Hemispheric Institute on the Americas Wins Grant to Support Graduate Student Research

The UC Davis Hemispheric Institute on the Americas (HIA) has just received a three-year grant from the Tinker Foundation to support field research for graduate students in Latin America. The grant will allow HIA to continue to sponsor cutting-edge research in regions from Mexico to the Southern Cone.

“This funding is crucial for graduate students,” said Charles Walker, director of the institute. “It’s an important first step to get funding from other sources, like the NSF or Fulbright, which UC Davis Latin Americanists have an excellent track record of receiving. These agencies expect you to have done summer research before they fund you.”

The grant is for a total of $30,000 over three years. Those funds will also be matched by Division of Social Sciences Dean George R. Mangun, to provide a total of $60,000 to fund HIA’s Tinker Field Research Grants for UC Davis graduate students.

In the coming weeks HIA will make a call for applications for summer 2015.

“HIA provides important opportunities for UC Davis graduate students to take their world-class training and apply it in the real world,” said Mangun. “It is important to all of us in the Division of Social Sciences that our students have every opportunity we can offer them to advance in their academic careers.”

Walker expects to fund 15-18 graduate students each year, with a pretty high acceptance rate, he said. Students should be in their first or second year of a M.A. or Ph.D. program. The funding won’t cover everything, said Walker, but students can use the support as a basis to ask for additional help from their department.

In the fall immediately after the summer projects, the institute holds a colloquium for students to present on their work. This is where Walker said he sees a great interdisciplinary opportunity.

“In my day, the humanities didn’t speak to the sciences,” said Walker. “Now the vet students are understanding cultural sensitivity, and cultural anthropology students do data analysis. It’s pretty exciting.”

This is the second Tinker Foundation grant the institute has won. Previously, they received funding from 2009-2012. The institute has used those funds to support a range of graduate student research projects.

Walker said that the projects funded with this grant are anchored in the Social Sciences and humanities, but the institute will continue to support students from across campus.

Since 2008, HIA has helped almost 100 graduate students from more than a dozen disciplines across campus with summer funding. They funded a team of student of veterinary medicine to do work in rural Nicaragua. An anthropology graduate student received support to conduct a cultural analysis of aggressive soccer fans in Argentina. They have funded students to do research in nearly every country in Latin America.

 Learn more about opportunities from the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas.