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. 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.



American Chemical Society (ACS)
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)

American Council of Learned Societies
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)

American Philosophical Society
Murad Mumtaz, Assistant Professor of Art, has been awarded a $6,000 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society to support his project, “‘Neither am I Hindu, nor Muslim’: The Legacy of Poet-Saint Kabir in the Visual and Literary Culture of Early Modern Muslim South Asia.” Professor Mumtaz will travel to conduct research at the British Library in London. (January 2019)

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)
Jennifer French, Chair of Romance Languages and Professor of Spanish, received a $1,000 ASLE Translation grant to support her work on the Latin American Eco-Cultural Reader, an anthology of primary sources that bring into focus the relationships between human societies and the more-than-human world in Latin America, from the earliest colonial period to the present. Professor French is collaborating on this project with Professor Gisela Heffes of Rice University. The Reader will present an ample selection of works from the Colonial Period and the 19th century; Professors French and Heffes are particularly interested in works that convey the heterogeneity of Latin America’s environmental traditions as well as the complex ways in which relations of economic, political, epistemological and cultural power manifest themselves in representations of nature and the non-human world. (March 2018)

Fulbright Scholar Program
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)

Groff Charitable Trust, Mary E.
Noah Sandstrom, Professor of Psychology and Chair of Neuroscience Program, received a $30,000 grant to support the purchase of equipment & supplies for honors neuroscience student research in his lab.  This is the seventh grant that the Groff Trust has awarded to Williams, supporting our neuroscience students. (May 2018)

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)

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
♦ LeRhonda (Rhon) Manigault-Bryant, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Religion, has 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 New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she will pursue full-time training in film production during the academic year and complete an internship and further coursework during the summers. More information about this grant award and Professor Manigault-Bryant’s research is available here. (April 2018)

♦ 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, 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)

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 four-year grant supports research on the development of utility-driven smart energy services. (September 2015)

♦  Matt Carter, Assistant 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)

♦  Ronadh Cox, Edward Brust Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, received a four-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)

♦  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 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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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)

♦  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)

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)

Professor 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)

Palestinian American Research Center (PARC)

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)

Peterson Foundation, Peter G.
Tara Watson, Professor of Economics and Chair of Public Health, 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)

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 Director of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University; 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)

United States Army Research Office
Frederick Strauch, Associate Professor and Chair 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)

Wabash Center
Jacqueline Hidalgo, Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies and Religion, as been awarded her second peer mentoring cluster grant. The $7,080 grant will support Professor Hidalgo and her peers (professors from Holy Cross and Messiah College) meeting in order to strategize on how to make their courses more engaging and relevant to their students, design more creative assignments, and reflect on their respective institutional settings. (March 2018)

Whiting Foundation, Marion and Jasper
♦ Michael MacDonald, Frederick L. Schuman Professor of International Relations, was awarded a $6,045 Whiting Fellowship to support his research trip to Spain and Bosnia where he will conduct fieldwork and interviews  in order to prepare two new courses concerning “identity-based political conflicts.” (April 2018)


♦ Janneke van de Stadt, Professor of Russian, was awarded a $2,620 Whiting Fellowship to support her research trip to the University of Southern California (Los Angeles) where she will explore the G. Edward Cassady and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection. Her research will assist her in developing a new course that looks at two areas in which Williams students have expressed curricular interest: children’s literature and translation studies. This new course will focus on what is one of the most iconic texts targeted at children, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. (April 2018)