The University of Iowa

Stanley Graduate Awards: 2019 Winners

Lila Becker
Theatre Directing
Destination: South Africa
Project Title: In Search of Anti-Racist Theatre Methods: A Study of South African Theatre

A little-known fact about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa is theatre artists’ role in it. Theatremakers were on the front lines of the fight against apartheid, creating integrated spaces during government-mandated segregation, staging anti-apartheid work in universities where academic freedom sidestepped censorship, and taking up true stories of human rights abuses of the apartheid regime. With a Stanley Grant, I will study the legacy of the South African theatre’s antiapartheid work, interview contemporary theatre directors and administrators, and attend local productions of both new and classic work that does not tour internationally. With the techniques and information I learn, I will stage my MFA thesis: a diversely-cast production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya based, as I believe all plays should be, on a foundation of social justice. This project will also contribute to my long-term career goal of leading a theatre company that serves a truly diverse group of audience members and artists.

Aline Blasizzo
Earth and Environmental Science
Destination: Askja, Iceland
Project Title: A Textural Analysis of the 1961 lava flow in Askja, Iceland as an analog for Martian lava flow studies

The purpose of my research is to constrain the textural evolution of the 1961 lava flow in Askja, Iceland for applications in planetary science on Mars. I will be conducting chemical analyses of bulk and trace elements, petrographic studies of mineral phases, and quantifying shape and size of vesicles and minerals in rocks samples from this lava. I will link internal sample textures to surface textures on satellite and air photo imagery. This can help constrain properties that determine the transitions of lava morphology. The 1961 lava flow in Askja, Iceland is the focus for this study because of the similarity to the composition of the basalts that are found on Mars, ultimately giving us a means to gain insight on its volcanic geology. 

Elizabeth Buehler
Literary Translation
Destination: Seoul, South Korea
Project Title: Travelers of the Night by Yun Ko Eun: Translation and Research

This summer, with the support of a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research, I will spend four weeks in Seoul, South Korea. There, I will perform research and collaborate with a translation collective and Korean literary institutions as I work on my thesis for the MFA in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa. I have already begun translating what will be my thesis: the novel Travelers of the Night by Yun Ko Eun. Independent publisher Profile Books will publish my translation in 2020, and by the summer of 2019, I plan to have a partially completed manuscript. Visiting Korea will allow me strengthen my work-in-progress as I consult with the author and participate in a Seoul-based translation workshop. This will provide me with language-specific feedback on my manuscript that I cannot receive at the University of Iowa, where I am the only Korean translator in the program. Crucially, time in Korea will help me research and compose a translator’s preface to explore the meaning of Travelers of the Night’s dark humor and disaster narratives. In order to get a feeling for the Korean understanding of catastrophe and war, I intend to visit sites of historical violence that mark Korea’s war-torn past and investigate an important question that Travelers of the Night poses to readers: how does Korea reconcile its history of persecution with its current position of international affluence and power? 

Erin Daly
Art History
Destination: Paris, France
Project Title: Summoning the Divine: Epiphanic Moments in the Art of Gustave Moreau

The Stanley Graduate Award for International Research will allow me to spend five weeks in Paris, France to conduct preliminary studies for my dissertation on the painter Gustave Moreau (1826-1898).The full corpus of his extensive notes, annotated sketches, and sculptures can only be seen at the Musée National Gustave Moreau. This museum is home to his most important paintings which must be seen and photographed in person. Although most of my time will be spent at the Musée Moreau, I need to visit additional archives and museums due to the interdisciplinary nature of my thesis. Not only do I hope to offer a new lens for interpreting Moreau’s paintings, but my project will shed light on the broader epistemological history of late nineteenth-century France by examining the use and abuse of antiquity when filtered through the European traditions of Classicism and Orientalism. By carefully constructing the ancient past, Classical Greece was held up as the heroic ideal, but the ancient Near East represented its primordial counterpart in the form of an “Other.” Moreau’s multifaceted work problematizes this manufactured binary.

Alaa Edden Albashayreh
Destination: Jordan
Project Title: What matters most to the seriously ill patients in Jordan

The Stanley Graduate Award for International Research will allow me to spend five weeks in Amman and Irbid, Jordan to conduct research on the lived experiences of patients suffering from serious illnesses including health conditions that carry a high risk of death and either negatively impact a patient's daily function, or excessively strain their caregivers. In Jordan, about 65% of patients are not diagnosed until they reach an advanced stage of their illness, augmenting their suffering and complicating their care. Hence, addressing the lived experiences of seriously ill patients, an under-studied population in Jordan, and describing what matters most to them, could have the potential to make a significant contribution to the practice, research, and policy of serious illness. In this qualitative study, I will conduct semi-structured, in-depth interviews with fourteen patients receiving serious illness care at two hospitals in Jordan. This study will help me gain more insight on the care experiences, needs, and expectations of this patient population. Moreover, this study will serve as preliminary research for my Ph.D. dissertation and the basis for my program of research to develop evidence-based interventions and measurements to improve the quality of care for the seriously ill.

Caroline Froh
Literary Translation
Destination: Zurich and Bern, Switzerland
Project Title: Research and translation of Mariella Mehr’s Widerworte in Switzerland

A Stanley Graduate Award will allow me to spend four weeks in Switzerland conducting archival research and translating the writer Mariella Mehr for my MFA thesis. The work I will be translating, "Words of Resistance: Stories, Poems, Conversations, Articles", highlights the breadth of Mehr’s abilities, ranging from politically-charged journalism to poetry and fiction demonstrating her singular writing style and skill. Mehr’s writing is heavily autobiographical, drawing from her experience growing up as a Yenish minority during a violent period of state-sponsored kidnapping and forced assimilation. For this reason, it is vital for my thesis that I conduct careful research on both Mehr and the Yenish to provide informed context for the scholarly portion of my thesis. I plan to spend three weeks in the Swiss National Archives examining Mariella Mehr’s letters, unpublished stories, manuscripts and journals. Also contained in the archive are a wealth of documents pertaining to the history and study of Roma, Sinti, and Yenish in Switzerland, which will prove invaluable for the paratextual, scholarly portion of my thesis. I will also spend one week in Zurich meeting with the co-editors of Widerworte, whose close understanding of the source text will help guide my translation.

Katerina Hazell
Fine Arts
Destination: Lyon, France
Project Title: Book Design Survey: Johannes Trechsel in Lyon, France

My work as an MFA student at the University of Iowa Center for the Book centers around geometry, repetition, and structure. I explore the ways people create and disrupt order, using traditional book crafts and design as metaphors for larger cultural structures. As I prepare to start my thesis next fall, I will spend four weeks in May and June doing research in Lyon, France on the slow accumulation of order in printed books as they slowly split away from handwritten manuscript book conventions. My project is to survey twenty-five books printed by Johannes Trechsel held in Special Collections at the Bibliothèque Municipale (public library), focusing on their visual design elements: page size, margin size, text block size, and type size and style.

Johanna Hoogendyk
Destination: The Netherlands
Project Title: Figurative Painting in the Dutch Golden Age

I am applying for the Stanley Grant to conduct research on figurative painting in the Netherlands. I propose to spend four weeks visiting museums in and around Amsterdam, focusing heavily on the Rijksmuseum and their collection of 17th century Dutch paintings. I will study the paintings by making sketches, taking notes on my observations, and meeting with curators. I am especially interested in works by prominent female Dutch painters, whose works are only now coming to the attention of the international art world.

Barbara Kagima
Geographical and Sustainability Sciences
Destination: Kenya
Project Title: Survey of Access to Screening and Treatment for Hypertension in Rural Kenya

The Stanley Award will allow me to conduct a 6-week survey of health care practices related to the screening and treatment of hypertension in rural Kenya.  A 2015 nationally representative survey found a 25% prevalence of hypertension in Kenya, but only 15% of those diagnosed were aware of their hypertensive status. Although the prevalence of hypertension was similar in rural and urban inhabitants, the rate of awareness about their condition was much lower for rural dwellers. Using qualitative methods, I will survey local health care facilities in six rural counties about their ability to screen and treat hypertension.  I will also visit with local Ministry of Health officials to learn about the policies, programs, and interventions in place for hypertension prevention and management.  This project serves as preliminary research for my Ph.D. dissertation about the spatial dynamics of chronic disease screening and access to treatment in developing nations.

Amelia Maggio
Creative Writing
Destination: New Zealand
Project Title: Ecology and Emotion Regarding New Zealand’s Endemic Longfin Eels

I am a graduate student pursuing an M.F.A. in fiction. I am applying for the Stanley Award for International Research to obtain funding for archival and environmental research regarding the lives of New Zealand’s freshwater eels and the country’s relationship to that species. This investigation will provide me with the information needed to complete my in-progress novel, which is a work of fiction centering on the eel, both as it exists in nature and as metaphor.

Kurayi Mahachi
Destination: Amhara, Ethiopia
Project Title: Vector Borne disease in the Metema- Humera region of Ethiopia: emerging collaborative partnerships in East Africa

The neglected tropical disease Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) infects millions and kills between 20-40,000 people annually, in 98 countries (WHO). During the 20th century, India had the highest prevalence of VL compared to other nations; however, due to the efforts of the World Health Organization, the disease has recently declined dramatically in India (1). In contrast, VL has gradually increased in parts of Africa (2). In Ethiopia, the country where this project will take place, VL is one of the most significant vector-borne diseases; with over 3.2 million at risk of infection (3). VL in Ethiopia is a growing health problem that has steady increase in incidence in recent years (4). Research has demonstrated that in some regions of Ethiopia, individuals present with more severe and fatal VL. This severe VL is not driven by co-infection with helminthes (5, 6). Tick-borne co-infections have been shown to influence VL progression in animal hosts, the precise risk factors that have led to the severe VL epidemic in Ethiopia needs to be identified (5, 6). The goal of this project is to measure the burden of ticks and tick-borne diseases among migrant farm workers in Ethiopia, and to assess the association between tick-borne disease co-infection and acute severe VL.

Ian McMurray
Creative Writing
Destination: Australia
Project Title: Appropriation of Grief in Australian Aboriginal Mythology 

My Stanley project will take me to Melbourne, where I will conduct research centering around expressions of grief in Aboriginal mythology and the extent to which this grief has been appropriated in contemporary Australian art, research that will inform a collection of short stories to be submitted for my M.F.A. thesis at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I will conduct interviews through the University of Melbourne’s Australian Indigenous Studies program, visit the city’s many Aboriginal art museums, and take trips to the outback and bush communities of Alice Springs and Yarra Valley, all to understand how Aboriginal grief practices have permeated into the aesthetics of the country’s geography, and how the colonized sites of those grief practices now problematically tow the line between respectful tribute and commercial appropriation. These interviews and field research will form primary resources essential to the realization of an M.F.A collection that treats Aboriginal grief with detail and nuance.

Abisola Osinuga
Occupational and Environmental Health
Destination: Onda state, Nigeria
Project Title: Impact of water availability on prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and biomechanical risk factors among rural women and housewives in Ondo state

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) researches has traditionally focused on the impact of water quality on infectious diseases in children. However, the gendered impact of water-related domestic work on women's health has not been adequately examined in Nigeria, despite a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in rural communities. This comparative cross-sectional study will assess the impact of water availability on the physical demands of water-related domestic work and self-reported musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The study population includes 365 rural women and housewives in two rural communities in Ondo State Nigeria. I plan to travel to Ondo state, Nigeria between June-August 2019, to carry out a survey and exposure assessment using video recordings and other ergonomic instrumentations. The purpose of this study is to quantify the frequency of different biomechanical risks during domestic work that could lead to injury. Understanding the dimensions of water-related domestic work and the influence of water availability on physical demands of domestic work can help develop a novel ergonomic assessment tool unique to the African context of 'women's work' as well as develop a participatory ergonomic (intervention) tool to mitigate the health effects in these low resource environments.

Victoria Priola
Destination: Spain and Portugal
Project Title: Archaeology of Iberia: Copper and Bronze Age Textile Production

I am applying to the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research in order to evaluate the archaeological evidence for textile production in Spain and Portugal of the Iberian Peninsula, from the Copper and Bronze Ages, dating back to 3000 BCE. This research will be conducted in two parts during the summer of 2019, from June 7th to August 3rd. The first four-week period will be dedicated to meeting and consulting with archaeologists, visiting relevant sites, museums, and collections in Lisbon, Portugal, and Seville and Madrid, Spain. This research will focus on collecting data on the largely understudied loom weights (ceramic weights of different shapes and sizes used to pull the thread tight on warp-weighted looms) found throughout Iberia. I will also be examining more unique textile related finds such as the beaded garments of Montelirio. The second portion of this research will be in Terrinches, Spain, from July to early August, working on the excavation of the Bronze Age ceremonial site of Castillejo del Bonete directed by Dr. Luis Benitez de Lugo and Dr. Katina Lillios. As a first-year student in the anthropology M.A./Ph.D. program, these experiences will provide me with critical information necessary to develop my future Ph.D. research on prehistoric textile production in Iberia. 

Elaine Ray
Fiction Writing
Destination: Cuba
Project Title: Race, Racism and Racial Identity in Cuba

In the novel that I am writing as my thesis for the MFA in fiction writing, one of the primary protagonists hijacks a plane to Cuba and becomes an exile. The novel is set in the 1970s when Cuba was viewed as a utopian racial alternative for American Black Nationalists. That character is later joined in Havana by her raised-in-America “ Material Girl” daughter and culture clashes ensue. The idea for the novel came to me during a trip to Cuba in 2000. I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research with the intention of conducting an on-the-ground exploration of the history of race, racism and racial identity in Cuba. More specifically, I am interested in understanding how Cuba’s insistence on a unified, national post-racial identity advanced or collided with its support of freedom struggles around the world, including the black power movement of the 60s and 70s and South Africa's anti-apartheid movement. 

Abby Ryder-Huth
Destination: United Kingdom
Project Title: Notes on Meat: Writing Poetry on Early Modern Bones, Books, and John Donne

I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award to spend five weeks in the UK researching early modern bones, books, and the library of poet and preacher John Donne (1572-1631) for my poetry MFA thesis. By studying ossuaries and graves from the period, Donne’s book collection, and early modern anatomy texts, I will write a book-length poem on how bodies from the early modern period last as images, as bones, and metaphorically as books. Comparing my experiences in visiting charnel houses, studying the visual and textural qualities of early medical books and objects, and researching Donne’s reading materials will help me write a poetry manuscript on the relationships between books, bodies, readers, and memory. This piece will be a core part of my thesis for the Writers’ Workshop, and will help establish my career as a poet-scholar whose work approaches academic material in multi-disciplinary ways.

Ian Shank
Nonfiction Writing
Destination: England, Scotland, and Italy
Project Title: Neither Friend Nor Foe: Italian POWs in the United Kingdom after the Fall of Mussolini

I am applying for a Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to analyze the experience of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) in the United Kingdom between September 8, 1943 and May 8, 1945 – the 20-month period following Italy's surrender in World War II (WWII) in which Italian POWs were no longer considered Axis combatants and yet were also not allowed to return home. Amidst this limbo, some Italians became willing collaborators. Others stewed and schemed in the privacy of their bunks. But it was here, in villages and prison camps across the United Kingdom, that the post-war period truly began, as former enemies were first forced to coexist despite fraught differences in language, nationality, and ideology. Beyond yielding relatively little scholarship to date, this topic offers a host of fascinating questions for our present political moment. At a time of ascendant right-wing nationalism – both in Italy and the UK, as well as the United States – what can we learn from this early laboratory of reconciliation? How did British administrators and their Italian captors both impair and nurture this process? And what does it take, then as now, to unlearn the politics of hatred and fear? Through six weeks of research in England, Scotland, and Italy, I intend to answer these questions. Abroad and upon my return, I will use this compiled research as the foundation for my MFA thesis in Nonfiction Writing at the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.

David Smith
Literary Translation
Destination: Norway
Project Title: Research and translate excerpts from Dag Solstad's 70s and 80s novels

I am applying for a Graduate Stanley Award for International Research to conduct research and fieldwork in Norway. I am currently translating excerpts from Dag Solstad’s early novels, including Teacher Pedersen (1982) and Novel 1987 (1987). These translations require a historical background knowledge I cannot obtain from sources available in the United States. I therefore intend to spend part of my research trip studying archival materials at the National Library of Norway in Oslo. I will then visit locations in Lillehammer, Hamar, and Bergen—each of these having a unique connection to specific events in Solstad’s novels—in order to gain first-hand knowledge of these places. 

E. Mariah Spencer
Destination: England
Project Title: Materiality of Margaret Cavendish: Authorial Persona and the Female Publisher

I will study and photograph three of Cavendish's extant manuscripts in order to gain familiarity with her handwriting - this will serve in determining which of the marginal comments made in her texts are autographs.  Additionally, I will examine copies of her first and second edition literary works in order to determine the ways in which she used the printed book to intentionally construct an authorial persona.

Nicholas Stroup
Education Policy and Leadership Studies
Destination: Kosovo
Project Title: Understanding Graduate Education in Kosovo

The Stanley Graduate Award for International Research will allow me to spend June 2019 at the University of Prishtina (UP) examining graduate education in Kosovo. Kosovo, a young nation actively building its democratic institutions and developing its economy, needs national experts. Due to its unique history and regional relationships, Kosovo’s national development has benefitted from and relied upon international experts. One reason for this reliance is the small number of graduate degree holders within Kosovo.  Therefore, my objective is to examine the conditions for development of graduate education in Kosovo, with a primary focus on UP, its only research institution.

Fang Wang
Foreign Language and ESL Education
Destination: Beijing, China
Project Title: Exploring Instructions and Test Takers’ Changes on the TOEFL iBT Integrated Writing Task at a Cram School in China

The Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research will allow me to spend eight weeks at Meijiabaili Cram School in Beijing, China to conduct research on TOEFL iBT test preparation and student writing development. According to the washback hypothesis, testing influences teaching and learning. The higher the stakes of a test, the higher the likelihood for test takers to engage in test preparation practices. My research aims to examine the washback hypothesis of the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT), a high-stakes English proficiency test for speakers of other languages when applying for universities or colleges in an English-speaking country. This study will specifically focus on the integrated writing section of the TOEFL iBT, which emphasizes skill integration of reading, listening, and writing by simulating authentic academic tasks that students will encounter at tertiary institutions in English-speaking countries. Because of an increased number of Chinese TOEFL test takers, China has gone through a huge expansion of TOEFL preparation schools, which prepare test takers to help them receive a satisfactory score. Beijing, as the capital of the country, has witnessed the fastest growth of such type of schools. As a result, test takers from different parts of the country have come to Beijing to take test preparation courses. Unfortunately, little is known about instruction in these courses and their impacts on test takers’ changes of writing performance over the duration of one course. Thus, this study will fill out the gap. It hopes to inspire discussions on validity and fairness in test development and ideas on curriculum design. The findings will serve as preliminary research for my PhD dissertation in the field of language assessment. 

Anthony Zilli
Literary Translation
Destination: Switzerland and Germany
Project Title: Collecting the Collection: The Role Newspapers, Illustrations, and Letters Played in Shaping Robert Walser's Short Story Collections

I am applying for the Stanley Graduate Award for International Research to conduct preliminary research relevant to planned translations of two of Swiss author Robert Walser’s (1878-1956) short story collections, Geschichten (1914) and Prosastücke (1916). A first-year M.F.A. in Literary Translation, I am working towards a master’s thesis that will focus specifically on the collection as a unit, and my aim is to research how Walser’s collections were assembled. Over a period of four weeks, my research will involve examining the newspapers in which his stories first appeared, the first editions in which they were ultimately collected, and the author’s correspondences, while also visiting relevant biographical sites in Germany and Switzerland. I will chiefly be located in Bern, Switzerland, where I will be granted a place to conduct research at the Robert Walser Center (RWZ), which houses the first editions and letters. In Bern I will also be able to access extensive collections of Swiss and German newspapers at the Swiss National Library (NB). Other locations that will be visited for biographical research are Biel, Basel, Thun, and Herisau in Switzerland and Stuttgart in Germany.