Pembroke Center
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Steinhaus/Zisson Pembroke Center Research Grants for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Funding Opportunities

The Beatrice Bloomingdale Steinhaus ’33, P’60, P’65, GP’87, GP’91/Gertrude Rosenhirsch Zisson’30, P’61, P’63, GP’91 grants support undergraduate and graduate student research at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Student research may be on any topic related to the work of the Pembroke Center, with preference given to research on women's education, health, community activism, philanthropy, and economic status, and women's rights and well-being in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

Undergraduate students are invited to apply for grants up to $1,000. Graduate students may apply for grants up to a maximum of $2,000. Application materials include:

  • a three- to five-page description of your research project
  • a letter of support from faculty advisor
  • amount requested and plan for allocated grant funds

The Steinhaus/Zisson Fund was provided by Nancy Steinhaus Zisson ’65, P’91 and William Zisson ’63, P’91 in memory of their mothers, Beatrice Bloomingdale Steinhaus ’33, P’60, P’65, GP’87, GP’91 and Gertrude Rosenhirsch Zisson ’30, P’61, P’63, GP’91, and the life changing education that they received at Pembroke College in Brown University. It was established in recognition of their family members who are alumnae and alumni of Brown University, including Margaret Steinhaus Sheppe ’60, P’87, Harry R. Zisson ’61, William Zisson ’63, P’91, Nancy Steinhaus Zisson ’65, P’91, Laura Sheppe Miller ’87, Michael B. Miller ’87, Alex Zisson ’91, and Emma Miller ’16. These two women inspired a love of learning in their children and grandchildren, and a strong belief that education and self-improvement are important aspects of personal growth that do not stop with the end of formal schooling. They believed profoundly in women's rights and affordable education as a means to achieving these goals.

2020/21 Recipients

Jenny DolanJenny Dolan

Graduate Student, Department of American Studies

"Constructing Willpower: The Origins of the Marshmallow Experiment"

Jenny Dolan’s dissertation is a cultural history of willpower. Her project tracks the changing meanings and uses of willpower throughout the twentieth century U.S. and explores willpower’s relationship to gender, race, and middle-class formation. In the chapter “Constructing Willpower: The Origins of the Marshmallow Experiment,” Dolan asks: how did willpower become a scientific fact? Psychologists agree that the most famous willpower experiment—the marshmallow experiment conducted at Stanford University by Walter Mischel and his colleagues—inaugurated the modern study of self-control. Mischel, however, conducted his first willpower experiments on Black and East Indian children in Trinidad during the 1950s, so Trinidad ought to be considered the birthplace of scientific willpower. Analyzing the experimental protocols that enabled willpower to emerge as an object of empirical knowledge, Dolan argues that Mischel did not discover in Trinidad a universal feature of human cognition called willpower. Rather, willpower was crafted by and through empire and the unequal power relations of colonialism.

Deborah FrempongDeborah Frempong

Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology

"Gendered Mobilities: Faith, Belonging and Spatial Geographies of Returnee Women in Accra"

Debbie Frempong’s project looks at returnee women’s modes of belonging through their reintegration experiences in Accra, Ghana, connecting questions about transnationalism, belonging, gendered subjectivities and Christianity. It asks: what do returnee women’s experiences reveal about gender, religion, and belonging in contemporary Ghana? And what is the significance of widely circulating discourses and representations that situate returnee women as figures of modernity? Consequently, it explores how the gendered politics of reintegration produces and mediates ideas of modernity and (post) colonial subjectivities. In doing so, it offers alternative ways to conceptualize the relationship between religion and belonging, looking at how social rupture, continuity and de-territorialism offers various opportunities for local and global forms of practice that coalesce, oppose or exist alongside each other. This project adds to these conceptualizations by highlighting the ways in which Accra’s religious landscape and returnee women’s cosmopolitan feminisms collide. By exploring these questions through the lens of belonging, it endeavors to show how returnee women create new communities and spatial geographies of care.

Past Recipients

  • Felicia Denaud, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    At the Vanishing Point of the Word: Blackness and the Unnameable War
  • Warren Harding, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Bearing Witness, Holding Space: Black Caribbean Migrant Women and the Literacies of Belonging
  • Nell Lake, Graduate Student, American Studies
    Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid.: The Enduring Moral Politics of ‘Women’s Work’ in America
  • Kristen Maye, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Black Studies Toward a Poetics of Black Critique
  • Esha Sraboni, Graduate Student, Sociology
    Making Meaning of Gendered Violence and the Law: Global Discourses and Local Realities in Bangladesh
  • Ieva Zumbyte, Graduate Student, Sociology
    Tracing the Quality of Public Childcare Services in Urban Settlements
  • Rehan Jamil, Graduate Student, Political Science
    Social Policy and Changing Citizenship Boundaries in Pakistan
  • Kristen McNeill, Graduate Student, Sociology
    Gendered Evaluations, Gendered Effects: A Bank-to-Household Approach to Microfinance and Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • Melanie White, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Afro-Nicaraguan Women’s Art and Visions of Autonomy on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua
  • Daniel McDonald, Graduate Student, History
    Mothers on the March: Grassroots Women’s Resistance in Military Brazil
  • Katsí Rodríguez Velázquez, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Claiming the Anjelamaría Davilá: Black Women in the Decolonization of Puerto Rico
  • Zoe Gilbard ‘18, History and Public Health
    Eugenics in Rhode Island’s Progressive Era Psychiatric Institutions: The Treatment of Women and Immigrants
  • Aja Grande ‘18, Science, Technology & Society
    The Pursuit of Pono in Hawai‘i Education Politics
  • Lydia Kelow Bennett, Graduate Student, Africana Studies
    Conjuring Freedom: A Black Feminist Meditation for Neoliberal Times
  • Girija Borker, Graduate Student, Economics
    Safety First: Perceived Travel Risk and College Choice of Women
  • Javier Fernanez Galeano, Graduate Student, History
    The Argentinean Lesbian Feminist Movement
  • Camille L. Garnsey ‘17, Latin American Studies, Public Health
    The history of reproductive rights in Cuba
  • Arlen Austin ’16 and Beth Capper ‘16, Graduate Students, Modern Culture and Media
    Wages Due! A Digital Humanities Archive of the Wages for Housework Movement
  • Lakshmi Padmanabhan, Graduate Student, Departments of History and Modern Culture and Media
    Representing Rape: A Visual History of Feminist Protest in India
  • Anne Gray Fischer, Graduate Student, Department of History
    Arrestable Behavior: Vulnerable Women, State Power, and the Rise of the Carceral State, 1932-1982
  • Kwang R. Choi ‘17, Visual Art
    Submerging and Resurfacing: Multimedia Investigation of the “Last Mermaids” of Jeju
  • Noah Fields ‘17, Classics
    as I watch you, in fleeting glances, no talk is left inside me
  • Wanda Henry, Graduate Student, Department of History
    Searching the Dead and Burying the Bodies: Searchers of the Dead, Sextonesses, and Women Undertakers in England from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
  • Rijuta Mehta, Graduate Student, Department of Modern Culture and Media
    The Repatriation Portrait: Women at the End of Empire, 1947-1953
  • Nicosia Shakes, Graduate Student, Department of Africana Studies
    Women’s Theatre and Feminist Activism in Jamaica and South Africa: A Study of Sistren Theatre Collective and The Mothertongue Project
  • Esme Ricciardi ’15, International Relations
    Islamic Immigrations, Sex Trafficking, and the Media: The Impact of Trafficking and Terrorism Discourses on Migration Policy in the EU
  • Meghan Kallman, Graduate Student, Department of Sociology
    Bureaucratized morality, institutional durability: organizationally mediated idealism and international relationships in the Peace Corps
  • Chelsea Cormier McSwiggin, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology
    An Anthropological Study of the Experience of HIV, Kinship, and Community in Miami's Haitian Diaspora
  • Caroline Park and Asha Tamirisa, Graduate Students, Department of Music
    opensignal: A Dynamic Reconfiguring of Women in Computer Music
  • Jesse McGleughlin ’14, Africana Studies
    From Fannie Lou Hamer to Audre Lorde: Reading the National Freedom Democratic Party through Performance and Intervention
  • Francesca Inglese, Graduate Student, Department of Music
    Coloured Coons and Klopse Beats: Embodying Contested Subjectivities in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Bryan Knapp, Graduate Student, Department of History
    From Women’s Health to World Health: The Politics of Infant Formula, World Hunger, and Corporate Accountability, 1968-1981
  • Navarra Buxton ’13, Anthropology
    OpenDoors Case Study: The Effects of Pre and Post Release Employment Readiness Programs in the U.S. on Reducing Recidivism Rates Among Women