Ole Miss Awards Achieving Equity Grants

More than $56,000 awarded for seven proposals aimed at advancing diversity and inclusion

OXFORD, Miss. – Following a rigorous and competitive application process, seven University of Mississippi investigator teams have been awarded internal funding for proposals aimed at advancing institutional diversity and inclusion.

The Achieving Equity Grants Program was introduced in 2019 and is jointly administered by the Office of the Provost, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. This seed grant program is intended to support innovative scholarly and creative efforts that advance knowledge on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Each year, I am impressed by the quality and number of proposed projects,” said Shawnboda Mead, vice chancellor of diversity and community engagement. “The outstanding 2022 submissions are critical to ensuring equity and strengthening DEI scholarly activity within and across academic disciplines.

“The knowledge gained from these projects contributes to the betterment of the university, and we are committed to supporting the awardees as they advance this important work.”

Josh Gladden, vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs, said his office is partnering with the provost’s office to support the program, which enables important work in a broad range of equity related studies.

“These are often difficult and interconnected issues, which need the attention of our scholars to better understand root causes and propose solutions,” he said.

Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the interest in this program is outstanding, as $95,937 in funding was requested and $56,650 was awarded.

Award recipients and their projects include:

  • “Sense of Community, Purpose and Participation: Cultivating Pathways for Civic Engagement Among African American Young Adults in Mississippi” – Laura Johnson, professor of psychology, is principal investigator, and Elijah Mudryk, a psychology graduate student, is co-principal investigator. They are being assisted by Caitlyn Geraci, also a graduate student in psychology.
  • “Creating A College Health Survey to Obtain Representative Estimates of Food/Nutrition Insecurity Among Students at the University of Mississippi” – Victoria Zigmont, assistant professor of public health and health sciences, is principal investigator, and Erin Cromeans, assistant director for wellness education in the William Magee Center for AOD and Wellness Education, is co-principal investigator. They are being assisted by Kate Forster, director of advocacy and student support; Katie Busby, director of the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning; and Andrew Newby, assistant director of veterans and military services.
  • “Queer Mississippi Histories Project” – Amy McDowell, associate professor of sociology, is principal investigator, and Eva Payne, assistant professor of history, is co-principal investigator.
  • “Incentivizing Participation in Data-Gathering Among Student Parents” – Lynn Wilkins, work-life resources program manager, is principal investigator, and Stephanie Miller, associate professor of psychology, is co-principal investigator. Assistants are Cindy May, associate director of financial aid; Rachel Bost, director of procurement services; Nikki Reinemann, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; Anne Cafer, co-director of UM Community First Research Center; Katie Mullins, a doctoral student and TeachLive facilitator in the School of Education; and Sarah Lawrence, a master’s student and teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology.
  • “Achieving Equity in Attainment in General Chemistry” – Eden Tanner, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; is principal investigator, and Safo Aboaku, instructional associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is co-principal investigator. Assistants are Danielle L. Mattern, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; John Wigginton, instructional associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Jason Ritchie, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
  • “Peer-Review: A Method to Increase Graduate Student Funding Applications and Success” – Paul Boudreau, assistant professor of pharmacognosy, is principal investigator, and Courtney Roper, assistant professor of environmental toxicology, is co-principal investigator. Assistants are Thomas Werfel, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, joint assistant professor of biomolecular sciences and affiliate assistant professor of chemical engineering; and Kevin Lewellyn, research administrator and instructional assistant professor of biomolecular sciences.
  • “Working Towards Equity for and Documenting Diversity Among Latinx Populations in New Destination Communities of the South” – Stephen Fafulas, assistant professor of Spanish and linguistics, is principal investigator, and Michelle Emanuel, director of metadata and digital initiatives in University Libraries, is co-principal investigator. Assistants are Simone Delerme, associate professor of sociology and anthropology; Laura Martin, associate director of the Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement; Kathryn McKee, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture; Daniel O’Sullivan, chair and professor of modern languages; Nao Valcarcel, instructional assistant professor of pharmacy; Chad Howe, associate professor of romance languages at the University of Georgia; Rafael Orozco, chair and professor of world languages, literatures and cultures at Louisiana State University; Diego Pascual y Cbo, director of the Spanish heritage program at the University of Florida; and Maiyojanna Pelayo, a UM graduate instructor in modern languages.