Recent Grants

  • Carleton Dean of the College Beverly Nagel and St. Olaf Provost and Dean of the College Marci Sortor have announced the seventh round of collaborative grants through the colleges’ “Broadening the Bridge” grant project, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Cam Davidson, Cam DavidsonProfessor of Geology and Director of Carleton's Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative, has received support from The Keck Geology Consortium and the National Science Foundation (#1659322) for a major research project that aims to broaden the diversity of the geoscience workforce, especially among underrepresented groups, and to prepare students for careers in the geosciences. This funding will allow Prof. Davidson and a longtime collaborator at Union College to offer as many as sixteen undergraduate research experiences. With an emphasis on year-long research experiences, structured research curricula, and mentor training, the Consortium programs provide a distinctive model for undergraduate research. Involving fieldwork in Alaska, these experiences will include both “Gateway” projects designed for first- and second-year students that consist of a mix of field and laboratory work, exposure to the breadth of the discipline, and to career opportunities in the earth sciences; and “Advanced Research Program” projects that enable students to participate in a four-week summer project involving a mix of field and laboratory study, followed by an academic year-long project at their home campuses.

  • Kristin Bloomer, Kristin BloomerAssociate Professor of Religion and Coordinator of South Asian Studies, has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her project “Kula Teyvam: Family Gods and Changing Places in Tamil Nadu.” The 9-month fellowship, granted to “superior Indologists in the humanities," will allow Prof. Bloomer to conduct research on women in a patrilocal, patrilineal society in South India. In particular, Prof. Bloomer will examine the adaptation of certain Hindu rituals that allow gender-bending possibilities as women and men seek answers to questions about their intimate relations to place and one another: identity, loyalty, family, love, belonging, and home.


  • Shaohua Guo, Shaohua GuoAssistant Professor of Chinese, has been awarded a Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship, with additional funding from the NEH, for her current project “Liberalization of Cultural Space: Progressive Trends in China’s Digital Public.” Prof. Guo looks at the four most dynamic discursive spaces in the Chinese internet over the past two decades: bulletin board systems, blogs, microblogs akin to Twitter, and WeChat (a combination of WhatsApp and Facebook). By analyzing three prominent contemporary cultural modes – fun-seeking, trailblazing, and taboo-breaking – she contends that the entertainment-oriented online sphere has actually nurtured a diversified cultural public sphere that is open to constant contestation – including political debate that many outsiders overlook when they look over the Great Firewall. Prof. Guo will spend the first half of the year-long fellowship in China conducting field work and the last half completing her manuscript.

  • Michael McNally,Michael McNally Professor and Chair of Religion, has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, one of the most prestigious grants in the scholarly world and in the arts, to complete a book, Native American Religious Freedom beyond the First Amendment. The book explores what happens to Native American claims to sacred places, practices, objects, knowledge, and ancestral remains in the law, when such sacred claims do not easily fit into the legal category of “religion.” McNally's book project has also received a 2017 Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • Gao Hong, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Musical Instruments and Gao HongDirector of the Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble, was awarded an Established Artist grant from the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC). She will compose a Pipa and Zhongruan Duet.

  • Tsegaye Nega,Tsegaye Nega Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, has been granted a prestigious Fulbright “Core” award to conduct teaching and research in Ethiopia in 2017-2018. Working primarily at Addis Ababa University, Prof. Nega will teach environmental science courses (including courses on geospatial analysis and modeling) and, with students there, develop an urban simulation model of Addis Ababa. While in Ethiopia, Prof. Nega will also advance a budding social enterprise that fabricates fuel-efficient cookstoves and biomass pellets, and will continue to build long-term relationships between the environmental studies programs at Carleton and Addis Ababa University.

  • Julie NeiworthJulie Neiworth, Laurence McKinley Gould Professor of the Natural Sciences and Psychology, received a $431,950 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a three-year research project to study the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Prof. Neiworth and undergraduate student researchers will collect cognitive and behavioral data from a troop of cotton-top tamarin monkeys. They hope to distinguish “natural” aging-related declines in learning and thinking from declines due to Alzheimer’s-like changes in the brain – plaques of beta amyloid molecules and neurofibrillary tangles of tau proteins. Since tamarins closely share certain key characteristics with humans, Prof. Neiworth’s research could lead to the development of new medical and training procedures for the treatment of AD in humans. In addition to working with up to 50 undergraduate researchers during summers, winter and spring breaks, and the three academic years covered by the grant, Prof. Neiworth, in consultation with Associate Professor of Psychology Sarah Meerts, will continue to seek evidence for beta amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the monkeys once natural death has occurred. Neuroscience students will conduct immunohistochemical processes with Neiworth to seek these markers of AD. 

    (Prof. Neiworth's grant #1R15AG051940-01A1 is funded by the NIH National Institute on Aging.)

  • Layla Oesper,Layla Oesper Assistant Professor of Computer Science, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Computer Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) grant for her project “RUI: Computational Approaches for Inferring the Evolutionary Histories of Cancer Genomes.” Professor Oesper’s project will examine the present limitations of algorithms used to infer information about tumor evolution, and focus on the development of computational approaches to understanding the evolution of mutations in cancer genomes. Additionally the research will involve up to 10 undergraduates in cutting edge computational biology research, and offer a cross-institutional undergraduate workshop for both students and faculty at baccalaureate institutions to interact and collaborate.

  • Helen Wong, Helen WongAssociate Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded a prestigious von Neumann Fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey. Established to support outstanding early-career mathematicians, von Neumann fellowships fund advanced mathematical research. Prof. Wong will use her year of von Neumann support to continue her research in hyperbolic geometry and quantum topology.

  • Wes Markofski,Wes Markofski Assistant Professor of Sociology, has been awarded a Curriculum Development Grant from the Global Religion Research Initiative at the University of Notre Dame, to revise two courses: “Sociology of Religion” and “Diversity and Democracy in America and Beyond.” Prof. Markofski will revise the former course to explore special topics in the contemporary sociology of religion and to examine contemporary Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities in South Asia and the Asian Pacific region. Prof. Markofski will revise the latter course to invite students to consider whether and how religion should stand alongside other forms of American diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and language.

  • Cecilia Cornejo,Cecilia Cornejo Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, received a Jerome Foundation Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant in support of her new film, Ways of Being Home. The film explores issues of displacement and belonging as experienced by the transnational community of Mexican immigrants living in Northfield. Blurring the line between documentary and fiction, Ways of Being Home is the second in a trilogy of films that centers on the experience of underrepresented Northfield communities.