Skip to site content

UDARI Grants

Faculty Summer Scholars

Summer 2022 Scholars

Dr. Kisha Porcher, Assistant Professor, English Education Program:

Kisha Porcher

Overview of the Project: Black Lives Matter has become a phrase for many to demonstrate allyship, without very little action to address the endemic of anti-Blackness. We need and must have actual policy changes that accompany our words. Doing our part in English Education to center the lives, experiences, cultures, and work of Black people in our programs as the foundation, will demonstrate that Black Lives Matter, in action. This study will: (1) Explore the ways that Black English Teacher Educators center Blackness in theoretical and pedagogical practices; and (2) Develop a framework to center Black theorists and pedagogical practices in English Education programs, as a way forward to disrupt anti-Blackness in English Education programs. This qualitative research study will address the research question: In what ways can centering Blackness in English Education in theory (Black theorists and ways of knowing) and practice (teaching & best practices from the Black community) disrupt anti-Blackness in English Education programs? I have conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with Black English Teacher Educators. BlackCrit (Dumas & ross, 2016) and Black storywork (Coles, 2020) will guide my data analysis. The interviews will be analyzed and used to develop a framework for centering Blackness as the foundation for content and pedagogical practices in English Education programs, beginning with the courses that I teach at UD in the English Education program.

Dr. Cresean Hughes, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice:

Cresean Hughes

Existing criminological and sociological research have widely documented the inequity and inequality experienced by students of color in educational settings. Such disparate outcomes in schools are particularly evident in the administration of school punishment in which students of color are punished more severely than their White counterparts. Furthermore, scholars have found that students who experience harsh school discipline are more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system in the future, a phenomenon known as the “school-to-prison pipeline. Given the consequences, both in the short- and long-term, of this punitive posture toward students of color, the current project explores whether an underexplored measure of criminal justice punitiveness – capital punishment – might be associated with disparities in school discipline for Black and Brown students. And if such a relationship exists, under what circumstances would it arise and for whom would the relationship be most salient? The findings of this forthcoming project have the potential to elucidate not only how existing in punitive spaces is especially consequential for people of color but also how the pernicious effects of racial disparities might be intensified or alleviated.


Undergraduate and Graduate Student Summer Scholars Program

Graduate Summer 2022 Scholars

Mary Fesak

Mary Fesak

Mary Fesak is a PhD Candidate in American Civilization at the University of Delaware. Fesak’s dissertation research seeked to decolonize the history of English-style equestrian sports in America by examining the transformation of riding sports into an elite white activity at the turn of the twentieth century and recognizing the legacies of African American horsemen. Fesak’s goals this summer were to delve deeper into the instrumental roles that African Americans have played in the thoroughbred industry. Through memoirs and oral histories, Fesak recovered how Black horsemen also “became with” horses by engaging in transspecies performances of identity to create distinctive forms of Black equestrian masculinity and Black sportsmanship in contrast to the dominant hegemonic and often exploitive forms of elite white horsemanship. With the UDARI Summer Graduate Research Scholarship, Fesak was able to complete one of the final key pieces of their dissertation research, spending the summer in Kentucky. This allowed Fesak to immerse themselves in numerous archives and horse farms integral to their research. Beyond just this summer, Fesak plans on publishing their dissertation as a book. 

Julia Mun

Julia Mun

Julia Mun is a current Master’s candidate in Art History at the University of Delaware. Mun has utilized the opportunity as a UDARI Graduate Summer Scholar to transform their Master’s thesis into public scholarship and bolster their skills in teaching Asian American material culture to a larger audience. Their research is particularly dire as racial prejudices and hate crimes against Asian Americans have exponentially spiked in the last two years. Violence in its many forms, against people of Asian descent in the United States is not new, but has been largely ignored. Mun’s goal was to use their research to shift the tenses in the question of where and when did Asian Americans exist in the United States, to they have existed and still do. Mun is also a graduate representative of the Asian American Anti-Racism Initiative (AAAI) and participated in the creation and hosting of a June workshop for local K-12 teachers. This was an opportunity to begin the conversation of learning Asian American history in the Delaware public school system. Going beyond just this summer, Mun intends to create an ongoing project that will complement the production of their M.A. thesis by creating an online database that compiles their research of Asian American art and material culture. 

UDARI Showcase Presentation: Teaching Asian American History in K-12 Classrooms.

Maureen Iplenski

Maureen Iplenski

Maureen Iplenski is currently studying the University of Delaware’s Land Grab history and the past, present, and future implications of this. Iplenski utilized UDARI funding to build upon their current research, which is being conducted under UDARI’s Indigenous Programming Subcommittee. Iplenski’s research has identified close to 70 tribes, bands, and Native Nations that once lived upon the lands that the University of Delaware eventually sold. The main component of this project was to connect with the individuals who survived this displacement, to center their perspectives, and to share the harmful effects that stemmed from the theft of their lands. This summer, Iplenski formed relationships with these Indigenous communities who once lived, tended, and depended on the lands that UD eventually sold. Additionally, Iplenski plans on studying the Morrill Act which was ratified by the US Government in 1862. The Land Grab History will discuss the financial and educational benefits that UD received as a result of the Morrill Act, the inequities that emerged from the Morrill Act, and actions that the University can implement to redress this past. The language employed in this Land Grab History will work in tandem with the Glossary of Key Terms being developed by Julia Hammer- Light. This Glossary, which serves as a reference for anti-colonial language, will place Indigenous views, beliefs, and experiences at the center of this history.

Dakota Stevens

Dakota Stevens

The North American Indigenous Mural Mapping Archive will create an interactive website for cataloging and displaying Indigenous murals across North America. Therefore, Dakota Stevens focused their efforts on establishing a comprehensive catalog of Indigenous murals in the Delaware Valley and New York Tri-State area. This refined focus allowed Stevens to work directly with Native communities including the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and Nanticoke Indian Tribe, as well as non-Native communities and organizations like Mural Arts Philadelphia, WALL\THERAPY in Rochester, New York, and Groundswell Community Mural Project in New York City. This project benefited from Stevens’ recent experience with the 9/11 Memorial Registries, a digital archive and storytelling platform they redesigned and curated while employed as the Exhibition Content Coordinator at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum from 2017-2020. The final purpose of this project was to give back to the Native communities Stevens works with. Stevens hopes to make obvious their presence in urban environments, as well as problematizing concepts like urban beautification and notions of community to account for the reality that individual values and motives do not always align in urban spaces.

Margaret Hughes

Margaret Hughes conducted a deep dive into the Board of Trustees for Newark College/Delaware College in the 1830s through the 1850s, the earliest decades of the school that would become the University of Delaware. Hughes argues that board members are an important lens for understanding the history of racial inequality at the University today. Hughes systematically went through the records of trustees with two particular areas of interest: first, on personal records that might relate to trustees’ participation in unfree labor practices, and second, on personal or political actions on the part of trustees regarding race and slavery. Similarly, Hughes looked for evidence of ways that trustees might have used their positions of power within the community to influence public discourse on slavery. Hughes argues that by examining the earliest years of the school, we can better understand the foundation upon which the University of Delaware stands today—an important step in recognizing the many forms that inequality, exclusion, and exploitation took in the past, and therefore helping us to think broadly and comprehensively about how we can right these wrongs.

UDARI Showcase Presentation:

Researching Slavery, Race, and the History of the University of Delaware, 1833-1859.


Undergraduate Summer 2022 Scholars

Tamar Levy

Tamar Levy

Last summer, junior history education major Tamar Levy compared other states’ social studies curriculum standards for PK-12th grade with Delaware’s own social studies standards using documents from various Department of Education websites. This year, Levy built off the findings of this research. She observed last year that even in states whose social studies standards highlight the contributions and achievements of diverse cultures and individuals, teachers did not have the resources to meet such standards. Levy began compiling resources into an anti-racist curriculum bank that PK-12th grade teachers can use to create a more equitable and welcoming environments for students of all backgrounds. To accomplish this goal, Levy interviewed social studies teachers in Delaware and then use their feedback to develop an equity-focused resource bank.

UDARI Showcase Presentation:

https://history4teachers.weebly.com/

Zarah Zurita

Freshman sociology major Zarah Zurita worked under the supervision of Professor Earl Smith, Professor Angela Hattery, and Professor Patricia Sloane-White on their project. The project aimed to identify the role of system impact on intimate partner violence in families in Delaware. This including barriers like seeking help through the criminal justice legal system. In order to answer their questions, the research team conducted in-depth interviews with 20 men and 20 women who have been either perpetrators or targets of intimate partner violence.

UDARI Showcase Presentation:

Intimate Partner Violence Among Marginalized Individuals Who are Criminal Legal System Impacted.

Angela Tran

Angela Tran

Angela Tran studied the crossover between language and social justice, and how policies regarding “Standard English” in schools are rooted in historical racism. With an anti-racist lens, Tran asked, “What is the intersection between linguistic justice and education, and how can I, as a future educator, develop practices and pedagogical strategies that support the communication abilities of K-12 students?” Utilizing literature concerning linguistic injustice and barriers, Tran, a junior with a major in Secondary English Education, researched not only how linguistic injustice has impacted students, but also how educators can take steps in utilizing strategies to recognize how to combat linguistic injustice in the classroom.

UD Undergraduate Research Symposium:

The Intersection Between Education and Linguistic Justice.

UDARI Showcase:

http://UDARI SLIDES[2]

Jules Lowman

Jules Lowman

Jules Lowman, a junior majoring in Criminal Justice, used her UDARI grant to explore JSTOR’s collection, “American Prison Newspapers, 1800-2020: Voices from the Inside.” With the First State First Chance subcommittee and the Delaware Library Association — Correctional Services Interest Group, Lowman compiled a focused collection of all the poems featured in this collection, which were all written by incarcerated artists. She analyzed them in various ways, including how poetic explorations of relationships and bondage have changed over time. Her end goal was to learn new research programs in order to create datasets pertaining to the themes of the poetry collected.

Kopo Oromeng


2022-2023 Grant Recipients

American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee

The American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee is currently utilizing UDARI grant funding to support a Spring 2023 Research Assistant to complete and help publicly launch the last of the committee’s four inaugural projects, titled Keywords for Building Relationships. Intended as a non-authoritative educational resource for UD’s academic and Indigenous communities, Keywords offers language general to Indigenous Studies as well as terms focused on Nanticoke and Lenape histories in and beyond the Delaware watersheds. Keywords for Building Relationships specifically supports the University of Delaware (UD) Living Land Acknowledgement, Institutional Action Steps, and Land Grab History, by further defining the language used within them. The research assistant will focus on soliciting feedback and approval from Indigenous linguists and community stakeholders. In addition, they will revise existing sections based on this feedback, as well as draft an important new section detailing the broader Lenape and Nanticoke diaspora, including the Indigenous nations where these displaced populations settled across the United States and Canada.

Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee:  

The Campus Tours Research Committee is currently utilizing UDARI funding to continue to develop and expand the “Black History at the University of Delaware: UDARI StoryMap.” The StoryMap provides a vital platform for telling previously under-researched and over-looked histories: of disenfranchisement and unfreedom, of racial justice activism and protest, and of Black excellence. The committee is using new research from the work of community partners and students in HIST460/600: Race and Inequality in Delaware to share new research about Black lives at UD in the more distant past. Expanding the story map will ensure that it accurately captures the complexities of freedom and unfreedom in early Delaware, and that it centers African Americans’ experiences in relation to important institutional histories and local communities. 

American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee & Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee:  

The American Indian and Indigenous Relations committee, in collaboration with the Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee, are currently utilizing UDARI funding for researching the University of Delaware’s Land Grant history. This project is a continuation of UD History graduate student Maureen Iplenski’s background research on the University’s Land Grant history. The sponsoring committees, along with Ms. Iplenski, now aim to build on this foundation with deeper primary-source research on the history of the land that benefitted UD, which came from the resale of parts of 46 different federal territorial acquisitions that dispossessed 73 separate tribal nations. This research will enable both a fuller report by Ms. Iplenski and will provide a rich cache of materials to be used by students in the next iteration of the UDARI-sponsored and multiply cross-listed 460/660 course: Race and Inequality in Delaware. This course will focus on facilitating student research on the revenues derived from this land sale and their use by the University, as well as related but understudied local histories of territorial acquisition and displacement within Delaware.

Anti-Racism Programming committee:

The Department of Women & Gender Studies is currently utilizing UDARI funding to establish a lecture and alumni awards series. Titled the Ida B. Wells Alumni Lecture and Award, the purpose of this project is two-fold, first to elevate the work of Black feminist scholars, artists and activists and to expose the university constituents and the border Delaware community to their work. This lecture and award will guarantee that at least once annually, a Black woman will be featured and honored in a campus wide event. Second, alongside the lecture, the award will elevate the work of a UD Black alum who is contributing in impactful ways in education, business, the arts, media, policy, health care, or any relevant sector. The Ida B. Wells Alumni Lecture and Award will ensure that the work of Black feminist scholars and activists as well as alum, a demographic that is underrepresented at the University of Delaware, are highlighted for their contributions. As the goal of the UDARI is to bring together individuals that take action against systemic racism, the Ida B. Wells Alumni Lecture and Award will ensure that the work of Black feminist scholars and activists as well as alum, a demographic that is underrepresented at the University of Delaware, are highlighted for their contributions.

Visual & Performing Arts committee:

The VPA Committee in collaboration with the newly established Jazz Degree program in the School of Music will be utilizing UDARI funding to host a series of events with Sean Jones, an internationally recognized educator and president of the Jazz Education Network. JEN was founded to support and sustain the art form that was born out of the legacy of black resistance. JEN speaks out and actively works on behalf of justice and equality. The committee hopes to host Mr Jones for a Lecture/talk on the theme of ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice in the Jazz Music’, workshop with the Jazz Ensembles I/II, and concert with the Jazz Ensembles I/II and Faculty Jazz. 

Visual & Performing Arts committee:

The Suites Blackness committee is utilizing a UDARI grant to support a new educational coordinator. The Educational Coordinator for Suite Blackness will collaborate with local Teaching Artists from the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DiAE) and the faculty and staff at Gateway Lab School to design arts-integrated educational materials for Black History education in local schools. In particular, the DiAE Teaching Artists partner with local schools and educational practitioners to provide arts integrated instruction to children in traditional school settings. The Educational Coordinator will work with DiAE Teaching Artists and Gateway Lab School practitioners to co-create arts-integrated curricular materials that help students engage with Black History and meet the objectives of both the UDARI and the Delaware House Bill 198, which requires Delaware public and charter schools to provide a rich and robust Black History education that leads to local action and social change

2021-2022 Grant Recipients

Associate in Arts Equity and Inclusion Committee: 

The University of Delaware Associate in Arts Program (AAP) Outreach committee utilized the UDARI grant funding to fund three AAP students (one from each campus) to support the AAP Equity and Inclusion Committee. Students collaborated with community partners and activists in Wilmington, Dover, and Georgetown to organize a racial-justice event on each campus in the spring of 2022. Additionally, students assisted with organizing and hosting listening sessions with current and recently graduated AAP students attending the Newark campus who identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native or multiracial. They gained qualitative insights into their experiences attending a predominantly white institution. UDARI grant funding allows the students to work for the committee and thus cut back on paid employment outside of school, which assisted in furthering the anti-racist goals of both the AAP and the University. Since AAP students are, and have historically been, excluded from meaningful engagement, internship, and professional development opportunities at UD, these positions will contribute to the ongoing antiracist work of making such opportunities available to those whom racism has excluded.

Legacies of Dispossession & Enslavement committee: 

The Legacies of Dispossession and Enslavement committee utilized UD Anti-Racism Initiative grant funding to employ two graduate research assistants. The research assistants designed and created a WordPress site to publicly host findings and sources generated by students in HIST460/660: Race and Inequality in Delaware. This course is also cross-listed with AFRA/ANTH/ENGL460, GEOG428, and with AFRA661, ANTH660, ENGL660, and GEOG628. The graduate research assistants are also responsible for completing two in-progress data collection projects: a spreadsheet of data entered from 19th and early 20th-century U.S. censuses schedules for Newark, Delaware and a spreadsheet listing all trustees, staff, faculty, and students associated with Delaware College. These spreadsheets will enable advanced research, including a demographic analysis of the populations associated with the Newark area and Delaware College, as well as biographical and genealogical research into particular families and individuals. These projects will advance the goals of UDARI because both the website and spreadsheets will allow the products and sources of recent research to be publicly accessible. These materials will be useful for a variety of future projects associated with the history of racial inequality at UD and the surrounding community.

Anti-Racism Programming committee:

Unearthing the Collection: An Interactive Workshop at the Mineralogical Museum is a collaborative endeavor of the Anti-Racism Programming committee, the University of Delaware Mineralogical Museum, the Geography and Spatial Sciences Department, and the Museum Studies Program. The committee utilized UDARI grant funding to host three half-day workshops to train advanced undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Delaware to initiate anti-racist practice and scholarship in museums through the University’s mineral collection. This workshop contributes to the application of anti-racist approaches in a critical engagement of scientific knowledge production, particularly in, and through, physical science collections. The committee raised awareness of anti-racist science communication in museums. This allowed for anti-racist practices in the mineralogical museum’s digital repository to be archived online and shared with other interested parties. The Anti-Racism Planning committee created a blog post that addresses not only this project, but the evaluation of data and presentations at Artefacts Consortium 2022 and American Geophysical Union (AGU 2022). Unearthing the Collection has the potential to be run annually by the Museum Studies program and the Mineralogical Museum, or developed as a Continuing Professional Development course for museum practitioners. UDARI funding is providing the vital first step toward any such continuing education.

Mineralogical Museum-UDARI Showcase Presentation:

First State First Chance committee: 

The First State Chance committee used UD Anti-Racism Initiative funding to cover student enrollment in courses offered in Winter and Spring 2022. Offering incarcerated people of all races and genders the opportunity to earn a college degree is a matter of social justice and can be articulated as a form of reparations. Those previously denied an opportunity for an education and access to social, educational and cultural capital can gain a pathway to full citizenship through prison education. Tuition was spread across courses with preference given to those students enrolling in courses that fulfill either degree or certificate pathways. The First State First Chance committee remains optimistic that funding allowed for the roll out of several non-credit bearing certificates to be offered through the Professional and Continuing Studies. This funding also allowed the First State First Chance committee to continue building capacity, while troubleshooting the pedagogical and institutional issues unique to this kind of program delivery.

Asian-American Anti-Racism Initiatives (AAAI) committee: 

The Asian-American Anti-Racism Initiatives (AAAI) used UDARI grant funding to support two events in Spring 2022: a film event and a workshop with high school teachers in Delaware. This project is in response to the success of their project in Spring 2021, “Fighting for All,” which emphasized alliances and social activism across racial and class differences with a focus on two prominent Asian American activists. For Spring 2022, the film event will consist of a public film screening, a structured panel of discussions that include film producer(s) and experts, structured questions from graduate students, and a Q&A period open to all participants. The in-person workshop, at UD, in which our community’s members and high school teachers participate to develop classroom activities to promote cross-racial activism and a cross-racial alliance against racism.

American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee

The American Indian and Indigenous Relations Committee utilized UD Anti-Racism Initiative’s grant funding to employ two graduate students for research tasks for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. These graduate students organized student support for the living land acknowledgement, managing data collection, and organized events on federal and tribal law in relation to the University of Delaware’s history of dispossession of Indigenous lands and other related issues. Additionally, these students researched and wrote UD’s land grab history and a glossary of key terms, which will be housed on the UDARI webpage. These two graduate students have a critical role in organizing students to transform UD’s institutional norms and culture towards accountability regarding its colonial legacy.

The Latino and Hispanic Heritage Caucus: 

The Latino and Hispanic Heritage Caucus (LHHC) will be utilizing UDARI grant funding to host a series of “Out of the Box” workshops to educate and train faculty and staff on racial consciousness to increase cultural proficiencies and advance the objective of fostering an anti-racist campus. The LHHC has contacted two groups to develop a program for a small group of participants at UD. First, is the Just Act group (https://justact.org/), which uses techniques from Theater of the Oppressed to address issues of racial justice. The second is the Creative Reaction Lab (https://www.creativereactionlab.com/our-programs), which educates, trains, and challenges Black and Latinx youth to become leaders working for healthy and racially equitable communities. The LHHC hopes that educators will adapt the workshops to the needs of their learning spaces, to amplify and shift power to youth, while understanding their roles in designing equitable outcomes.


2020-2021 Small Grant Recipients

Community Engagement Fellow: Applicants were invited to propose a project that will engage the University in addressing racial injustices in ways that will increase mutual reciprocity and respect among its growing ethnically and racially diverse student, faculty, and staff populations and with local, national, and global communities.

Faculty Fellows: Faculty who are part of UDARI (by virtue of serving on at least one committee) were invited to submit proposals for projects that contribute to anti-racism research, teaching, artistic practices, community engagement, and service. Projects should promote an environment that encourages intellectual curiosity and promotes critical thinking about racism and anti-racism at UD and in the larger society.

Graduate Student Awards: Graduate students were invited to submit proposals for projects that help interrogate and dismantle racism and promote anti-racism. Projects could help educate about anti-racism and train about racial awareness and inclusivity.

Small Grants for Committees: UDARI committees were invited to submit proposals for grants for projects that contribute to the promotion of racial equality and equity by challenging systemic racism and achieving antiracism.

Undergraduate Researchers: The first research project involves locating and organizing examples of anti-racism initiatives/centers at universities in the United States and beyond. The student will create a database of programs.  This selected student will also create an annotated bibliography of current scholarship on the topic of anti-racism. Examples of anti-racism initiatives may include programs focused on racial justice as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.

The second research project involves locating and organizing examples of arts-based anti-racism projects that are occurring in universities and in community settings throughout the United States and beyond.  The selected student will also create an annotated bibliography of websites and scholarship on the topic of arts-based anti-racism. Examples of arts-based anti-racism projects may include dance, theatre, visual art, music, poetry or multidisciplinary approaches.