RU Global Grant winners

Four RU-N Faculty Win 2023 Rutgers Global Grants 

A total of four Rutgers University–Newark faculty members recently were awarded Rutgers Global Grants for the 2023 cycle. 

Assistant Professor Isadora Grevan De Carvalho (Spanish and Portuguese Studies), Professor Kent Harber (Psychology), Assistant Teaching Professor Hyacinth Miller (Africana Studies and Political Science), and Assistant Professor Takashi Amano (Social Work) were selected for this year’s RU Global funding program for project proposals tackling a variety of issues. 

Grevan De Carvalho will spearhead a study abroad program in Brazil and establish a partnership between Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) and Rutgers so that RU-N students can take credit-bearing courses at PUC-Rio in the future. Program goals include expanding students’ knowledge of Brazil and the Portuguese language to improve their fluency, deepening their exposure to the theme of resistance through art expression, and helping students use this knowledge in their respective fields to impact their local as well as global communities. Grevan De Carvalho’s plan is to take 10-15 students to Brazil in Summer 2024 for 45 days. 

“I feel very honored to have received this grant,” said Grevan De Carvalho. “Being an Assistant Professor of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies in this department, it has been my dream to personally introduce my country of origin to students and help expand interest in Brazilian and Global studies—and hope to create comparative courses highlighting the interconnectedness between Spanish Latin America and Portuguese Latin America." 

Harber is co-leading a project at the University of Haifa, in Israel, during the 2024-2025 academic year that will bring Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews together to test whether emotional, rather than just factual, disclosure promotes empathic listening between them. 

“Much of my professional career has focused on two questions: How do we see others well—not who we fear them to be, not who we want them to be, but who they are in their own right? And what benefits do people get by disclosing their own thoughts and feelings freely, liberated from internal or external editors?” said Harber. “The Rutgers Global Grant grant allows me to integrate these two pursuits, testing whether emotional disclosure gives people the wherewithal to hear others fully and fairly. Also, as someone deeply connected to Israel, this Rutgers-supported research—testing if Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews can find common ground following private, written disclosures—provides me a rare opportunity to apply my research towards a personally meaningful cause.  And, more personally, the grant feels like an affirmation from Rutgers for the work I've been able to do at Rutgers.” 

How do we see others well—not who we fear them to be, not who we want them to be, but who they are in their own right?

Miller will lead an inaugural study abroad program between RU-N's Africana Studies department and the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Barbados, that will enable students to explore the comparative complexities of Black people’s history, culture and experiences across the African Diaspora, with a focus on the Caribbean. She’ll serve as the faculty-lead and will lecture and guide conversations with local scholars and students about Barbados and its relevance to contemporary geopolitical discussions. 

"My love for and interest in the Caribbean was cemented when, as an undergraduate, my professor took a group of us to Grenada to learn about the country's history and its very recent revolution, and so in this way I am paying it forward,” said Miller. “This Faculty Innovation in Global Learning grant is further validation that the Caribbean and the African Diaspora continue to warrant focused interdisciplinary scholarly exploration and appreciation by our students." 

Amano will collaborate with partners at the University of Vermont and Universidad San Francisco de Quito to better understand the underdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) of indigenous older adults in Ecuador. They’ll develop a culturally appropriate screening tool and better description methods for this problem, which is widespread in ethnic minority communities and with people living in low-income countries, who are more likely due to cultural, social, historic and economic factors to have undetected disease. This research has the potential to help establish a more equitable system of ADRD care in Latin American countries. 

"I am thrilled and honored that my proposal has been selected for the Rutgers Global Health Seed Grant. I’ve been working on this project using large secondary data for several years, and this grant helps me take the next step of collecting data on my own,” said Amano. “This pilot project will be the essential first step of a larger-scale effort with at least three Latin American countries involved: Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to starting the project.” 

The grants were originally established through Rutgers Global, a universitywide unit committed to leading, developing, and promoting international initiatives and education. It fosters global engagement that enriches the student experience, builds faculty excellence, and enhances Rutgers University’s national and international reputation as a preeminent teaching and research university. 

Johanna Bernstein, Assistant Dean for Global Programs at Rutgers Global, who administered this year’s program, said, “As we’ve started to emerge from the lockdowns, our faculty have been able to conceive of projects that include travel and scholarship with our global partners—some existing and some new. This year resulted in one of our largest submission pools; we saw an increase of more than 30% in the number of submissions. The proposals that we were able to fund were impressive and we are thrilled to be able to support our faculty in their innovative work.”