Recently Awarded Faculty Grants

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.

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.


American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Michelle Apotsos, Assistant Professor of Art, was awarded a $30,000 American Postdoctoral Fellowship, which will support her travel to South Africa during her 2017/2018 sabbatical.  Professor Apotsos’ research explores architectural form and its ability to articulate the value systems and social narratives operating within a society at a particular moment.  To this end, her new work explores the role of tourist spaces in post-apartheid South Africa as unregulated sites of identity that provide a counter-narrative to that of more utopic civic spaces such as museums, commemorative monuments, and public memorials.  (April 2017)

American Chemical Society (ACS)
Pheobe Cohen, Assistant 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)

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
Dorothy Wang, Associate Professor of American Studies and Faculty Affiliate in English, was awarded a $95,000 Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship.  This fellowship will support Professor Wang’s 2017/2018 residency and research at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).  More information about this grant award and Professor Wang’s research can be found here.  (March 2017)

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Michelle Apotsos, Assistant Professor of Art, was awarded a $7,000 research grant for her project on tourist spaces, architecture, and identity in post-apartheid South Africa.  This grant will support her work in South Africa during her 2017/2018 leave.  (May 2017)

Groff Charitable Trust, Mary E.
Heather Williams, William Dwight Whitney Professor of Biology, received two $30,000 grants to support the purchase of equipment & supplies for honors neuroscience student research in her lab.  (June 2016 and August 2017)

Louisville Institute 
Jacqueline Hidalgo, Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies and Religion, received a $40,000 sabbatical grant for researchers that will support her sabbatical leave during the 2018/19 academic year.  While on leave, Professor Hidalgo plans to finish her book Latinx Theologies and Religious Pluralism, which is already under contract with the Fortress Press/Rowman & Littlefield series, “Disruptive Cartographers: Remapping Theologies Latinamente” (ed. Carmen Nanko-Fernández and Gary Riebe-Estrella).  (January 2018)

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
Swati Singh, Assistant Professor of Physics, has been awarded a 2018-2020 KITP Scholar award, which will support her travel and lodging costs for visits and participation in research activities at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California-Santa Barbara. The KITP Scholar program supports visiting researchers in theoretical physics who are faculty at teaching intensive, non-Ph.D.-granting U.S. colleges.

Professor Singh’s research concerns quantum effects in macroscopic systems. She is particularly interested in identifying emerging quantum platforms that could be used as precise detectors of various physical phenomena, and as controllable simulators of other quantum effects. (December 2017)

Mathematical Association of America

Pamela Harris, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and her colleague Assistant Professor Mathematics Alexander Diaz-Lopez (Villanova University), received a 2018 $5,851 Tensor-SUMMA (Strengthening Underrepresented Minority Mathematics Achievement) grant. This grant, managed by Villanova University, will support another year’s development of Professor Harris’s website, which provides an accessible platform that prominently features research and mentoring contributions of [email protected] and Hispanics in different areas of the mathematical sciences. The grant will also fund the creation of podcast interviews with some of the mathematicians featured.  (April 2018)

Professor Harris also received a $6,000 Tensor-SUMMA Grant in 2017, which supported the 2017/2018 Minorities in Mathematics Speaker Series (MIMSS), a collaborative multi-institutional speaker series that promotes the dissemination of minority mathematicians’ research.  Professor Harris is co-founder and co-director of MIMSS.  (March 2017)

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
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)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Matt Carter, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a three-year $370,491 grant to support his research project on the neural basis of food intake behavior.  More information about this grant award and Professor Carter’s research is available here.  (June 2015)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

 ♦ Jeannie Albrecht, Chair and Professor of Computer Science, received a $42,490 subaward from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as part of a larger grant from the NSF.  This three-year grant supports research on the development of utility-driven smart energy services.  (September 2015)

♦  Matt Carter, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a $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)

♦  Ronadh Cox, Chair and Professor of Geosciences, received a three year $277,509 grant to support her study of the effects of extreme near-shore wave events through mapping and modeling coastal boulder movements.  More information about this award and Professor Cox’s research is available here.  (August 2015)

♦  Charlie Doret, Assistant Professor of Physics, received a three-year $166,519 grant to support his research on thermal conductivity on the nanoscale level.  (July 2017)

♦  Lisa Gilbert, Associate Professor of Geosciences and Marine Sciences at Williams-Mystic, received a $35,128 subaward from Carleton College as part as 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)

♦  Pamela Harris, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, received a $22,000 grant as part of a collaborative proposal submitted by Fresno State University, Youngstown State University, California Polytechnic State University, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Williams.  This grant is supporting the implementation of a calendar year-long research program for undergraduate students and faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) in 2017 and 2018.  The main goals of this program, known as FURST (Faculty and Undergraduate Research Student Teams), are to (1) foster research collaborations between junior faculty at PUIs, (2) involve such faculty in undergraduate research at their home institutions, and (3) increase student access to research at institutions with limited or no research opportunities.  More information can be found here.  (September 2016)

♦ 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)

♦  Luana Maroja, Associate Professor of Biology, 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, Associate Professor of Mathematics, received a three-year $149,999 RUI grant for his research on additive number theory, zeros of L-functions, and Benford’s Law.  (April 2016)

♦  Steven Miller, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Cesar Silva, Hagey Family Professor of Mathematics, received a three-year $360,000 grant to support 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.  Around 500 students have participated in the project since its inception in 1988.  (March 2017)

♦  Steven Nafziger, Associate Professor of Economics, received a $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, Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, received a three-year $252,608 RUI grant for his research project involving optical and radio studies of the Sun’s coronal plasma during the 2017 eclipse.  (May 2016)

♦  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)

National Security Agency (NSA)

Steven Miller, Associate Professor of Mathematics, received a $12,500 grant which will support 12 participants’ travel to the 32nd Automorphic Forms Conference to be held in Medford, MA in March 2018.  (January 2018)

New York University Abu Dhabi

Susan Godlonton, Assistant Professor of Economics, received a $77,822 REALM subaward through Amherst College to support her collaboration with Amherst economics professor Caroline Theoharides in the Research & Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration (REALM) program (funded by NYU Abu Dhabi).  This grant is funding Professor Godlonton’s summer salary, a summer research assistant’s stipend, and travel to the REALM conference.  More information on the REALM program is available here.  (January 2017)

Research Corporation for Science Advancement
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)

Russell Sage Foundation

   Lara Shore-Sheppard, Henry Kimberly A. ’96 and Robert R. ’62 Henry Professor of Economics; Lucie SchmidtProfessor of Economics; and Tara Watson, Professor of Economics and Chair of Public Health, received a $96,931 grant to support their research project on the impact of the ACA Medicaid expansion on public program participation and labor market outcomes of low-wage workers.  This two-year grant supports the salaries of the three professors, stipends for Williams students conducting research with them, and travel to the Yale Federal Statistical Research Data Center.  (December 2016)

Simone de Beauvoir Institute (Concordia University)
Rashida Braggs, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Comparative Literature and American Studies, received a $1,000 Lillian Robinson Scholars Award, which will support her two-week residency at Concordia University in Montreal during spring break 2018.  While in residence Professor Braggs will expand her research on migrating Jazz women in Black Montreal.  (April 2017)

United States Army Research Office
Frederick Strauch, Associate Professor of Physics, was awarded a one-year $60,348 grant for his research on high fidelity quantum logic operations with parametrically coupled transmon devices. A transmon is a type of superconducting charge qubit that was designed to have reduced sensitivity to charge noise. (January 2018)


Whiting Foundation, Marian and Jasper
Christopher Nugent, Professor of Chinese, was awarded a $3,150 Whiting Fellowship to support his research trip to London to examine Chinese manuscripts held at the British Library.  (May 2017)