PDG Project Summaries

PDG Fall 2016

Award: Funding for a research trip, IPED

The purpose of this trip was to help provide capacity building for a small organization in northern Rwanda, Imidido. The Imidido project assists individuals living with podocionosis. Imidido is the only organization in the Great Lakes Region that assists individuals with the disease, and runs on a shoestring budget of less than $30,000 a year.

During my trip, I helped the organization develop a Monitoring and Evaluation System for their projects. This allowed us to conduct the organization’s first impact study, and to evaluate the outcomes of their clinic program. In addition, I helped train the organization’s team members on grant writing. Together we researched grants, and wrote two grants in tangent with the Rwandan team. These grants will hopefully not only increase funding for the organization, but provide a template for future grants as well.

The PDG grant allowed me to not only help build capacity for Imidido, but to practice two skills that are essential for my specialization in Development Studies: project management and project evaluation. I was able to work alongside a small NGO to both strategize about and evaluate a program. In addition to providing hands-on experience, it allowed me to develop connections. While in Rwanda, I was approached by two other organizations to complete similar impact studies this summer. I also had an opportunity to meet with the US Embassy and the Director of USAID in Rwanda to discuss grant funding and job opportunities on the ground.

Award: Funding to present at a conference, Psychology

It has been a wonderful experience for me to attend the 2016 Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) 47th annual conference to present my research results of the project “Quality Control Models for Tests with a Continuous Administration Mode.” NERA is a highly recognized academic organization dedicated to the study of assessment, evaluation, testing, and other aspects of educational measurement.

By Attending the conference I could share my research findings with other researchers, including university faculty, test developers, state and federal testing directors, professional evaluators, testing specialists, and other professions. I received good advice on how to further improve my study, which will help me to prepare for the paper publication. I also attended other presentation sessions, which help me gain more insights about research in the area of educational measurement and assessment.

Award: Funding to present at a conference, Theology

I successfully presented my paper, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose: The Rhetoric of Violence in the Animal Apocalypse,” at this year’s annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio, Texas. The conference proved to be a beneficial time of networking and professional socialization that will in turn enable me to continue to contribute to my field through further paper presentations and other opportunities.

Award: Funding to present at a conference, Philosophy

During the second weekend of October, I participated in the Fourth Annual Philosophers’ Cocoon Philosophy Conference. Philosophers’ Cocoon is a popular academic blog run by Marcus Arvan (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Tampa) that is dedicated to addressing the professionalization concerns of graduate students and early-career faculty. The aim of the annual conference is to give young philosophers an opportunity to receive constructive feedback on papers-in-progress, thereby helping them get their work in shape for publication.

I presented my paper “Doxastic Efficacy and Half-Belief” on the second day of the conference. In the paper, I spell out the rudiments of an account of half-belief – an account that figures to play a central role in the first chapter of my dissertation. This was my first opportunity to test out this inchoate, but seemingly promising account in a public forum, and my audience proved to be both warmly receptive and keenly critical. The detailed feedback I received from both my commentators (a fellow epistemologist) and audience members (many of whom were also epistemologists) was, to say the least, invaluable. My conference notes will go a long way towards kick-starting my dissertation writing and helping me get some version of this paper ready for publication.

Award: Funding to present at a conference, Classics

Thanks to the funding I received from the PDG, I attended the 148th annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) in Toronto. I presented as part of a panel entitled “Mothers and Daughters,” organized by the Women’s Classical Caucus (WCC), a special interest group within the SCS. My paper, “Ego filia: Maternal Rejection in Catullus 63,” was unique on the panel in that it was the only paper to deal with non-biological mother-daughter bonds. In my paper, I explored the relationship between the mother goddess, Cybele, and her castrated priests, the Galli, using the modern psychopathology framework of Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory. My paper was well received and has since been nominated for a WCC award for best pre-PhD paper at a major conference.

The WCC panel is one of the best attended each year and thus afforded me great visibility at the conference. The organizer, Prof. Sharon L. James of UNC, is a major contributor to scholarship in the Classics on women and gender, and the opportunity to establish a connection with her was very valuable for me. As I was the only graduate student from Fordham to be presenting at the 2017 SCS conference, and one of only two female graduate students from any of the NYC graduate Classics departments, this was a wonderful chance for me to represent not just Fordham graduate students, but specifically female graduate students, on a panel sponsored by the very interest group formed to encourage women in the Classics. This conference also provided a welcome opportunity for me to establish myself as a rising scholar in the area of women and gender studies, and to promote Fordham’s name in a national forum.

Award: Funding to present at a conference, History

On October 21, 2016 I attended the annual gathering of the Northeast Popular Culture / American Culture Association (NEPCA) on the campus of Keene State College In Keene, NH. At this year’s NEPCA conference, I presented a paper entitled “Romanticizing the Women Folk: Performing a Gendered Color Line in the New Folk Revival, 1956-1965” drawn from my dissertation research on the role of women singer-songwriters of American folk music at a panel on Ethnic and Race Studies. I suggest that music historians and cultural critics have too often overlooked the role of women artists, particularly artists of color, who contributed significantly through their music to activist projects during the rights revolutions of the 1960s. I made several connections while attending the conference, particularly with my co-panelists, one of whom is working on a similar topic. I also received thoughtful and constructive feedback on my research paper and the wider direction of my dissertation research.

Attending NEPCA 2016 allowed me an opportunity to engage in useful dialogue about my dissertation research and provided necessary conference experience, especially as I apply to present at larger, national conferences in the near future.

Award: Funding to present at a conference, Theology

In October, I attended the Byzantine Studies Conference (BSC), the professional association of my field, to present a paper. My paper was very well received and scholars provided with me crucial feedback that I incorporated into a longer version of the paper. I have submitted the paper to a double-blind peer-reviewed journal of the highest caliber in my field, Sacris Erudiri, and it has been accepted for publication. Additionally, I was able to network with scholars. I was able to secure the approval of Michael Sharp, Cambridge University Press’ editor, to submit a book project that Christopher Sweeney, a fellow PhD student in Fordham’s Theology department, and I have put together. It is currently under review. Finally, I was able to secure the approval of Derek Kruger, the editor of the University of Pennsylvania Press’ series Divinations, to submit my dissertation, once completed, to him for consideration for publication. In brief, I think the outcome of my attendance at this conference was very positive and has developed my career aspirations and prospects significantly.

Award: Funding to conduct research for the dissertation, Psychology Department

The purpose of the study was to extend the literature on resiliency factors for suicide by examining whether gratitude and grit protect against suicidal ideation (SI) and behavior in the presence of prominent risk factors for suicide, namely hopelessness, depressive symptoms, rumination, previous history of suicide attempts (SA), non-suicidal self-injury, and negative life events. It was hypothesized that grit and gratitude would moderate the relation between each suicide risk factor and current SI and previous SAs, respectively. The sample consisted of 66 adults who completed self-report measures and a clinical interview. Moderation analyses revealed that contrary to hypotheses, there were no significant interactions between grit and each risk factor in predicting SI and lifetime SAs, respectively. However, gratitude was a significant moderator in the relationship between rumination and SI, which decreased in magnitude with higher gratitude. Moreover, the interaction between lifetime SAs and gratitude emerged as significant and negative in predicting SAs made in the past year. Overall, findings suggests that gratitude may be a protective factor against suicidality among at-risk individuals and that further research is warranted to determine the role of grit.

Award: Funding to travel and conduct research in Costa Rica, Ethics and Society

This research trip was an  unparalleled experience for developing my skills in anthropological research. Ostional is an extremely small and remote community where the vast majority of the people do not speak English, only Spanish. During my stay, I worked to establish relationships in the community and learned how difficult it is to accomplish the task. Looking into the relationship between volun-tourists and the community, I found that these relationships were largely non-existent. My research question – what are the effects of these supposed relationships? – led me to uncover a more important issue in voluntourism: the gap between the situation on the ground and the rhetoric of the managers. Without PDG funding, it would have been impossible for me to travel to this site and begin to comprehend the ethical issues at stake regarding the eco-volontourism being conducted. In spent just under two weeks interviewing, observing, and gathering information on these ethical issues, as well as discovering other topics for further research. In particular, I became intrigued by the legal harvesting of turtle eggs; this makes Ostional a unique location.