Stanley Graduate Awards: 2013 winners

In the spring of 2013 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.

Avasare, Tejasi

Dental Public Health, India
Title: Post-Surgical Evaluation of Cleft Lip / Cleft Palate Patients

Purpose: The Purpose of my research is to evaluate cleft lip/palate treatment outcome in terms of wound healing and patient perception of oral health related quality of life among patients from the state of Tamilnadu, India. The world-wide prevalence and psycho-socio-economic impact of the condition makes this project on comparatively less studied population relevant as well as important.

Bhattacharjee, Shuhita

English, United Kingdom
Title: The Politics of Conversion Narratives: Religion, Secularism, and Gender in Victorian Colonial Writing, 1850-1914

Purpose: For the Stanley Project, I plan a five-week research trip to the British Library and particularly the India Office Library in London. My aim is to study and collect rare or unpublished nineteenth-century British fiction and non-fiction on the subject of colonial (Indian) religion and conversion produced between 1858 and 1914. I will be examining this material to conduct a post-secular theoretical analysis of late nineteenth-century British writings on Indian religion. This is the primary research for my dissertation which analyzes the Victorian colonial discourse on Indian religion by revisiting the ‘secular thesis’ that underpins most historical and critical narratives of nineteenth-century Britain. Peter Van der Veer in Imperial Encounters explains the ‘secularization thesis’ as that which was till recently the most successful element of any sociological theory of modernization.

Davis, Richard

Immunology, Brazil
Title: Altered “first-responders”: Investigating changes in neutrophils from Brazilian patients with leishmaniasis

Purpose: For my Stanley project, I propose to travel to Salvador in the state of Bahia, Brazil to examine the immune response of Brazilian patients suffering from the parasitic disease leishmaniasis. Leishmania parasites are endemic in Brazil causing a range of human infections including scarring skin ulcers and fatal inflammation of internal organs. Currently, no vaccine and only limited treatment options exist. My thesis advisor has ongoing collaborative studies of leishmaniasis with colleagues in northeast Brazil. Guided by our collaborator Dr. Edgar Carvalho, I propose to travel to a clinic in rural Bahia and study novel aspects of the human immune response in patients suffering from leishmaniasis. Specifically, I will examine changes in the body’s most abundant type of white blood cell – neutrophils. Neutrophils are “first responder” cells that quickly migrate to sites of infection and die soon thereafter. Because they are short-lived, investigators have not previously thought that neutrophils could play any role in controlling the chronic infections caused by Leishmania. My preliminary research in mouse models has indicated that neutrophils could play an important role in exacerbating or maintaining chronic leishmaniasis. I propose to investigate whether neutrophils play similar roles in humans by comparing neutrophils from healthy people versus patients with leishmaniasis. Working with physicians and staff at the treatment clinic, I will isolate neutrophils from consenting patients and healthy controls. I will examine the perturbations in neutrophil functions during Leishmania infection, and how these perturbations might impair the function of other essential immune cells in the blood. This study could illuminate novel therapeutic targets that may lead us to better and more logical approaches to treating patients suffering from leishmaniasis.

Dieleman, Kyle

Religious Studies, Germany
Title: Consistory Records and Lingering Catholicism in Reformed East Frisia

Purpose: The purpose of my research is to better understand how congregants in East Frisia reacted to the Protestant Reformation. Examining how the church consistories dealt with congregants who resisted the Reformation and held on to Catholicism will provide fascinating insights that will allow for a more complete understanding of religious change, particularly in the context of the Protestant Reformation.

Gant, Alia

International Studies, Portugal
Title: Economic Crisis in the European Union: Comparing Portugal’s Economic Decisions from Colonial Past to Contemporary Times

Purpose: The purpose of my proposed trip is to complete preliminary research for my thesis. Currently I am pursuing a MA in International Studies. Through my studies, I plan to explore and analyze why Portugal is in their current economic crisis. I also will examine their colonial history and compare economic policies from their past to present day. I will conduct research in Portugal about economic policies for two different time periods, Napoleonic Wars-Independence of Brazil (1803-1824) and Transition from Estado Novo to current day European economic integration (1974-present). Not only will I look at Portugal’s economic policies, but also focus on domestic and international politics that influenced them. While in Portugal my intent is to visit libraries and museums for archival records, collections, and raw data focusing on different aspects of Portuguese economics and politics. The institutions I will utilize are the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (BNP), Museu Nacional de Etnologia, Biblioteca da Universidade de Aveiro – European Documentation Centre (CDE), and the British Historical Society of Portugal. Ultimately with these different institutions, my purpose is to collect data on various trends, patterns, and ideologies that connect with both colonial Portugal and contemporary Portugal while uncovering the reasons why Portugal is currently in an economic crisis.

Johnson, Sarah

Dramaturgy, Japan
Title: Aesthetic Influence of Japanese Traditional Performing Arts on Contemporary American Playwriting

Purpose: My thesis will focus on analyzing the elements of traditional Japanese theatre and tracing their influence both historically and formally on American playwrights. I intend to travel to Japan this summer to conduct immersive cultural research mostly focusing on the observation of performances of Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku as well as interviews with theatre artists and critics throughout the country. I will use this exploratory research to contextualize my historical and analytical research and include my experience of the ephemeral qualities of performance in my argument connecting these two distinct theatrical traditions.

Jones, Clare

Writer’s Workshop, Federal States of Micronesia
Title: Upon a Stone Altar: Loan Words, Place Names, and Poetry in the Pacific

Purpose: I will spend five weeks in the city of Kolonia on the island of Pohnpei in oder to collect material for my graduate work at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop: a series of poems about Micronesian place names and loan words, which will ultimately become my MFA thesis. My research will focus on gaining familiarity with the Pohnepeian language through immersion and volunteer work in a local public library. Micronesian languages and landscapes are both threatened today due to local cultural shifts and global climate change and are central to the poetry I write. While in Pohnpei, I will gain familiarity with a language and community with which I hope to work as a writer, translator, and editor throughout my career.

Kedley, Kate

Language, Literacy, & Culture/Teaching & Learning, Honduras
Title: Social Movements and Teachers in Honduras

Purpose: My proposed Stanley research project’s main component is to spend two months during the summer of 2013 in Honduras, observing the ways in which teachers use social movements to influence society outside of the school. Observations and interviews will not allow a full understanding of the motivations of teachers to participate in social movements. This research project, however, can contribute to bringing teachers’ perspectives to the forefront of the dialogue about education in Honduras.

Parsai, Shiny

Pharmacy Practice & Science, Netherlands & United Kingdom
Title: Exploring International Career Opportunities for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Students at the International Pharmaceutical Federation

Purpose: Through this project I will identify international career paths and opportunities for pharmacists and pharmacy students. I will work at the International Pharmaceutical Federation in The Hague, Netherlands, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in London, United Kingdom. The International Pharmaceutical Federation is an international organization that represents pharmacists and national associations of pharmacists. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the professional body for pharmacists in the United Kingdom.

Raine, Sarah

Anthropology, China
Title: Dongba Teaching Interactions in Lijiang

Purpose: This summer, I will travel to Lijiang, the center of Naxi culture and tourism, to learn how these developing practices of teaching Dongba writing are affecting the Naxi community. This study will add to the work being done by other scholars on the relationship between transnational engagement through tourism and the preservation of endangered ethnic traditions. My research in Lijiang will form the basis of my MA and serve as an initial study for my PhD research, allowing me to develop connections with local individuals and institutions and laying the groundwork for further research.

Reynolds, Julie

Dental Public Health/Preventive and Community Dentistry, Mexico
Title: Factors Related to Tooth Decay Etiology in Children in Xicotepec, Mexico

Purpose: I aim to investigate several factors that contribute to high rates of tooth decay in children in a community in central Mexico called Xicotepec. I will do so by administering in-person questionnaires to parents of elementary and preschool children, as well as written surveys to local dentists and pediatricians. The community of Xicotepec has an ongoing relationship with a service-learning course at the University of Iowa and a number of Iowa Rotary Clubs, and the findings from this project will be used to inform and improve future oral health promotion activities that are a part of this service-learning course.

Richmond, Nathaniel

Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Spain
Title: Optimal Scheduling In Wireless Systems

Purpose: Over the past two decades, technological advances have thrust wireless networks from obscurity into ubiquity. WiFi, 4G, and GPS are a few examples of wireless networks that have become household terms. This wireless network explosion has outpaced research, and there is still much work to be done to optimize the operation of wireless systems. This summer I will travel to Bilbao, Spain, to work with wireless network optimization experts at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics. We will design a mathematical model, derive and test different solutions, and record simulation data. The goal of my research is to formulate an algorithm that will improve wireless network efficiency. Such an algorithm could have widespread applicability, especially in the telecommunications industry.

Rupe, Blake

International Studies, Mexico
Title: Garbage Presence in the City of Veracruz

Purpose: My purpose is to quantitatively ascertain the current garbage presence situation in Veracruz, Mexico, as the last research on the subject was completed in 1997 and was qualitative, at best. I will also discern the composition of trash being discarded on beaches and city streets. My study expands on this ‘extreme’ level of garbage presence by discovering what the current state of garbage presence is in Veracruz over 16 years later. Is it still considered ‘extreme’ today? If so, I will quantify what ‘extreme’ garbage presence means with measurements spanning over an eight week period.

Smigasiewicz, Beatrice

Translation/World Literature & Languages, Poland & Germany
Title: Depictions of Post-Communist Identity in the Work of Janusz Rudnicki

Purpose: To complete the research for my MFA thesis in Translation, I intend to travel to Poland and Germany to spend a month investigating how individual and collective identity has been depicted in the post-communist Polish literature of Janusz Rudnicki.
Janusz Rudnicki, a nonfiction and short story writer, is considered one of the most important voices of the 90’s Brulion generation, the “Future Barbarians,” as they were called for their defiant, West-influenced prose. Rudnicki's work documents the emergence of a new post-communist consciousness at the crucial moment of transition between the fall of the Iron Curtain to Poland’s inclusion in the European Union in 2004. Through personal interviews with the writer, prominent critics, and socio-historical research at the National Library, and the University of Warsaw Library, I intend to develop my thesis with an introductory essay and a selection of Rudnicki’s work in translation that will be capable of representing his challenging work to the English speaking audience.

Steed, Ohmar

International Studies, Brazil
Title: South-South Regional Trade Agreements, an Alternative to North-South Free Trade Agreements: A Look into Mercosur and Brazilian Social Movements

Purpose: The proposed research will be an essential component of my International Studies master’s thesis. Furthermore, my personal main goal is to acquire complete fluency in the Portuguese language by living amongst Portuguese native speakers and engaging in daily archival research in the Library of Congress Overseas Office in Rio de Janeiro. North-south free trade agreements have long been criticized for causing social harm to global south countries; south-south regional trade agreements serve as an alternative for trade and economic growth and development. Generally, my research will focus on south-south regional trade agreements in Latin America and their connection to local social movements. Specifically, the proposed research will focus on Mercosur and its response to social regional needs and Brazilian social movements as indicators of social dissatisfaction and potential reform.

Strasik, Amanda

Art History, France
Title: The Nature of Womanhood: Representations of Eighteenth-Century Mothers and Children in Revolutionary France

Purpose: Upon the completion of my second year of coursework at the University of Iowa, I will travel to Paris to conduct preliminary research at the Louvre Museum and its historical archives for my Ph.D. dissertation in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century French art history. My four-week research project will analyze the shifting ideals of the “happy mother” and her family as represented in the artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s genre paintings, portraits, and drawings during the revolutionary period in France.

Tibbits, Tawny

Geoscience, Belize
Title: A Comparison of XRF, pXRF, and LA-ICPMS Technologies for Sourcing Granite and Amphibolite Ground Stone Tools

Purpose: The purpose of my research is to cross-examine the efficacy of new non-destructive technologies for sourcing ground stone artifacts with respect to traditional destructive methods of thin section research and x-ray fluorescence (XRF). My work will also contribute to the understanding of exchange networks for ground stone tools. I will be conducting a survey of the Maya Mountains in central Belize in order to gather hand samples of each distinct granite source. I will then compare a data-set of archaeological artifacts from the Maya site of San Estevan that were constructed of granite to my potential source locations in order to trace ancient exchange routes.

Vonderheide, Leah

Cinema & Comparative Literature, France
Title: The Moralistes of Film

Purpose: As a film scholar focused on French film with moral issues at the forefront, I want to devote this summer to conducting research on French-language films in the tradition of French moral literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Using the archival holdings at four Parisian institutions – The Film Library (BIFI), which also uses the resources of the Cinémathèque française, The National Library of France (BNF), The National Audiovisual Institute (INA), and the Forum des Images (the audiovisual memory bank of Paris) – the purpose of my research will be to identify, explore and analyze the contemporary criticism (in journals and periodicals) and reception (in newspapers and newsreels) of films in the moraliste tradition. The films by Robert Bresson, Eric Rohmer, and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne focus less on the actions of their characters than on the motives and reasons for their actions, which places these films, I argue, in the long literary tradition of the French moralistes. Because I have self-identified this “corpus” of films, it is crucial to my future research and analysis that I discover how these films were received by the critics and the public in France at the time of their release. The most comprehensive collection of criticism and reception of these films can be found only in the archives in Paris. This research will lay the groundwork for my dissertation project on French-language films that are tied to the tradition of moral literature.

Ypil, Lawrence

Nonfiction Writing, Philippines
Title: Point and Shoot: The Construction of the Communal Self in Early Twentieth Century Photography in Cebu

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to gather and examine material related to early twentieth century modes of expression and construction of Cebuano cultural identity. It specifically seeks to examine how photographic practices during this period facilitated, complicated, and helped shape the construction of a city’s identity.

Zhao, Hailin

Management & Organization, China
Title: Temporal Constraints and Work Motivation

Purpose: The formalized rules and policies about time use at work, known as temporal constraints, have been regarded as hindrance factors at work in the literature of management and psychology. Previous studies found that these constraints tend to increase work stress and decrease employee satisfaction. However, the current research proposes that they will have a positive impact on employee motivation, satisfaction and performance, if work designers focus on enabling function rather than coercive function. I would like to find out how work designers can guide effective time use at work through implementing formal rules and policies and how these design efforts influence employee motivation, performance and satisfaction.