The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Connecting Theory to Practice through Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Grant Information
Categories Education
Location United States
Cycle Year 2013
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Reed College
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Diane B. gumz
Phone 503/777-7560
3023 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Additional Information
Used for We will use this grant to fund research projects during the academic year or summer for students majoring in any discipline. The number of projects will be determined by the variety and quality of proposals submitted. We will cover reasonable expenses including: student wages and benefits for summer research, supplies, software, travel to attend a conference to present a paper, and travel to conduct interviews or to do other field research.
Benefits David Lopatto, professor of psychology at Grinnell College, has spent more than a decade documenting the benefits of undergraduate research on student learning. In a 2009 article titled Science in Solution: The Impact of Undergraduate Research on Student Learning, he says: “Students who participated in undergraduate research reported nine months later that they were better able to think independently and formulate their own ideas, had become more intrinsically motivated to learn, and had become more active learners.” For all of these reasons, we believe that participation in undergraduate research across the disciplines is a critical part of a Reed education.
Proposal Description During 2013, we spent $30,629.92 on 29 student research grants during our spring and fall funding rounds. The Dougherty Foundation's grant supported $27,000 of these awards. The funded proposals represented a diverse set of departments, with students from twelve different majors receiving support, including anthropology, art and art history, biology, chemistry, classics, economics, English, linguistics, music, theatre, psychology, and physics. Eight students used the money to present their research at conferences, while nine others attended conferences to learn more about their field of interest. One student obtained support to conduct research by visiting an archive, and the remaining eight used their grant to do work related to their thesis. A deeper look at some of the projects provides additional insight into the creative and intellectual work in which these students are engaged. Hannah Allen used her grant to travel to the American Geophysical Union fall Meeting, and present a poster based on the atmospheric chemistry research she had done with assistant professor of chemistry and environmental studies Juliane Fry over the summer. The poster describes the fate of reactive nitrogen in the atmosphere of the southeastern United States, which is key to understanding the role of pollution on regional air quality and climate change. Huazejia Huazejia used his grant to fund his participation in the 13th Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies in Mongolia. In her recommendation letter, Charlene Makley, professor of anthropology writes that Huazejia is one of the “brilliant young Tibetan students who were produced by the unprecedented English Training Program (ETP) for Tibetans at the Qinghai Teacher's University in Xining city,”who has since come to Reed to study anthropology. She notes that it would be “an excellent opportunity for him to meet and network with scholars in Tibetan Studies from all over the world.” Linguistics major Katina Papadakis used her grant to fund her thesis project, Understanding nasal harmony in Guaraní: Limitations, scope, and implications for the linguistic status of Jopara. To answer key questions related to this research, Katina had to fly to Paraguay, the only place with large Guaraní-speaking communities, over winter break, when Paraguayans have their summer vacation, to conduct field research and record people speaking Guaraní.

The Dougherty Foundation's grant helped us respond to the heightened interest in research support created by our current use grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation during the Centennial Campaign. As part of our long-term strategy for meeting this need, we need to increase endowed funds for student research. During the Centennial Campaign, we began to do so. The biology department received $1 million in endowed funds from professor emerita of biology Helen Stafford upon her death in 2012; the department has devoted this new resource to student research, thereby meeting the majority of its needs for its majors for support of student research. Still, this fund does not include support to attend a conference and present research results. Other gifts of endowment for student research during or since the Centennial Campaign, include: 1) Eddings Opportunity Grants for English; 2) Environmental Studies Support Fund; 3) Mintz Fund for economics; 4) Esther Wender Fund for psychology. Altogether these funds will support fourteen to eighteen students per year, with English and environmental studies receiving the most support, due to the size of the Eddings and environmental studies endowments.

Humanities majors and political science and economics majors can do summer collaborative research with faculty members due to funds established in Reed’s first campaign, but we only award about two to four such grants per year, and again, the materials budget for these projects does not include travel to a conference to present research outcomes. Another challenge is that the funds described above are restricted to specific departments. We have many other departments that continue to have high need at this time, including anthropology, art and art history, psychology, history, religion, chemistry, linguistics, Russian literature, Chinese literature, mathematics, sociology, classics, music, Spanish literature, philosophy, theatre, and physics. About half of our students major in these fields, so it is important to ensure that we meet their needs as well. We continue to work on requests to individuals for endowed funds to meet the needs of all of our students. In sum, a renewed grant will help us continue to address this funding gap.

At this time, we request that the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation renew its support for student research at Reed with a grant of $25,000. This will enable Reed to provide more research opportunities to its students, in all disciplines, during the academic year or summer. The undergraduate research committee will continue to administer this program and award the funds.