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Planning Grants Awarded to Faculty and Staff for Early-Stage DEIJ Projects

Investigators Will Speak on Projects at Sept. 27 Proposers Day Event
August 29, 2022

Eight teams led by staff and faculty members have been awarded WPI planning grants of up to $4,000 for early-stage research and creative projects focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

The teams will use funds from the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Planning Grant Program, which the Office of the Vice Provost for Research announced in May 2022, to examine subjects ranging from mentoring for graduate students to data visualization across languages and cultures. The grants are aimed at exploring issues of marginalized groups or inequities at WPI or in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“These projects will bring together interdisciplinary teams to collaborate on issues of DEIJ, which is a focus of WPI’s strategic plan,” said Bogdan Vernescu, vice provost for research. “I look forward to seeing how these early-stage projects lead to external funding and partnerships for initiatives that will make a difference in this important field.”

Principal investigators of the teams will speak about their projects Sept. 27 at a Proposers Day luncheon. The event will be open to all who applied for the grants, as well as faculty and staff with an interest in DEIJ.

Award recipients and their projects:


Holger Droessler, assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Arts, “Bridging the Disciplinary Divide with DEIJ Research Interest Groups”


Rory Flinn, assistant dean of graduate studies, “Building Community and Reducing Attrition Through the Development of a Mentoring Program for WPI Graduate Students from Underrepresented Groups”


Lane Harrison, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, “Data Visualization Across Languages and Cultures”

Courtney Kurlanska, assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies, “Responsible Representation: Assessing Cultural Competency for Equity and Inclusion in Student Posters”


Arnold Lane,  director of Multicultural Education and Community Engagement, “Creation of a Bridge to WPI Program Using the Connections Academic Immersion + Pre-Orientation Program Model”


Benjamin Pollard, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Physics, “Ungrading in Higher Ed: The Experiences of Marginalized Students”


Stacy Shaw, assistant professor in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies, “Balancing Rest and Work at WPI: Experiences of First-Generation Students, International Students and Transfer Students”

Hermine Vedogbeton, assistant research professor in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies, “Black Student Success Program”

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