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. 2013 grant recipients and project descriptions

Steinhaus Zisson Pembroke Center Research Grants
Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant
Barbara Anton Internship Grant
Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant

Applications for 2014/15 grants are due Friday, October 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM. Please submit application materials for all grants to:

The Pembroke Center
172 Meeting Street, Room 111
Brown University - Box 1958
Providence, RI 02912

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

2013-2014 Steinhaus-Zisson Research Grant
Undergraduate Student Recipient

Jesse McGleughlin,'14
Africana Studies

"From Fannie Lou Hamer to Audre Lorde: Reading the National Freedom Democratic Party through Performance and Intervention"

At the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey during 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer said, “If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hook because our lives are threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings in America?” Repeatedly denied their voting rights, Civil Rights activists like Fannie Lou Hamer not only demanded citizenship rights but “performed” their right to democracy through their challenge to the all-white Mississippi delegation. McGleughlin’s senior thesis examines Fannie Lou Hamer’s activism in The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) through a lens of performance theory.  Her thesis explores the way Hamer demanded inclusion while, at the same time, challenging the very notion of exclusionary politics. In what ways can the fight to gain visibility and recognition at the 1964 National Democratic Convention be understood as a fight to “perform” and “enact” democracy? 

McGleughlin’s thesis is informed by Audre Lorde’s writing. Through her unconventional narrative structure and alternative use of language, Lorde created a site for the production of new representations of the Black female body that both challenged race, class, and gender oppressions and articulated and demanded alternative subjectivities. This thesis combines Lorde’s work with theoretical notions of performance to understand Hamer’s performance of an alternative mode of politics.

2013-2014 Steinhaus-Zisson Research Grant
Graduate Student Recipient

Meghan Kallman
Graduate Student, Department of Sociology

"Bureaucratized morality, institutional durability: organizationally mediated idealism and international relationships in the Peace Corps"

Kallman's dissertation takes up the broad question of public altruism. She looks at how altruistic aspirations—the desire to “change the world”—interact with bureaucratic routinization, in order to understand what happens when individuals with lofty social ideals enter an organization that is structurally inconsistent with those ideals. This project’s case study is Peace Corps, which is, like many other social organizations, a necessary compromise between the ideals of its participants and the mundane and sometimes problematic realities of being a sustainable bureaucracy. This research will help us understand how bureaucratic organizations (through which much, if not all, social commitment in the US is channeled) mediate people’s social commitment. In other words: what do the organizations do to the idealists? Understanding the long-term consequences of bureaucracies on idealism is a critical component of managing a successful participatory democracy, successful voluntary and third-sector organizations, as well as private sector organizations with social components to them. The project’s goal is to understand—in order to improve—the ways by which our social change organizations both create and are shaped by the socially committed individuals who constitute them.

2013-2014 Steinhaus-Zisson Research Grant
Graduate Student Recipient

Chelsea Cormier McSwiggin
Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

"An Anthropological Study of the Experience of HIV, Kinship, and Community in Miami's Haitian Diaspora"

Working with the Haitian diaspora in Miami, Florida, Cormier McSwiggin’s dissertation research takes place at the intersection of transnationalism, kinship, US race politics, and medical anthropology. More specifically, understanding HIV as a fully biocultural phenomenon, she seeks to explore how Haitian ideas and enactments of family and community shape – and are shaped by – beliefs and practices relating to HIV. Moreover, this research aims to trace what effects these interactions engender – socially, materially, and medically – for all Haitians regardless of serostatus. Women, seen as central pillars of both family and community, are central to these broader themes. Indeed, a significant question driving this research is in what ways gendered and virological differences play out in the everyday, intimate lives of Haitian women within the transnational, and increasingly anti-immigrant, context of South Florida. 

2013-2014 Steinhaus-Zisson Research Grant

Graduate Student Recipients

Caroline Park
Graduate Student
Department of Music
Asha Tamirisa
Graduate Student
Department of Music

“opensignal: A Dynamic Reconfiguring of Women in Computer Music"

Park and Tamirisa created opensignal, a new collective of women artists concerned with the state of gender and race in computer/electronic music performance. They are hosting technical skill-shares, critical discussions, as well as a series of guest artists to gain perspectives on these issues. Their output will be manifold, and the grant supports the creation of a written publication as well as a compilation of experimental sound works from women artists in the Brown community.

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

2013-14 Helen Terry MacLeod Research Grant Recipient

Lindsay Sovern '14
History, Gender and Sexuality Studies

“Gorbachev and Yeltsin's Masculine Rivalry”

Historians often credit both Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin’s personalities with the fall of the Soviet Union. In her senior thesis, Sovern explores the ways gender also came into play, not only in considering Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s individual gendered public images, but also the ways gender influenced their political rivalry.

Soviet gender theorists have argued that Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s generation experienced a “crisis of masculinity,” in part because of state policy. Sovern's project considers how the two men navigated this sociopolitical context as men, but also as politicians who had the power to change policy and discourse.

 Using the two men’s personal memoirs and news coverage of their rivalry and reforms, she argues that each man performed at times similar, but mostly distinct masculinities. She contends that throughout their rivalry, gender served as a metric for accessing political power.

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

2013-14 Barbara Anton Internship Grant recipient

Evelyn Sanchez, '14
American Studies

"State-Sanctioned Motherhood:
Regulation in Foster Care and Adoption"

Sanchez’s senior thesis examines the creation or termination of parenthood by studying foster care and adoption practices in a Rhode Island children services agency. Invariably focus falls on motherhood, as mothers, birth, foster, and adoptive, often bear more scrutiny in American society regarding parenting and child-rearing. The professional social workers that aid in the certification or termination of parenthood are often females themselves and their ideals on what makes a ‘good’ parent and mother often comes into play when serving their clients. By analyzing the process of becoming a parent, through the Child Welfare League of America’s PRIDE pre-service classes and the accompanying home study process concurrently with the termination of parental rights process, Sanchez seeks to understand how the American court and society dictate and regulate modes of parenting. The resulting parenting norms then dictate who can become a parent and who no longer has rights over their children. The identity and agency of women trying to prove themselves good mothers reveals inequalities in society over who is considered a ‘good enough’ parent.  

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

2013-14 Linda Pei Undergraduate Research Grant recipient

Natalie Posever '14.5

“Time to go Home: The Challenges of Transitioning Out of the NICU for Primarily Spanish-Speaking Mothers with Medicaid Infants”

Posever’s project aims to understand the self-reported experiences of low-income Spanish-speaking mothers of infants hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence. Time spent in the NICU is an intense and often traumatic for parents, who are forced to grapple with unexpected illness and uncertainty immediately following the baby’s birth. NICU infants continue to face additional challenges after being discharged from the hospital. The majority of babies who spend time in the NICU are premature or low-birth weight, two conditions that come with a host of potential developmental, physical and cognitive impairments later in life.

Both low-income mothers and publicly insured (i.e. low-income) or uninsured mothers (many of whom are undocumented Spanish-speakers) are at an elevated risk for giving birth to pre-term or low-birth weight infants. For this reason it is imperative that effective services exist to support low-income Spanish-speaking mothers during and after their stay in the NICU if the health outcomes of high-risk infants are to improve. There is a dearth of literature focusing on the specific needs of low-income Spanish-speaking mothers. Through a series of ethnographic interviews, Posever examines the opinions and needs of mothers both during and after their stay in the NICU at Women and Infants. It is her hope that the data elucidated through this study will help NICU staff as they strive to design effective programs to improve the lives of some of Providence’s most at-risk children.