New seed grant program announces tier two recipients

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The Office of Research, in partnership with the WSU Pullman Chancellor’s Office, has launched a new seed grant program for WSU Pullman faculty. The Inspire! Community Engaged Research Seed Grant Program supports the development of and capacity for community-engaged scholarship.

The methodologies and practices of community-engaged scholarship foreground the goal of working by, with, and for external communities. Research and creative practice projects are driven by community needs, goals, and values.

“We are excited to launch this new seed grant program aimed at fostering and sustaining research and creative activity that puts community needs, goals, and values at the center,” said Kimberly Christen, associate vice president and associate vice chancellor, WSU Pullman for Research Advancement and Partnerships. “This is different from consultation and/or input from communities. Community engaged research methodologies begin with communities defining the research questions, frameworks, modes of inquiry, data collection and dissemination of knowledge.”

The Inspire! initiative has three tiers, intended to support diverse types and stages of community-engaged research. Tier one awards provide up to $3,000 for travel supporting community partnerships, and the first round was awarded during Research Week 2023. Tier two awards are eligible for support of up to $10,000 over one year. Tier three awards are eligible for support of up to $20,000 over one year. Faculty can apply for any tier that is appropriate for their research or creative activity. There is no requirement or expectation that applicants will have received one tier to apply for another.

“This type of scholarship supports our land-grant mission to support scholarly inquiry that directly benefits our state and communities. WSU is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as an Engaged University, an elective classification that recognizes partnership and reciprocity between universities and their communities. I was pleased to be able to leverage available research funding to partner with the Office of Research to launch this new program,” said WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton.

The recipients of the 2024 Inspire! Community-Engaged Research Seed Grants tier two are:

  • Erica Crespi, professor in the School of Biological Sciences, will work with the Kalispel tribe to collect data necessary to determine if the constructed ponds created by the Kalispel Tribe promote the return of northern leopard frogs to their native land.
  • Samantha Fladd, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and director of the Museum of Anthropology, will build a working group of Indigenous women to serve as community experts from communities with histories in the Northern Southwest for a project on women’s identities and histories in the Northern Southwest.
  • Molly Kelton, associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, will establish a robust regional partnership network dedicated to furthering STEAM education efforts related to wildfire.
  • Ming Luo, Flaherty Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, will work with Native Hawaiian communities to design robots for restoration and preservation needs of Native Hawaiian land.
  • Betty Wilson, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development, will employ a three-phase photovoice approach to engage with Black community activists from Eastern Washington and South Carolina who participated in social justice efforts such as protests, strategic organizing, digital campaigns, political advocacy, artistic express, and research around police violence within the last 10 years.

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