Stanley Graduate Awards: 2014 winners

In the spring of 2014 twenty graduate students received Stanley Awards worth $2,500 each for a total of $50,000 awarded. The recipients and their project summaries are listed below.

Eli Asikin-Garmager

Linguistics, Indonesia
Title: Sentence structure in the Kutó-Kuté dialect of the Sasak language (Indonesia)

Purpose: For my second research project in the PhD Linguistics program, I will travel to Lombok Island, Indonesia in order to collect Sasak language data in the form of a folktale as well as elicited sentences. This combination will allow for documentation of the language and culture, as well as linguistic analysis.

Read more about Eli's trip to Indonesia

David Burney

Earth and Environmental Sciences, Iceland
Title: Differences in the Crystallization Habits of Off-Axis Magmas vs. Main Rift Zone Magmas on Iceland

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to understand how magmas migrate through the lithosphere from the source of melting in the Earth's mantle at depths of ~100 km to their eventual eruption at the Earth’s surface. The study will use the chemical composition of basalt lavas (and crystals) erupted on the Snaefellnes Peninsula of Iceland to map out the plumbing system beneath a non-rift volcanic zone. We know a lot about how magma transport and storage takes place beneath the main rift zones on Iceland where most volcanism occurs, but the details are less well known of the magma feeder systems for the rarer off-axis eruptions that can take place >100 km away from the rifts where the crustal structure is different. This research will apply well-established compositional methods that have already been used on lavas from the main rift zones, to these non-rift lavas in order to accurately determine the depths of crystallization that will allow reconstruction of how these magmas ascended through the crust.

Paul Capobianco

Anthropology, Japan
Title: African diaspora in Japan: Subpopulations and labor market participation

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to investigate the labor market participation and livelihood experiences of Japan’s sub-Saharan African population. This community has been steadily evolving since the 1980s and has since penetrated a variety of areas within the Japanese economy. However, social discourses paint the African involvement in the Japanese economy as largely negative and in some cases criminal. This research will examine the labor market participation of Africans and will pay particular attention to how wage-earning activities influence and are influenced by personal relationships. What has the African experience in the Japanese labor market entailed? What kinds of networks (i.e. national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious) are utilized throughout the migration process to secure employment? How do various forms of work affect the personal lives of Africans? This study will serve as the foundation for my doctoral dissertation. After returning to the US, I will identify more specific themes that will be investigated in my doctoral fieldwork next year.

Kelly Carden

Linguistics, China
Title: An Acoustic Analysis of Vowel Assimilation in Mandarin Chinese and its Effect on the Acquisition of English Vowels

Purpose: I am applying for the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research in order to collect linguistic data in Chengdu, China and Qingdao, China. In collecting this data, I hope to determine whether the linguistic process of Mandarin vowel assimilation can explain the difficulties that Chinese learners of English have in acquiring English vowels. This project will eventually lead to a dissertation on the acquisition of English vowels by non-native speakers of English. It will also provide information that will lead to improved pedagogical guides for the teaching of English pronunciation to native speakers of Mandarin.

Douglas Cole

Linguistics, Laos
Title: The Classification of Serial Verb Constructions in the Lao Language

Purpose: The purpose of this trip is to gather language data about a particular sentence type in the Lao language. My dissertation is investigating how speakers represent the events described by certain sentence structures in their mind. To do this, I will be running an experiment that utilizes two different types of sentences and looks for changes in how speakers break up the stream of motion around them into discrete events. Prior to running the experiment, however, the various sentence types need to be described and classified. The data gathered on this trip will be foundational for both my dissertation prospectus as well as the experiment that will be the focus of my dissertation.

Laura Ferris

Creative Writing Program, France & Switzerland
Title: Lucia Falls: Recreating Lucia Joyce's Lost Writing in Poetry

Purpose: I will travel to France (three weeks) and Switzerland (two weeks) in order to collect crucial archival research for my MFA thesis in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a book-length manuscript of experimental poetry. I am creating a form of poem that can contain archival evidence in order to write a book of poems in which I both attempt to recreate a missing modernist text (that of James Joyce's daughter, Lucia) and account for the process of trying to recreate this lost novel. Key collections and documents in libraries in Paris and Zurich that will shed light on Lucia's artistic influences, which will make my attempted recreation more authentic and relevant to the disciplines of experimental poetry and gender and women's studies.

Elijah Fleming

Classics, Sicily
Title: Ancient Food Practices at the Crossroads of the Roman Empire

Purpose: The purpose of my research will be to contribute new information to the archaeological record in Sicily, to answer questions concerning the ancient religious practices of the interior of the island and the connections to agriculture and food consumption.

Yuan Lu

Second Language Acquisition/ Division of world languages, literatures, and cultures, China
Title: A performance data – driven approach to Chinese OPI: How do Intermediate-High and Advanced-Low learners differ in grammatical complexity?

Purpose: For my Stanley research project, I plan to interview foreign language learners of Chinese at two universities in Wuhan, China and analyze the oral language data they produce in response to the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). This will provide empirical evidence of the OPI rating scale and promote the interrater reliability of this oral language test. I will identify the distinguishing grammatical features between the Intermediate-High and Advanced-Low learners by means of a wide range of measures of grammatical complexity and a hierarchy based on the properties of some selected grammatical categories. Overall, the purpose of this Stanley research project is threefold: (a) to contribute insights to the validity of the OPI model for assessing oral proficiency; (b) to promote the interrater reliability on the border of two major proficiency levels: Intermediate and Advanced; (c) to lay the foundation of my Ph.D. dissertation and provide me with the empirical data required for my dissertation proposal.

Sarah Lucas

Musicology, Hungary
Title: Issues Surrounding Béla Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 1 during his First Concert Tour of the United States (1927-1928)

Purpose: The purpose of my research at the Budapest Bartók Archives is to investigate the conditions leading to a change of program for Bartók’s debut performance in the United States that initiated a trend of negative press commentary on the composer. Through this research I will also shed light on Bartók's preparation for the American concert tour that followed his debut performance in the country. I will achieve both of these goals through the examination and analysis of selected letters, telegrams, musical manuscripts and editions, photographs, and other documents from 1925-1930 found only at the archives in Budapest, Hungary. This research will be foundational for my Ph.D. dissertation.

Cassidy McFadzean

Creative Writing, Iceland
Title: Thingvellir: Poems from the Rift

Purpose: I am an MFA candidate in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and am applying for a Stanley travel grant in order to spend thirty-five days in Reykjavík, Iceland, researching for my graduate thesis, a book-length collection of poetry.

Ryan Oliveira

Theatre Arts, Portugal
Title: Saudade

Purpose: My MFA thesis will focus on writing and staging a play with music at the University of Iowa that translates and engages with the untranslatable Portuguese concept of saudade - roughly defined as loving someone or something that is lost and can never return - in theatrical performance for American audiences. I will study the original, handwritten manuscripts of Fernando Pessoa (a metaphysical poet who wrote on saudade), whose heteronyms and characters will form foundations for the characters in the play. I will also witness performances of fado, a Portuguese blues-like genre of music that aims to elicit saudade from performer and audience. Lastly, I will travel to various sites throughout Lisbon and amass photographic and descriptive research for staging and design inspirations for the play.

Iva Patel

Religious Studies, United Kingdom
Title: Heroism, asceticism and ethical self-fashioning: Vaishnava devotionalism in 19th C Svāminārāyana Sampradāya in western India

Purpose: Having initiated preliminary research in India in preparation for my dissertation project, I am in need of examining British records to gain an alternate perspective on the events and processes of interest. Since Britain’s presence in India was the most recent and the most drastic in terms of literary production in India since its classical age, it would be a hindrance to my project to form conclusions based on "one-sided story." Though I am a first year doctoral student, my proficiency with the languages I need for my study and prior research experience make me a strong candidate to receive money to conduct research at the next logical location.

Stephanie Rue

Book Arts, South Korea
Title: The Role of Spirituality in Korean Papermaking

Purpose: To investigate the connection between traditional Korean handmade paper and Buddhist spirituality in Korea.

Kiran Sapkota

Cancer Etiology/Department of Epidemiology, Nepal
Title: Oral Cancer Risk Behaviors among Patients Visiting the National Cancer Center in Nepal: Exploratory Research

Purpose: To understand the risk factors associated with oral cancer in Nepalese population.

Halle Siepman

Art and Art History, Greece
Title: The Parthenon: Modern Restoration History Revealed Digitally and Translated into Paintings and Drawing

Purpose: The purpose of my independent research is to study excavation reports and architectural plans that document the modern restoration elements of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. I will be examining modern restoration efforts from two different campaigns during the last one hundred and fifteen years. I plan to identify layers of restoration that have transformed the Parthenon, which is the most recognizable of ancient Greek temples. My goal is to create an interactive, digital model of the interior and exterior sides of the Parthenon that pinpoints restoration elements or impacts. I want to research how modern this ancient ruin actually is and then to share this information with visitors and non-visitors in a consolidated digital format.

Rebecca Smith

Art History, Paris
Title: Measuring the Past: Studying the Geometry of Reims Cathedral

Purpose: I need to go to France, especially to Reims, to conduct some preliminary research for my dissertation. I will be studying the design of Reims Cathedral, and will specifically measure key points throughout the building to further examine the geometric analyses of the Reims Cathedral conducted by Gothic architectural historians, Robert Bork and Nancy Wu.

Jia Ya

Management & Organizations, China
Title: A study of social capital among bank employees in China

Purpose: The purpose of the proposed research is to investigate bank employee's view and motivation of building, maintaining and utilizing social capital, and the effectiveness of the current reward system promoting the use of social capital through qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys.