Summer Research Snapshots 2022
Each year, The Graduate School awards hundreds of Summer Research Fellowships to Ph.D. students, funded by gifts from alumni and supporters. The fellowships allow students to focus on their research during the crucial summer months.
In summer 2022, Ph.D. students supported by these fellowships collected data on baboon foraging behaviors, conducted a drone-based remote sensing survey of an ancient Italic city, and biopsied dolphins to examine how blubber may respond to microplastic exposure, among many other endeavors. Here is a look at some of the student pursuits supported by the fellowships in summer 2022. (All photos were submitted by students).
Art, Art History and Visual Studies
My dissertation research focuses on women's group modes of artistic production in 18th century France. The project studies women's processes of making art with men or other women in paint, print, and porcelain media. With the support of The Graduate School's Summer Research Fellowship, I spent last summer conducting preliminary research for my dissertation at the French National Archives (AN) in Paris. Artistic collaboration was so common in 18th century France that descriptions of it were rarely published. The best place to find joint attributions of artistic labor are postmortem inventories, wills, and other kinds of artists' and collectors' probate records held at the AN. An extended stay in Paris allowed me to navigate these key archives and locate some of the notarial manuscripts related to women artists in my study.
Over the summer, I completed archival research for my dissertation "Diplomatic Gifts and Cold War Strategies: The Role of North Korea's Overseas Art Studios in Egyptian Memorial Culture" as a visiting researcher at Seoul National University. While in Seoul, I completed archival research in Seoul National University's North Korea Collection, the ROK Diplomatic Archives, and the North Korean Collection at the National Library of Korea. After returning from Seoul, I was able to continue writing my research findings from Seoul-based archives as well as my previous research from the American University in Cairo. Summer funding allowed me the much needed time to synthesize my findings as well as successfully apply for conferences including SECAC and the Kyujanggak Symposium at Seoul National University.
Thanks to the generous support of the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to work through a large body of primary and secondary sources relevant to my dissertation, which investigates the construction of hospitals in the premodern Mediterranean. I read works like Filarete's c. 1460 Trattato di architettura, Ibn Sina's c. 1025 The Canon of Medicine, and the Piacenza Pilgrim's c. 570 pilgrimage itinerary to get a grasp on how authors talked about hospitals across multiple genres of writing. As a result of this broad reading, I added over one hundred data points to my growing dataset of premodern hospitals.
Photo: Detail of the Lazzaretto Nouvo from Benedetto Bordone, Map of Vinegia. From Libro di Benedetto Bordone nel qual si ragiona de tutte l’isole del mondo (1528). Printed book, paper and marble board binding. The Morgan Library & Museum, PML 125859. Gift of Lydia L. Redmond, in memory of her mother and stepfather, Mr. & Mrs. William M. Clearwater, 1996.
My dissertation investigates visual representations of circulating objects and peoples produced by artists in early modern Europe. To arrive at a more holistic understanding of the visual arts during a period in which networks of exchange expanded rapidly, "Expanding Worlds: Women Artists and Cross-Cultural Encounters in Early Modern Europe (Working Title)" foregrounds women in the study of world-traveling artists, artworks, and subjects. By focusing on women artists, who as a group have been traditionally excluded from the historical record, my research offers a new perspective on the exchanges that hallmarked early modern Europe. The Summer Research Fellowship supported my travel to Dublin and Blois, France to view artworks by women that visualize their cross-cultural encounters. This research fellowship has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the painter Lavinia Fontana's representations of indigenous and Afro-descended people, particularly in relation to similar representations created by men. My findings from examining Fontana's paintings and their documentation supports the overarching thesis of my dissertation: that women artists, though complicit in the negative effects of colonialism and racism in their depictions of people with origins beyond Europe, also offered more careful and dignified representations than did their male peers.
Photo: Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of Antonietta Gonzalez, Musée du Château, Blois
This past summer I travelled to Romania to conduct research for my dissertation, titled "Eugenic Architecture: Redesigning the Body Politic in Interwar Romania." I visited national and regional archives to gather documents regarding the extensive redesign of the built environment in keeping with new public health imperatives derived from eugenics. Now recognized as a fundamentally racist pseudoscience, eugenics was an internationally esteemed discipline which aimed to improve the purported "biological quality" of humankind through selective breeding. In my research I have found that the built environment was an essential tool for the implementation of eugenic policies, due to its role in providing access to curative and preventive care, as well as its function to isolate, exclude, and punish. Equally important, my research has revealed that the development of eugenic architecture spanned transnational scientific networks, which included Nazi Germany and the US.
Moreover, spending the summer in Romania allowed me to meet Roma activists, such as the community in Pata Rat, and learn more about their current struggle against ghettoization and environmental injustice. Like the buildings I study, these phenomena are yet another instance in which the built environment is used as a tool of racial oppression. They point to a longer history of triangulations between architecture, public health, and racism, which still structure everyday life in Romania and elsewhere.
This summer I spent my time furthering my dissertation research. While I had settled on a final topic, and identified key primary sources within Duke's special collection this past semester, the summer was spent researching other archives, secondary sources, and material on my topic. I spent the summer ideating theoretical frameworks, chapter ideas, and digital tools for my project. I began to develop rough drafts of relational archives and chronologies of construction sites to be developed into research tools and visualizations for my dissertation. I identified key clusters of evidence and shaped chapters of my dissertation around their continued research. And I engaged in the current scholarly sources to formulate my take on the field.
In the summer of 2022, I was able to travel to the Ca' Foscari University of Venice to study classical Chinese. Although my original summer research plan was made around a research trip to Taipei, this plan was thwarted due to the aggravation of the Covid-19-related situation in Taiwan and the resulting strict border control policy. Instead of going to Taiwan, I decided to study classical Chinese, a critical skill in my field, during the summer. Language programs for classical Chinese are not often found outside of the Mandarin-speaking region of the world, but this year, a summer school of the kind was opened by Princeton University and the aforementioned Ca' Foscari University in Venice. Thanks to the financial support of The Graduate School's Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to attend the language school for the four weeks of July.
For the remainder of the summer semester (June and August), I concentrated on writing my dissertation. The support from the Summer Research Fellowship was invaluable in this regard as well, for I was exempted from any TA- or RA-ship which I would have been required to serve otherwise.
Photo: Certificate of participation in the classical Chinese summer school at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.
During the summer of 2022, I traveled to the Amboseli Baboon Research Project's field site in southern Kenya. While in Amboseli I collected data on baboon (Papio cynocephalus) foraging behaviors for one chapter of my dissertation. The goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that social relationships improve an individual's ability to find and maintain food resources and, if so, identify how these effects change across different environmental contexts (e.g., when resources are abundant versus scarce).
In July I traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, where I presented results from an ongoing study of baboon infant survival. In this presentation I discussed our results revealing how different maternal and group social traits influence the probability that a given infant survives their first year of life.
Photo: Female infant baboon with her mother (Amboseli, Kenya). Photo by Maria Creighton.
This past summer, I ran an experiment focusing on protist food web interactions with bacteria under warming. Biotic interactions can help mediate bacterial responses to abiotic conditions; However, the mechanisms and extent of this mediation are still unknown. Microbial microcosms were assembled using moss-associated bacteria from northern Minnesota. They were subjected to various temperatures (19ºƒ, 22ºƒ, and 25ºƒ) and the presence of differing protist food webs (a grazer community and two different top predators).To assess the response of the bacterial communities, I used a flow cytometric protocol to quantify total bacterial numbers and biomass. I will perform a 16S analysis to look at the structure and diversity of the community through genomic techniques. I used a FlowCam to analyze the richness, abundance, and trait changes to assess the protist community. This is a follow-up experiment to fully understand why protist presence positively affects bacterial growth, especially from the top-down control of predators and keystone species.
Video: Experimental sampling occurring on microbial microcosms for imaging with flowcytometry and flowcam.
My research is to study how the social environment influences gene regulation, neuronal activity, and behaviors of Drosophila. The project I worked on in summer 2022 mainly focuses on the male courtship behaviors. In summer 2022, we had four new technicians joining our lab. I spent some time on training them, and worked closely with them since then. I also mentored one undergraduate student from the BSURF (Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellows) program.
During the summer, we got some interesting data on male courtship behaviors. This research will identify fundamental molecular and circuit principles by which the environment induces changes in gene expression to alter function of individual or ensemble of neurons within a circuit and ultimately modify organismal behaviors.
Thanks to The Graduate School's Summer Research Fellowships, I was able to focus on my academic research without concerning about the life expense. This scholarship has definitely advanced my pursuit of a Ph.D.
Thanks to the support of the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to make this past summer pretty productive. I submitted two manuscripts to the academic journal which are now under review and revision process. This is a truly big progress towards the end of my graduate school. I also completed a series of experiments which helped wrap up a large part of my major thesis project. Moreover, our lab had four new technicians joining us this summer, and I was helping them onboard our ongoing research programs. Training newcomers enabled them to be substantial contributors to our future exciting scientific discoveries.
With the financial assistance from the DGS Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to focus on my Ph.D. research, during which I was able to travel to Madagascar and collect data for three months on the effects of recent forest fires as the first field season of my Ph.D.
For my Ph.D. research, I am studying the effects of forest fires on lemur populations in dry forests in Madagascar. I will be studying how the abundance and distributions of seven different lemur species have changed after rampant forest fires in Ankarafantsika National Park, Madagascar. These species span a wide variety of body sizes, diets, and life history strategies. I will also be studying changes in the abundance of the different food items of these species to determine if differences in the viability of burned habitat between species can be explained by their diet type (e.g. fruits, leaves, and/or insects). By studying how dietary guilds might impact the ability of a species to survive in burned habitats, these results will help us predict the responses of primates across the world to the increasingly prevalent threat of forest fires.
Photo: Tristan Frappier-Brinton and a Coquerel's sifaka at a field site in Anakarafantsika National Park
This summer I was able to complete three major experiments for my thesis: testing whether male swamp sparrow song is impacted by a recent immune challenge, testing female preference for baseline vs. sick song using copulation solicitation assays, and testing female preference for baseline vs. sick song using an operant conditioning device that I designed and built.
This summer I was able to travel to California and collect several species of Monkeyflower that I will use to study the genetic basis of extreme soil tolerance across species. My dissertation is on what genetic mechanisms allow Mimulus guttatus (Seep Monkeyflower) to live on incredibly harsh serpentine soils. Our lab now has mapped serpentine tolerance genes in a two Mimulus (Monkeyflower) species but little is known outside of them. This summer I was able to make collections of two more Mimulus species which I will use to determine the genetic basis of serpentine tolerance across the genus Mimulus. The funding from The Graduate School allowed me to conduct field work, analyze data from previous experiments and continue my ongoing experiments in the Duke greenhouse.
Photo: Serpentine field site in California. Photo taken at McLaughlin Reserve.
This summer, I learned how to perform viral metagenomics on lemur, rodent, human, and whole mosquito samples. Whereas most studies on viruses in animals focus on screening for 1-2 viruses at a time, viral metagenomics provides us with the opportunity to detect diverse known and novel viruses in a biological sample through next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics. We characterized hundreds of viruses using viral metagenomics on about 55 samples collected at the Duke Lemur Center. One of our most interesting findings was the discovery of two novel papillomaviruses in lemur saliva samples that make up a putative new genus within the Papillomaviridae family. In addition to gaining a robust foundation in viral metagenomics work, I learned some Malagasy for my upcoming trip to Madagascar, volunteered as an Education Docent at the Duke Lemur Center, and continued as an Educator Liaison for SciREN (The Scientific Research and Education Network).
While supported by the Summer Research Fellowship during the summer of 2022, I completed the remaining analyses for the final chapter of my dissertation. I also finished writing my dissertation document and successfully defended my Ph.D. on July 15. I also began preliminary experiments for work that I will continue as a postdoctoral researcher. This research uses non-invasive experiments in wild hummingbird populations to better understand aspects of learning and color vision in birds.
My summer research focused on the molecular mechanisms of cell division, especially the role of microtubules in this process. I adopted the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a well-established model organism in cell biology, because a cytoskeletal structure that I am interested in named microtubules was proven essential for cell division in Chlamydomonas. The microtubule structure is a highly dynamic cytoskeletal element that acts as a traffic pathway for the transportation of cargos to their destinations, where these cargos can perform various functions in the cell. In this summer, through co-immunoprecipitation mass-spectrometry, we identified a protein named fibrocystin as a potential cargo. Time-lapse imaging of fibrocystin mutant shows occasional abnormalities in cell division. Mutations in human fibrocystin lead to the autosomal-recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) that causes formation of dilated renal tubules; our results suggest that the pathogenesis of ARPKD could involve defects in cell division.
In the summer of 2022, I worked on my dissertation research about the identification and degradation studies of cadmium-based (Cd-based) pigments by ultrafast optical pump-probe microscopy. Cd-based pigments can offer a nearly continuous spectrum of colors from light yellow to deep red by adjusting their chemical compositions, thus widely used in historical paintings. However, the identification of Cd-pigments in historical artworks is complicated due to the similarities of pigments' photo-chemical properties and the heterogeneity of paint layers. Pump-probe microscopy can capture the chemical-specific dynamics of different shades of Cd-based pigments by carefully choosing the selected wavelengths according to their optical properties. This technique could potentially reveal the chemical composition of Cd pigments and achieve non-invasive in situ identification of Cd paints in paintings.
In addition, cadmium yellow pigments were prepared following one of the historical recipes to simulate historical production processes. Model paint samples were prepared with reproduced pigments for artificial aging and pump-probe microscopy will be applied to investigate the potential degradation mechanisms.
Photo: Cadmium-based Pigments Showing A Range of Colors from Yellow to Red
Civil and Environmental Engineering
I am very grateful for the generous support from Duke Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship, which helps me concentrate on making progress towards my PhD degree. My Summer 2022 research activities are threefold. First, I presented my paper "Unified Position-Attitude Control of A Nonlinear Quadrotor Swarm" at the 62nd American Control Conference. This is my first major in-person academic conference since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, I applied for and won the Student Travel Award for the 61st IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, the flagship conference venue in automation and control. Third, I wrote a paper on computationally efficient control of two-wheeled mobile robots and submitted it to the 63rd American Control Conference and have been working on a comprehensive survey paper on a new constrained control perspective. These two papers are in essence two chapters of my dissertation.
Photo: Boyang Zhang presents his paper at the 62nd American Control Conference in Atlanta, GA, USA.
This summer, the first chapter of my dissertation was completed with the support of the Summer Research Fellowship. I completed a theoretical approach to the Odyssey of Homer using the concepts of trauma and repetition compulsion in Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. My chapter has three sections. I first discuss the repetition of the bathing-recognition scene which occurs at Troy and at Ithaka in the epic. I explore the textual implications of repeating a scene in war-time and domestic spaces, concluding that the hero repeats the war at home as an example of repetition compulsion. My second section explores the resistance against the trauma of repeating the war at home, citing textual examples to show that the narrative memories that appear in the bathing-recognition scenes fit the model of trauma set out by Lacan and Freud in psychoanalysis. The resistance against these traumatic episodes through silencing voices and de-authorizing embedded narratives follows the pattern of resistance against language that Lacan discusses in his Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. In addition, Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle supports my methodology by similarly positing the concept of trauma. I am currently submitting my paper to the CAMWS classical studies conference, which I anticipate as the first stage in getting peer review for this research as a publication.
I appreciate your contribution to my Ph.D. work immensely. It has been beneficial in many ways over the last few months.
This summer I benefitted enormously from the Summer Research Fellowship funding. I was able to utilize my summer to the fullest! I participated in the German for Reading course here at Duke, which significantly helped develop a crucial research language, and I spent the remainder of the summer making headway on reading lists for qualifying exams. After a really tough year, using the summer to focus only on my studies—and not needing to divert time away by working a job to pay bills—was not just crucial for my Ph.D. work; it was also a sorely-needed reminder as to why I love what I do in the first place.
The Summer Research Fellowship gave me the time and resources that I needed to work on preparing findings from a research trip for publication. During that trip, funded by another Graduate School fellowship (Dissertation Research Travel: International), I examined manuscripts of the Theognidea in libraries in London, Paris, Rome, and Venice. This summer, I was able to spend the time I needed incorporating those findings into my dissertation. Because of this funding, I am on track to finish my dissertation on schedule. I also wrote a standalone article that emerged from those studies. Finally, I have been able to plan follow-up studies on this subject. My summer was a synergy of the opportunities The Graduate School provides here at Duke, and I am truly excited about the work that came out of it.
This summer, thanks to the generous funding of the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to continue working on my dissertation and conduct a preliminary drone-based remote sensing survey of an ancient Italic city at Doganella (Tuscany, Italy). My dissertation concerns the development of urbanism in pre-Roman central Italy and this survey will allow my dissertation to contribute important novel data to my field.
Doganella was one of the largest Etruscan cities before its abandonment at the time of Roman regional conquest but has only received limited study, making it an excellent candidate to provide answers to numerous pressing questions regarding cities of the period. These questions range from how street networks were organized in this period to how and when did public spaces first emerged in the fabric of ancient Italic cities.
During the summer I captured thousands of multispectral images of the plateau on which the city was constructed, which now mostly comprises farms and pasture lands in the Tuscan countryside. These images allowed me to construct a 3D topographical model of the terrain, revealing city walls, and to analyze patterns in crop growth that are indicative of buried structures. I will now take this data to plan further field research at the site by selecting the most promising sectors for a ground penetrating radar survey this fall that will provide high-detail imagery of structures up to two meters below the surface.
Photo: Piloting the drone from "home base" in a Tuscan field
This summer I wrote the first chapter of my dissertation, entitled "Platonic Esotericism from Greece to Rome." The dissertation as a whole examines the rhetorical manner of writing ancient philosophers used to avoid political and religious persecution for their heterodox ideas. The chapter I wrote focused on the Roman statesman, orator, and philosopher Cicero and how the Greek philosopher Plato inspired him to practice this manner of writing as the Roman government shifted towards tyranny. I analyzed Cicero's work on theology to see the great variety of methods of secrecy and concealment Cicero saw other philosophers employ and likely practiced himself. I am very grateful for the Summer Research Fellowship, without which it would have been very difficult to find the time to complete this research.
Danielle Vander Horst
Over the course of the summer, the department's generous funding allowed me to return for another season to the Vulci 3000 project so that I could attain experience as a Trench Supervisor. This experience was enlightening in many aspects and allowed me to gain a better appreciation for the higher-level decision making processes that occur in archaeological fieldwork and the minute-by-minute interpretative decisions that must be made by supervisors and directors. The Vulci 3000 project is an important source of data within the field, and it was certainly thanks to the support of the department and its generous donors that I was able to attend the project for another year. I have previously held other staff and volunteer positions in the field and so this summer was particularly important for my career as being my first experience in the position of a supervisor. Learning directly from the field directors and other supervisors about how to lead others and interpret things on the fly in the field was invaluable to my continued growth as an archaeologist.
My Summer Research Fellowship supported a productive summer of research, which involved publishing three new papers. One titled The moderating effects of nostalgia on mood and optimism during the COVID-19 pandemic was in the journal Memory and discussed our findings that indicated that during the initial wave of coronavirus cases, higher levels of nostalgia buffered against deteriorating mood states associated with concern over the pandemic. The second titled The Representation of Emotional Experience from Imagined Scenarios was in the journal Emotion. Its findings indicated that self-reported emotional responses to imaginative experiences exhibit a clustered structure, although clusters are separated by fuzzy boundaries, and variable dimensional properties associate with smooth gradients of change in categorical judgements. The third titled Mood-Congruent Memory Revisited was in the journal Psychological Review. To elucidate the factors that influence the presence and strength of mood-congruent memory (MCM), here we systematically reviewed the literature for studies that assessed MCM by inducing mood in healthy participants.
At the beginning of the summer I defended my Research Initiation Project before a faculty committee, which was the last milestone before my preliminary exam. In the later parts of my summer I was able to prepare this work for inclusion in a paper group-members in my lab have been working on. This same body of work was accepted for an oral presentation that I will deliver in November at a conference of the International Society for Computational Biology. This has all given me critical experience for writing and marketing my research work.
As I wrapped up that first project, my focus has shifted to the work that will lead up to my preliminary exam. This has involved a small transition within my research area (modeling transcription factor-DNA binding), and I made good use of the summer to gain background for this new project from my colleagues and advisor as well as from reading. The freedom to spend the whole summer focused on these research endeavors was invaluable.
SRF supported me to finish my research initialization project (RIP), which resulted in a conference paper. The paper was submitted to AAAI 2023 main track and is under review. I passed the RIP exam in September. The project is about an algorithm that builds optimal regression tree given dataset and regularization parameter, using dynamic programming with bounds framework. Due to the nature of real-valued targets, regression problem is much harder than regression. We proposed novel bounds to prune the search space more aggressively and significantly reduces running time. Our method is the first provably-optimal regression tree optimization methods with open source code available.
With the financial aid of The Graduate School's Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to develop a full research manuscript based on a chapter of my dissertation and craft two syllabi for undergraduate anthropology courses. In developing the article, I also participated in a writing group comprising graduate students from disciplines other than mine. These activities would not have been possible without the time and space afforded by the fellowship. Now entering the final stage of my doctoral training, I have begun to think about how I might extend the kind of friendship and mentorship I experienced this summer (and last summer) in and beyond my networks as junior-level teacher-scholars. I have been researching and writing through the pandemic so such time and space to think with others proved truly invaluable in broadening my vision. Thank you for preparing me to think about these issues of mutual aid and growth at such a critical timing when I am making the transition as a scholar through and beyond my research.
This summer I was generously supported by the Summer Research Fellowship, which allowed me to pursue my doctoral studies in Ivindo National Park Gabon. My studies focus on plant-animal interactions at early plant life stages and how these interactions are changing due to anthropogenic disturbance affecting animal community composition within tropical forests.
My project works within the framework of my advisor's (Dr. John Poulsen) NSF project, Pathogens to Pachyderms, where we have established 12 forest monitoring sites along a defaunation gradient. Over the summer I visited 4 of these sites and searched for my focal tree species which are all animal dispersed and also have important local community uses. The trees were identified, tagged, GPS marked, and their phenological stage was noted. Fruits were gathered from fruiting trees and sown within the sites for my seed predation study examining how different sized seed predators interact with focal tree species across the gradient and how this affects germination and recruitment.
I also began my study examining the effects of elephant gut passage and deposition in dung on seed germination and recruitment. Therefore, I gathered fresh dung, examined the contents for seeds, and sowed viable seeds. I also built a nursery for this study where I am planting and comparing the germination of seeds passed through an elephant against seeds planted from fruits. Overall, the summer was a great start to my Ph.D. studies!
Photo: Research Assistant / Paraecologist Felix Ebouè and Halina Malinowski gathering elephant dung to examine its seed contents and plant in their nursery.
The Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to pursue two research questions: 1) whether or not microplastics ingested by whales and other marine mammals end up depositing in their blubber, a unique tissue important for energy storage, and 2) if so, what the effects of microplastics may be on blubber metabolism.
I traveled to the University of Toronto and worked with colleagues to determine the chemical identity of plastic polymers putatively identified in the blubber tissue. Then I embarked on a research cruise where I biopsied dolphins in order to expose living blubber tissue to microplastics back in the laboratory in an effort to examine how blubber may respond to microplastic exposure. I was grateful for the Summer Research Fellowship, which afforded me the time for lab work abroad and field work at sea.
Photo: Greg Merrill, Ph.D. candidate in ecology, looks for dolphins to biopsy blubber from using a specialized crossbow bolt off the North Carolina coast. NMFS Permit #22156
In the summer of 2022, I had conducted a greenhouse experiment for a chapter of my dissertation. I have also begun to prep for my preliminary exams. I had also presented at the 2022 ESA/CSEE conference to show my research.
Arthur Carvalho Brito Pereira Souza
I took the department's mandatory programming courses - namely, on Stata and Python.
Over the summer I laid ground work for my field paper and prospectus, which are both due in this school year. I spent time exploring existing literature. My research interests in electricity markets relate to literature in economics, operational research and engineering. The Summer Research Fellowship enabled me to get more familiar with literature in all three fields. I think interdisciplinary work is very important and I found interesting ideas in literature outside economics. I also looked into potential data sources I can use in my research. This was a very time consuming process since I also had to study the institutional setting behind each possible source.
Because of the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to make great progress on my dissertation, presenting my research at two conferences and having one manuscript accepted for publication.
For the summer, my advisor (Patrick Bayer) and I have extensively worked on a project with Kerwin Charles at Yale examining the impact of "racial capital" on intergenerational mobility. The term racial capital roughly captures the idea of the various resources and institutions created by different racial groups that one has direct access to when growing up. The most obvious example of racial capital is the material resources in each racial group, such as home-ownership rates and the average income level. Other examples include the vibrancy of civic organizations sponsored by different racial groups or the physical infrastructure across racially distinct neighborhoods. We find striking evidence that the different levels of racial capital explain a great portion of the intergenerational economic and education gap between Black and White children. We also develop a theoretical framework to explain that this racial capital gap across different race groups acts as a drag in achieving economic equality in the long run. We are currently working on publishing a working paper to circulate.
Over the summer, I was able to perform research for the final chapter of my dissertation, "Who Cares?: Masculinity and an Ethic of Care in American Literature." My project at large examines the long and underexplored history of "caring masculinity," an expression of manhood infused with the principles of feminist relational ethics, during crisis points throughout American history. This final chapter focuses on moments of apocalypse, both speculative (in the case of The Road by Cormac McCarthy) and real (in the case of Indigenous Americans). I argue that healthy notions of fatherhood balance the immediate needs of the child with future emotional and spiritual needs. I center my argument on the indigenous concept of "spiraling time" which considers present decisions as part of a dialogue with ancestors and descendants.
During the months of June and July, I conducted research in Kenya for the Daasanach Health and Life History Project, under the auspices of the Koobi Fora Field School. This longitudinal study focuses on demographic, socioeconomic, and health trends in the Daasanach, a nomadic pastoralist community living in a hot and arid desert environment east of Lake Turkana.
My research focused on characterizing physical activity and diet patterns during pregnancy in relation to distance to the nearest market town. Objective physical activity data were collected using wearable fitness trackers deployed with a pregnant participant for week-long collection bouts. Data on diet, workload, and social norms during pregnancy were collected via focus group discussions with pregnant participants. Data analysis began in August after returning from the field, and results will be submitted for presentation at an upcoming academic conference and for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
I also mentored undergraduate students enrolled in the Koobi Fora Field School, and co-supervised two student-led research projects related to water insecurity and water quality in the Daasanach community. Both projects resulted in research reports and academic presentations.
I was able to collect crucial dissertation data at Canine Companions, Dolphin Research Center, and on campus at Duke. When not actively collecting data, I was able to focus on writing and analysis for my dissertation. Due to receiving this grant and not having to take on teaching or other paid work this summer, I expect to be able to complete my dissertation and graduate this year.
Photo: Canine Companions puppy celebrates participation in cognitive study
Carolina-Duke German Program
Over the summer, I took the eight-week long French for Reading Purposes course, which really helped me to expand my knowledge of French on the path to fulfill the reading knowledge requirement of my graduate program in German Studies. This intensive course provided me with a basic knowledge of French grammar, a good way for efficiently translating complex texts, and a familiarization with French culture through non-fictional and literary works.
Additionally, the summer funding gave me the opportunity to begin with the compilation and reading of canonical works that I consider relevant for my areas of research. As I progress in my studies throughout the semesters, I will continually add new titles until I have created a preliminary list from which I can select the most important texts for the two reading lists in consultation with my advisor(s).
And finally, the funding allowed me more time to work on my Writing Proficiency Review, in which I expand and rework a research paper for a seminar into a scholarly paper of article length of about 8,000 words. The opportunity for a critical revision over the summer provided me with the means to gain specialized knowledge in my field and a useful preparation for the dissertation project.
I spent this summer in Berlin on an exchange with Potsdam University, where I presented my research at a trilateral dissertation colloquium with the German Studies departments at Potsdam University, University of Saarbrucken, and University of Heidelberg. I also finished composing an article titled “Abject Eve: A Revolutionary Reading of Lasker-Schüler’s ‘Erkenntnis’," which is currently under peer review. In addition to this, I finished a draft of my dissertation chapter on Rilke, titled "Angelic Authority or Rilke’s Anarchy."
In the summer of 2022, I used the generous funding from the Duke Graduate School to advance my dissertation writing process without having to worry about funding. I wrote the last chapter of my dissertation, and started revising the other chapters. Also, I used the remainder of the summer to start preparation for a course I am teaching in the fall. This preparation work would not have been possible had I been forced to work to sustain myself through the summer.
The summer funding supported me a lot in Ph.D. studies. I finished all my term paper at the beginning of this summer and stayed in NC to read articles and novels for my WPR (Writing Proficiency Review), an exam in our program at the end of second year. For this exam, I need to improve one of my term paper, so that it can be publishable. For this I had a lot work to do during this summer vacation. Also, I made use of this time to learn more French, since we are required to fulfill the foreign language requirement as students in German Studies. Before the start of the summer holiday, I enrolled myself in a summer school in Vienna, which was about science and philosophy. This summer school helped me expand the view from German theory to more general philosophical theory to understand the role of philosophy. With the summer funding, I paid for my flight, accommodation and other costs of this European trip. Without it, it could be very hard for me to make this learning travel. During the summer school, I got to know the professors from other universities and different discipline and more peer graduate students from North America and Europe. This travel to Vienna also helped me improve my German language ability, since as non-native speaker I do not have a lot chance to practice my German.
Thanks to the Summer Research Fellowship that I received from Duke's Graduate School, I was able to finish my dissertation, defend it, and finish and submit an article. During the summer of 2022, I finished the last chapter of my dissertation and also revised all other chapters, including the introduction and the conclusion. My article, which was based on one of my dissertation chapters, has evolved from a conference presentation to a full journal article. It is currently under review at Colloquia Germanica.
I began my summer 2022 reading through Theodor Herzl's diaries in preparation for writing my dissertation introduction. In early June, I presented a paper at the German Studies Conference in Herzilya, Israel about the role the fairy tale plays as literary and political form in Herzl's diaries. From the end of July through August I was in the German Literary Archive in Marbach, Germany, where I consulted the collections, edited my chapter on Franz Kafka for submission to a scholarly journal, and began drafting my final dissertation chapter.
My dissertation examines strong negative emotions in 20th and 21st century German-language theater. By considering hate, rage, and fear in conjunction with gendered bodies in comparative readings of modern and contemporary drama and performance, I analyze how these emotions make possible the development of an aesthetic politics of the performative. Thanks to the generous support of the Duke Summer Research Fellowship 2022, I was able to conduct the empirical portion of my dissertation research. Visits to theaters and archives that hold non-circulating materials are crucial for the success of my dissertation project and its explicit emphasis on performance in contemporary theater. This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Germany and visit theaters, archives, and media centers in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich. Moreover, I was able to conceptualize the second chapter of my dissertation, research relevant literature, and gather other important materials, such as recordings of theater performances and unpublished theater texts.
Thanks to the generous funding I received through the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to focus on preparing for my preliminary exams and develop a dissertation project. The joint Carolina-Duke Program in German Studies has a number of milestones on the way to dissertation, and preliminary exams at the end of the third year are a major one. I can now start working on my dissertation project, which will focus on "Music as event: music in public life in 1920s Austria." In addition, I was able to attend the Vienna Circle Institute Summer School with this year's theme of "Representation in Art and Science."
I am grateful that the Summer Research Fellowship has allowed me to focus on my research project over the summer as I am teaching German language during the semester.
This summer I was able to travel to the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University in order to gather important documents pertaining to the creation of the Fort Jackson army base in South Carolina. At these sites, I was able to dip into many unprocessed archives that chronicle the development and challenges of locating the army base in the Jim Crow South.
In summer 2022 I traveled to Kolkata, India to study Bangla, serve as Resident Director for the CLS Bangla program, and lay the groundwork for my dissertation research. I will be based in Kolkata next year while working in the West Bengal State Archives.
During the summer 2022 I had the opportunity to travel to London to conduct archival research at the Wellcome Collection. There, I found a number of materials regarding the relationship between the Family Planning Association of the U.K. with Mexican family planning clinics in the 1960s. All of these findings will allow me to write one of the chapters of my dissertation. Also, during my visit to the U.K., I had the wonderful opportunity to participate with a paper at a conference on the history of reproductive rights, organized at the University of Glasgow.
Photo: Some of the participants of the Reproductive Rights conference at the University of Glasgow
This summer I was able to do archival research in New York, Rhode Island, and Florida using my Summer Research Fellowship. I explored the Caribbean map collections at the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the John Carter Brown Library, and I examined British and French colonial governor correspondences and financial accounts at the George A. Smathers Library at the University of Florida. also spent some time looking through a few of the Jamaica and Lesser Antilles collections at the Rubenstein Library at the beginning of the summer. The research I did in these small archives helped me to think through a few of the lesser developed aspects of my project in preparation for my archival research trip to France in the fall.
The Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to travel to domestic archives this summer. I visited the archive at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. While there I reviewed the National Assembly of Religious Women organizational records, containing hundreds of documents vital to my dissertation research. I then travelled to the Women & Leadership Archives at Loyola University Chicago. I analyzed hundreds of letters, photographs, slides, and other personal papers of women involved in this organization. These two trips allowed me to write the first draft of a chapter of my dissertation.
This summer I was able to conduct dissertation research at Harvard Libraries and at Duke Library thanks to the support of a 2022 Summer Research Fellowship. My dissertation explores the sociocultural history of early modern English Madras and French Pondicherry, two early colonial settlements in South India. It does so through an analysis of global objects and commodities that the diverse Asian, African, and European residents of these cities came to use in their daily lives.
At Harvard I visited three separate libraries. At the Harvard Law School Library, I read rare published materials from the Madras Mayor's Court. These records contain detailed court proceedings that helped me understand the cultural importance of commodities like tobacco to local Indian merchants. At Harvard Business School and the Houghton Library, I examined several manuscripts, including a collection of French East India Company materials. Finally, at Duke, I examined a collection of printed government records from 18th century Madras. This preliminary research has provided an important foundation for the archival research that I will complete in London this fall.
This summer I went on two key research trips: the first was a two-week trip to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi, and the second was a one-week trip to the Hagley Library in Wilmington, Delaware. The Summer Research Fellowship supported my ability to review the materials I recovered during these summer trips. The materials I found at the MDAH in Jackson will play a key role in the second chapter of my dissertation about the Balance Agriculture with Industry program started in 1936. The materials I found in the Hagley Library will also make their way into the dissertation including a key speech to the National Industrial Conference Board, a collection of newspaper articles from Pennsylvania remarking on the BAWI program, and the location of a General Foods plant with the aid of the Fantus Company.
The SRF also supported me as I continued to review thousands of newspaper articles available through online databases that are helping me to construct a timeline of the Fantus Company's activities throughout the 20th century across the United States. This newspaper research, although time-consuming, is necessary in part because there are no internal archives for the Fantus Company remaining (they were destroyed years ago).
With the support from the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to complete Japanese elementary 1 and part of elementary 2 in an online Japanese language study program. The language skill that I have acquired is extremely important to me. It has laid a solid foundation for me to continue my Japanese language study next summer when I plan to actually visit Japan. What's more, I am also preparing to do archival work in Japan and read Japanese primary sources for my dissertation. The support I have received from the 2022 Summer Research Fellowship has provided tremendous help for me to fulfill the linguistic requirement of my dissertation.
The SRF from The Graduate School freed me of professional obligations and allowed me to pour into my dissertation writing over the summer. I spent the first half of the summer finishing up my chapter on Zadie Smith. This simply involved reading her novels and analyzing her characteristic use of recursive narrative structures. I also spent some time reading various city novels coming out of London in the past few decades to contextualize my analysis of Smith's novels. I spent the second half of my summer preparing job application materials. The SRF, in no small part, made it possible for me to go on the academic job market this fall.
This summer, I split my time between several different projects. Because I am a first-year Ph.D. student, I did not have to spend my time preparing for exams or my dissertation. Accordingly, I decided to attend a summer school in July. This summer school was held at the University of Vienna, and addressed the topic of representation across the arts and sciences. I work on technical models, diagrams, and "useful" cinema, so the summer school helped supplement my education here at Duke.
For the rest of the summer, I worked on a few projects that I don't usually have time to pursue during the school year. I edited and published an article with the New Review of Film and Television Studies, began a book project with a Duke professor, and started working on a film related to my research interests. The funding enabled me to have needed time and space away from intensive semester obligations, while allowing me to continue my work in a more productive and less stressful way.
Marine Science and Conservation
My dissertation research explores the role of scientific and Indigenous ways of knowing in the governance and management of salmon fisheries on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada (WCVI). Salmon are economically, culturally, and ecologically important to local coastal communities, especially Indigenous First Nations. In BC, they are also facing dramatic declines and possible extinction due in part to mismanagement and climate change impacts. Stakeholders are motivated to change fishing and management practices to save salmon populations through Indigenous knowledge and traditional practices alongside scientific tools and technology. Additionally, recent legislative changes require that Canada incorporates Indigenous rights and knowledge into fishery management plans. Contested sovereignty and colonial legacies add additional challenges.
I hope to identify mechanisms for knowledge integration that support more effective and equitable fishery governance and management, and that shift western scientific management away from practices that historically marginalize local and Indigenous communities. I work following the guidance and collaboration of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations (TFN) and Ha'oom Fishing Society. I am in the sixth year of my dissertation, and the Summer Research Fellowship helped support my ability to return to my field site in Tofino, Canada this summer and close out important fieldwork steps with my collaborators and partners at TFN and Ha'oom.
Photo: Day fishers of the Five Nation's rights-based fishery, managed by Ha'oom Fisheries Society, unload their daily catch of suuha (chinook salmon) at the Tofino dock.
This summer I was supported to work with the Comparative Oncology Group at the Duke Cancer Institute to investigate cell culture models as a novel system for studying the molecular adaptations of whales and dolphins for diving. Using a cell culture model, we can study specific adaptations to hypoxia, ischemia-reperfusion, and other clinically-relevant conditions to understand how marine mammals have adapted to deal with the challenges of an aquatic lifestyle. Ultimately, these findings can inform the identification of genetic targets or new therapies for the treatment of hypoxia and ischemia-related injury in humans.
The Summer Research Fellowship was vital to progressing my dissertation research. With the ability to focus exclusively on my dissertation, I:
- submitted my first chapter to a journal, which analyzes the performance of 15 international fisheries governance bodies;
- finished my second chapter, which summarizes key bycatch trends in Western Indian Ocean fisheries and is being prepped for submission to 'Science'; and
- conducted the analysis and drafted the manuscript for a related side project, which analyzes trends in the U.S. marine mammal stock assessment program.
I also presented research at two forums: an oral talk at the Society for Marine Mammalogy and an oral video talk at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Bycatch Mitigation Workshop (both August 2022).
In addition to these products, I was able to take the necessary time to learn methods for another chapter – using satellite imagery and machine learning to quantify and characterize the Pakistani fishing fleet. I had to learn multiple new software tools and methods for this work, and the time and space afforded by the Summer Research Fellowship was absolutely vital to make progress on the chapter. I expect to now finish the analysis this fall and publish this academic year.
This was an extremely productive summer, absolutely due to the fact that I was able to focus exclusively on my dissertation. Thank you so, so much for this opportunity.
The Summer Research Fellowship I received allowed me to start my dissertation research in earnest. I spent this summer conducting a discourse analysis that will constitute my first chapter. The discourse analysis is focused on news articles related to the growth of aquaculture in Maine. I analyzed articles to identify themes related to values and equity in the aquaculture sector. As this sector grows in Maine, I am interested in how policymakers account for diverse values and priorities. One of my methods for understanding the competing values in this space, is discourse analysis, which helps me understand how different stakeholders define problems and solutions in this sector differently, and identify underlying values and beliefs at play as people advocate for different outcomes in this sector.
I also used my summer fellowship and the domestic travel fellowship to fund my first foray into field work. I spent two weeks in Maine this summer interviewing a variety of actors involved in the aquaculture industry, visiting aquaculture operations, and getting a sense of the community dynamics in places facing aquaculture growth.
My summer research contributed towards the evidence synthesis in my dissertation focused on characterizing, contextualizing and understanding the social dynamics of women’s small-scale, coastal fishing organizations in the Global South; specifically, their members’ and collectives’ adaptive capacity (ability to prepare for and respond to shocks) and the interventions designed to enhance that capacity (i.e. capacity development). I initiated systematic searches and synthesis of grey and scientific literature at the nexus of gender, social justice, natural resource organizations, adaptation and capacity development. Concurrently, I was also consulting with academics focused on gender and adaptation in small-scale fisheries and practitioners working on coastal conservation interventions with fishing communities in the Global South for their insights, feedback and recommendations for secondary data resources and case study opportunities. While literature specifically on women’s small-scale fishing organizations is only more recently emerging, I was able to learn from reporting on similar initiatives in community-based forestry and small-scale agriculture. Further, based on literature from feminist scholars, it is critical to understand the social context and underlying drivers of vulnerability that influence community-based organizations and their responses to conservation and development interventions, which I will attend to in my dissertation via in-depth case study.
This summer I was able to deploy, check on, and retrieve an array of six hydrophones distributed along 112 kilometers of the tidal Potomac River. These hydrophones record data on the presence and behavior of bottlenose dolphins. I'm using these data to better understand the seasonal distribution of dolphins in the Potomac.
I was also able to go to a quarterly Potomac River Fisheries Commission meeting, where I met with several fishers, locally known as watermen, and conduct interviews. My interviews with watermen provide data on the historic occurrence of dolphins in the river and any observed changes in their presence over time. With the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to collect data crucial for my dissertation on the present-day and historic occurrence of bottlenose dolphins in the Potomac River.
Photo: Ann-Marie Jacoby is holding a cleaned hydrophone she deployed in the Potomac River to collect data on bottlenose dolphin seasonal distribution.
I am interested in international governance for biodiversity conservation, particularly from the perspective of the Global South. My focus is on non-hegemonic agency (e.g.: How can developing countries exercise agency in international politics?). My dissertation uses case studies on Brazil—the most biologically diverse country in the world—in two international regimes: the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Thanks to the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to advance my dissertation research on both cases. On the IWC case, I was able to advance my writing, and have a near complete draft. On the CBD case, I was able to virtually attend the negotiations of the Open-Ended Working Group in Nairobi (early June) and collect a wealth of data for my next chapter. I also had time to process data collected this past spring in Geneva, when CBD's subsidiary bodies met in person for the first time since COVID. Both were preparatory meetings for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) happening in December 2022, where countries will decide on global biodiversity targets for the next decade. Having time to work on them free of other obligations was invaluable to advancing my research.
Victor Amaya Carvajal
I did research related conditional Gaussian fields as part of the Ph.D. thesis. Thanks to the support given, I could focus on research and learning new mathematical theory, form functional analysis, and stochastic geometry.
This past summer I was introduced to the field of mathematical neuroscience in my work with Dr. Mike Reed. I worked with serotonin and histamine neurons and their interactions with one another. The bulk of my work was creating an updated integrated model that encapsulates the recent studies on histamine and serotonin. We have discovered a new result and are excited to learn more about the interactions between the two neurons through mathematical modeling and simulations.
The other project I worked on was analysis prep for my graduate course in analysis this fall. I worked with Dr. Reed throughout the summer by reading and doing problems in an analysis textbook. I am now confident going into the course.
The Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to focus on my research in mathematical fluids. The motion of fluids can be modeled by many partial differential equations with one of the most studied models being the Euler equations. While the Euler equations have been studied since the 1700s, it's still unknown whether solutions exist for all time. This problem has become one of the most popular in the field of partial differential equations. This summer, I worked on studying whether a model related to the Euler equations has solutions which exist for all time. I also used the summer to go through various related works in mathematical fluids in order to strengthen my background. The Summer Research Fellowship also provided the time and freedom to travel to several related workshops and conferences to meet leading experts in the field and other students in the area.
I went to Montreal for a workshop on branching systems and reaction-diffusion PDEs, and to Michigan for a summer school on random matrix theory.
In Summer 2022, I conducted preliminary dissertation research supported by the Summer Research Fellowship, starting my investigation into patterns of vocal performance and reception in the years 1825-50. Most notably, I assembled a preliminary "pedagogical genealogy" of singers, tracing the training and performances of notable singers of my period in order to help me consider the disparate traces of their voices.
The Summer Research Fellowship enabled me to successfully complete and defend my dissertation, "Probing the Brahmsnebel: 1875-1910," in July 2022. I am deeply grateful for the generous support in this final phase of my doctoral studies.
I am very grateful for receiving the 2022 Summer Research Fellowship. Because of this generous support, I was able to compose music, research for my dissertation, and attend summer festivals this summer.
During summer 2022, I attended nief-norf Summer Festival as a composer-performer fellow. During the two weeks at the festival (located in Knoxville, TN), I participated in rehearsals and played in every concert as a pianist, and I have written one movement of my dissertation piece for the festival and the piece was premiered on June 15.
Aside from going to festivals, I had a great time working from home. I wrote a short piece for solo tenor shawm, commissioned by a fellow I just met at the festival mentioned above, and the piece was premiered in Pemberville, OH, as part of PEAR Chamber Music Weekend. When I was not playing and composing music, I enjoyed my time at home researching for my dissertation article.
Photo: a post concert picture at nief-norf summer festival with guest composer Mark Applebaum, June 10, 2022.
I had the premiere of a large song-cycle I composed tour in Australia. It also had a lot of positive press coverage there. I also had a new piece workshopped by VOCES8, in the UK, which has led to a premiere in London in October, and I was selected for, and then awarded 'Best Orchestration' at the Chigiana Music Academy's intensive screen course in Italy.
Photo: Chris Williams (right) with Pete Anthony conducting his composition with the ORT orchestra in Florence
The Duke Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to complete the analysis of a qualitative study exploring how nurses and patients develop rapport during telehealth video visits. The results were recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
In addition, I prepared the IRB application and protocol for my final dissertation study that tests the feasibility of measuring nurse-patient rapport in video visits using a behavioral observational coding system. The study was approved by the IRB and I am currently enrolling participants.
Thanks to the Summer Research Fellowship, I can focus on my literature review for my dissertation work and make a foundation to start my qualitative pilot test research. I really appreciate the Summer Research Fellowship opportunity, and it helps me a lot to only focus on my research and study.
During summer 2022, I was able to pursue several research and academic endeavors. First, I was able to publish two journal articles as well as work on a scoping review which will be submitted for publication later this semester. In addition, I was able to work on my mentor's project, where we researched the use of metaverse in nursing education. Lastly, I took a summer class N741: Facilitating Student Learning and Teaching Innovation.
Photo: The first page of Paige Randall's first publication.
Tingzhong (Michelle) Xue
The Summer Research Fellowship provided substantial support for me to continue my dissertation research study and other directly related research projects. I continued to work on a systematic review on health recovery trajectories in older adults after a hip fracture, and the abstract of this review was accepted as a late breaker poster for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting this year. I also participated in other research activities and acquired more quantitative analytical skills. For one of these research projects, I submitted a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal as the first author. I also utilized the summer to enhance my scholarly network by volunteering at the GSA. I had the opportunity to connect with other researchers and practiced team-working and leadership skills that are important for seeking for employment after graduation. I am very grateful for all the support the Summer Research Fellowship provided that would not be possible otherwise.
During the summer, I participated in four conferences (three of them at Duke, one at Rutgers) and one online summer program for women in mathematical philosophy at the University of Munich. The four conferences are on epistemology, philosophy of neuroscience, moral psychology, and philosophy of memory, respectively. I also attended lab meetings regularly at MAD lab directed by Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Apart from being engaged in academic activities, I have done much literature review for my upcoming Future Research Statement (FRS) including literature on epistemology of testimony, moral psychology of anger, as well as some value theory. I revised and refined some of my term papers during the summer in light of the literature review I did. I believe that I have accomplished most, if not all, of the goals I set for myself when I was applying for the Summer Research Fellowship.
This summer I spent five weeks in Colombia, conducting a survey and visiting archives. This trip advanced both my dissertation and coauthored research I am working on. I also made progress on four articles—receiving a revise and resubmit on one, resubmitting a revise and resubmit on another, submitting a third for review, and completing a first draft of the fourth. I am so thankful for the support of The Graduate School, without which I would have been unable to conduct so much research this summer!
I was able to finish most of my dissertation thanks to the funding from The Graduate School. I used the funding to pay for housing and daily expenses while staying at Duke. I also finished the first paper for a multi-paper project with my coauthor.
I used the summer fellowship to finance necessary works for my second-year paper. Particularly, I spent it to go to Vietnam and do some field trip as well as buying books and documents.
During summer 2022, I was able to finish my job market materials, including a working draft of my job market paper which is a paper version of a chapter from my dissertation. My paper explores the conditions under which international peacebuilding complements or undermines community dispute resolution efforts in promoting local peace. In the paper I find that when local institutions are not well funded, international peacebuilding contributes to higher levels of local peace. When local leaders have longer vested interests in the community, exposure to international peacebuilding undermines local peace. I will be presenting this paper at the American Political Science Association's Annual Meeting in mid-September 2022.
During the summer I was also able to travel to Liberia, the primary case for my dissertation work, to help implement interviews with community leaders about their communities' histories and their community dispute resolution processes. The qualitative data collected from this fieldwork trip will further contribute to my dissertation and as well as other future work.
Mateo Villamizar Chaparro
The SRF helped me focus on both my dissertation and some co-authored projects I have. First, regarding my dissertation, I was able to plan ahead for the current fieldwork I am currently conducting in Brazil. Finding where to live, organizing the airplane tickets, and organizing the materials I wanted to look through in the APESP. I was also able to collect some electoral information for the 2022 presidential elections, and I was able to finish the pilot for a survey we will be running in October. I was also able to work on reviews for three articles that came back from journals, and I was able to resubmit two of those.
Psychology and Neuroscience
I applied for the Summer Research Fellowship so I could pursue the following goals: (1) conduct literature reviews in my area of research to inform my dissertation work; (2) prepare and submit a manuscript based on the paper I write for my doctoral preliminary exam; and (3) accrue more clinical hours (e.g., therapy; assessments) as required by the Clinical Psychology program.
I met these goals through the following activities: (1) I completed an extensive literature review assessing evidence for biopsychosocial factors impacting postpartum sexual well-being; (2) I have made significant progress on preparing a manuscript that reviews and critiques common measures used to assess sexual well-being, which will inform my dissertation work focused on developing a valid/reliable measure of postpartum sexual well-being; and (3) I completed my clinical rotation in the perinatal clinic and I have begun a new rotation at the Duke Fertility Center.
I am extremely grateful to have received the funding provided by this award, which allowed me to be free of service obligations in order to effectively pursue these goals.
With generous funding from The Graduate School, I was able to make substantial progress on my dissertation research that focuses on promoting adaptive coping among female patients undergoing invasive OB/GYN care. I completed quantitative and qualitative data collection for my dissertation, a proof-of-concept pilot study. I also mentored and collaborated with team members on qualitative data analysis. Lastly, I was able to work on writing the first paper for my dissertation.
Gabriela Fernandez Miranda
Thanks to the Summer Research Fellowship I received from The Graduate School I was able to advance in my research and strengthen abilities that are relevant to my academic work. I was able to go to Colombia to train research assistants in physiological data collection. That was a great opportunity to support cross-cultural research, contribute to the research experience of students in less privileged educational environments, and enhance my abilities as a mentor. I also attended The 48th annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (SPP) joint with the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPP), that was held in Milan, Italy. There, I presented my first talk "Forgetting and forgiving: the effect of forgiveness in the autobiographical memories of past wrongdoings". Thanks to the research fellowship, I was able to prepare my presentation during the summer of 2022, improve my abilities as a presenter, and meet a lot of researchers doing amazing work that is related to my academic interests.
Thank you so much for selecting me for the 2022 Summer Research Fellowship! I was able to use this summer free of service obligations to submit two papers—a review paper currently in revision at Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews and an empirical paper currently in revision at Journal of Affective Disorders. The first paper is a review of the literature on the association between brain development and pollution exposure in children, and it will set me up well for my dissertation studies, which will be on environmental health and early childhood neurobiological and emotional development. The second paper is an examination of the association among early childhood depressive symptoms and brain structure.
During summer 2022, I was able to begin important work on my dissertation. Following community based participatory research principles, I was able to build a community advisory board for my project, collect formative qualitative data, and develop an intervention development plan. The summer research fellowship gave me the spaciousness to prioritize this work and to ensure I center community values and needs in this project.
In summer 2022, I was able to continue working on my dissertation, and I did data collection during my summer in the lab. I was also able to give a talk about my research at the Gordon Research Conference on Auditory System. I also finished writing a manuscript and revision of my prelim paper.
The Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to make strides regarding my dissertation timeline as I was able to defend my proposal aiming to study quality of life in transgender adolescents earlier than expected. This generous funding allowed me the flexibility to seek additional training on structural equation modeling using R which is directly related to my dissertation data analysis plan. Additionally, this generous support provided the opportunity to create protected writing time, which I used to address reviewers' feedback on a first author paper proposing a conceptual framework of gender dysphoria in youth. In conclusion, an early dissertation proposal defense, flexibility to seek additional training, and creating protected writing time made possible by the SRF will allow me to begin data collection and publish original research this Fall.
I primarily worked on a novel study assessing reciprocal influences between affect and subjective value. Subjects completed an instrumental learning task in which they repeatedly chose between pairs of abstract shapes, and either won or lost money as a result of each choice. Their task was to learn, through experience, which shapes to pick and which to avoid. Additionally, subjects regularly reported their experience of valence (happiness-unhappiness) and arousal (excitement-calmness).
Using reinforcement learning models, we estimated several variables related to subjective value (e.g., expected value, reward prediction error, regret) for each trial, and used these trial-level variables to predict affect—specifically, we entered them into computational models that were fit to valence and arousal ratings. By doing this, we identified several value-related variables that strongly predicted affect; we believe these variables to be important determinants of valence and arousal.
We also sought to identify the role of affect in learning and decision-making. To do this, we incorporated model-estimated affect into our reinforcement learning models in various ways, and compared the fits of these models to models that did not include affect. This yielded ambiguous results, which we are currently working to clarify through follow-up studies. We're excited to build off this paradigm moving forward.
The Summer Research Fellowship funding allowed me to dedicate time over summer 2022 towards editing my dissertation into a manuscript for publication. My dissertation examines predictors of psychological health among women experiencing infertility. I successfully submitted my dissertation manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal at the summer's end.
This summer I completed research in my new lab. We have a few lines of research. First, trying to explain image memorability by using computational modeling of semantic information and using these modelings to look for semantic representations in the brain. The goal is to ask which brain regions are predicted by the memorability of individual images and then see if semantic information can explain why those images are memorable or not. The work is getting closer to being finished and will result in a publication submission soon.
Second, I worked on getting trained on TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and preparing scripts to administer memory tasks to participants who have Mild Cognitive Impairment. This study started running toward the end of the summer and is continuing now. The Summer Research Fellowship gave me the support necessary to learn new techniques, to conduct analyses, and move my two main projects forward as I enter the third year of my Ph.D.
During the time I was supported by the Summer Research Fellowship I developed a machine-learning model to predict aging-related behavior based on brain function. This model was able to predict cognitive ability and motor ability at levels comparable to prior studies in children and young adults. Both cognition and motor ability showed high similarity in their predictive features, suggesting that motor ability may be a strong marker for broad aging-related decline. I have since written these results into a manuscript that will be submitted for publication in the coming weeks.
Photo: Example image of the brain measure Ethan Whitman used to predict behaviors
I study how firms and individuals that provide health care products and services make decisions. Specifically, I study how competition between firms affects the type and cost of health care products and services available to consumers and how government policy interacts with this competition between firms. This fellowship allowed me to travel to India to acquire data on the prices and quantities of pharmaceutical products sold in the domestic Indian market. I plan to use this data to study government price regulation, changes in tax policy, the behavior of a trade association of pharmaceutical distributors, effects of quality regulation, and the price, quality, and access tradeoffs inherent in a market for pharmaceutical products.
Camilo De Los Rios Rueda
The grant was used to travel to Guyana and make an assessment of possible topics for my dissertation. The main focus was the possible regulatory and development spillovers from the nascent oil industry to other resource sectors in the country, particularly of gold mining. In total, I spent 13 days in Guyana, between the 14th and 27th of August, where I met with government officials and individuals in the private sector.
On arrival I travelled to Bartica, one of the largest gold mining centers in the country, where I held a meeting with gold miners, leaders of the indigenous community Karrau, and local government officials. After this first visit, I travelled back to Georgetown where I met with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and Guyan's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I was also able to speak with a member of the Guyana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a private consultant on the oil & gas industry, members of the Guyana Gold & Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), and a mining equipment supplier.
Besides these meetings, I was invited to participate in the annual Mining Week, where all the relevant stake holders meet to discuss current problems in the sector. I think with this grant I was able to make both important connections for future work in the country and also sharpen my ideas for possible dissertation topics.
Photo: Top: gold mining operation. Bottom, Left: With the petroleum division officials during "Mining Week". Right: With the Regional Chairman of Region 7
Ann Chapman Price
This summer I successfully completed a three-week intensive for reading in modern Dutch, which I then used to read several secondary sources on my topic of research interest (medieval Dutch theologians and mystic authors). I plan to continue to apply this language skillset as I work towards gaining greater proficiency in reading medieval Dutch, most of the instruction for which is in modern Dutch.
My Summer Research Fellowship supported two efforts: first, final study for my German exam (which I sat at the end of August); second, preparation for and attendance a research presentation at a seminar in Oslo, Norway.
In May and June, I retooled research I completed last summer (on MS 013, a biblical manuscript in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library) to fit the seminar. Originally, my research on MS 013 focused on its witness to medieval formatting practices in Jewish Germany and France. The retooled paper spoke to the seminar’s topic: “the critical and interpretative significance of collections, archives, and libraries.” Thus, the research sought to account for the manuscript’s lifecycle through multiple libraries and multiple reasons for/ways of valuing the Biblical. The fellowship support my food and rent during the research phase and my travel during the seminar itself. After those months, my German tutor and I met several times a week to improve my accuracy and speed in translating German. The fellowship supported her fee as well as my food and rent.
Photo: MS 013 edited to demonstrate a possible earliest layer
This summer enabled me to have dedicated time to translate and research the texts at the basis of my dissertation. It culminated with the month-long Byzantine Greek Summer School at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Along with some of the best Greek professors and colleagues from around the world, I translated texts from across the Byzantine Empire.
The exposure to texts, scholarship, and material objects at one of the world's leading Byzantine research institution set me on good footing to return to my dissertation, exposure that I delayed due to the pandemic but am thankful to have had now. I also was able to attend several national conferences within my subfield and in other areas of theology. The networking and learning opportunities in each experience were invaluable.
Photo: Students observing facsimiles of famous Byzantine manuscripts
During this summer I spent time developing reading lists for my preliminary exams this coming year, doing reading I didn't have time for during courses in the school year, and working on a translation project that will be relevant to my dissertation work. To expand on the latter, I intend to use the Venerable Bede significantly in my dissertation on Christology of the Mediator, and I have since 2021 been preparing a translation of his hitherto untranslated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Many passages are relevant to my work directly, and I plan to polish the whole project up and try to publish at some point in the future.
I took Duke's French for Reading Course to learn how to read and translate French texts. Thanks to the course, I went from not knowing a single word of French at the beginning of the summer to passing a French language exam (one of two required language exams for my program).
Thanks to the financial support offered by the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to make significant progress on my dissertation. I worked primarily on a chapter about how late medieval and early modern Christians interpreted the biblical account of Christ's visit to Mary and Martha's house. Since medieval interpreters understood this to be a passage about how to balance a life of service with a life of contemplation and study, many of the themes my research touched upon remain relevant today. I was also able to make significant progress co-writing an article on a related topic, Martin Luther's understanding of contemplation. Thanks to the Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to devote the bulk of my attention to these research projects.
I did archival research in Spain and Italy thanks to the Summer Research Fellowship. In June, I traveled to Gran Canaria and looked at manuscripts and letters at the archive of the Casa-Museo Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas. In July, I traveled to Sicily and looked at Giovanni Verga's correspondence with social scientists of his time at the Fondazione Verga. This was helpful to understand how deep their theories were embedded in his fictional work. I also looked at manuscripts and different drafts of Verga's short stories at the Biblioteca Regionale Centrale in Catania. This helped me understanding how he changed key terms in the characters' description related to their physical appearance and racial theories.
This archival research has helped me draft my first chapter, which is now under revision from my advisor.
At Las Palmas, I also attended a conference on the Canarian author Benito Pérez Galdós, and was able to do net working with specialists in my field.
I was able to continue my research to track the movement of an Italian fascist who was in Italian East Africa, and after the British takeover in 1943, he was sent by the British to a South African concentration where about 100,000 Italians were held captive. Afterward, the Italian man escaped from South Africa and arrived to Argentina with the help of American missionaries of the Church of the Nazarene. Once there, he returned to Italy. But then, he returned once more to Argentina, and on this final trip, he brought an important document that has become the cornerstone of my research. The document contains the relics of an important medieval Italian poet. In fact, if it had not been for the summer 2021 and the summer 2022 research fellowships I received from Duke, I would not have been able to advance in my research and make these discoveries.
The 2022 Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to focus on my own research while remaining here in Durham for the summer. Because I was able to access all library services and not worry about being physically too far, I was able to complete an article that I had started in the fall semester but was never able to continue until the end of the spring. It was extremely helpful to have the resources and time I needed to work on such a big project for my personal development as a student and a scholar, so I am very grateful for the opportunity.
In summer 2022 I spent the majority of my time working on my departmental preliminary exams. These are literature reviews on two substantive areas of interest that will be foundational to my work going forward in graduate school and beyond. I was able to explore the landscape of research on race critical methodological innovation and on fundamental cause theory in medical sociology and this work has already inspired a number of research questions that I am more prepared to pursue this academic year.
In addition to my preliminary exams, I was also able to work on independent research projects that I will continue in to the year, mining and cleaning data as well as running preliminary analyses.
I was also able to participate in a short course in structural equation modeling (SEM), audit an institute for Black Feminist Theory, and attend the Young Theorist Symposium. All three opportunities allowed me to learn more about scholarship in my fields of interest. I was able to connect to scholars I met (virtually) at the Young Theorists Symposium that have advanced my thinking on critical questions. The short course in SEM allowed me to learn about a new method that I intend to apply in my own research and will prepare me for higher level courses.
This summer I concentrated my efforts on doing research about the topics I want to study in my Ph.D. dissertation. I made an extensive literature review of the theoretical, methodological, and empirical approaches that have been done to study race, ethnicity, and stratification in Latin America by social scientists of different disciplines. This systematic literature review aided me to sharpen my analytical and research toolkit for a current project I am working on with a dataset collected in Mexico, which is about how people might modify or not their indigenous self-ascription over time depending on their experiences of socio-economic mobility. Additionally, I am looking at how these changes might affect aggregate patterns of inequality.
Given that ethnoracial identities are intimately tied to the idiosyncratic culture in Latin America and its history, I also did an exhaustive review of the sociological literature about culture and inequality. This literature is crucial for my research topic because it systematizes and provides methodological insights about how beliefs, values, and dispositions are affected by access to social, political, and economic resources.
Overall, I think it was a very productive summer in terms of reading, writing, and analyzing data, and I am very grateful to have received the Summer Research Fellowship to advance my professional pursuits.
The Summer Research Fellowship enabled me to focus on my dissertation research this summer. Because of this fellowship, I had the time necessary to not only get IRB approval for my project (which was an involved process due to the sensitive nature of my data), but also to work out an IRB-approved data-sharing agreement with another researcher. Through this partnership, I will now have access to twice as many interview transcripts with Mennonite pastors as well as additional funding for interviewing these participants. I also acquired funding for other research expenses, such as the survey incentives, from two additional grants I was awarded this summer.
In early summer, I organized multiple meetings with survey stakeholders to discuss their goals, which enabled me to revise my survey draft to better assess the most relevant scenarios and outcomes. Finally, in early August, I presented my research at the Association for the Sociology of Religion Annual Meeting and attended the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, both of which proved to be invaluable sources of feedback and connections. Many of these research activities would not have been feasible to complete this summer had I not had the time granted to me by this fellowship.
The Summer Research Fellowship allowed me to forward my dissertation, which is focused on understanding how state policy contexts shape birth outcomes across the US. Having the extra time to work on this project amid the rapidly evolving reproductive health policy contexts this summer was extremely helpful. With the SRF, I also completed an R&R for a paper that examines the unique consequences of different types of COVID-19 discrimination on psychological distress among a local population of Chinese immigrants. This paper is now forthcoming in SSM-Mental Health.
This summer, I traveled to Ann Arbor, MI to work with restricted-use data at ICPSR at the University of Michigan. As part of my dissertation project, I was analyzing the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Mortality in Correctional Institutions data in an effort to answer the research question, "What is the mortality risk faced by individuals experiencing jail incarceration as the result of a jail leasing agreement, and how does this risk compare to that faced by the general jail population and the general prison population?"
This research question is just one of several I am working to answer about the practice of jail leasing, or the reliance of state corrections departments on local jail facilities to house individuals sentenced to prison incarceration. This practice is the result of overcrowded and underfinanced state prison infrastructures and offers an additional revenue stream to local governments. However, it is unknown what effects this practice has on individuals who experience extended incarceration spells in facilities designed for short stays. Since returning to campus, I have submitted the results of my summer work to one conference and am currently working on a manuscript for journal submission.
During the summer I have been trying to understand frequentist and Bayesian inference on curved spaces with a sufficient amount of symmetries. The results will hopefully be soon published.
I was able to rely on the funding to get started on my research. During the summer, I explored three different projects with three faculty in the Statistical Science department.
The first project is about combining frequentist and Bayesian inference and use these inference techniques in ranking problems. The second project is about Bayesian model evaluation. The last one I explored is a sequential design for causal inference experiments.
I really appreciate the opportunity to have the time and funding in the summer to understand the background of three different projects and think about what I want to do for my research direction. Toward the end of the summer, I decided to continue working on two of the projects as my future research projects.
Traditional model-based clustering faces challenges when applied to mixed scale multivariate data, consisting of both categorical and continuous variables. In such cases, there is a tendency for certain variables to overly influence clustering. In addition, as dimensionality increases, clustering can become
more sensitive to kernel misspecification and less reliable. Motivated by these factors, I worked on the research project where we proposed a simple local-global Bayesian clustering framework designed to address both of these problems.
Photo: Results of the Byar prostatic acid phosphatase data: the relationship between systolic blood pressure and serum haemoglobin levels, with the shape of the points indicating cardiovascular disease history status (circle: no; triangle: yes). All points are colored by prostate cancer stage or clustering estimates. The clustering estimates are recoded into 3 and 4 to match the cancer stages.
The Summer Research Fellowship enabled me to travel to Berkeley for a summer school on random networks. I met many interesting collaborators, and learned a new technique that I have been attempting to apply to my thesis on brain networks. I would not have been able to attend the school without the fellowship.