Six first-year social sciences graduate students earn competitive fellowships from National Science Foundation

Six first-year social sciences graduate students, including five from anthropology and one from cognitive sciences, have been named recipients of prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships, awarded by the National Science Foundation. In total, 17 UC Irvine students were named as recipients and an additional 35 were awarded Honorable Mentions. Anthropology's high number of award winners places the program in the top of the nation when compared with other universities with similar program specialties.

Social sciences recipients include:

Justin Perez, Anthropology

Funded research project: "'Coming Forward' and 'Coming Out' in the Aftermath of Peru's Civil War"

Justin in studying how the politics of truth and reconciliation, notably the imperative to come forward and reveal the truth about violence during the period of internal armed conflict, may be reconfiguring how gay men understand coming out of the closet.

Daina Sanchez, Anthropology

Funded research project: "Connections to Homeland: Second-Generation Indigenous Transnationalism"

Daina's research interests include the transnational practices among second-generation indigenous migrants, identity and belonging among second-generation migrants and their parents, and the role of hometown associations in determining community membership in indigenous communities.

Heather Thomas, Anthropology

Funded research project: "Redefining Poverty: Women’s Participation in the Jamaican 'Partner' System"

Heather is researching women's use of rotating savings and credit associations and how participation enables the women to cope with market reform. She is also interested in the ways the associations themselves change in relation to various organizations that aim to influence the ways assets from the rotating savings and credit associations are put to use. Other research she is pursuing looks at social media use amongst autistic adults.

Grant Walker, Cognitive Sciences

Funded research project: "Bayesian Analysis of Neuroimaging Data"

Grant's research focuses on identifying the neural mechanisms of language and their impairment due to neurological injury.

Josef Wieland, Anthropology

Funded research project: "From Campos to Clinics: Post NAFTA Diabetes in Oaxaca, Mexico"

Josef is interested in understanding how climatic variability and agrarian reform impact food systems and food-related chronic illnesses in rural Mexico.

Leah Zani, Anthropology

Funded research project: "Animating Bodies: Becoming Lao Bodies in the Land of a Million Bombs"

Leah studies rehabilitation, maiming, bodies, and Theravada Buddhism in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.


The fellowships provide three years of support with a $30,000 annual stipend and a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance to the institution.

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