International Studies & Programs

CLACS Graduate Student Research Grant

CLACS endowment funds support preliminary or pre-dissertation research for graduate students engaged in research on Latin America or the Caribbean.  

To apply, complete the application document which is due February 28th of the year in which research will occur.  


2016 Recipients

Graduate Student Projects

Laura-Castro-Diaz.jpgLaura Castro, master's student in community sustainability Laura Castro is a graduate student in Community Sustainability at MSU. She wanted to expand her theoretical knowledge and methods in order to understand how humans behave and manage their natural resources as well as the implications on human and ecosystem health. In the summer of 2016, she traveled to the village, Vila Nova in the state of Para, in the Amazon of Brazil. Her goal was to understand the perspective of local fishers about how the Belo Monte Hydroelectric dam – the third largest in the world – affects them. In this area, women also work as fishers in a traditionally male-dominated profession.  Her research allowed her to incorporate a gendered approach. She went with fishers to Cajui, one of the main fishing spots in the area. Not only was Laura exploring the ecological context but also living the experience that fishers have every day in their fishing routine. Watch a short video from Laura's time in Brazil.

crystal-inline.jpgCrystal Eddins, dual Ph.D. candidate in both African American & African studies and sociology, plans to conduct archival and qualitative research in Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince to enhance her dissertation, "African Diaspora Collective Action: Rituals, Runaways, and the Haitian Revolution."  She will visit the Archives Nationale in Port-au-Prince and the Biblioteque Sacred Coeur in Cap-Haitien.  In addition to secondary sources by Haitian scholars, she plans to gather oral history data about runaway slave communities and Africa-inspired rituals.  

cristina-gauthier-br.jpgCristina Gauthier-Hernandez, master's student in geography, will map the densities and locations of septic tanks, water wells, and dumping sites in the Brazilian Altamira neighborhoods and analyze their spatial distribution.  Altamira is best known for its proximity to Belo Monte, the world's third largest hydroelectric dam.  The investigation will analyze the relationship between solid waste and water management, addressing environmental, social and health issues that arise from hydroelectric expansion in the Amazon and elsewhere in the developing world. Video of Cristina in Brazil.

Aldo-gonzalez-mx.jpgAldo Gonzalez, master's student in community sustainability, investigated the effects of empowerment in natural resource management by studying the case of community empowerment in Cheran, Michoacan, Mexico.  He seeks to know if community empowerment to protect their territory may translate into empowerment to create rules to sustainability manage their forest.  Video of Aldo in Mexico.

Kathryn Lankford, doctoral student in history, will travel to Rio Piedras & Humacao, Puerto Rico to examine the clinical trials of the first birth control pill and other contraceptives in Puerto Rico between 1940-1970. She seeks to understand how and why the clinical trials occurred in Puerto Rico at the same time that the colonial relationship with the US was created anew through a democratically elected, populist, insular government.  Additionally, why did women participate in the clinical trials and what did the trials and contraceptives mean?  Finally, how did these participants seek to negotiate US political and economic power through their participation in the trials?

maryannlugo-sbs.jpgMaryAnn Lugo, doctoral student in Hispanic Culture Studies, who fill focus on literary journalism in Colombia. There she plans to locate and interview Colombian journalists as well as professors who have written literary journalism about civilians caught in the nation's civil conflicts. Her specific focus would be conversations with Colombian journalists about their approaches to empathy in writing about civilians. The interviews would try to understand the journalists' process as well as their ideas about empathy and writing.

Julio Uruguay.jpgJulio César Paredes, doctoral student in Hispanic Culture Studies, conducted archival research in the Southern Cone.  His dissertation examines physical and symbolic attributes of masculinity in periodical publications from mid-nineteenth-century Austral America. His work examines the construction and fashioning of masculinities and the role of facial hair and other attributes of male gender in literary and visual texts of mid-nineteenth-century Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.  


2015 Recipients

Graduate Student Projects

  • Andrew Bentley,a doctoral student in Romance and Classical Studies, traveled to Guatemala for his project, "Post-Conflict Literacy and Cultural Production in Guatemala: Globalization, Masculinity and Violence in Non-Canonical Texts."
  • Jack Biggs, a graduate student in Anthropology, attended the Belizian Maya Culture History Fieldschool.
  • Mark Gibson, a doctoral student in Criminal Justice, researched Motivated Trust and Voluntary Compliance in Fisheries in Nicaragua.
  • Jorge Gonzales, a doctoral student in History, traveled to Cuba to conduct archival research in Havana and Matanzas.
  • Susan Kooiman, a doctoral student in Anthropology, traveled to the Maya Culture History Fieldschool in Belize.
  • Sara Torres, graduate student in Community Sustainability, traveled to Colombia for her project, Payment of Environmental Services: Outsider's Perspectives.