettes risked their reputations to perform their desire for political participation. While society expects ‘radical’ women to be violent so they seem beyond the bounds of feminine expectations, Dale asserts that we must recognize what was actually radical at the time—women in public.  The suffragettes fought against stereotypes from dissimulative prostitutes, to failed mothers, to lesbians. Stereotypes and assumptions persist about women and power, which recently led women to march in pink pussy hats instead of tri-color sashes. Dale’s research recontextualizes the suffrage campaign and argues that long before violence ensued, the suffragettes were radical simply for being there. 

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.

The Barbara Anton Internship Grant

Undergraduate students doing an honors thesis involving an internship or volunteer work in a community agency are eligible to apply for the Barbara Anton research grant. The thesis and community work must be in some way related to the welfare of women and children, and the $1000 grant used to further research.

Application materials should include:

  • a three to five page description of your honors thesis
  • the name of the community organization with which you are working
  • 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

2017-18 Barbara Anton Internship Grant Recipient

Cleveish Bogle '18
Anthropology, Health and Human Biology

Articulating the Impact of Creative Youth Development on the ¡CityArts! Community: An Engaged Ethnographic Study

Cleveish Bogle’s research project will use ethnographic methodologies to investigate the effects of community-building and creative youth development on the self-identity and socioemotional outcomes for the teachers, mentors, alumni, and through a top-down approach during research analysis, the students who participate in the community organization, Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth. With a focus on youth who have limited to no access to affordable and consistent out-of-school enrichment programs and who are limited in their social exposure beyond their own neighborhoods (2011), ¡CityArts! is an organization invested in creating a community which is accessible and supportive to everyone who engages in its work, programs and partnerships.

In recent years, the methodology of creative youth development has grown to become an empirically-supported field with hundreds of organizations and programs (Montgomery 2014).  Notably, the process of creative youth development is an intentional process that encourages positive outcomes, including community engagement and positive self-image, by providing the opportunities and support young people need to participate fully in their own social, intellectual and cultural growth. Following the guidelines of creative youth development and community engagement, ¡CityArts! provides its members with an exposure to a variety of artistic mediums while also building community values throughout its programming for Providence youth. This organization will serve as an exemplar setting to explore how youth development programming is used to understand the connections between community and self-identity, and its practices and mission teach members the value of self-expression in building relationships and in defining and asserting one’s individual identity.

Cleveish’s engaged ethnographic research will culminate in the collection, analysis and consolidation of personal narratives. These narratives will ground a cohesive analysis of how the structural parameters of community-building and youth development practices influence the development of a communal identity and inform the influence of belonging on the process of self-identity formation and expression. Consequently, the resulting analysis will expand our understanding of how positive social engagement and artistic interventions within a community organization can influence insights about how communal identity influences the formation and expression of self-identity in its members and participants.

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

2017-18 Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant Recipient

Sarah Nicita '20
Brown/RISD Dual Degree, Cognitive Neuroscience and Textiles

Miao Women: Traditional Textile Craft, Socioeconomic Mobilization and Challenges to Sustainability

Sarah Nicita's research project will investigate the traditional textile making of Miao ethnicity women in Jishou and surrounding rural communities. Jishou is located within the Hunan Province, at the seat of the Miao Autonomous Prefecture and Xiangxi Tujia; 73% of the population belongs to Tujia or Miao minorities. Nicita will be working and traveling with her advisor, Xinyu Liu, a Yenching Scholar, who is both Miao and Tujia. Utilizing a mixed methodology approach, the research will have two main foci: 1) the significance of textile making in Miao culture from a sociological and anthropological perspective, particularly as it has empowered the role of women in that culture 2) the socioeconomic tensions of a woman-centric hand-made material culture attempting to survive within China's rapid industrialization. Within these two main areas of investigation, the research will also necessarily treat the following: 3) the relationship between the creation of craft and the creation of community and 4) the correlation between mastery of craft and increased economic mobility. This project hopes to make space amid the literature on gender and mobility for women in China's modernized cities for the study of women and traditional craft in rural  localities.

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

2017-18 Enid Wilson Undergraduate Travel Fellowship Recipients

Margot Cohen '18
International Relations

Women’s Rights as Human Rights: The Case of Femicide in Chile

Margot’s thesis research examines the issue of violence against women (VAW) which persists with alarming frequency in Latin America and throughout the globe. In recent decades, states in Latin America have collectively taken the greatest steps in eradicating VAW, largely due to pressure from rising feminist movements against femicide or feminicide, the act of killing women because of their gender. Femicide/feminicide is understood to be the most extreme form of VAW and the culmination of other, “every day” forms of gender violence. Focusing on Chile as a main case study, and including mini-comparisons with Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala, Margot’s interdisciplinary research traces the emergence of the femicide/feminicide framework, and the ways in which this shift in discourse has affected state responses and levels of VAW. Drawing from feminist theory, post-colonial theory, and queer theory to supplement existing constructivist frameworks and social movement theory, Margot’s research employs a critical feminist lens to understand femicide/feminicide as both a political and sociocultural phenomenon, as well as a framework feminist activists have employed to bring attention to the role of the state in perpetuating VAW. To this end, her research addresses the following questions: How have the changes in discourse of violence against women affected the way it is perceived, and the ways in which states and international institutions respond? How has the “femicide/feminicide” framework, as adopted by activists in Chile, affected normative shifts and legislative changes, both domestically and internationally? What does this suggest about the existing political/socio-legal approaches targeting violence against women, and more broadly, the distinction between women’s rights and human rights?

Emily Sun '18

Ethnic Studies 

“The Rock Cried Out No Hiding Place”: Subterranean Bodies and Disoriented Space in Women of Color Performance Art

Emily Sun's research focuses on women of color conceptual and performance art. Her thesis will develop the 'subterranean' as a lens to engage the art of Laura Aguilar, Simone Leigh, and Gina Osterloh. Through the subterranean, she hopes to describe how these artists' productions revise the different ways in which racialized and sexualized bodies become legible in space. From burrowing in the desert to armoring ceramic flesh, from scaffolding to shadows, these artists activate the underbellies of black and brown femininities, questioning how we think about exposure and shelter in dominant Western culture. The project will draw upon black and women of color theories of the flesh, queer of color critique, and posthumanist thought. 

Natalie Zeif '18

Negotiating Sexuality and School Work in South Florida: Anita Bryant’s Anti-Queer Teacher Movement

In 1977, the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to amend a local nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections on the basis of “affectional or sexual preference” in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. Religious and civic leaders on both ends of the political spectrum took note. Following the referendum's passage, a former pop-singer, Miss Oklahoma pageant winner, and—perhaps most importantly—born-again Christian named Anita Bryant founded an organization called Save Our Children to overturn it. Six months after the law’s authorization, Bryant’s campaign successfully struck down in a county-wide re-vote. Though the ordinance had offered protections in all areas of employment, Save Our Children waged a narrow, all-out assault on the rights of queer teachers to lead in a classroom setting. Written in the education department, Zeif’s research addresses Bryant’s presentation of school work and queer identities as fundamentally incompatible by virtue of homophobic stereotypes and heteronormative barriers for children's role models. Zeif is using a host of primary source documentation published by or about the Save our Children campaign to understand how Byant framed herself as an authority on child protection. Ultimately, Zeif’s project in concerned with what Bryant’s campaign reveals about constructions of gender and sexuality as they relate to ideas of who is fit to be an educator. Grant funds made travel possible to the archives and libraries where Save Our Children ephemera was consolidated.