Recent Grants

  • Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh, Caroline Turnage-ButterbaughAssistant Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant (#1902193) for her project “Class groups of number field and zeros of L-functions.” Prof. Turnage-Butterbaugh’s research will pursue problems in the intersection of analytic and algebraic number theory, developing new methods for studying the vertical distribution of zeros of L-functions and obtaining new results concerning the class groups of number fields and Landau-Siegel zeros. Her project will bring to Carleton graduate associates who are interested in better understanding the teaching and research culture at a liberal arts college and in interacting with talented undergraduates, and who will work with Prof. Turnage-Butterbaugh on problems related to the project. Carleton students in turn will benefit from attending colloquium talks by the graduate associates and from learning about graduate school culture at research universities.

  • Sarah Titus, Sarah TitusProfessor of Geology, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant (#1917048) for a collaborative research project entitled “Linking slip dynamics to off-fault deformation in strike-slip fault systems.” The research team seeks to develop physical models -- using sand, clay, and other materials -- to mimic patterns observed in nature near the San Andreas fault in California. This laboratory-based approach allows the team to investigate the importance of different parameters, such as slip rate, which isn’t possible in natural systems because the Earth has already run the experiment. In addition to the physical models, the team will develop freely-available computational tools for analyzing the experimental results, and a module about seismic hazards for middle schoolers that will be publicly available via the Science Education Resource Center. The project supports two PIs (Sarah and early-career investigator Jacqueline Reber at Iowa State University), a graduate student/alum Emily Ross ’17 at ISU, a research scientist in Mathematics (Joshua Davis), and three undergraduate students from Carleton.

  • Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh, Caroline Turnage-ButterbaughAssistant Professor of Mathematics, will serve as a Senior Scientist on the recently awarded National Science Foundation grant (#1854398) “Focused Research Group: Averages of L-functions and Arithmetic Stratification.” The project is under the direction of J. Brian Conrey (American Institute of Mathematics), Henryk Iwaniec (Rutgers University), Jonathan Keating (University of Bristol), Trevor D. Wooley (University of Bristol), and Kannan Soundararajan (Stanford University). This research will make precise the connection between conjectures about averages of shifted convolutions of arithmetic functions and conjectures about the statistics of values and zeros of the Riemann zeta function and other families of L-functions. The vast research project will be carried out as a concerted team effort. The management team includes five PIs and two Senior Scientists. As one of the Senior Scientists, Prof. Turnage-Butterbaugh will contribute to the project research and to the mentoring of the other team members: junior faculty consultants, postdocs, graduate students, and participants at mini-workshops held at the American Institute of Mathematics, Stanford, Rutgers, and Bristol.

  • Dani Kohen, Daniela KohenProfessor of Chemistry, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant (#1900590) for a three-year project entitled “RUI: Molecular Insight into Cation Motion within Zeolites.” NSF funding will enable Prof. Kohen and her team of undergraduate researchers to conduct an in-depth computational study of the design and identification of zeolites – porous minerals commony used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts – in a variety of industrial processes.

  • Gao Hong,Gao Hong and pipa Director of the Chinese Music Ensemble and Senior Lecturer in Chinese Musical Instruments, was awarded a 2019-20 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Musicians. Only four musicians out of 79 applying received the fellowship. Gao became the first musician in any genre to win five McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians administered by the MacPhail Center for Music. See the 2019-2020 McKnight Fellowship Recipient Press Release.

  • Debby Walser-Kuntz, Debby Walser-KuntzProfessor of Biology, has been awarded a Multi-institutional Innovation Project grant from Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP), with Co-PI Adrienne Falcon at Metropolitan State University and partners at Minneapolis College and Minnesota Campus Compact. Their project “Census 2020: Counting On Campus” aims to raise awareness of the upcoming census by developing and disseminating curricular and co-curricular education and mobilization materials for faculty, staff, and students at institutions across Minnesota.

  • Rou-Jia Sung, Rou-Jia SungAssistant Professor of Biology, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant (#1841992) for her project, “Development of Novel Augmented Reality Tool for Teaching Molecular Visualization in Biochemistry.” Prof. Sung will work with coPI Dr. Andrew Wilson, Academic Technologist for Digital Scholarship,Andrew Wilson to develop a freely available AR-based application that can be installed on mobile smartphone and tablet devices and will contain virtual 3D objects representing the molecular structures of three fundamental molecules central to biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics curricula. Each molecule will be associated with a set of learning materials, developed by the project team, to facilitate use in the classroom. The three-year project involves 5 Carleton undergraduate researchers, Prof. Jane Liu at Pomona, and Prof. Thom Bussey and a graduate student at UCSD. Prof. Sung’s and Dr. Wilson’s application was recently covered the magazine The Scientist, which published a short article on its development and use so far.

  • Laska Jimsen, Laska JimsenAssociate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, is one of 60 inaugural recipients of the Jerome Foundation’s Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships. In collaboration with Prof. Jason Coyle at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Prof. Jimsen creates experimental nonfiction film and video work that foregrounds acts of observation in sustained investigations of human-animal relationships, systems of management and classification, and representations of the everyday. Prof. Jimsen and Prof. Coyle are developing new projects that draw on the history of automation and pose questions about contemporary labor and workplace transformations.

  • Laska Jimsen, Laska JimsenAssociate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, has been selected, by Project Pericles, as the Periclean Faculty Leader (PFL) at Carleton College. PFLs champion civil dialogue, civic engagement, and social responsibility in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community (local and national). With this support Prof. Jimsen will make major revisions to her Nonfiction Media Production course that will foreground civil dialogue and nurture long-term community relationships.

  • Cecilia Cornejo, Cecilia CornejoInstructor in Cinema and Media Studies, has been awarded an Artist Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Fund for the Arts in support of her project The Wandering House. This year NALAC awards will provide funding to 26 Latinx artists and collectives and 17 Latinx arts organizations throughout the U.S. These 43 recipients are recognized for their artistic excellence in pursuit of social justice through the arts and were selected from a pool of nearly 400 applications by a national peer panel process involving 45 arts experts representing diverse disciplines, regions and ethnicities. Learn more about Professor Cornejo’s work at, and

  • Steven PoskanzerThe Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Carleton College a grant of $150,000 for the project “Navigating the Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Liberal Arts Education.” With the support of Mellon Foundation funding, the project will enable Carleton faculty members to anticipate the challenges and opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI) will be presenting for the College curriculum, for graduates, and for society as a whole.

    The Carleton AI project advances the College’s strategic goal of remaining at the forefront of liberal arts teaching and learning. In his request to the Foundation, President Poskanzer wrote: “Advances in the development of artificial intelligence and expansion of the internet into almost all areas of life and society are arguably among the most important factors transforming how we live and work. As AI becomes ubiquitous in every area of social and academic activity, we shall need to draw on the insights of humanistic disciplines to understand, embrace, and value the kinds of thinking, learning, and actions that make us distinctively human.”

  • Alex Knodell, Alex KnodellAssistant Professor of Classics and Co-Director of Archaeology, has been awarded a 2019 New Research Grant from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) for the Small Cycladic Islands Project (SCIP). The INSTAP grant will advance a multidisciplinary archaeological project focused on several small, uninhabited islands in the Cyclades, an archipelago in the Aegean Sea. Such places have played many roles at various points in historyfor example as cemeteries, stepping stones, sanctuaries, refuges, and “goat islands.” SCIP will investigate the archaeological and environmental history of these islands from prehistory to the present, focused especially on questions of maritime connectivity, island communities, and an archaeology of uninhabited spaces and in-between places.