Faculty Awards - FY2020

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 Pooja Ragnan (English) won an ACLS Burkhardt fellowship to support her project, "Audibilities: Documentary and Sonic Governance."

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

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 Nick Horton (Mathematics and Statistics) won a Tinker Fellowship (Concord Consortium).
Biology Laboratory Coordinator Thea Kristensen won an American Wildlife Foundation grant.
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.  
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)

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

Faculty Awards Roundup - FY2019

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 Awards Roundup - FY2018

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.


Sánchez-Eppler Receives ACLS Fellowship

June 2014

Karen Sanchez-Eppler Karen Sánchez-Eppler, Amherst’s L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of American Studies and English, has received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to conduct research for her book project, In the Archives of Childhood: Personal and Historical Pasts. For much of her 2014–2015 sabbatical year, she will be at Chicago’s Newberry Library on a long-term fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Lloyd Lewis Fellowship in American History. In the spring, she will continue with a short-term research fellowship at the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, and additional research at the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University. Sánchez-Eppler's focus will be children’s own accounts of their everyday lives in the 19th century.

“It’s very easy to think about childhood as trivial,” Sánchez-Eppler said, “and so when the American Council of Learned Societies, which is among the most prestigious American funding sources for humanities and social science research, thinks that this is worth doing, this is exciting.” The lives and opinions of children are devalued in many of the same ways that the histories of women and nonwhites were given short shrift in generations past, she said.

Read more about Sánchez-Eppler's ACLS.

Katsaros Receives Mellon New Directions Award

March 2014

Laure Katsaros photo Associate Professor of French Laure Katsaros has received $262,500 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through its New Directions Fellowship program, which exists to “assist faculty members in the humanities … who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest.” Katsaros’ award will support her in earning a master’s degree in the history and philosophy of design from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 2014–15, and in traveling around France to visit several distinctive architectural sites. Her goal is to produce a final project for the master’s program, and eventually a book, tentatively titled Glass Architectures: Utopian Surveillance from Fourier to the Surrealists.  

The Mellon Foundation invites select colleges and universities to nominate faculty members for the New Directions Fellowship annually. Amherst’s Dean of the Faculty Gregory Call nominated Katsaros, who then spent the summer and fall of 2013 preparing a proposal with help from Foundation & Corporate Relations. After a proposal-review process by scholars in related fields, as well as some budgetary negotiations, Amherst officially received the fellowship award in March. Katsaros is one of only 12 recipients nationwide this year. 

Read more about Katsaros' Mellon award.

NEH Fellowships for Brenneis, Vogel

February 2014

Sara Brenneis photo Sara J. Brenneis, assistant professor of Spanish, and Jonathan Vogel, the George Lyman Crosby 1896 Professor of Philosophy, have both won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.The two professors were awarded more than $50,000 each to publish their research. The results will be, for Brenneis, a book about an overlooked chapter from the history of the Holocaust, and for Vogel, a philosophical exploration of some of our basic assumptions about ordinary life.

Brenneis’ NEH grant will allow her to write a book about the experiences of non-Jews from Spain who were deported to the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria. Some 7,000 Spaniards were deported to Mauthausen for their opposition to the government of Francisco Franco, and almost 4,500 died there during World War II.

Jonathan Vogel photo Vogel’s NEH grant will allow him to finish work on Skepticism and Knowledge of the External World, which is slated to be published by Oxford University Press. The book will examine the ancient question of appearance versus reality: How can you know that your life isn’t just a long, unbroken dream? Vogel’s project lies within the philosophical subfield of epistemology but crosses over into the philosophy of science and metaphysics and draws ideas from cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence and other fields.

NEH Fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences or both. Only about 7 percent of those who submit proposals to the NEH ultimately receive fellowships. This year, 76 awards were made in response to about 1,100 proposals.

Read more about Brenneis and Vogel's awards.