Kristina Keating, Paul Sternberger, and Ian Watson

SASN Faculty Receive 2020 Rutgers Global Grants

Three faculty from the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN) were among the recipients of the 2020 Rutgers Global Grants, announced July 21.   

These modest seed grants are offered yearly to all Rutgers faculty, including tenured, tenure-track, clinical, and non tenure-track faculty. This year, there were four categories of grants: International Collaborative Research Grants, Global Health Seed Grants, Global Environmental Change Grants, and Study Abroad Grants.

Evaluating Water Availability in the Andes Amid Climate Change  

Kristina Keating at the Ramaschaka watershed
Keating and colleagues from Humbolt State University collecting geophysical data in the Ramaschaka watershed in 2019. Photo courtesy Kristina Keating.

Kristina Keating, an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, received a Global Environmental Change Grant, a new category this year. Offered in partnership between Rutgers Global, the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS), and the Rutgers Climate Institute (RCI), the Global Environmental Change Grants aim to leverage and enhance Rutgers’ global presence and cross-disciplinary expertise to advance the understanding and/or governance of global environmental change.  

Keating’s project, “Evaluating the Impacts of a Changing Climate on Water Storage and Water Yield in Andean Peru” seeks to understand the effects of receding glaciers on water supply in this region.   

In explaining the project, Keating said “The Rutgers Global Grant will help us to evaluate and quantify water storage and sustainable water yield in the Ramaschaka watershed located in the Peruvian Andes. The Peruvian Andes are home to 71% of the world’s tropical glaciers and as glaciers continue to recede in response to global climate change, downstream water users in this region will become vulnerable to water scarcity.”   

In this project, Keating and her team will perform hydrogeologic and hydrogeophysical study to understand and quantify water storage and availability in the Ramuschaka and the Marashuaycoco watersheds, located in the puna grasslands of the Andes, which are an understudied but important non-glacier fed water source within the region, according to the project description. 

“This project will aid Peruvian communities to make informed water management decisions in order to meet future water demands,” said Keating.  


Creating Global Engagement Opportunities for Students 

Ian Watson and Paul Sternberger, in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media, received a Study Abroad International Service Learning Innovation Grant, also new this year. These grants support the development of new and innovative faculty-led study abroad programs that integrate opportunities for global-local service and/or international service-learning. The grant’s emphasis is on providing accessible global learning opportunities that bridge global and local issues, and that effectively integrate service and the academic course content. 

Issa Valley theatre production
Borderland Foundation theatre production, "The Issa Valley." Photo courtesy Ian Watson.

Watson and Sternberger’s project “Public Scholarship, Civic Dialogue, Democracy, and the Arts” is a 2-week international immersion experience that explores ways creative disciplines can be tools for community engagement and positive social change. Led by local Polish experts with years of experience as cultural facilitators, academics, and workshop leaders, the program is based in two locations. At Warsaw, students will participate in lectures, workshops, and visits to community-based organizations affiliated with the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Polish Culture, learning how arts-oriented strategies are employed in local urban communities as generators of civic engagement and grassroots-based social change. At the Borderland Foundation headquarters in northeast Poland, students will learn about and engage with Borderland’s work in both Poland and abroad in conflict regions around the world, and they will work with local communities and the Foundation’s partners in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

“Ian and I are indeed very grateful for the generosity of Rutgers Global,” stated Sternberger.  “Their support will help us make the program more financially accessible to students as we get our Poland program off the ground.  The Poland partnerships will offer our students a unique study abroad experience, giving them first-hand, hand-on experience with groundbreaking initiatives that show ways the arts can have direct impact on local communities, facilitating real social change.” 

Watson agreed. “I am especially thankful to Rutgers Global for what their generosity means to our students. I know from personal experience that it will help facilitate the learning event of a lifetime for them. They will not only travel to Poland, one of the most exciting countries in Eastern Europe; they will also engage with Polish university students, and faculty from Warsaw University who have been at the forefront of community-based arts practice in Europe for many years. Following Warsaw, they will work at The Borderland Foundation, an international NGO that has been using arts and media tools to realize social change in numerous countries around the world for over 25 years.” 

He added, “Summer will be fun for all of them. It will also change some of them forever!” 


These grants represent our continued belief in the power of research and education to help transform lives all around the world, perhaps now more than ever.

In announcing the grant recipients, Vice President for Global Affairs Eric Garfunkel noted: “Even during these turbulent and uncertain times, Rutgers Global remains committed to internationalization and expanding our global engagement. These grants awarded to our extremely talented faculty represent our continued belief in the power of research and education to help transform lives all around the world, perhaps now more than ever. While the coronavirus pandemic has introduced challenges to our faculty’s research and travel plans, we are impressed by their creativity and willingness to make necessary modifications to their projects, including embracing virtual opportunities and delaying travel. Moreover, the expanded suite of Study Abroad Grants offered this year underscores Rutgers Global’s ongoing investment in expanding access to global learning and in providing all Rutgers students with opportunities for interdisciplinary experiential learning that addresses real-world global challenges.” 

Director of Programs and Partnerships Rick Lee, who administers the Rutgers Global Grants program, added: “We were deeply impressed by the breadth and depth of the proposals this year, and are pleased to show our support for our faculty through the Global Grants. We are honored to continue our collaboration with the Rutgers Global Health Institute in offering the Global Health Seed Grants. This year, we are also delighted to partner with the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and the Rutgers Climate Institute to offer, for the first time, the Global Environmental Change Grants.”  


A full list of the 2020 Rutgers Global Grant recipients can be found at