Active Faculty Grants

Here is a list of active external grants that have been awarded to current Williams faculty in support of their leave, research, and/or programmatic activities. Awards are listed alphabetically by funding organization.

Have you received a grant award that is not included here? Would you rather we use a different photo to show you off?  Please let us know!

Note:  Your colleagues have agreed to make successful proposals available as a resource to help aid others in the grant writing process.  Copies of these proposals can be accessed via the “Faculty Grant Proposal Library” in GLOW.


Most Recently Awarded Grants:


Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Katie Keith, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, has received a $100,000 Young Investigator Grant from the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence. This grant will support work combining natural language processing and causal inference to quantify inequities in science. This project will computationally analyze trends in large-scale datasets of scientific publications and has the potential to support better access to and representation in science.  (November 2022)


American Astronomical Society

Kevin Flaherty, Lecturer in Astronomy and Observatory Supervisor, has received a one-year $5,545 Jay M. Pasachoff Solar Eclipse Mini-Grant from the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Eclipse Task Force, which is in turn supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. 2318745. This grant will support the purchase of portable telescopes, with which to view the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. In coordination with the Williams astrophotography club (Photographing and Understanding the Lights of Space and the Astronomical Realm aka P.U.L.S.A.R.), Dr. Flaherty is planning a series of outreach events in the surrounding community and on the Williams College campus for the eclipse. These activities are focused on local schoolchildren and will bring them a view of the Sun that they may not have seen before. After the eclipse, P.U.L.S.A.R. will use the telescopes to continue astrophotography of the Sun as well as night-sky objects. The telescope purchase will seed the growing astrophotography club and their community engagement. Over 200 Williams College students, roughly 10% of the student population, have expressed interest in learning more about astrophotography.  (January 2024)


American Chemical Society (ACS)

Katharine JensenAssistant Professor of Physics, has received a $55,000 Petroleum Research Fund Undergraduate New Investigator research grant to support a two-year experimental program exploring the fundamental physics behind two related, everyday fluid phenomena: how liquid leaks from a small hole in a pipe, and whether fluid will pour cleanly or messily from a container. While ubiquitous in everyday life, the science behind these phenomena remains poorly understood and involves complex interactions between geometry, surface tension, viscosity, and other properties of the fluid and solid materials involved.

The goal of Professor Jensen’s project is to develop a predictive understanding of such “leaking flows” and how transitions occur between different types of flow, including spouting, dribbling, and spontaneously starting and stopping. This grant will support multiple undergraduate research students for full- and part-time research through fall 2023.  (October 2020)


Amanda TurekAssistant Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a $55,000 Undergraduate New Investigator Grant through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. This two-year award will support her research into investigating organic reaction mechanisms, which is the specific pathway by which a reaction proceeds. Understanding these mechanisms is of fundamental interest, but also can have practical implications—this insight can make it possible for chemists to make rational, informed decisions about how to improve a chemical process. This project will focus on probing the interactions between molecules over the course of a chemical reaction, and how these interactions influence the mechanistic pathway.  (October 2021)


American Council of Learned Societies

Visiting Assistant Professor of History Charlotte Kiechel has been selected as a recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship Program, a program which supports exceptional scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences that has the potential to make significant contributions within and beyond the awardees’ fields. With the support of this fellowship, Professor Kiechel will be finalizing her book manuscript, The Politics of Comparison: Holocaust Memory, the European Left, and Visions of ‘Third World’ Suffering, a project that interrogates how Europeans deployed the memory of the Holocaust in their political campaigns for and in the ‘Third World.’ A global history, the manuscript begins in revolutionary Algeria, before charting the responses of Europeans to events in Vietnam, Biafra, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. By bringing together such diverse case studies, The Politics of Comparison shows how the memory of the Holocaust, in the 1960s and 1970s, informed a political program grounded not in a celebration of the liberal international order, but rather in a radical critique of empire.  You can learn more about Professor Kiechel’s research and her ACLS Fellowship here.  (March 2024)


Carlos Macías Prieto, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Faculty Affiliate in Latina/o Studies, has been awarded an ACLS Fellowship, which will support Professor Macías Prieto’s research on the writings of don Domingo de San Antón Muñón Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin (aka Chimalpahin), a Nahua tlacuilo (scribe) who produced the largest body of written texts in Nahuatl and Spanish among Nahua writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. You can learn more about Professor Macías Prieto’s research and his ACLS Fellowship here.  (March 2023)


American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS)

Aparna Kapadia, Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Asian Studies Program, has been granted a 2024-2025 AIIS Senior Long-term Research Fellowship, which will support her research into the life and work of Kasturba Gandhi (1869-1944), wife of Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. Professor Kapadia’s research will illuminate Gandhi’s overlooked but pivotal role as a political activist in India’s anticolonial movement. Professor Kapadia will conduct her research in the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, and in Gujarat.  (April 2024)


Amherst College – AALAC

Brahim El GuabliAssistant Professor of Arabic Studies, has received a two-year $19,725 grant, which will support an AALAC Faculty Workshop to be held in June 2023. The first of its kind, “For an Amazigh-Inclusive Curriculum on North Africa ” will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from AALAC member institutions to assess the current status of Amazigh content in their courses and build pedagogical resources for the inclusion of this indigenous language and culture in their teachings about North Africa. All the resources created after this hands-on, two-day workshop will be made available online to colleagues who plan to include units about North African indigeneity in their courses.  (June 2022)


Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

Kevin Flaherty, Lecturer in Astronomy and Observatory Supervisor, has been awarded a $1,600 grant to support bringing the 2024 solar eclipse to schoolchildren in Williamstown. The grant funds will help purchase and distribute solar eclipse glasses to schools in the Williamstown area, including Mt. Greylock, Williamstown Elementary, Pine Cobble School, the Williams Children’s Center, and the Williamstown Community Preschool, as well as to Williams College students. Participants will be encouraged to share their eclipse experiences through an online form, which Dr. Flaherty’s team will compile and share with the community. The 2024 solar eclipse will take place on April 8.  (May 2023)


Bioversity International

Susan GodlontonAssociate Professor of Economics, has been awarded a three-year, $340,633 grant to support her research project, “Small Mechanisation Impact Stimuli in Ethiopia (SMISE).” Using a randomized controlled trial, Professor Godlonton and her international team will examine the impact of demand-side and supply-side interventions within the small-scale mechanization sector in Ethiopia on the take-up of farm machinery services..  (January 2021)


College Art Association

Murad Khan MumtazAssistant Professor of Art, has been awarded a $5,000 Millard Meiss Publication grant, which will subsidize the publication of his upcoming book Faces of God: Images of Muslim Devotion in Indian Painting, which is under contract with Brill Academic Publishers. (May 2022)


Computing Research Association

Kelly Shaw, Professor of Computer Science, has received a three-year $79,150 CRA grant, which will support her work in CRA’s UR2PhD Program. This grant will support Professor Shaw’s summer salary and travel to assist with the UR2PhD programs’ specific objectives of increasing the number of undergraduate research opportunities for women (especially Black, Latina, and Native women) by expanding universities’ capacities for high-quality undergraduate research; and closing the gap between a first research experience and a successful PhD application. The goal of UR2PhD is to increase the percentage of women entering PhD programs by at least 15% per year, with even higher increases for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.  (July 2023)


EDGE Foundation

Pamela HarrisAssociate Professor of Mathematics, Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, has been named an inaugural Karen EDGE Fellow by the EDGE Foundation, an organization that provides ongoing support for women pursuing careers in the mathematical sciences at several critical stages of their careers. Professor Harris will use her EDGE Fellowship to build and strengthen inclusive and diverse mathematical research groups, targeting both financial and mentoring support for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. More information about this fellowship and Professor Harris’s research is available here.  (May 2020)


Fulbright Scholar Program

Rashida Braggs, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty Affiliate in Comparative Literature, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Global Scholar Award, which will support her project “Amber in the City of Light: Performing Black Women’s Jazz Migrations (1969-2019).” Professor Braggs will use this fellowship to write, create, and analyze a solo interdisciplinary performance about the migratory experiences of Black women jazz performers in Paris, France from 1969 to 2019. She will visit Canada and France.  (April 2023)


Aparna Kapadia, Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Asian Studies Program, has been granted a 2024-2025 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award. This award will support Professor Kapadia’s research into the life and work of the Indian political activist Kasturba Gandhi (1869-1944), Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi’s wife. Despite their long partnership and her frontline role in the fight against British colonialism in India, the history of Gandhi’s political work remains largely unknown. Professor Kapadia will conduct her research in India.  (March 2024)


Louisville Institute

Efrain Agosto, Bennett Boskey Distinguished Visiting Professor in Latina/o Studies, has been awarded a $25,000 Project Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute to support his research on Pedro Albizu Campos, a leading figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement from the 1920s through the 1950s. Professor Agosto will conduct his research at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in New York City, Harvard University’s and Harvard Law School’s archives, and the Institute for Caribbean Studies at the University of Puerto Rico. The eventual goal of this research, beyond this proposed grant project, will be an extensive, scholarly, book-length study of the story of Pedro Albizu Campos. More on Professor Agosto’s research project can be found here.  (November 2023)


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Susan Godlonton, Associate Professor of Economics, has been awarded a two-year, $292,591 subaward to support her research project, “Small Mechanisation Impact Stimuli in Ethiopia (SMISE)” in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Ethiopia. This research project is joint work with Mesay Gebresilasse (Amherst College) and Moti Jalets (CIMMYT). Funding for this project was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, awarded through the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI). This larger grant is supporting the provision of the rigorous evidence base needed to advance policies and investments seeking to foster agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and to facilitate the use of that evidence by policymakers.

Professor Godlonton’s research will examine the impact of demand-side and supply-side interventions within the small-scale mechanization sector in Ethiopia on the take-up of farm machinery services.  (December 2022)


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Jessica Chapman, Professor of History, was awarded a $240,000 New Directions Fellowship to pursue substantive and methodological training in the field of anthropology. This training will aid her research related to the economic and cultural significance of Kenya’s running industry. More information about this grant award and Professor Chapman’s research is available here. (March 2016)


NASA

Anne JaskotAssistant Professor of Astronomy and Associate of the Hopkins Observatory, has received a three-year $16,100 grant via a subaward through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This grant will fund work using visible-wavelength spectra taken by Professor Jaskot with the Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea. These spectra will reveal the ionization and composition of the gas in galaxies from the Low-redshift Lyman Continuum Survey, as part of a project to understand which properties allow ionizing light to escape galaxies.  (February 2021)

Professor Jaskot is also the recipient of a three-year $49,441 grant via a subaward through the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is collaborating with a team at the University of Colorado, who are designing and constructing the SPRITE CubeSat, a small NASA satellite optimized to detect far-ultraviolet light. This grant will fund Professor Jaskot and an undergraduate student to select a sample of galaxies for SPRITE to observe. SPRITE will measure escaping ionizing light from these galaxies to help astronomers understand how galaxies ionized the universe’s intergalactic hydrogen gas.  (June 2020)


National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Victor CazaresAssistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, has received a three-year $435,109 NIH research grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). This award will support his lab’s research focused on understanding the mechanisms by which emotional memories are encoded, recalled, and changed. Specifically, Professor Cazares’s team’s work will investigate how multiple memories interact, how and why certain memories are endowed with recall priority, and what factors determine the longevity of a memory both at the behavioral and neural level. The ultimate goal of this research is to help inform the development or modification of therapeutic approaches for psychiatric disorders, particularly those that are characterized by deficits in encoding, recalling, or modification of memories.  (February 2023)


Katie HartAssistant Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a three-year $378,000 grant from the NIH to research the relationship between the chemical composition of proteins known as beta-lactamases, a family of enzymes involved in antibiotic resistance, and their ability to degrade medicinal drugs. More information about this grant award and Professor Hart’s research is available here.  (June 2019)


David LoehlinAssistant Professor of Biology, has received a three-year $401,846 grant from the NIH to support his research into the genetic factors that cause excess expression from tandem duplicate genes, which are core parts of the human genome structure, as well as known causes of disease and individual variation. Professor Loehlin’s research team, primarily composed of undergraduate students, will apply innovative gene construction techniques and precise quantitative expression assays in Drosophila flies to provide new insight into how tandem genes work.  More information about this grant award and Professor Loehlin’s research is available here. (September 2020)


Bob RawleAssistant Professor of Chemistry, has received a three-year $392,862 grant to support his research studying the biophysics of the early stages of infection of respiroviruses, a class of viruses that commonly causes respiratory disease in humans and animals. In particular, Professor Rawle will be studying the molecular mechanisms involved in respirovirus binding to receptor molecules on the host cell, and then the merger or fusion of the virus with the host cell membrane. To do this, students in his lab will be using Sendai virus, a commonly used model of the respiroviruses that is safe to work with in the lab, and also employing artificial cell membrane technology.  (July 2022)


Shivon Robinson, Assistant Professor of Psychology, has received a one-year $15,086 NIH subaward via Rowan University that will support her research in identifying the neurobiological mechanisms that mediate susceptibility and/or resilience to the negative effects of chronic stress. Chronic stress impacts the physical and mental health of millions of individuals worldwide. The results from this project will enable the development of improved therapeutic strategies to promote resilience to chronic stress.  (February 2024)


National Science Foundation (NSF)

Daniel BarowyAssistant Professor Computer Science, has received a three-year $209,887 NSF grant to support his research of techniques that correctly and efficiently automate the software development tasks of compilation, debugging, and deployment without programming. This project has the potential to impact the day-to-day work of software developers significantly. Professor Barowy will be working on this grant in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Charlie Curtsinger from Grinnell College.  (July 2020)


Alice BradleyAssistant Professor of Geosciences, has received a five-year $139,300 NSF grant to support her research project on sustained observations of rapid Arctic change. This project brings together experts from different branches of science and engineering (including professors from the International Arctic Research Center at University of Alaska Fairbanks), as well as Arctic Indigenous experts and organizations to advance coordination, design, and implementation of such sustained observations, focusing particularly on the topic of food security in the Pacific Arctic maritime sector.  (July 2020)


Matt Carter, Associate Professor of Biology, received a five-year $586,000 CAREER NSF grant to support his research into sleep and wakefulness. More information about this grant award and Professor Carter’s research is available here. (April 2017)


Greg Casey, Assistant Professor of Economics, has received a one-year $41,150 NSF grant to support his research on climate policies. When studying climate policy, economists usually focus on carbon taxes. In real-world policymaking, however, a much wider set of options are considered and implemented. Professor Casey will examine the economic and environmental consequences of climate policies other than carbon taxes (“second-best” policies in economics jargon), focusing on subsidies and mandates for the use of renewable energy. He will quantify the benefits of existing laws, like the Inflation Reduction Act, that use these second-best mechanisms, and will study how second-best policies could be designed to achieve the environmental policy goals in the Paris Agreement.  (August 2023)


Phoebe CohenChair and Associate Professor of Geosciences, has received a two-year $105,745 NSF grant to support her research on early metazoan reef evolution. Sponges are thought to be the earliest animal group to evolve, but the timing of their evolution is contentious. This collaborative project will test the biological affinity of the oldest proposed fossil sponge remains from the Northwest Territories, Canada, through a multiscale approach that integrates detailed field-based sedimentology with microscopic-scale observations and 3D analyses of fossil-bearing rocks. By evaluating these putative sponge remains, Professor Cohen and her colleagues from Dartmouth College will provide critical new insights into both reef and animal evolution and shed light on the timing and nature of some of Earth’s earliest complex ecosystems.  (August 2023)

Professor Cohen has also been awarded a three-year $76,162 grant, which will support the creation of an internally consistent dataset for rocks, which span disparate paleoenvironments and paleogeographic locations, in order to both calibrate and validate the utility of the most commonly used ocean anoxia proxies. This project will involve faculty and undergraduate researchers across three undergraduate institutions and will create online learning modules aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for both in-person and remote learning for grades 6-12.  (October 2021)


José Constantine, Director of CES and the Environmental Studies Program, Associate Professor of Geosciences, Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, has received a three-year $271,639 NSF grant to support his research regarding oxbow lakes. Oxbow lakes are characteristic and environmentally important features of meandering river floodplains. They function as critical habitat for many species and as highly effective sinks for sediment-associated contaminants. In spite of important breakthroughs in the understanding of oxbow evolution, a key part of their life cycle – their origin – is one that is often over-generalized and overlooked. With this grant, Professor Constantine and his colleagues at Indiana University and Louisiana State University will test the hypothesis that oxbow formation occurs because geometrically forced flow instabilities within the limbs of high-angle bifurcations lead to rapid plugging.

The researchers will couple field measurements and numerical modeling in the study of meander cutoffs on the West Fork White River, Indiana, focusing their attention on the development of sediment plugs within both entrances of cutoff channels. They will assess the importance of bifurcation geometry on plug formation and subsequent oxbow alluviation by examining cutoffs that span a range of geometries. Furthermore, collaboration with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will enable estimates of pollutant storage within oxbows. Additionally, partnerships with the Indy Water Connection Camp and the Williams Summer Science Program will facilitate experiential learning opportunities for local students.  (July 2023)

Professor Constantine is also the recipient of a two-year $135,071 NSF grant that is still active. This grant is supporting his research on why rivers move, jump, and reshape the landscape and the impact that has on communities. Professor Constantine is working in collaboration with a colleague at Washington University in St. Louis. More information on this grant and Professor Constantine’s research can be found here.  (April 2020)


Rónadh CoxEdward Brust Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, has received a three-year, $340,000 NSF grant to support her research on how boulder beaches respond to storms and how they change over time. Professor Cox’s research seeks to increase understanding of the dynamic evolution of boulder beaches and will focus on 22 sites in Ireland, which has a wide range of boulder-beach settings, so that the results will be applicable to other locations worldwide. More information about this grant award and Professor Cox’s research is available here.  (June 2020)


Charlie DoretAssociate Professor of Physics, most recently received a three-year $231,195 grant to support his research, which aims to demonstrate a proof-of-principle example of control over thermal currents by constructing a thermal diode – a “one way valve” for heat – using lasers and a pair of electromagnetically trapped atomic ions. This NSF grant will provide funding for equipment and summer student support.  (July 2022)

In June 2023, Professor Doret received an additional one-year $10,000 grant from the NSF to supplement this award.


Kevin Flaherty, Lecturer in Astronomy and Observatory Supervisor, has received a one-year $6,604 NSF subaward through the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Student Observing Support Program (SOS). This grant will support a student stipend and conference travel for one of Dr. Flaherty’s research students. The SOS Program supports research by students, both graduate and undergraduate, at U.S. universities and colleges and is intended to strengthen the role of the Observatory in training new generations of telescope users.  (June 2023)


Stephen Freund, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Computer Science, has been awarded a three-year $259,949 NSF grant to support his efforts to develop the Keystone verifier, a programming tool for verifying that concurrent software does not suffer from unintended interference problems. Building concurrent software systems to utilize the multicore processors found in everything from cell phones to data centers is notoriously difficult because it requires the ability to precisely reason about how different components of the system may interfere when running at the same time.

Keystone will also be designed to lower the conceptual overhead of reasoning about code to facilitate its adoption by programmers who have no formal training or experience with verification techniques. The core innovation behind Keystone is Mover Logic, a new program logic and verification methodology currently being developed by Freund and his colleagues.  (July 2023)


Graham GiovanettiAssistant Professor of Physics, has been awarded a three-year $1,141,196 NSF subaward through Princeton University. This grant will help support the construction of DarkSide-20k, a next-generation Dark Matter experiment Professor Giovanetti and his colleagues are building underground at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. Giovanetti’s team are part of the team building the liquid argon time projection chamber, the core of the detector.  (January 2023)

Professor Giovanetti has also been awarded a three-year $530,000 NSF grant that will continue to support his group’s participation in the DarkSide-20k direct dark matter detection experiment at Gran Sasso National Laboratory.  (August 2023)


Cynthia HollandAssistant Professor of Biology, has received a three-year $375,390 NSF grant, which will support her lab’s research using biochemistry and systems biology approaches to investigate how plants balance growth and herbivore defense at a key metabolic branch point. The defense metabolite that is being investigated, methyl anthranilate, deters birds and is also used to flavor grape beverages, foods, and pharmaceuticals.  (May 2022)


Mike Hudak, Assistant Professor of Geosciences, is the recipient of a $167,576 NSF Ocean Sciences award, which will support his research concerning how much nitrogen is emitted from arc volcanoes, the tectonic factors that control nitrogen fluxes, and how nitrogen inventories of the atmosphere and mantle have evolved over geologic time. Analytical work is conducted in collaboration with researchers in laboratories at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  (March 2023)


Sarah JacobsonAssociate Professor of Economics, along with her collaborators at Salisbury University (Maryland), Valdosta State University (Georgia), Manhattan College (New York), the University of West Georgia, and the University of Louisville (Kentucky) has received a two year $213,997 NSF IUSE grant that will support the improvement of economics education by developing and evaluating a classroom intervention for undergraduate principles of economics courses. The intervention builds on evidence from the STEM education literature that active, engaging instructional techniques, including those using media, improve student performance and provide even greater benefits to students from minoritized groups. The intervention that this team will create and evaluate is a series of “plug and play” modules featuring diverse economists discussing their timely and policy-relevant research. At the core of this intervention is a series of professionally produced videos with accompanying curricular materials. Student impacts will be measured using econometric analysis of pre and post surveys of the student participants and institutional data on their continuation in economics.  (September 2023)

Professor Jacobson has also received a two-year $205,072 NSF grant to support her research into the motives and beliefs behind in-kind donations, an aspect of charitable giving that has received little attention in economics research. Professor Jacobson will be collaborating on this project with colleagues from the University of Massachusetts and the University at Albany, State University of New York.  (September 2020)


Assistant Professor of Physics Katharine Jensen has been awarded a five-year $709,728 NSF CAREER grant to support her research project that will investigate how geometric constraints interact with and change the mechanics of fluid interfaces in dynamic contexts. When a pipe springs a leak, or raindrops leave streaks of droplets on a windshield, or cereal spontaneously clumps together in a bowl of milk, we see everyday examples of the dynamics of fluid surfaces. This research project seeks to understand the fundamental science behind these dynamics and related phenomena by developing an experimental laboratory program for exploring and controlling the interactions between fluids and solid surfaces.

Using high-magnification microscopes, high-speed videography, and digital image processing, the research team will capture complex interactions between surface tension, viscosity, and flow speed as pipes leak, liquids break up into droplets on surfaces, and solid particles form patterns and shatter on the surfaces of fluids. By coupling the experimental observations, data analysis, and theory, this research will yield novel insights into the fundamental physics of everyday phenomena that have potential applications in a range of scientific fields and industries. This project also has significant educational impact by affording dozens of undergraduate students opportunities to engage directly in cutting-edge research at a critical stage in their college careers.  (April 2024)

Professor Jensen is also the awardee of two additional NSF grants, a three-year $412,607 grant, which is supporting her research into how changing the shape of soft, adhesive materials (e.g., through stretching or compression) modifies their adhesive properties and may lead to the development of new responsive adhesives; and a three-year $254,148 NSF grant for support of her research project, “RUI: Hydropowered Plants: How primitive land plants reproduce by harnessing mechanical energy from water.” With this grant, Professor Jensen and her team of two undergraduate summer researchers are studying how botanical systems harness mechanical energy from water to facilitate their reproductive processes, centering their study on the asexual and sexual reproduction mechanisms of the primitive land plant Marchantia polymorpha, a common liverwort. The work particularly focuses on how these plants effect motion and direct self-assembly using surface energy through capillary interactions, as well as the interaction of surface tension and splashing mechanics to facilitate distribution of reproductive material.  (July 2021)


Paul KarabinosEdna McConnell Clark Professor of Geology, has been awarded a three-year $117,832 grant for support of his research project, “How have orogenies, rifting, and recent mantle dynamics shaped the lithosphere beneath the New England Appalachians?” Professor Karabinos and his colleagues at Yale University, Rutgers University, and the University of Vermont, will investigate the structure of the lithosphere beneath the New England Appalachians and the tectonic forces that have shaped that structure. Their project will combine seismic imaging of the crust and upper mantle with geochronology and structural measurements to understand how Appalachian orogenesis, continental rifting, and recent-to-ongoing dynamic processes in the upper mantle have affected the lithosphere beneath New England.  (March 2022)


Protik MajumderBarclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy, has been awarded a three-year $374,499 NSF grant to continue his research program of high-precision spectroscopic studies of heavy metal atoms such as indium, thallium, lead, and tin. This grant is the latest renewal in a series of NSF awards that Professor Majumder has received starting in 1998. Professor Majumder will use this new grant to build and test laser and optical systems, construct and optimize electronics and control systems, and use computer-based methods to collect and then model and analyze large amounts of data. For more than two decades, this project has included more than 60 Williams students, including 35 senior thesis students, who have made important contributions to this work. More information about this grant award and Professor Majumder’s research is available here.  (July 2019)

Professor Majumder has received two additional one-year $10,000 grants from the NSF to supplement this award.


Luana MarojaAssociate Professor of Biology and Chair of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Program has received a three-year $312,180 NSF grant to support her research examining how new species arise and persist across different environments. Professor Maroja’s project, “The Evolution and Maintenance of Variable Species Boundaries,” combines field work with new technology to increase understanding of how speciation, the process through which new species are formed and a fundamental driver of biodiversity, takes place. More information about Professor Maroja’s grant and her research is available here.  (June 2020)


Samuel McCauleyAssistant Professor of Computer Science, has been awarded a two-year $148,707 NSF grant for support of his research project, “New Approaches for Space-Efficient Similarity Search.” Professor McCauley’s research seeks to improve the state-of-the-art in space-efficient data structures for similarity search, a fundamental data structure problem, in which a set is preprocessed so that “close” elements (or approximately close elements) to a given query can be quickly returned.  (June 2021)


Steven Miller, Professor of Mathematics and Ralph MorrisonAssistant Professor of Mathematics have been awarded a three-year $300,000 NSF grant in support of the SMALL REU program at Williams. The SMALL program is a nine-week residential summer program in which undergraduates from all over the U.S. come to investigate open research problems in mathematics. Approximately 500 students have participated in the project since its inception in 1988. (March 2023)


Kelly Shaw, Professor Computer Science, has been awarded a two-year $28,858 NSF subaward through the Computing Research Association (CRA) to support her work in CRA’s UR2PhD Program. UR2PhD (read as “you are 2 PhD”) focuses on engaging more women who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents in computing PhD programs through a virtual, nationally managed approach to quality undergraduate research opportunities and to bridging the gap to PhD applications. This subaward is part of a $5 million grant awarded to CRA.

Professor Shaw is co-chair of CRA’s education committee and has served as co-chair of the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award committee. She is also a member of the development team for the CSGrad4US mentoring program, which guides returning students through the application process towards a successful CS PhD admission and school selection; and mentors them through the transition to PhD graduate study in the first year towards high retention.. Dr. Shaw is serving as the main contact for the UR2PhD program.    (February 2023)

Professor Shaw has also received an additional three-year $66,916 NSF subaward through the CRA to further support her CSGrad4US Mentoring Program activities. She will continue to design, implement and execute, in collaboration with other co-PIs, a mentoring and coaching program for recipients of the NSF’s CSGrad4US PhD Fellowships. Professor Shaw’s team will also assist in the application, review, and selection stages of the fellowship cycle.  (September 2023)

Professor Shaw and Erik Russell, Director of Educational Initiatives at the Computing Research Association, have also been awarded a $49,996 grant from the NSF to create and run a series of workshops that support the professional development of computing researchers pursuing teaching-focused faculty careers.  One set of workshops will provide professional development, career advice, and networking opportunities for current computer science teaching-track faculty members.  A second set of virtual workshops will educate graduate students and postdoctoral fellows about the variety of teaching-focused faculty positions that exist, steps needed to prepare for those careers, and advice about the faculty job search process.  (March 2024)


Assistant Professor of Computer Science Shikha Singh has received a two-year, $155,000 NSF grant, which will support Professor Singh’s research, focusing on verifying that computation outsourced to third-party service providers has been performed correctly. Her work aims to increase understanding of the role of incentives in algorithms, which has wide applications to areas such as crowdsourcing, cloud computing, and social computing. More information about her research can be found here. (January 2020)


David Tucker-Smith, Chair and Halvorsen Professor for Distinguished Teaching and Research of Physics, has received a three-year $150,000 grant to support theoretical research on two open questions in particle physics: (1) the nature the dark matter, a mysterious component of our universe that has played a crucial role in its evolution, and (2) the origin of matter-antimatter asymmetry, without which virtually identical quantities of particles and antiparticles produced by the big bang would have annihilated each other nearly completely, leaving too little behind to form the structures around today (galaxies, people, and so on).  An important goal of this work is to understand how theories of dark matter and matter-antimatter asymmetry can be tested at existing and planned experiments.  (July 2023)


New York Public Library

Benjamin Twagira, Assistant Professor of History, has been awarded a $35,000 2023-2024 Schomburg Center Scholars-in-Residence Fellowship. While in residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, Professor Twagira will use the fellowship to continue working on his manuscript, entitled “Things to Remember: Urban Militarization and Material Culture in Kampala, ca. 1966-86,” As a scholar-in-residence, he will benefit from the unparalleled research resources at the Schomburg Center and the intellectual space to work on his writing. This will include the opportunity to share his work-in-progress by participating in the center’s interdisciplinary weekly seminars.  (April 2023)


New York University Abu Dhabi

Associate Professor Susan Godlonton received a $25,048 REALM grant to support her  “Constructing Migration Histories Data from Sudan” project. Professor Godlonton and her team will partner with the Secretariat of Sudanese Working Abroad to collect records on all migrants from Sudan, including details on their occupation, duration of migration, and education. Such detailed data are rare, and will help shed light on migration patterns between Africa and countries in the Gulf, which is a migration channel that has been largely understudied. (June 2018)


Organic Syntheses, Inc.

Kerry-Ann Green, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a two-year $16,000 Grant for Summer Research at a Principally Undergraduate Institution. This grant will support the stipend, materials, and supplies for a student researcher in Professor Green’s lab in summer 2024 and summer 2025. This student will be working with Professor Green on her research on nickel catalysts.

Nickel catalysts are more earth-abundant alternatives to other precious metals like palladium. In the past few years, Professor Green has developed a small library of synthetic nickel catalysts in her lab, which have successfully catalyzed a common carbon-carbon bond forming reaction (the Suzuki-Miyaura coupling) used in the synthesis of many pharmaceutical drugs and other useful compounds. Professor Green’s lab will expand their investigation into these nickel catalysts to understand how broadly applicable they are, by evaluating their catalytic performance in carbon-nitrogen bond forming (amination) reactions. Additionally, they will use experimental and computational approaches to understand how these catalysts behave under reaction conditions and identify key catalyst features to inform the development of improved future catalysts.  (February 2024)


Rare Book School

Murad Khan MumtazAssistant Professor of Art, has been awarded a 2022-2024 Junior Fellowship by the Rare Book School’s Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. Professor Mumtaz will use his fellowship to expand his understanding of the book arts, in particular the transition into print in the Muslim world. He also plans to organize a conference on global networks of devotion as seen through manuscript culture.  (April 2022)


Assistant Professor of History Alex Bevilacqua and Anne PealeSpecial Collections Librarian, have been named 2021-2023 M.C. Lang Fellows. The M. C. Lang Fellowship in Book History, Bibliography, and Humanities Teaching with Historical Sources is a two-year program designed to animate humanities teaching and equip educators to enlarge their students’ historical sensibilities through bibliographically informed instruction with original historical sources.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, Professor Bevilacqua and Dr. Peale will use their fellowships to acquire teaching materials to support the history of the book at Williams. During 2022-2023, they will focus their efforts on organizing events relating to book history, such as the popular “Transcribe-a-Thon,” in which the Williams community transcribes original documents from the Williams College Archive.  (January 2021)


Research Corporation for Science Advancement

Graham GiovanettiAssistant Professor of Physics, has received a three-year $100,000 Cottrell Scholar Award, which will support his investigation of techniques for lowering the energy threshold and reducing the background event rate in liquid argon detectors, with the goal of applying these improvements to future dark matter experiments. Professor Giovanetti will also develop a new pathway into the physics major at Williams, with the goal of better supporting prospective majors whose high school experience leaves them underprepared for the college’s traditional introductory course. (February 2023)


Catherine KealhoferAssistant Professor of Physics, has received a $100,000 Cottrell Scholar Award. This three-year grant will support Professor Kealhofer’s research project, which will use ultrafast electron diffuse scattering to explore how electrons and phonons interact. She will also restructure one of Williams’ introductory modern physics courses, Physics 151, around reading a series of papers from primary research literature. Learn more about Professor Kealhofer’s research and her Cottrell Scholar Award here.  (February 2020)


Social Science Research Council

Professor of Economics Sarah Jacobson and her collaborators at Salisbury University (Maryland), Valdosta State University (Georgia), Manhattan College (New York), the University of West Georgia, and the University of Louisville (Kentucky) have been selected for support by the CSWEP-SSRC Women in Economics and Mathematics Research Consortium. They have received a sixteen-month $198,450 grant, which will enable the team to carry out their project “Diversifying the Undergraduate Economics Classroom: Plug and Play Modules with Role Models, Research, and Active Learning.” By creating a series of professionally produced videos with accompanying curricular materials, this project will work to improve and diversify economics education, improve student performance, and provide even greater benefits to students from minoritized groups. More information about Professor Jacobson’s project can be found here.  (July 2023)


Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Anne JaskotAssistant Professor of Astronomy and Associate of the Hopkins Observatory, has received two new grants from the Space Telescope Science Institute. These includes a three-year $82,150 grant and a two-year $18,737 grant through the University of Stockholm.

The latter award will allow Professor Jaskot to use the Hubble Space Telescope to obtain multi-color images of galaxies from the Low-redshift Lyman Continuum Survey, a nearby reference sample used to investigate how ultraviolet photons escape galaxies. In the early universe, escaping ultraviolet photons from similar galaxies ionized the universe’s intergalactic hydrogen gas, a transformative event in the universe’s history. This grant will fund an undergraduate student to study where ionizing, ultraviolet photons are produced spatially within galaxies and investigate how this distribution is related to galaxy structure and to the fraction of ionizing photons that successfully escape the galaxy.  (January 2023)

The $82,150 grant awards Professor Jaskot 24 hours of observing time on the James Webb Space Telescope to obtain spectra and spatial maps of the gas in six nearby galaxies, which have chemical compositions similar to galaxies in the early universe. The deficit in heavy elements in these galaxies changes the temperatures, winds, and evolution of their stars, which in turn affects how the stars interact with their surrounding gas. This grant will fund Professor Jaskot and an undergraduate student to compare the spectra with model predictions and understand how stars, black holes, and supernovae light up the gas in early galaxies.  (February 2023)

Professor Jaskot is also the recipient of another grant from STScI that is currently active.

Professor Jaskot has received a three-year $11,694 grant to take part in the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS) program. This program is one of the first large galaxy surveys which will be undertaken by the James Webb Space Telescope. As part of this survey, the Webb telescope will take spectra of hundreds of distant galaxies, so distant that the light we see was emitted from them when the universe was less than 2 billion years old. This grant will fund undergraduate research students’ work to compare the chemical composition and the ionization of the gas in these early galaxies with nearby, more evolved galaxy populations.  (July 2022)


Matthew GibsonAssistant Professor of Economics, has received a $5,000 Early Career Research Award, which will support his research into employer market power in high- and low-earning jobs. He will specifically investigate fast-food franchise non-compete clauses and the 2018-2019 court settlements that led to these clauses being dropped nationwide, and their effect on the labor market.  (April 2020)


Marion & Jasper Whiting Foundation

Pamela HarrisAssociate Professor of Mathematics, has been awarded a 2021-2022 Whiting Fellowship. This $13,601 grant will support Professor Harris’s travel to South Korea and Japan where she will spend time at the Korean Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) and the Research Alliance Center for Mathematical Sciences (RACMaS), respectively. While at KIAS, Professor Harris and her colleague, Dr. Hayan Nam, will begin new projects at the intersection of parking functions and study of related combinatorial structures. At RACMaS, Professor Harris will participate in lectures and seminars of the Discrete Structures Analysis Group, which will provide new mathematical directions and techniques to extend her research and teaching agenda. (April 2021)


Yale University

Christine DeLucia, Associate Professor of History, has received a $5,000 fellowship from the the Gilder Lehrman Center Postdoctoral and Faculty Fellowships program at Yale, which will support completion of her second scholarly book, The Itineraries: Knowledge, Sovereignty, and Freedom in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast. While in residence at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Professor DeLucia will conduct targeted research in Yale University archival and museum collections and area local history repositories. She will also engage further with the Yale & Slavery Research Project.  (June 2023)