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Grants help graduate students to do research around the world

By: Katya Hrichak,  Cornell Chronicle
Tue, 11/27/2018

Twenty-six Cornell graduate students have won more than $42,000 in fall 2018 Research Travel Grants, which provide students up to $2,000 to conduct thesis or dissertation research away from campus. In a typical year, 70 to 80 students receive these competitive grants from the Graduate School. More grant winners will be announced in the spring.

Although many students use their grants to conduct research abroad, some students make use of their award traveling in the United States, sometimes remaining in New York state. For Amanda Davis, a doctoral student in animal science, this grant will allow her to conduct research on milk production during mid-lactation on dairy cows right in nearby Cortland County, New York.

“I decided to apply for this grant because I need to collect milk samples from my cows three times per day for my 50-day trial at the Cornell University Ruminant Center, which is a 30-minute drive from my office,” she said. “This study is important because consumer preferences are causing a decline in bovine [growth hormone] use. Alternative approaches to maximize milk production per cow should be considered to maintain sustainability.”

Prateek Bansal, a doctoral student in civil engineering, was one of 34 students who received a travel grant during the spring 2018 round. For him, the grant supported a visit to Santiago, Chile, where he was collaborated with researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

“A part of my doctoral research focuses on understanding the valuation of crowding by passengers in the subway,” he said. “I conducted experiments and developed models to understand the case of the New York City subway. I could extend the same research in collaboration with professors at Universidad de Chile. In fact, I could corroborate my models with the crowding data of the Santiago subway.”

According to Bansal, “This research visit could not have been possible without my Research Travel Grant.”

For Mary Moroney, a doctoral student in linguistics, a travel grant awarded in fall 2017 allowed her to spend the following winter break in Chiang Mai, Thailand, studying the Shan, or Tai, language.

“This grant funded my travel and month-long stay. It was very important for my research,” she said. “During this trip I made important connections and collected a lot of good data, and this grant made that possible.”

Fall 2018 Research Travel Grants awardees and their travel plans are:

  • Ayah Almousa, Ph.D. (mathmathics), will travel to Norway to study the properties of letterplace and co-letterplace ideals;
  • Remy Barnes, MFA (English language and literature), will travel to Texas and Louisiana to study the force of nature as it affects three generations of a family living on the Gulf Coast;
  • Manuel Berduc, Ph.D. (history), will travel to California to study Russian revolutionaries, their movements in Europe, and their influence before and after their migrations to Argentina;
  • Arturo Castellanos Canales, JSD (law), will travel to Colombia with an invitation to the Colombian Constitutional Court;
  • Minqi Chai, Ph.D. (government), will travel to China and Australia to demonstrate how nonmainstream politicians and niche parties construct narratives to mobilize the uncommitted public and push mainstream parties to adjust economic policy;
  • Rukmini Chakraborty, Ph.D. (history), will travel to India to study the culture of contracts, credits and courtly encounters in the 18th-century eastern Indian Ocean Rim;
  • Irene del Real Contreras, Ph.D. (geological sciences), will travel to Canada to study the new constraints on the use of pyrite chemistry as an indication for hydrothermal evolution, with applications to IOGG deposits and other styles of mineral deposits where pyrite is an abundant mineral;
  • Samuel Gutekunst, Ph.D. (operations research and information engineering), will travel to Berkeley, California, to study semidefinite programming relaxations of the traveling salesman problem;
  • Olivia Heckendorf, M.A. (city and regional planning), will travel to Virginia and West Virginia to examine the preservation and interpretation of Chatham Manor by the National Park Service;
  • Qjan Hu, Ph.D. (biochemistry, molecular and cell biology), will travel to Chicago to investigate metal ion flux during drosophila egg activation;
  • Minwoo Jung, Ph.D. (physics), will travel to Spain to create topologically robust states of surface plasmons in graphene;
  • Sara Keen, Ph.D. (neurobiology and behavior), will travel to the United Kingdom to study social transmission of songs throughout the social network of wild birds;
  • Ariah Klages-Mundt, Ph.D. (applied mathematics), will travel to London to study how reinsurance network effects can cause a high concentration of losses, called spirals, from insurance shocks;
  • Nikolaus Krachler, Ph.D. (industrial and labor relations), will travel to the United Kingdom to study how healthcare and occupational closure strategies shape coordination at work in the U.S. and U.K.;
  • Vladislav Markov, MFA (art), will travel to Germany to visit the archives of Dorothee and Konrad Fischer to understand the important of their work in relation to the American visual culture of the 1960s and 1970s and its relevance to contemporary European sculptures;
  • Hannah Miller, M.A. (city and regional planning), will travel to Newport, Rhode Island, to study how economic turns in this country, including the recession and newest tax act, affect funding and funding operations of the Newport? Preservation Society;
  • Lavanya Nott, M.A. (Asian studies), will travel to India to study how upper-caste communities invest in their children and what role the caste plays in aspirational thinking;
  • Emily Parker, Ph.D. (policy analysis and management), will travel to Rochester and Cortland, New York, to study how urban and rural community health centers influence socioeconomic well-being of the communities they serve;
  • Karla Pena, Ph.D. (development sociology), will travel to Ecuador to study land, labor and haciendas in Ecuador, rural mobilization, and state formation in the 21stcentury;
  • Alida Perez Fodich, Ph.D. (geological sciences), will study in Paris to analyze high-frequency C-Q data produced during discharge events at the Strengbach Observatory and the US-CZO Luqillo research stations to identify stormflow events of interest to carry out tracer analyses;
  • Rosalie Purivs, Ph.D. (theater arts), will travel to India to analyze techniques as an innovative model for cross-border performance;
  • Jose Sanchez Gomez, Ph.D. (government), will travel to Argentina to study constitutional rewrites in South America’s turn to the left;
  • Darin Self, Ph.D. (government), will travel to Paraguay to study the variation of civilian oversight of the military in authoritarian regimes;
  • Sophia Starling, MFA (art), will travel to Marfa, Texas, to study conventions and historic traditions culturally hidden from view through a bias to imagery; andFauzul Sutikno, Ph.D. (city and regional planning), will travel to Indonesia to study informal community, social capital and the bureaucratic politics of resistance to eviction in Indonesia.

The deadline for spring Research Travel Grants is Feb. 1, 2019. Recipients must be enrolled in a graduate research degree program (M.A./M.S., MFA, D.M.S., JSD, or Ph.D.), with preference given to post-A Exam doctoral students conducting independent research travel. The application form can be found online.

This story also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

 Street in Thailand