Institute for African American Research awards first research grants

February 7, 2009

COLUMBIA, SC – February 5, 2009 – The Institute for African American Research has awarded its first research grants to two faculty members and two doctoral students. 

The four recipients are Dr. Tracey Weldon-Stewart, associate professor of English; Dr. Robert Weyeneth, professor of history; Carmen Sanchez, a fourth-year doctoral student in clinical-community psychology; and Michelle Williams, a first-year doctoral student in the Arnold School of Public Health. 

The institute was established last year to support research that enhances the scholarly study and public understanding of race and black life in South Carolina, the Southeast and beyond. 

The awards mark an important milestone for the institute, said Dr. Daniel Littlefield, IAAR director. 

“We received many strong applications, ranging widely in scope,” he said. “All of these were representative of our mission to foster interdisciplinary work in the field of African-American research, and they demonstrate just how vibrant the breadth of this activity is across all of the university’s campuses. Each of our award recipients presented particularly exciting and innovative project proposals, which promise to make important contributions to their respective fields. I am delighted to welcome them as the latest new residents at our Thomas Cooper Library offices.” 

The IAAR will award research grants twice per year. The grant amounts are $1,500 for faculty and $1,000 for graduate students. 

This first round of grants will help fund the following projects: 

·         Weldon-Stewart’s research on African-American speech patterns among the working class for her forthcoming book, “Middle Class African    American English”;

·         Weyeneth’s research on segregation and its influence on construction projects;

·         Sanchez’ research on cerebral abnormalities in children with sickle-cell anemia; and

·         Williams’ research on utilizing African-American hair-dressers and barbers as advocates for colorectal cancer screenings. 

For more information about the IAAR, call Francesca Fair at 803-777-4472.