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ASU Graduate College's Spotlight Grant winners advance equity, diversity, inclusion

By

Tracy Viselli

In an overwhelming response to a call for stories and perspectives related to justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, more than 100 Arizona State University graduate students and postdocs submitted applications for the second round of the Knowledge Mobilization Spotlight Grants. 

Out of the impressively competitive pool, the Graduate College selected 10 winners rather than five as originally planned. Each winner will receive a grant of $100.

The Knowledge Mobilization Initiative and Spotlight Grants

The Spotlight Grants are an effort by the Knowledge Mobilization Initiative in the Graduate College to highlight graduate student and postdoctoral research at ASU — particularly how our student and early career scholars are applying and disseminating their work for broad audiences and social impact.  

“After last year’s positive response to our call for students and scholars to share how they changed their research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we hoped to inspire applicants to place their research in the context of the national conversation about justice, diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Heather Fauland, manager for professional development,. 

Why knowledge mobilization matters

At a time when skepticism about the relevance of research is growing, knowledge mobilization teaches students and scholars to focus on impact and move their research from the page and into action, enriching current practice, policy and social discourse in the process.

“It is critical that ASU’s scholars know how to make their work impactful, usable and accessible beyond traditional academic disciplines and audiences,” said Tamara Underiner, associate dean of the Graduate College. “Students can also advance our larger design aspirations as a university.”

“Our graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are doing impactful, relevant research and we are here, to not only support them but to inspire them as well,” said Elizabeth Wentz, vice provost and graduate college dean. “Using knowledge mobilization as a framework for research is one way we’re helping our scholars and ASU catalyze social change.” 

Knowledge Mobilization Spotlight Grant awardees

The 10 awardees are:

  • David Jaulus, justice studies, explores through his writing and theorizing how courts have become an insufficient location to promote lasting social change. 
  • Elizabeth A. Ruiz, educational policy and evaluation, intends to conduct a qualitative case study on how high schools address the cultural background of students.
  • James Williams, digital culture, is involved in research that revolves around giving a voice to traditionally disenfranchised groups, by reevaluating film and media elements.
  • Sandra M. Saco, English education, is working on ensuring that students are introduced to a literary curriculum that has more culturally diverse protagonists in its stories.
  • Anastacia Meconiates, music composition: interdisciplinary digital media, is working on connecting music to engineering by building new eco-friendly instruments that will be accessible to disabled people as well.
  • Peach O’Neill, psychology, is interested in studying the social influence of public video recordings of events of injustice and the effects these may have on future empowerment. 
  • Ali Dahouk, health care, is working toward introducing a fair distribution of health care in his country (Lebanon), once he finishes his master's degree in health care innovation.
  • Dylan Peay, behavioral neuroscience, is involved in the study of the impact that chronic stress has on women who experience depression.
  • Thy Vu Mims, liberal studies, plans to gather stories from refugees/immigrants in the United States and share their experiences with the community at large.
  • Anais Delilah Roque, environmental social science, examines water insecurity in post-disaster settings by conducting a qualitative personal network elicitation.