Current Faculty Awards

Jeffrey Blanchard, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

Dr. Blanchard received a grant from the National Science Foundation for his project, “Efficient Algorithms for Compressed Sensing and Matrix Completion.” This award is supported through the NSF’s Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program. This project will develop more efficient computational approaches that can be applied in areas like geophysical data analysis, medical imaging, and computer vision.

Vance Byrd, Associate Professor of German

The Quadrangle Historical Research Foundation awarded Dr. Byrd with a grant to help cover tuition and expenses for the 2016 German Script Course at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA. 

Timothy Dobe, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Caleb Elfenbein, Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies

The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion has awarded a grant to Dr. Dobe and Dr. Elfenbein and for their project, “Religion, Religious Experience, and Religious Diversity at Grinnell College:  Connecting Classroom and Campus Culture.” They are looking at religious diversity as an underexplored source of tension on campus and how work in the classroom relates to the religious lives of our students, and to campus life in general. In collaboration with the College’s Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice (CRSSJ), the Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and students, Dr. Dobe and Dr. Elfenbein will work to provide opportunities inside and beyond the religious studies classroom to reflect on and discuss religion and its place in the curriculum and campus community life. 

Brigittine French, Professor of Anthropology

The American Philosophical Society awarded Dr. French a Franklin Research Grant to support her travel to Ireland to collect additional archival and interview data for a book manuscript. After the Trouble Times: Conflict, Discourse, and Belonging in Post-War Ireland, explores how daily social life in western Ireland following the end of the Irish Civil War was influenced by the persistence of violence and potential conflict. 

Theresa L. Geller, EKI Associate Professor of Film History and Theory, English Department 

Dr. Geller was invited as an affiliate scholar in the Beatrice Bain Research Group, University of California, Berkeley, to conduct research on "Modes of Entrustment: Intersubjectivity and Affect in Contemporary Queer Film and Media." 

David Harrison, Berna Gueneli, and Hai-Dang Phan

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) awarded a Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) grant to an 11-member project team from Coe College, Cornell College, and Grinnell College for "Translation for Global Literacies Across the Curriculum." David Harrison, professor of French, led the members from Grinnell who include Berna Gueneli, assistant professor of German, and  Hai-Dang Phan, assistant professor of English. This project will create programs and resources for the integration of translation pedagogy across disciplines. 

Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, Associate Professor of Biology

Dr. Hinsa-Leasure’s work is supported by grants from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and a collaborative grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for her work on studying bacterial communities associated with manure and agricultural soils. Specifically, Dr. Hinsa-Leasure, her students, and colleagues are investigating the environmental impact of hog manure when used as a soil fertilizer as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. The Leopold Center and a collaborative grant from the USDA led by Dr. Adina Howe at Iowa State University and researchers from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service National Animal Disease Center explores antibiotic resistance genes found in soil samples. The goal is to create a comprehensive understanding of how manure can be used to improve the health of crops while minimizing the spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment. 

Eliza Kempton, Assistant Professor of Physics

The National Science Foundation named Dr. Kempton to the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) and Research Corporation for Science Advancement honored Dr. Kempton by naming her a 2016 Cottrell Scholar.  (More information on Kempton's Cottrell College Science Award)  Both of these awards are highly prestigious and given to outstanding early career teacher-scholars to build a foundation of excellence in teaching and research. Currently, Dr. Kempton is developing advanced computer programs to model how exoplanet atmospheric temperatures vary as a function of altitudes, as well as details about the chemical composition of these atmospheres. These awards are in addition to a Cottrell College Science Award, collaborative work on grants from NASA, and five Space Telescope Science Institute grants to provide funding and observation time on the Hubble Space Telescope to study exoplanets - planets outside our solar system. Dr. Kempton was recently awarded an American Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Association of University Women for the excellence of her research and her commitment to mentoring female physics students. 

Shonda Kuiper, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

A recent Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) grant from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest was awarded to Dr. Kuiper and colleagues at Carleton College and Lawrence University for "Making Decisions with Data: Planning for collaborative courses in data science," an extension of a 2015 ACM FaCE grant to allow ACM faculty to share resources on teaching data analysis.

Mark Levandoski, Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Levandoski's project, "Allosteric Modulation of Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors," is supported by an AREA grant from the National Institutes of Health (R15NS090368-01). Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are centrally involved in nicotine addiction and have been implicated in a wide range of neurological disorders. This project involves a collaboration with Dr. Bente Frølund, a medicinal chemist at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Levandoski has also received a Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research for this project.

Clark Lindgren, Professor of Biology; Patricia A. Johnson Professor of Neuroscience

The National Institutes of Health have made a three-year grant through their Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program to Dr. Lindgren for a project entitled, "Unconventional Synaptic Modulation at the Vertebrate Neuromuscular Junction" (R15NS072735-02). The research conducted by Dr. Lindgren and his students contributes to our understanding of muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disease and may offer insights into the treatment of obesity and its metabolic consequences. This grant is a renewal of Dr. Lindgren's 2010 AREA grant. (Continue reading about Lindgren's AREA grant.)

Danielle Lussier, Assistant Professor of Political Science

The Global Religion Research Initiative at Notre Dame University, a Templeton Foundation-supported project, has awarded Dr. Lussier and her colleagues with an International Collaboration Grant. They are examining the role that contemporary houses of worship, both Muslim and Christian, play in the political mobilization of their adherents in Indonesia. The goal of this funding program is to support new collaborative ties between North American social science scholars and their non-Western colleagues as they study important questions related to religion.

Peter-Michael Osera, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Dr. Osera received a grant from the National Science Foundation's Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program for a project entitled, "Semi-automated type-directed programming." This project will develop a tool to assist users in type-directed programming and will examine the theoretical foundations of integrating type-directed program synthesis with semi-automated programming. The EAGER program is a new initiative through the NSF to support early stage work on potentially transformative research ideas or approaches. Dr. Osera is the first Grinnell College faculty member to earn this award.

Hai-Dang Phan, Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Phan received a creative writing fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Joshua Sandquist, Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Sandquist and fellow Grinnell College faculty Benjamin DeRidder, Mark Levandoski, Clark Lindgren, and Andrea Tracy were awarded a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant for an infrared fluorescence imager. This equipment is being used for on-going research projects in biology, chemistry, and psychology/neuroscience.

Jim Swartz, Professor of Chemistry; Dack Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Swartz joins a team of faculty and administrators from sixteen institutions in Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois on a project entitled, "IINspire LSAMP - An Alliance Modeling How to Broaden Participation in Changing Midwest Demographics" (HRD-1102461). Funded through the National Science Foundation's Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program, this grant supports recruiting students, encouraging them to pursue a STEM degree, and providing students with research opportunities for success at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Dr. Swartz serves as the project's inclusive pedagogy leader.

Jerod Weinman, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Dr. Jerod Weinman, associate professor of computer science and Dr. Erik Learned-Miller (UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences) have been awarded a 2015 collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation for their project, “Adaptive Integration of Textual and Geospatial Information for Mining Massive Map Collections. This project will increase capacity for search and analysis of historical map collections by developing technology to automatically recognize place names and other text in these digitized artifacts while simultaneously aligning them with modern geography. By unlocking the contents of maps from a pre-digital era to search indexing, they hope to simplify the task of answering questions related to map contents and to enable new geographical explorations not yet imagined.