Wang Center for Global Education

Wang Center Research Grants

The Wang Center Research Grant Program is designed to support students, faculty, and faculty-student teams that seek to conduct original research in an international setting. Consideration is also given to proposals seeking to conduct research within the United States on topics that underscore the connection of the local and the global on issues of diversity, social justice and sustainability. Proposals are reviewed by the Global Education Committee for recommendation to the Executive Director of the Wang Center for final approval by the Provost. All awards are administered through the Wang Center.

Congrats to our 2015-2016 grant recipients!

Students: Nate Hansen, Emily Holt, Courtney Lee, Jennifer Shockley, Martha Spieker
Faculty: Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen, Paul Manfredi
Student-Faculty Team: Robert Wells, Natalie DeFord, Evan Heringer, Jasper Sortun, Grace Takehara

2016-2017 Wang Grant Application Deadline: April 4, 2016

Eligibility and Criteria

All grants awarded in spring 2016 are for activities to be carried out between June 1, 2016, and May 31, 2017. Seniors graduating in December 2016 must complete their projects by the end of January 2017. Students graduating before December 2016 are not eligible. Grant projects cannot be undertaken in any location(s) designated by the U.S. State Department as having a “travel warning” (

Proposals are accepted from full-time PLU undergraduates and graduate students for advanced research and experiential learning in a global context. The grant monies are available for projects that contribute to the individual’s educational experience in ways not available through traditional study away programs. These grants are intended to support supplementary travel expenses for capstone research, independent internships, service learning projects, or other independent projects. The grants may not be used to supplement the cost of traditional study away expenses or for projects and internships that earn academic credit. Up to four student grants are awarded annually for amounts up to $2500.

All full time tenured and tenure-track faculty and long-term visiting faculty members at PLU are welcome to apply. Individual faculty may apply for up to $3,300 to support research conducted internationally. Proposals are strongly encouraged from faculty intending to conduct research in locations where they have had prior experience.

Grant proposals are also invited from student-faculty teams and may receive awards in the range of $5,000 – $7,500. All full time tenured and tenure-track faculty and long-term visiting faculty members at PLU are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to student-faculty teams who have not previously received Wang Center grant support; however, student-faculty teams engaged in on-going research may apply for a second grant. Students graduating before December 2016 are not eligible to apply. Proposals are strongly encouraged from teams intending to conduct research in locations where the student(s) and/or the faculty have had prior experience.

Nev Granum and two new giraffes in Uganda. Photo by Charles Bergman
Nev Granum and two new friends in Uganda. Photo by Charles Bergman

Application will include:

  • Project abstract (75 words or less)
  • Narrative description of the proposed project (Individual student and individual faculty narratives should be limited to 1000-1500 words. Student-Faculty team narratives should be limited to 1500-2500 words)
  • Budget of estimated expenses (NOTE: Any additional sources of funding should be specified)
  • Current resume (students) or CV (faculty)
  • Letter of support from a faculty member (students)
  • Letter of support form the department chair or professional school dean of the faculty leader (student-faculty teams)
  • Signatures of department chair and dean (individual faculty)

Building on Global Experiences at Home

After researching artist collectives in Oaxaca, Mexico through a Wang Center Research Grant, Saiyare Refaei put her experience to work here in our Parkland community. Saiyare saw the potential for uniting communities through public art and founded the Parkland Community Mural Project.

Past Wang Grant Recipients

Browse past student, faculty and student-faculty research projects.

2014 - 2015

Student Projects

Meg Dolde
Kelly Hall
Daniel Wikstrom

William Teska
Giovanna Urdangarain
Dean Waldow
Leihua Weng

Student-Faculty Teams
Robert Wells with Olivia Ash, Amanda Brasgalla and Taylor Lunka

2013 - 2014

Student Projects

  • Emily Bishop, Echoing Thresholds: Poetry and Culture in the UK
  • Shannon Burlingame, Researching APPO Protests of 2006
  • Seanna Hewitt, Analysis of Water-Related Issues in the Rio Verde-Atoyac Watershed of Oaxaca
  • Saiyare Refaei, Research on the Role of NAFTA on Oaxacan Artist Collectives for Social Justice
  • Karina Sandoval, Researching the Role that Social Development Organizations have on Mixteco-speaking Children

Faculty Projects

  • Bradford Andrews, Studying the Mesoamerican Bipolar Stone Tool Technology: Gaining Insights for Interpreting Artifacts from Aztec Calixtlahuaca
  • Heather Mathews, After Multiculturalism: Identify, Integration and Contemporary Art in Germany
  • Donna Poppe, Recording Songs of Children in Egypt
  • Teru Toyokawa, Developmental Demands and Transition to Adulthood in Thailand

Student-Faculty Projects

  • Charles Bergman and Nevis Granum, Exposing the Relations between Legal and Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
  • Ami Shah and Jared Wright, Neoliberal Development? The Effects of NAFTA on Local Livelihoods in Sothern Mexico
  • Robert Wells, Haley Huntington, Kortney Scroger, Valery Jorgenson and Katherine Bauman, Tapped Out: Unearthing the Global Water Crisis

2012 - 2013

Student Projects

  • Torhild Skillingstad, The status and teaching of Taiwanese
  • Kenny Stancil, An analysis of the use of Public Space in Santiago throughout the Chilean Student Movement

Faculty Projects

  • Lisa Marcus, Finding Zlata Jampolski: Nostalgia and Jewish-American Self Construction

Student-Faculty Projects

  • Joanne Lisosky, Paul Dodson, Julianne Rose and Katie Baumann, Media Lab: Fear and Islamophobia

2011 - 2012

Student Projects

  • Mycal Ford, Chinese Citizenship and Inter-Ethnic Relations
  • Brett Rousseau, Colony Collapse Disorder and the Honey Bee

Student-Faculty Projects

  • Paul Manfredi and Leif Nordquist, Chai-na: Documenting the End of the Blackbridge Art Village
  • Claire Todd and Matthew Heglund, Glacial History and Climate Change in Northern Bolivia
  • Robert Wells, Katie Scaff and Jacob Ooley, Riding the Rails: Connecting Cascadia

2010 - 2011

Student Projects

  • Holly Borroff, Music and Identity: Exploring Music Education in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Reed Ojala-Barbour, Comparisons of the Diversity of Small Mammals Between Pristine and Disturbed High Andean Forests in Ecuador
  • Crystal Swetz, Dating and Marriage Norms and Preferences Among Chinese College Students

Faculty Projects

  • Joanne Lisosky, War on Words: Protection of Journalists in Conflict

Student-Faculty Projects

  • Adam Cathcart and Matthew Anderson, East German-Chinese Cultural Relations in the Cold War
  • Amy Grinsteiner and Andrew D’Antonio, Music as a Hub in the London Community
  • Barbara Temple-Thurston and Rae-Ann Barras,Using Culture to Shape Environmental Attitudes and Activism
  • Robert Wells, Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Kari Plog, Lorna Rodriguez,Oil Literacy


Student Projects

  • Austin Goble, Exploratory Research of Organic Farms in Turkey
  • Jessica Lupton, A community’s Response to a Government’s Neglect: Researching Educational and Community Development in the Esmeraldas Province
  • Sarah Sandgren, Domestic and International Policy in Ecuador: Following the Government in the First Year, Post-Election
  • Melissa Severson-Hampton, Proponents of Change: Norway’s Shifting Perspectives on Language

Faculty Projects

  • Amy Beegle, Afro-Peruvian Jazz Performance and Transmission in Peru
  • Peter Davis, A Field-Based Geologic Investigation of Panama’s Dulling Subduction Zones
  • Steven Thomson, “Children of the Village”: On-going Research on Ethnicity, Community Development and Regional History in Coastal Gambia

2008 - 2009

Student Projects

  • Matthew Ferraro, Islam and Morocco’s Political Identity
  • Elisia Howard, Humanity in Action, Independent Fellowship
  • Jessica Lee, Morocco: Functional Art and Culture
  • JacobTaylor-Mosquera, Promoting Literacy in a Predominately Afro-Ecuadorian Community

Faculty Projects

  • Kathlyn Breazeale, “Witches,” Nature, and Religious Imagination: The Sámi of Scandinavia & Spiritual Baptists of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Adam Cathcart, War Mobilization in the Sino-North Korean Borderlands, 1945-1953
  • Teresa Ciabattari, Race, Colonialism, and Tourism: Attitudes towards Tourism and Tourists in Tobago

Student-Faculty Projects

  • Charles Bergman, Wildlife Trafficking in Ecuador
  • Claire Todd, Glacial History and Climate Change in Southern Peru
  • Robert Wells, Shannon Schrecengost, Julie Olds and Melissa Campbell, Dangers Within: Canada, the U.S. and Cross-Border Crime