Here is a list of external grants that have recently been awarded to current Williams faculty in support of their leave, research, and/or programmatic activities. Awards are listed alphabetically by funding organization.
Have you received a grant award that is not included here? Please let us know!
Note: Your colleagues have agreed to make successful proposals available as a resource to help aid others in the grant writing process. Copies of these proposals can be accessed via the “Faculty Grant Proposal Library” in GLOW.
Phoebe Cohen, Associate Professor of Geosciences, received a $70,000 ACS Petroleum Research Fund grant for her research on using organic-walled microfossils to reconstruct past environments and paleo-ecological conditions, focusing on the Late Devonian biodiversity crisis. (June 2016)
Gregory Mitchell, Chair and Associate Professor of Womens, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, has been awarded a $95,000 Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars from the ACLS. Professor Mitchell’s fellowship will take place at Princeton University where he will be in residence in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies during the 2019-2020 academic year. While in residence at Princeton, Professor Mitchell will be working on his research project, “40,000 Missing Girls: Moral Panics, Global Sporting Events, and the Spectacle of Sex Trafficking.” (February 2019)
Anthony Sheppard, Marylin & Arthur Levitt Professor of Music, has been awarded a $70,000 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for his research and book on “The Performer’s Voice: Timbre and Expression in Twentieth Century Vocal Music.” Professor Sheppard will investigate how specific composers and performers of vocal music wielded timbre–the tone color of a vocal sound–as a musical tool of expression, particularly in the mid-twentieth century. (February 2019)
Ralph Morrison, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, was awarded a $4,000 AMS-Simons Travel Grant. Professor Morrison will use this two-year grant to visit collaborators to work on his research on tropical geometry. Tropical mathematics begins by replacing the usual rules of arithmetic (addition and multiplication) with new ones (taking a minimum, and addition), which helps to solve optimization problems, including scheduling and job assignments. Professor Morrison researches some of the geometric shapes that are defined by polynomial equations in this tropical setting, which are called tropical curves. In particular, he works on studying what structures tropical curves can have, and on how to relate them to the more standard algebraic curves that we are used to. (July 2019)
Daniel Turek, Assistant Professor of Statistics, has been selected to receive a 2019-2020 J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship. As a Fulbright Scholar, Professor Turek will travel to France to work with computational ecologists at the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology. They will focus on developing new and scalable algorithms for fitting a diverse set of ecological models, broadly applicable across areas of ecology and environmental science. These tools will be made available as open-source software to benefit researchers worldwide. (January 2019)
Pamela Harris, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded a $6,000 grant through the Mathematical Association of America’s Tensor-SUMMA Program to support her continued work through her website Lathisms (Latinxs and Hispanics in the Mathematical Science). The primary goal of Lathisms is to help create a vibrant and diverse mathematical community where the depiction and participation of Latinxs and Hispanics accurately represent U.S. demographics by providing an accessible platform that features prominently the extent of the research and mentoring contributions of Latinxs and Hispanics in different areas of the mathematical sciences. (April 2019)
LeRhonda (Rhon) Manigault-Bryant, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Religion, received a three-year $300,000 New Directions Fellowship to pursue substantive and methodological training in film studies and documentary filmmaking. As a New Directions Fellow, Professor Manigault-Bryant will attend Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, where she will pursue full-time training in film production during the academic year. She will complete an internship and further coursework during the summers at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. More information about this grant award and Professor Manigault-Bryant’s research is available here. (April 2018)
Lecturer in Religion and Anthropology/Sociology Kim Gutschow received a $100,000 grant for her project “Climate Change Adaptation: By the People & For the People.” The project will train and empower Himalayan women and youth to advocate for site-specific, climate-smart policy and interventions within the Zangskar subdistrict of the Ladakh region of India. You can read more about her project here. (January 2020)
Jessica Chapman, Associate Professor of History, was awarded a three-year $240,000 New Directions Fellowship to pursue substantive and methodological training in the field of anthropology. This training will aid her research related to the economic and cultural significance of Kenya’s running industry. More information about this grant award and Professor Chapman’s research is available here. (March 2016)
Matt Carter, Associate Professor of Biology, was awarded a three-year $369,369 grant from the NIH to study the neural basis of appetite suppression. This grant will allow numerous undergraduates to use modern neuroscience tools to study how the brain regulates hunger. More information about this grant award and Professor Carter’s research is available here. (September 2018)
Katie Hart, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a three-year $378,000 grant to research the relationship between the chemical composition of proteins known as beta-lactamases, a family of enzymes involved in antibiotic resistance, and their ability to degrade medicinal drugs. More information about this grant award and Professor Hart’s research is available here. (June 2019)
Matt Carter, Associate Professor of Biology, received a five-year $586,000 CAREER grant to support his research into sleep and wakefulness. More information about this grant award and Professor Carter’s research is available here. (April 2017)
Phoebe Cohen, Associate Professor of Geosciences, has been awarded a two-year $79,585 grant to support her research using a new technique to explore how organic carbon isotopes can illuminate persistent unknowns in the Proterozoic Earth-life system. Professor Cohen will be working on this grant in collaboration with professors from the University of California-Santa Barbara and Syracuse University. (February 2019)
Stephen Freund, Professor of Computer Science, received a three-year $199,999 grant into ways to automatically synthesize high-performance concurrent software systems for multicore processors and multiprocessor hardware. Such software is currently written by hand—a process that is notoriously challenging and error prone. More information about this grant award and Professor Freund’s research is available here. (July 2018)
Lisa Gilbert, Associate Professor of Geosciences and Marine Sciences at Williams-Mystic, received a $35,128 subaward from Carleton College as part of a larger grant from the NSF. This seven-year grant supports the STEP Center project, which is a collaboration between partners at several schools and organizations. Its mission is to (1) develop curricula that will dramatically increase geoscience literacy of all undergraduate students, including the large majority that do not major in the geosciences, those who are historically under-represented in the geosciences, and future K-12 teachers; and (2) increase the number of majors in the geosciences and associated fields by developing model programs to prepare a workforce that can address the challenges faced by modern civilization of living sustainably on the planet. More information on the STEP Center project is available here. (April 2016)
Professor Gilbert has also received a $99,110 grant to support the Earth Education for Sustainable Societies Workshop, which will be held at Carleton College Oct. 14-16, 2019. This workshop will build on the accomplishments of the STEP Center project (InTeGrate (“Interdisciplinary Teaching of Geoscience for a Sustainable Future”)). The Earth Education for Sustainable Societies Workshop will provide a venue for new and diverse groups to envision and share ideas for new approaches and directions to address issues of sustainability through learning about the earth. (June 2019)
Iris Howley, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, has been awarded a two-year $150,474 grant to support her research on the relationship between instructor and student understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms underlying educational technology, and how this algorithmic understanding impacts decision-making in learning contexts. (April 2019)
Kevin Jones, William Edward McElfresh Professor of Physics, was awarded a three-year $131,876 subaward through the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a visiting researcher at the JQI, Professor Jones will study the noise characteristics of phase measurement devices based on non-classical light. He will theoretically investigate and help assemble cascaded amplifiers that are part of SU(1,1) interferometer designs.
Professor Jones will also continue the development and study of phase-measuring devices based on active gain media. He will take part in the design of experiments and assist students that are involved in these experiments, as well as help to maintain the lasers and optical equipment in the JQI laboratories. (September 2017)
Protik Majumder, Barclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy, has been awarded a three-year $364,933 grant to continue his research program of high-precision spectroscopic studies of heavy metal atoms such as indium, thallium, lead, and tin. This grant is the latest renewal in a series of NSF awards that Professor Majumder has received starting in 1998. Professor Majumder will use this new grant to build and test laser and optical systems, construct and optimize electronics and control systems, and use computer-based methods to collect and then model and analyze large amounts of data. For more than two decades, this project has included more than 60 Williams students, including 35 senior thesis students, who have made important contributions to this work. More information about this grant award and Professor Majumder’s research is available here. (July 2019)
Luana Maroja, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of Biochemistry Program, received two grants totaling $137,315 in support of her ongoing research into evolutionary genetics. More information about these awards and Professor Maroja’s research is available here. (July 2017)
Steven Miller, Professor of Mathematics and Thomas Garrity, Webster Atwell Class of 1921 Professor of Mathematics, have been awarded a three-year, $416,100 grant in support of the SMALL REU program at Williams. The SMALL program is a nine-week residential summer program in which undergraduates from all over the U.S. come to investigate open research problems in mathematics. Approximately 500 students have participated in the project since its inception in 1988. (January 2020)
Steven Nafziger, Professor of Economics, received a three-year $110,266 collaborative grant for his research into corporate law and finance in pre-Revolution Russia. This grant will support Professor Nafziger’s work with Middlebury College professor Amanda Gregg as they collect and analyze data describing Russian corporations prior to the October Revolution of 1917. This historical project speaks to the role that legal institutions, corporate governance, and finance play in the process of economic development. (June 2017)
Jay Pasachoff, Chair and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, has been awarded a three-year $251,408 grant for support of his solar-eclipse research. The grant includes support for expeditions for Professor Pasachoff’s team of students and colleagues for the July 2, 2019, total eclipse in Chile; for the December 14, 2020, total eclipse in Argentina, and the December 4, 2021, total eclipse on and over Antarctica. The 2019 total eclipse will be Professor Pasachoff’s 35th, and his 71st solar eclipse overall. More information about this grant award and Professor Pasachoff’s research is available here. (May 2019)
Assistant Professor of Computer Science Shikha Singh has received a two-year, $155,000 grant, which will support Professor Singh’s research, focusing on verifying that computation outsourced to third-party service providers has been performed correctly. Her work aims to increase understanding of the role of incentives in algorithms, which has wide applications to areas such as crowdsourcing, cloud computing, and social computing. More information about her research can be found here. (January 2020)
Chad Topaz, Professor of Mathematics, received a three-year $202,524 RUI grant for his research project, which investigates two pattern-forming systems in nature. This project will investigate changes in large-scale, striped patterns of vegetation in semi-arid environments such as the Horn of Africa, to see how they may be indicators of climate change and desertification. It will also look at collective behavior that may arise when organisms interact, as in bird flocks, fish schools and insect swarms. More information on the grant can be found here. (August 2018)
Daniel Turek, Assistant Professor of Statistics, received a $74,820 subaward from the University of California at Berkeley as part of a larger four-year NSF grant supporting a research project that will develop software meant to enable scientists to learn more from complex data and to share new analysis methods more easily. (October 2016)
Professor Susan Godlonton received a $25,048 REALM grant to support her “Constructing Migration Histories Data from Sudan” project. Professor Godlonton and her team will partner with the Secretariat of Sudanese Working Abroad to collect records on all migrants from Sudan, including details on their occupation, duration of migration, and education. Such detailed data are rare, and will help shed light on migration patterns between Africa and countries in the Gulf, which is a migration channel that has been largely understudied. (June 2018)
Amal Eqeiq, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, has received a $16,800 PARC/NEH Research Fellowship. Professor Eqeiq will use her fellowship to spend four months in Ramallah in Occupied Palestine conducting interviews, attending and analyzing live performances and festivals, researching in archives, and working on her book manuscript, tentatively titled, “Indigenous Affinities: Comparative Study in Mayan and Palestinian Narratives.” (March 2019)
Tara Watson, Professor of Economics, received a $55,000 US2050 grant for a one-year project that builds on her ongoing research, done in collaboration with Wellesley College economics professor Kristin Butcher (who is a subawardee on this grant), concerning the impact of immigration on the native-born elderly in the US.
The Peterson Foundation’s US2050 initiative examines and analyzes the multiple demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will shape the United States in the decades ahead. Engaging leading scholars in the areas of demographics, poverty, labor economics, macroeconomics, political science, and sociology, the goal of US 2050 is to create a comprehensive view of the country’s economic and fiscal future — and the implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans. (March 2018)
Charlie Doret, Assistant Professor of Physics, received a $100,000 Cottrell Scholar Award for his research project on the study of thermal conductivity on the nanoscale level. This three-year award will be used to further Professor Doret’s research and teaching and development as a teacher-scholar. (April 2017)
Tara Watson, Professor of Economics and Chair of Public Health, Lucie Schmidt, Professor of Economics, and Lara Shore-Sheppard, Kimberly A. ’96 and Robert R. ’62 Henry Professor of Economics, have been awarded a $74,991 grant to support their project, “Does Social Security Reduce Child Poverty and Boost the Academic Achievement of Low-Income Children?” Through this research, they aim to exploit a quasi‐exogenous source of variation in household income – Social Security eligibility at age 62 for an older relative – to measure the causal effect of a stable income source on child educational outcomes and to understand why such a relationship holds. They are particularly interested in impacts on low‐income households, for whom Social Security income represents a bigger share of the overall budget. (March 2019)
Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation
Ngonidzashe Munemo, Professor of Political Science, has been awarded a $6,760 Whiting Fellowship to enhance and improve his teaching of African politics to Williams College students by spending a month in residence at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. During Professor Munemo’s 40 days in residence at UCT, he will learn from colleagues as he works on revising his courses and will also explore the possibility of bringing together UCT and Williams students in cross-continent, cross-campus, co-taught courses on African politics. (April 2019)