Faculty & College Grant Awards - Academic Year 2021-22

Robert Benedetto, William J. Walker Professor of Mathematics, was awarded supplemental funding for an existing National Science Foundation grant supporting the study of problems in arithmetic dynamics. The suplemental funding will support additional students joining Professor Benedetto's undergraduate research project in Summer 2022.

Rachel Bernard, Assistant Professor of Geology, received a National Science Foundation EAGER award to fund a conference that convenes stakeholders in Washington D.C. for the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark First National Conference on Minority Participation in Earth Science and Mineral Engineering

Anthony Bishop, Professor of Chemistry, was awarded a National Institutes of Health grant in support of his project: "Target-specific inhibition and activation of protein tyrosine phosphatases". The study aims to expand the range of PTP-domain cysteines that can be targeted for potent and selective allosteric control of PTP activity and will provide a novel strategy for increasing the efficacy of anti-cancer immunotherapy.

Kaylee Brow, Assistant Farm Manager, received the 2022 Local Farmer Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which will support the purchase of a Jang Push Seeder for the Book & Plow Farm.

Jack Cheney, Samuel A. Hitchcock Professor of Mineralogy and Geology, Associate Provost and Associate Dean of the Faculty, received a grant from the George Norman Albree Trust to support the full participation of two students and partial participation of a third in the Summer 2022 STEM Incubator program. Led by Brittney Bailey, Assistant Professor of Statistics, Christopher Durr, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and Marc Edwards, Assistant Professor of Biology, the STEM Incubator program provides students from under-represented groups with early research experiences to strengthen their research and professional skills and lay the groundwork for a career in the sciences.

Guy Cote, Manager of Electrical and Mechanical Trades, received two grants from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, via the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The awards are made through the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) Multi-Unit Dwelling & Educational Campus Charging Program and they support vehicle charging stations at Converse Hall and at Orr Rink.

Kate Follette, Assistant Professor of Astronomy, was awarded the Cottrell Scholarship Award from the Research Corporation for the project: Moving Forward – Towards Accurate Recovery and Interpretation of Accreting Protoplanets and a Socially Just Undergraduate Astronomy Curriculum. The project aims to move us toward reliably detecting and accurately interpreting the observational signatures of accreting protoplanets. At the same time, Follette will integrate into the Astronomy major sequence at Amherst College activities designed to increase sense of belonging, acknowledge the benefits of equity, normalize struggle, instill growth mindset, and foster collaboration.

Amanda Folsom, Professor of Mathematics, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for the RUI project: “Harmonic Maass Forms and Quantum Modular Forms”, to study the theory and applications of harmonic Maass forms, their holomorphic parts called mock modular forms, quantum modular forms, and related functions. In addition to Professor Folsom’s research, some projects in this proposal will be carried out by Amherst College undergraduate student researchers, working under Professor Folsom’s guidance.

Jonathan Friedman, Professor of Physics, received a continuation of funding from the National Science Foundation for his project: RUI: Clock Transitions, Coherence, and Quantum Dynamics in Molecular Nanomagnets. The research will study the quantum dynamics of chemically synthesized molecular nanomagnets using microwave spectroscopy. The work will involve active participation of undergraduate students.

Professor Friedman also received a Cottrell Plus SEED award from Research Corporation for Science Advancement for his research on Spin-Clock Transitions in Silica Defects. The research endeavors to understand the origin of a recently discovered “clock transition” in silica samples in which the coherence of quantum information stored in the system is enhanced near zero magnetic field when probed using microwave radiation. 

Victor Guevara, Assistant Professor of Geology, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for the collaborative research project: Understanding the Tectonic and Petrological Processes Controlling Iron Oxide-Apatite Mineralization in a Mesoproterozoic Collisional Orogen. The results of this work will ultimately advance our understanding of the tectonic mechanisms responsible for IOA genesis in collisional mountain belts.

Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, Associate Professor of Black Studies and History, received a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship 2022-2023. Professor Herbin-Triant will spend the fellowship year working on the book project: Spindles & Slavery: Abolitionists, Anti-Abolitionists, and the Business of Manufacturing Cotton Grown by the Enslaved.

Nicholas Holschuh, Assistant Professor of Geology, received two National Science Foundation collaborative research awards for "Coldex -The Center for Oldest Ice Exploration" (with Oregon State University) and "i-HARP -- Harnessing the Data and Model Revolution in the Polar Regions" (with University of Maryland).

Nicholas Horton, Beitzel Professor in Technology and Society (Statistics and Data Science), received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for research exploring the association between common eating disorders and risk of developing type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Through this research, Professor Horton seeks to understand whether the more common eating disorders, and their component behaviors of binge eating and purging, increase the risk of developing T2D and digestive diseases in middle age.

Larry Hunter, Stone Professor of Natural Sciences (Physics), received a National Science Foundation RUI grant for the project "Searching for Optical Cycling in TlF and Long-Range Spin-Spin Interactions." Funds will support ongoing experiments to measure optical cycling in thallium fluoride and to search for long-range spin-spin interactions.

Jeeyon Jeong, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant for the research project: Investigation of the Cellular and Physiological Effects of Chloroplast/Mitochondrial Iron Export in Plants. This project will build a foundation for Professor Jeong’s long-term career development as a molecular biologist committed to advancing knowledge of iron homeostasis in plants and as an educator devoted to training next generation scientists.

Jallicia Jolly, Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies and of Black Studies, has been awarded a Ford Foundation 2022 Postdoctoral Fellowship that will support the completion of her first book manuscript, which is titled "Ill Erotics: Black Caribbean Women and Self-Making in Times of HIV/AIDS," which is under contract with University of California Press.

Sally Kim, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Marc Edwards, Assistant Professor of Biology, were awarded a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation for acquisition of an integrated Zeiss 980 microscope with Airyscan 2 and FCS to create an advanced microscopy center. The advanced imaging capabilities of this instrument are expected to transform life science research at Amherst, opening new opportunities for student research and promoting interdisciplinary exploration of the microscopic world.

Anna Martini, Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies, received funding from the Water Resources Research Center to “Assess the Effectiveness of Floodplain Reconnection, a Growing Practice in River Restoration'', pertaining to the restoration of the floodplain to the Fearing Brook in Amherst. The funded project included Professor Martini’s hydrogeology class (Spring 21), and SURF undergraduate fellow (Summer 21) in a unique opportunity in which Amherst College students participated in an active town restoration project.

Yael Rice, Assistant Professor of Art & the History of Art and of Asian Languages and Civilizations, was awarded a grant from the Persian Heritage Foundation to digitize the Taza Akhbar, an Illustrated History of the Kings of Kabul. Completed in 1817, the manuscript is the only known copy of this text and includes an unusual emphasis on and rich detail about the urban topography of Afghanistan and the ethnography of its “peoples.” The Taza Akhbar manuscript is a striking example of an imperial-style chronicle; digitizing it will make it available to anyone interested in the history of Afghanistan and British imperialism in the region.

Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support a  summer institute for school teachers that will examine punishment and its uses and meanings in American society.

Brooke Steinhauser, Program Director at the Emily Dickinson Museum, received two grants in support of the annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival - one from the Beveridge Family Foundation, Inc., and a second from the Mass Cultural Council. The Emily Dickinson Museum also received a Mass Cultural Council operating funds grant.

Olufemi Vaughan, Alfred Sargent Lee '41 and Mary Farley Ames Lee Professor of Black Studies, has been named a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow for his project titled "“Letters, Kinship, and Social Mobility in Nigeria,1926–1994.” The project is based on about three thousand family letters from Femi's late father’s library that focus on real-life family stories in colonial and postcolonial Nigeria. Guggenheim fellowships are awarded on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Amy Wagaman, Associate Professor of Statistics, and Lee Spector, Professor of Computer Science, received a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation for acquisition of a High Performance Computing (HPC) System for interdisciplinary research and teaching. The system will enable Amherst faculty to expose students to applications of machine learning technology and artificial intelligence, and is expected to be used by faculty and student researchers in 8 academic departments.

Karamatou A. Yacoubou Djima, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, was awarded a National Science Foundation LEAPS-MPS grant for the project: "Uncovering and Exploiting Multiscale Structures in Data using Diffusion-based Representation and Optimal Sampling". In addition to funding research, the award will support Professor Yacoubou Djima's efforts to train and mentor undergraduate research students, particularly students from underrepresented groups with less exposure to careers in science and technology. 

*Are you an Amherst College faculty member or staff who has received an award that is not recorded here?
Get in touch with us.

Faculty & College Grant Awards - Academic Year 2020-21

Kaylee Brow, Assistant Farm Manager at the Book & Plow Farm, won a Local Farmer Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which helped fund the purchase of an electric Allis Chalmers G tractor.
Chelsi Colleton, Assistant Director of Global Education, won a grant from the Institute of International Education to support students' study abroad.
Professor Michael Cohen (Psychology) was selected as a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar and given an award to support his project, "What is the bandwidth of perceptual experience?"
Professor Katharine Correia (Statistics) won an NIH grant in support of her project, "A prediction algorithm for optimal number of oocytes to fertilize during in vitro fertilization treatment."
Lisa Crossman, the Mead Art Museum's Curator of American Art and Art in the Americas, won a "Re-envisioning Permanent Collections" award from the Terra Foundation for American Art in support of the upcoming exhibition "Never Settled: American Art from Indigenous Perspectives." With Professor Kiara Vigil, she also won a Five College Mellon NAIS mini-grant and residency funds to support exhibition-related curriculum goals and a guest curatorship.
Professor Marc Edwards (Biology) won an NIH grant in support of his project, "Investigating the regulation of PI(3,4)P2 in migrating cells."
Professor Victor Guevara received an NSF Collaborative Research award for "Probing feedbacks between thermal structure, petrologic transformation, and rheologic evolution within dynamically evolving subduction zones" (with Co-PIs Adam Holt, University of Miami, and Cailey Condit, University of Washington).
Professor Nick Holschuh (Geology) won two NASA grants: "Integrating surface and subsurface observations to understand glacier sliding in West Antarctica" and "Multipass and tomography enabled data products for subsurface characterization and ice sheet model refinement." Both apply new technologies for spaceborne and airborne observation to understand the state and future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. 
Professor Nicholas Horton (Statistics & Data Science) won an NIH subaward as part of a Brown University-led project on "Phenotyping obesity using behavioral, psychological, physiological and genetic data."  
Maida Ives, Manager of Farm Education and Operations for the Book & Plow Farm, won a Food Security Infrastructure grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The grant funded the purchase of a new shipping container to support the Book & Plow's local food distribution efforts. 
Professor Jallicia Jolly (American Studies and Black Studies) won a short-term research publication grant from the American Association of University Women in support of her manuscript, "Ill Erotics: Black Caribbean Woman and Self-Making in Times of HIV?AIDS."
David E. Little, Director and Chief Curator for the Mead Art Museum, has been awarded the Ishibashi Foundation/The Japan Foundation Fellowship for Research on Japanese Art. 
Professor Jacob Olshansky (Chemistry) won an undergraduate new investigator grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) for his research exploring how quantum dots might convert the thing we have far too much of—carbon dioxide—into a carbon-neutral fuel. [Article: "New Grant Funds Student-Faculty Research on Alternative Energy"]
Professor Katerina Ragkousi (Biology) won an NIH grant for her research into "Cell cycle regulation of polarity proteins in proliferating epithelia."
Professor Matteo Riondato (Computer Science) won an NSF grant for "Scalable and Iterative Statistical Testing of Multiple Hypotheses on Massive Datasets."  [Article: "Computer Science for... Science"]
Professor Leah Schmalzbauer (Sociology) won a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for her multi-year project "Disrupted Mobility? An Ethnographic Exploration of Covid-19's Experiential Impact on Upwardly Mobile Latinx Youth and their Families."
Professor Adam Sitze (Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought) was selected as a Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Institute for Human Sciences) in Vienna, Austria.
Professor Krupa Shandilya (Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies) won a fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies.
Professor Kiara Vigil (American Studies) won the Andew W. Mellon Foundation's prestigious New Directions award, which will enable her to learn, practice and preserve the endangered language of her ancestors, Dakota, and translate a number of Dakota-language papers and publications in Amherst’s extensive Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection (KWE Collection).  

Faculty & College Grant Awards - Academic Year 2019-20

Congratulations to Amherst’s faculty grant awardees in 2019-2020.

Professor Lisa Brooks (English, American Studies) won a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, which will support research on her new project, "Tracking Molsemsis: An Indigenous and Environmental History of Eastern Coyote.” [Read the press release.] She also won an ACLS Fellowship for the same project.

Professor Ellen Boucher (History) won an ACLS Burkhardt fellowship in support of her project, "Be Prepared: Risk and the Neoliberal Sensibility in Modern Britain."

Professor Nusrat Chowdhury (Anthropology) will be a scholar at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2020-2021.

Professor Lawrence Douglas (Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought) won a Berlin Prize Fellowship for spring 2021 in support of his project, Aggression, Atrocity, and the “Verbrecherstaat.”  

Professor Ingrid Nelson (English) has been awarded an NEH Summer Stipend in support of her project "Ambient Media in Chaucer’s House of Fame."  
Professor Mona Oraby (Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought) will be a fellow in the Recht als Kultur (Law as Culture) project of the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities during the 2020-2021 academic year. Her fellowship is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and hosted by the University of Bonn.
Professor Pooja Rangan (English) won an ACLS Burkhardt fellowship to support her project, "Audibilities: Documentary and Sonic Governance."
Professor Nick Horton (Mathematics and Statistics) won a Tinker Fellowship (Concord Consortium).
Professor Sheila Jaswal (Chemistry) has won an NSF grant in support of a June 2021 Being Human in STEM conference. The conference will include local partners, plus teams from Brown and Yale Universities, Williams College, and the University of Utah.   
Biology Laboratory Coordinator Thea Kristensen won an American Wildlife Foundation grant.
The National Science Foundation awarded grants to the following faculty: 
Professor Amanda Folsom (Mathematics and Statistics) – "Harmonic Maass Forms, Mock Modular Forms, and Quantum Modular Forms: Theory and Applications"
Professor Nick Horton (Mathematics and Statistics), with collaborators at Smith College – "HDR DSC: Collaborative Research: The Data Science WAV: Experiential Learning with Local Community Organizations" (NSF Data Science Corps grant)

Faculty & College Grant Awards - Academic Year 2018-19

Congratulations to Amherst’s faculty grant awardees in 2018-2019:

Professor Christopher Grobe (English) won an ACLS Burkhardt fellowship in support of his next book, Imitation Games, which will tell the conjoined cultural history of two experiments in the art of seeming human: realist acting and artificial intelligence.  

Professor Christopher Van den Berg (Classics) won two grants: the ACLS Burkhardt fellowship and the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Both will support his next book: Critical Turns: The Criticism, History, and Theory of Literature at Rome.

Professor Amelia Worsley (English) won a Corpus Christi Visiting Fellowship to support work on her next book, Lonely Poets and Their Publics: Being Alone Together in British Romantic Poetry.

Professor Eleonora Mattiacci (Political Science) won a grant from the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges to support her work on researching and teaching security in the cyber age.

The National Science Foundation awarded multi-year grants to the following faculty:

Professor David Hanneke (Physics & Astronomy) – “Driving forbidden vibrational overtones in trapped molecular ions" (two-year grant)

Professor Amanda Folsom (Mathematics & Statistics) – “Harmonic Maass Forms, Mock Modular Forms, and Quantum Modular Forms: Theory and Applications” (two-year grant)

Professor Helen Leung (Chemistry) – “Shape Matters: Using the Preferred Structures of Gas-Phase Heterodimers to Investigate Intermolecular Forces and for Chiral Analysis” (three-year grant)

Did you receive a fellowship, research grant or award this year that is not listed above? Please let us know—we’d love to celebrate your success with you!

Faculty & College Grant Awards - Academic Year 2017-18

Congratulations to Amherst’s faculty grant awardees in 2017-2018:

Professor Solsiree Del Moral (American Studies) won an ACLS Burkhardt fellowship to continue her study of the history of street children incarcerated in adult jails, prisons, and correctional institutions in post-World War II Puerto Rico.

Professor Kerry Ratigan (Political Science) won another grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange to study Chinese citizens’ attitudes toward social welfare programs in China.

Both Professor Eleonora Mattiacci (Political Science) and Professor Vanessa Walker (History) won Stanton Foundation fellowships to develop new courses on timely topics. Professor Mattiacci’s spring 2019 course will focus on political leaders’ responses to nuclear security. Professor Walker’s spring 2019 course will focus on human rights and national security.

Professor Lloyd Barba (Latinx and Latin American Studies) won a grant from the Louisville Institute to finish his manuscript on “Fields of Faith: Mexican Pentecostal Farmworkers in California.”

Professor Amanda Folsom (Mathematics & Statistics) won an award from the Simons Foundation for her project “Harmonic Maass Forms and Mock Modular Forms: Theory and Applications.”

The National Science Foundation awarded multi-year grants to the following faculty:

Professor Michael Ching (Mathematics & Statistics) – “Calculus of Functors and Applications in Homotopy Theory” (three-year grant)

Professor Michael Cohen (Psychology) – “Isolating the neural mechanisms of perceptual awareness from post-perceptual processes” (subawardee with Reed College)

Professor David Hall (Physics & Astronomy) – “Topological Defects and Textures in Spinor Bose-Einstein Condensates” (four-year grant)

Professor Larry Hunter (Physics & Astronomy) – “A Search for Long-Range Spin-Spin Interactions and Optical Forces in TlF” (three-year grant)

Professor Jonathan Friedman (Physics & Astronomy) – “Forbidden Transitions and Quantum Dynamics in Molecular Nanomagnets” (three-year grant)

Professor Jeeyon Jeong (Biology) – “Mitochondrial Ferroportin and Iron Homeostasis in Plants” (three-year grant)

Did you receive a fellowship, research grant or award this year that is not listed above? Please let us know—we’d love to celebrate your success with you!

Jeong Wins National Science Foundation Grant

September 2018

Jeeyon Jeong

This summer, the National Science Foundation awarded Prof. Jeeyon Jeong a $462,395 grant to support her experiments on “iron homeostasis,” or how molecular iron is stored and transported within plant cells. Over the next three years, Jeong's lab will study how a plant’s naturally occurring iron-management systems affect its ability to thrive. The results ultimately may help with biofortification, or the breeding of more robust crops with more of the nutrients that humans need.  

Read more about Jeong's NSF award.

Dasgupta Awarded Federal Transportation Administration Grant

 April 2018

Moumita Dasgupta

Moumita Dasgupta, a teaching fellow in experimental physics, has been awarded a $30,000 grant by the Federal Transportation Administration. The funds will allow her and her team to look at the impacts of public transportation barriers on low-income patients' access to health care.

Read more about Moumita's FTA grant here

Purdy Wins National Science Foundation Grant

August 2017

Prof. Alexandra Purdy

Congratulations to Prof. Alexandra Purdy, who won a $513,187 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation to study how gut bacteria affect the health of their host organisms. Over the next four years, the Purdy lab will shed new light on the role of the microbiome in causing organisms to thrive or decline.

Read more about Purdy's NSF award.

Melillo Receives Mellon New Directions Award

April 2017

Ted Melillo 2017

Edward “Ted” Melillo, associate professor of history and environmental studies, is Amherst's latest recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's New Directions Fellowship. Melillo will spend the next fifteen months learning the Hawaiian language as part of his research on the fascinating connections between Massachusetts and the Pacific World. 

More about Melillo's Mellon grant.

Carter Wins National Science Foundation Grant

January 2017

Recent Faculty Awards

Assistant Professor of Physics, Ashley Carter, has won a five-year, $500,000 grant through the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program. Part of the award will support her research on biophysics and DNA folding. The rest will support her broader goals, to recruit and train new students in her field. For the next five summers, the NSF grant will financially support a post-baccalaureate researcher and undergraduates in Carter's lab.

Read more about Carter's NSF grant.

Four Professors Win Carnegie, Guggenheim, and Whiting Fellowships

April 2016

The Carnegie Corporation of New York named Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, and Katharine Sims, assistant professor of economics, two of among only 33 Andrew Carnegie Fellows from colleges and universities across the nation.

Douglas will use his fellowship to continue his groundbreaking exploration of the law and human rights, while Sims will use hers to better understand the intersection of economic and environmental policies in four countries. 

Amity Gaige, visiting writer, was named a Guggenheim Fellow, and Lisa Brooks, associate professor of English and American studies, was awarded a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship. Gaige is the author of three books, O My DarlingThe Folded World, and Schroder. During the fellowship period, she hopes to give her writing “the kind of sustained attention that is required to metamorphose an idea into a [new] novel." 

Brooks, a well-known scholar of Native American history, will use her fellowship to build a website for educators and students about King Philip’s War from 1675 to 1676. Using full-color digital maps, primary sources, a story map and other documents as curricular resources, the website will guide teachers of K-12 through the historical geography of the war.

Read more about Carnege, Guggenheim, Whiting awards.

Carter and Jaswal Win Grants for Research

June 2015

Recent Faculty Awards

Assistant Professor of Physics Ashley Carter and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sheila Jaswal were recently awarded funding for research that seeks to understand how biological material folds. Carter received a Cottrell College Science Award of $40,000 for her project “Optical Trapping Assay to Study Histone Replacement During Spermiogenesis,” while Jaswal received $20,000 from the Webster Foundation for her research into the “Development of Hydrogen Exchange Mass Spectrometry Methodology to Map Protein Landscapes.”

Carter studies how DNA folds in sperm cells. Usually, a strand of DNA folds around a protein called a histone, and tags on the histone determine where the folding is more compacted. However, in sperm, 85 percent of these histones are removed and replaced with protamine to make the sperm nucleus as small as possible. Incorrect histone replacement can lead to male infertility and to changes in the folding of the genetic material that gets passed on to the next generation.

“I’m really excited about the science of how DNA mechanically folds inside a sperm cell,” says Carter. “It’s such a basic, simple question, but it has so much importance in epigenetics [the way genes are expressed] and infertility that I wonder why no one’s done it before.”

Recent Faculty Awards Separately, Jaswal is developing a technique, called hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry, to study the folding and stability of proteins. Mass spectrometry weighs molecules, and as a protein unfolds and refolds in a solution of heavy water (deuterium), it becomes tagged and gets heavier.  The rate at which the protein’s weight is changing reveals how stable the protein is. Jaswal and her students then computationally model the data collected with this technique to understand and compare different modes of protein stability.

Read more about Carter and Jaswals's awards.