Stanley Graduate Awards: 2015 winners

In the spring of 2015, 20 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. 

Asih Asikin-Garmager

Educational Leadership/Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Bali, Indonesia
Title: The principals' role in implementing a new teaching reform in Indonesia

My Stanley project will examine the role of elementary public school principals in supporting their teachers as they implement a new educational reform. The new reform requires teachers shift
their teaching approach from predominantly lecture style to project-based learning. I plan to spend eight weeks interviewing and observing four elementary school principals in northern Bali, Indonesia, as they interact with teachers over matters pertaining to the new teaching approach. I will use the findings from this study to develop a survey and test an interview protocol for a larger study I intend to conduct for my dissertation. Additionally, this project will provide the foundation for my further research career in an international non-profit organization with a focus on education in developing countries.

Lamar Barber

Intermedia/Studio Arts & Arts History; Ghana
Title: Black diaspora: performance and autobiography

I seek a Stanley Graduate Award to travel to Ghana to research contemporary, urban Ghanaian culture. My research-based creative practice uses both performance and installation art to venerate Black culture through provocative reconfigurations of urban life and race relations with autobiographical elements. During the four weeks of research, I will spend two weeks in the capital city of Accra and two weeks in Cape Coast, with side trips to Elmina. My research will include cultural immersion, a daily journal practice, photographic documentation of the urban environment and museum visits, including individual meetings with curators and art historians. This research will allow me to develop my MFA exhibition—an autobiographical performance and installation work incorporating elements of Black American and Ghanaian culture.

Asma Ben Romdhane

Teaching and Learning (Foreign Language and ESL education); Tunisia
Title: Learning spoken Arabic: American college students' social interaction experience during a short-term study abroad program in Tunisia

My proposed Stanley Project is to travel to Tunisia in order to collect data for the pilot study of my dissertation. The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of social interaction on the acquisition of spoken Arabic during a study abroad program. My participants will be American college students participating in a 10-week Intensive Arabic Language and Culture Studies in Tunisia Program called “CET”. Data collection will take place in Tunis, Tunisia, during summer 2015. One language proficiency test will be given: ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Pretests of OPI results will be compared with post-tests results; then, correlated with a Language Log analysis. In order to explain the outcomes of my quantitative findings, I will look at how engagement with native speakers influences the CET participants’ spoken language proficiency level. Learners’ attitude towards social interaction will be taken into account. The qualitative data will be collected by means of interviews and post-experience questionnaires. The data and the findings of this study will not only fill a gap in the literature of teaching Arabic as a foreign language, but also analyze if an emphasis on social interaction helps improving Arabic programs by directing Arabic language learners to reach fluency. In addition, the outcomes of this research will pave the way to suggest promising possibilities for further research.

John Carpenter

School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Jakarta, Indonesia
Title: The growth of Indonesia's English-language press

With a Graduate Stanley Award for International Research, I will go to Indonesia to interview editors, publishers and reporters at the Jakarta Post and Jakarta Globe newspapers about the reasons they decided to publish in English. The growing use of English as a lingua franca in Asia has significant political, economic and educational implications not only for Indonesia but also for other countries where English is a foreign language. The experiences of Indonesian editors and reporters who publish in English offer insight into how beliefs about English in Indonesia and the region are affecting journalism. While there have been extensive studies of the spread of English as a global language, few examine it through the lens of online and print English newspapers in Asia.

Mgbechi Erondu

Carver College of Medicine/Iowa Writers' Workshop; Nigeria
Title: A cross-cultural study of anesthesia use in rural Nigeria

I am applying for a Graduate Stanley Award for International Research in order to conduct a 4-week cross-cultural study of anesthesia practices in three rural hospital settings in Nigeria. I will do so by interviewing anesthesiologists and anesthesia providers about the rationale behind their techniques and the day-to-day difficulties they encounter. These questions are of particular importance to me as a fourth year medical student because my parents are from Nigeria and I have visited Nigeria several times but not in this professional capacity. Were I born under different circumstances I might have been an anesthesiologist or a patient undergoing surgery in rural Nigeria. This specific project will be IRB approved and serves my interests as a Western trained medical student with a focus on global health to gain direct experience in the field. The findings from this project will be used to raise awareness of the unique challenges rural Nigeria faces in surgical care through physician-patient narratives and a visual presentation. 

Gavin Feller

Communication Studies; Sao Paulo, Brazil
Title: Sacred communication: electronic media and religious artifacts in Brazil 

This Stanley Award will be used to conduct an ethnographic case at Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG)) in Brazil. In addition to electronic communication media—such as television and radio—the rapidly growing UCKG uses both Christian and Jewish religious artifacts to spread its views and communicate with its followers. I believe the perspective and experiences of UCKG followers are necessary for understanding the connections between these hybrid religious artifacts, the Church’s use of electronic media, and its popularity. However, very little scholarship has addressed these Church followers’ perspectives specifically. I will spend four weeks in Rio de Janeiro (Rio) and São Paulo, Brazil observing UCKG religious services and conducting preliminary interviews with its followers. This project will successfully launch my PhD dissertation research on communication and religion in Brazil and open up news ways for understanding the cultural and political implications of changes in contemporary religious communication.

Pablo Gorin

Musical Arts doctorate in Organ Performance; Basel, Switzerland
Title: An analysis on the composition Variazioni e Toccata sopra “Aurora lucis rutilat,” Op 52 by Alberto Ginastera, a work for organ

My research analyzes the organ work Variazioni e Toccata sopra “Aurora lucis rutilat,” Op 52, written by celebrated Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. It is one of the pinnacles of the organ repertoire in
the 20th century due to the craftsmanship and intricacy of its structure. My study centers around an investigation of the performer-composer relationship that developed between renowned American organist Marilyn Mason ─ who premiered the work during the 1980 convention of the American Guild of Organists in Minneapolis ─ and the composer Ginastera. Ultimately, I expect that my research will show that this composition was a result of the collaborative efforts between Ginastera and Mason, whose long distance discussions about the development of the work are recorded in their correspondence from during the months prior to the premiere. These documents hold the key in understanding how much this composer-performer association affected the compositional development and performance of the
work during the convention, its subsequent rendition in print, and its later reception by American organists. The Mason-Ginastera correspondence is housed in the archives of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel (Switzerland), along with Ginastera’s manuscripts and sketches for the piece. The only way to access this information is to visit the archives in Basel since the Foundation does not lend or allow photographic copies to be made or used outside their premises. For this reason it is essential to my project that I spend four weeks in Basel to read the correspondence, make a transcript of it, and likewise study and hand-copy the unedited manuscript original. This research will become the topic of my DMA thesis.

Rebecca Kauten

Geographical & Sustainability Science; Stockholm, Sweden
Title: Predicting impacts of salts on drinking water supplies

For my Stanley project, I will travel to Stockholm, Sweden to understand how the Swedish Road Administration identifies groundwater sources at risk of contamination. I will work directly with Per-Erik Jansson and Bo Olofsson, two researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology who have been studying the environmental impacts of deicing salt since 2002. This project will improve the quality of tools used to predict water quality impacts from winter road maintenance practices, such as salting and brining paved surfaces. It will also introduce such tools to Iowa, where we currently conduct no such measurements to determine vulnerability of our drinking water supply.

Alba Lara Granero

Spanish Creative Writing; Spain
Title: The other diaspora: Moriscos in early modern Spain

As an MFA student in Spanish Creative Writing, I will spend eight weeks doing research in three different cities in Spain: Madrid, Granada, and Cuenca, where four important historical archives are located. There I will explore texts from 1492 to 1650 related to the “morisco issue” –a term coined to refer to all discussion, political or religious, concerning those Muslims who converted to Christianity. My research will focus on analyzing texts which sought either to control or integrate moriscos as well as evaluating inquisitional trials, all of which are central to the writing project I am preparing for my MFA thesis. While in Spain, I will consult texts that are not otherwise accessible, in order to compose a novel about the history of this religious and social minority. This project endeavors to relate identity, alterity, and human relationships in an effort to rethink Spanish history and social self-image. The Stanley Graduate Award will provide me with the opportunity to study unpublished texts in the archives which are essential to my purpose.

Magogodi Makhene

Iowa Writers' Workshop; Johannesburg, South Africa
Title: Ordinary life in the Transvaal

I plan to spend four weeks at the Brenthurst, South African National and William Cullen Libraries in Johannesburg, South Africa, researching public and private life in the former Transvaal—particularly the lives of Africans, Afrikaner women and slaves. I will also conduct interviews with traditional oral historians. The Transvaal is Johannesburg’s birthplace—then a small town on the world’s richest gold deposit. The British Empire built the first concentration camps here in a war lost to a fledging Afrikaner Republic. This is also where a young Mahatma Gandhi staged his first nonviolent protests—a strategy that transformed American, Indian and South African civil rights movements. My research concern is understanding daily life against this rich and complex backdrop. My findings will inform the novel manuscript component of my MFA thesis. Research will comprise collecting data from library archives in Johannesburg and interviewing academic experts and traditional oral historians. While in South Africa, I will build relationships with key research sources and institutions pivotal to the work I envision over the course of my career as a writer.

Patricia Nash

Literary Translation; Berlin, Germany
Title: Translating the collective: contemporary performance poetry in Berlin

Upon completion of my first year of coursework at the University of Iowa, I will travel to Berlin, Germany, to conduct research for my Master’s Thesis in literary translation. This thesis will culminate in a book-length translation of one or several members of the German poetry collective G-Dreizehn (G-Thirteen in English), published by the Berlin independent publisher, kookbooks. This group is rather prolific within the German literary community, but not much of its work has been translated into English, and English-language readers are barred from the exciting work these authors generate.
In Berlin, I will benefit from frequent interpersonal access to the contemporary poets I translate (in particular Rike Scheffler and Tristan Marquardt). My translations will improve if allowed direct engagement with their authorship, but they shall also profit from participation with the G-Dreizehn’s community-wide collaborations, readings, and events, which testify to the performative and localized features of the G-Thirteen poetic movement. Finally, I will certainly benefit from the established English-language translation industry in Berlin that might afford me particularized guidance in my own craft.

Ari Natarina

Linguistics; Bali, Indonesia
Title: The morphology of the Balinese language (Indonesia)

The purpose of the research outlined in this proposal is two-fold: to elicit data on Balinese morphemes and to record a shadow puppet performance. The focus of this project is the morphemes that affect the syntactic structure of Balinese sentences, particularly in changing the transitivity of a verb or the number of objects selected by the verb. A shadow puppet performance will be recorded in order to provide data for the use of these morphemes in discourse. Moreover, data on the structure of these morphemes in different constructions will be elicited from several informants and analyzed. As Balinese is a language spoken only by 3.3 billion people, this project will provide important information about an understudied language and contribute to our understanding of the range and variety of sentence structures that occur in the languages of the world.

two girls in Turkey

Delaney Nolan

Iowa Writers' Workshop; Istanbul, Turkey
Title: Fatma to Adalet: Feminist fiction in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey

I am applying for the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research in order to complete critical research for my MFA thesis in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I am writing a full-length manuscript of short stories which examine, through fiction, feminism’s evolving position and influence in Christian and Islamic societies. I will spend four weeks in Turkey conducting archival research on Fatma Aliye Topuz, who is credited with being the first female novelist in the Islamic world, at the Atatürk Kütüphanesi (Ataturk Library), and complementing this with research on Adalet Ağaoğlu, a celebrated modern writer, at the Adalet Ağaoğlu Research Room at Boğaziçi University. I will also be consulting experts at the Istanbul Kadin Muzesi (Istanbul Women’s Museum) to discuss my evidence. These two artists took almost contradictory approaches to feminism, and by researching their personal lives and views, I will write informed, well-characterized fiction necessary to my thesis. This manuscript will contribute to the field of feminist literature and address a gap in the English-language research on female writers in the Ottoman Empire. My research will address three questions: How did Topuz and Ağaoğlu synthesize their religious and cultural beliefs with their feminist views? What personal experiences did they have which facilitated or complicated their approaches? To what extent did their public or writing persona differ from their private nature?

Read about Delaney's adventures

Salvatory Nyanto

History; Tanzania
Title: Christianity in Unyamwezi c.1870s-2010s: some aspects of social and religious change

I am applying for the Stanley travel reimbursement award for international research in order to gather materials for my Ph.D. proposal that I will defend in fall, 2015. My project examines two issues. First, it explores the contribution of Christianity to the transformation of pre-existing social structures of Unyamwezi in Western Tanzania. From the first half of the nineteenth century, trade in ivory and slaves created different social groups that defined the population composition of the town of Tabora in Unyamwezi. Among the established social categories were slaves, noble wealthy class/merchant class, porters, and uncivilized ordinary men and women. Secondly, the project examines the influence of Christianity on the transformation of pre-existing indigenous beliefs and practices. The study attempts to show what entailed in the shift from indigenous beliefs and customs to Christianity, and how the people responded and experienced such a change. My study also seeks to show how indigenous beliefs and practices have continued to influence Christian practices in Unyamwezi.

Anca Roncea

Iowa Writers' Workshop; Paris, France
Title: Language and ethnicity in displacement and the Avant-garde

My research focuses on Romanian poets of the DADA/Surrealist period writing in Paris in French as well as on the work of the artist Constantin Brâncuși following the influence of Romanian folklore in their work, life and philosophy. I am applying for a Graduate Stanley Award for International Research in order to conduct research for seven weeks in Paris where I will collect materials to be incorporated in my MFA thesis at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop: by looking at the personal correspondence of Tristan Tzara, as well as other documents pertaining to the Dada/Surrealist movement and also analyzing the reconstruction of Brâncuși’s studio following the trail of Romanian folklore within the context of a foreign artistic space. This research will give me the material I need for a collection of poems of displacement, the immateriality of the concept of native language, a layering of ethnicities and the transcendence of language in a poetic space, poems that will be a large part of my MFA thesis. I will also create translations of Tristan Tzara’s correspondence and his untranslated poetry, which will be incorporated in the Dada/Surrealist archive of the University of Iowa’s Special Collections Library.

Samuel Satzman

Earth and Environmental Sciences; Barcelona, Spain
Title: Disentangling high frequency climate phenomena in a volcanic setting

I will spend 5 weeks at the University of Barcelona, Spain, working in the Lab of Dr. Santiago Giralt. His lab contains equipment necessary for the completion of my M.S thesis that is not available at the University of Iowa. This time will also give me the opportunity to work on statistical modeling with Dr. Giralt. At these facilities my work will focus on extracting high resolution Carbon and Oxygen isotopes and U-Th ages from lake sediments I recently collected at Laguna Lejia, Chile. The isotope data from these sediments provide an exceptional proxy for ancient temperature and rainfall and are important for constructing a climate history of Earth’s past.

Tejasvi Sharma

Mechanical Engineering; Itajuba, Brazil
Title: Study of gasification and combustion off biomass in partnership with Universidad Federak de Itajuba

I am applying for the Graduate Stanley award for an opportunity to visit the Universidad Federal de Itajuba to understand their gasification methodologies. This experience will provide me with a solid
foundation upon which I would start my Ph.D. studies. I will be collaborating on different experiments with Professor Electo and his students. The University of Iowa is already collaborating with the University Federal de Itajuba on a gasification project. The grant covers the cost of traveling for Professor Ratner (my advisor), Professor Electo, and his students. The Universidad Federal de Itajuba is
one of the leading research universities in Brazil that is involved in the study of biomass gasification and combustion. It is heavily equipped and experienced with gasifiers, turbines and combustion engines. I am interested in gasification technology as it has the potential to bring clean energy to many developing countries around the world using readily available unwanted resources, such as trash. When I return to Iowa, I will use the knowledge acquired to begin my Ph.D. research.

Katherine Steinbach

Cinematic Arts; Stirling, Scotland - United Kingdom
Title: This Wonderful World: John Grierson's negotiation between cinema and television documentary

This five week research project at the University of Stirling's John Grierson Archive, will focus on the visionary Scottish writer, producer, and director's theories of cinematic and television documentary.
Grierson worked in both media: he guided, sponsored, and influenced British filmmaking between the 1920s and 1960s. His work remains debated within documentary studies. A Stanley Graduate Award for International Research will allow me to explore Grierson's donated collection of writings and personal notebooks as well as those of his primary biographer, Forsyth Hardy. My expectation is that these documents will reveal the changing nature of non-fiction storytelling in Britain. This research and project is crucial to my areas of interest in documentary film and mass communication in the post-World War II United States and Britain. The project will empower my forthcoming dissertation prospectus by providing key archival documentation available nowhere else in the world.

Judith Tiga

School of Medicine; Ghana
Title: Assessment of adult and child mental health resources in rural compared to urban communities in Ghana

This summer, I plan to obtain data concerning the availability and utilization of adult and mental health resources in two rural and two urban communities in Ghana. I also hope to report on the
extent to which child and adolescent mental health needs are being met in these four regions. I plan to do this by administering a survey to primary health care providers concerning their knowledge and use of resources, as well as the frequency of patients presenting with symptoms of trauma. The information I report will be useful to Ghana's health ministry regarding policy and allocation of resources in the context of an ongoing mental health reform. Additionally, this report will inform mental health workers about the extent to which trauma is adequately addressed during clinic visits and help direct attention towards assessment of trauma in certain populations. Information about child and adolescent mental health needs will be of benefit to current and future efforts to establish mental health services for children and adolescents in Ghana. Completion of this project helps me meet requirements for the global health distinction track at Carver College of medicine.

Sarita Zaleha

Art and Art History; Iceland
Title: Examining climate change in Iceland through ecotourism and textiles

I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research in order to gather material for my MFA thesis exhibition in Printmaking and Intermedia. For the Stanley project, I will
spend five weeks in Iceland. I will investigate contemporary and historical Icelandic textiles as well as study the ecotourism industry and experience first-hand the impacts—both human and
environmental—of climate change in Iceland. Iceland has rich textile traditions and is also faced with drastic environmental changes due to global warming, making it an excellent site for my fieldwork. This research will build upon my previous artistic work on climate change, and it will be integrated into my final thesis exhibition scheduled for Fall 2015, which through textiles, video, and installation, addresses humans’ emotional relationship to climate change.