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Doctoral Student Research Grant Funds Studies in Tanzania, India, and Closer to Home

Each year more than 220 Graduate Center Ph.D. students receive funding through the Doctoral Student Research Grant (DSRG) program. The grants provide up to $1,500 in funding to advance the research of students and are available to all doctoral students in their second to sixth year.
“This is the most broad-reaching grant opportunity available to Graduate Center doctoral students,” said Adrienne Klein, director of special projects and research integrity officer at the Graduate Center. “We see this as crucial seed funding for student research. It also plays an essential role in launching collaboration and networking opportunities.”
Applications for 2018–2019 grants are due on January 31, 2018. The process of applying for the grant will be explained at a webinar on Wednesday, November 8.
Here, meet a few of the hundreds of students who took advantage of the funding to further their research in the past year.
Emma Finestone, Graduate Center, CUNYEmma Finestone (Anthropology) (pictured above) used the funding to support her study of the Oldowan — the earliest known stone tool industry, which began 2.6 million years ago. She assisted with excavations at some of the earliest Oldowan sites in Kenya. The excavations have expanded the geographic range of the earliest Oldowan sites and provided new windows into the complexity of hominid behavior prior to 2 million years ago. The trip, she reported, allowed her to “foster international collaborations and receive training in directing an archaeological excavation.” She presented the results of her pilot data at the 2017 annual Paleoanthropological Society meeting in Vancouver, and she has secured funding from the Leakey Foundation for future fieldwork.
Rakhee Kewada (Earth and Environmental Sciences) used the grant to support travel to Tanzania to carry out preliminary research about China-Africa relations. On her trip, she studied the development of Tanzania’s port infrastructure that resulted from Chinese capital investment, including the dynamics between port expansion in Dar es Salaam and the construction of a mega-port in the town of Bagamoyo. In her final report on the grant, Kewada noted that the trip influenced her decision to focus on Chinese investment in transport infrastructure connected to extractive industries. “I continue to keep in contact with the professors and student researchers that I met in Tanzania, and these relationships have proved invaluable,” she wrote.

Alexandra Revenelle, Doctoral Student, Graduate CenterAlexandrea J. Ravenelle (Sociology) (pictured left)
applied part of the funding to transcribing interviews for her dissertation. Ravenelle has conducted close to 80 ethnographic interviews with gig workers for her dissertation, “Hustle: The Lived Experience of Workers in the Sharing Economy (Airbnb, Uber, Taskrabbit, and Kitchensurfing),” and has published a paper in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society that was a direct result of the transcriptions. 

Brian Bond (Ethnomusicology) used the grant to do ethnomusicological dissertation research for three months in Kachchh, Gujarat, in Western India. In Kachchh, Bond interviewed and recorded musicians who perform Sufi music and sing poetry. His research focuses on the ways in which sung and recited poetry functions as a pedagogical form in Muslim communities.

Submitted on: NOV 2, 2017

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