Research Grant Programs

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has two grant programs for Bowdoin students who plan to pursue a sociological, anthropological, or archaeological research project, attend an academic conference, or participate in a field school program. The purpose of these grants is to provide funding for educational experiences outside the traditional classroom environment. The Sociology and Anthropology Enrichment Grants are intended to cover small projects ($50-$500) that take place during a semester, or during the winter or spring break, and are open to any student taking a course in the department. The Riley Research Awards ($450 stipend for 4-8 weeks up to a total of $3,600) are intended for major projects occurring over the summer and are only available to declared majors and minors. Graduating seniors are not eligible to apply for Riley awards. The awarded funds may not be used to cover credit-granting components of field schools, or for tuition for summer school or language courses. Nor can students use the awarded funds to subsidize their participation in study-away programs.

Sociology and Anthropology Enrichment Grants

Students enrolled in Sociology and Anthropology courses at Bowdoin are eligible to apply for grants to carry out sociological, anthropological, or archaeological research conducted during the academic year, or to participate in related conferences and programs. Preference will be given to declared majors and minors, then to prospective majors and minors; however all students enrolled in the department’s courses are welcome to apply.

Students can apply for funds to cover travel, off-campus food and lodging costs, research expenses (such as copying or digitizing charges), and conference attendance fees. Awards will range from $50 to $500. Individuals are eligible for only one award a semester. Projects must be completed while students are enrolled at the college. If a student receives funding for the project from another source, the student is expected to decline the department’s award unless the other funding supports a different component of the research, conference, or program, or is required to fully fund the project.

Application Package. An application must include the following to be considered for funding:

1. In the case of applications to conduct research projects, a narrative proposal, no more than 500 words in length, should describe:

• the proposed research,

• the goals of the work,

• the significance to the student of the endeavor, and

• the timeline for completion of the project.

In the case of conference proposals, a narrative proposal, no more than 500 words in length, should explain:

• the topic of the conference and any particular session that is relevant,

• the student’s role in the conference,

• the significance to the student of participating in the conference, and

• the dates of the conference.

In the case of educational programs, a narrative proposal, no more than 500 words in length, should describe:

• the focus or purpose of the educational program,

• the work that will be required of the student,

• the program’s affiliation and duration,

• the program faculty member(s) credentials, and

• the significance of the program to the student’s academic program or goals.

2. A detailed budget and budget justification that clearly outline and explain expenses the award is expected to cover.

3. A statement identifying other funding sources to which the student has applied, and other funding sources that have been awarded for the project.

4. A current Bowdoin transcript (print-out from Polaris is fine).

5. Applicants should arrange to have a letter of recommendation written by a faculty member in the department who has worked with the student and is involved in the project, is familiar with the conference, or who has an understanding of the appropriateness of the course of study. The letter should be sent directly to the Department Coordinator by the deadline.

Criteria for selection. Criteria for selection will include the quality of the proposal, the feasibility of the project as described in the narrative, the project’s significance and relevance to the applicant’s academic career at Bowdoin, and the applicant’s academic standing.

Requirements of grant recipients. Students awarded Sociology and Anthropology Enrichment Grants must (1) write a short report describing their involvement in the project, conference experience, or academic program. This report must be submitted to the department chair within two weeks of completion of the project. The Chair will distribute the report to all department faculty members. Students who cannot complete outlined work or attend the conference or program should contact the department chair to discuss what portion of the funds should be returned to the department. Students who fail to submit their reports will be expected to return award funds. Failure to handle money and reports appropriately may impact the student’s ability to receive future funding from the college.

Submission Deadlines:

Sociology and Anthropology Enrichment Grants are due by the end (Friday) of the eighth week of the fall or spring semester. Complete grant applications should be emailed to Lori Brackett, Department Coordinator, Sociology and Anthropology. Applicants should list their last name and the grant name in the header of the email (examples: Smith Enrichment Grant Appl) to which application materials are attached. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Recent Enrichment Grant Recipients

Chlöe Dietrich '16
Geothermal Energy Production in Hawai'i

Chlöe Dietrich - Hawai'i Enrichment Grant

After researching geothermal energy production for an Anthropological Perspectives on Science class, Dietrich travelled to Hawai'i's Big Island to explore the intersection of social and natural sciences through the lenses of geothermal energy and astronomy. While geothermal is a promising form of sustainable energy, there are hidden health risks, cultural incompatibilities, and other scientific unknowns. As a highly volcanic island chain, Hawai'i is primed for geothermal energy production, but elements of Native Hawaiian spirituality (such as a deep reverence for the Earth) has often clashed with scientific advancement. Because geothermal power plants require bore holes to be drilled and large plants to be constructed, there is strong opposition what is seem as a major violation of sacred land, also stemming from lack of communication and trust between scientists and the public. Conflicts have played out through legal battles and protests not just for geothermal energy and the construction of astronomical telescopes on Mauna Kea.

Puna Geothermal Venture sign

During the four days spent in Hilo, Dietrich visited the Puna Geothermal Venture Plant, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy at Mauna Kea, and the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i. Although they are different disciplines, astronomy has been the center stage of past conflicts with Native Hawaiian beliefs. This project focused on the prioritization of certain scientific knowledge over others, while also delving deep into how science and religion, which are often assumed to conflict, can coexist.

Caroline Martinez '16
Indigenous Female Leaders in the Andean Region of Ecuador

Caroline Martinez - Ecuador Enrichment Grant

     Indigenous women in the Andes of Ecuador have played a crucial role in indigenous movements and national politics, but the challenges they face as agents of change and the routes they have taken to occupy important leadership roles have often gone unnoticed. Martinez wrote and presented a paper focused on how indigenous women in the Andean region of Ecuador attain leadership positions and the obstacles they face in doing so. Family, community, and formal organizations both support and undermine indigenous women’s leadership. The government’s repression and the economic hardship present in their lives are also obstacles they have to face.  

As part of an multi-semester independent study, involving Bowdoin work and summer research in Andean Ecuador, Martinez interviewed diverse indigenous women before writing a paper which summarizes the research project she has worked on since last May. At the annual conference of the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies in February 2016 in Louisiana, she presented her research on how the existence of indigenous female leaders is an act of open defiance in the face of societal oppression of women and indigenous people.

Caroline Martinez - Ecuador Enrichment Grant PresentationCaroline Martinez - Ecuador Enrichment Grant Presentation 2

Martinez focused on the multiple types of oppression indigenous women face, and how they are able to carve out a space for themselves and become successful leaders in their community. Indigenous women have been silenced throughout Ecuador’s history and continue to suffer from the vestiges of colonization in a society that still has a white elite and lacks indigenous representation. Indigenous women are leading the way in the struggle to find a way to have justice and equality for indigenous people, women, farmers, and the lower class, while addressing issues of environmental destruction. The routes they have taken to become leaders and the networks they have, which encourage and undermine their leadership, are complex and critical.

Other Enrichment Grant Recipients
Melody Moon '15: "Social Capital and College Persistence Among Rural Graduates" at the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference

Bill De La Rosa '16: "Undocumented Migrant Strategies for Navigating the Arizona-Sonora Border" at the 2015 Eastern Sociology Society (ESS) Annual Meeting