ICIK names 2016 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award winners

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State graduate students Sarah Eissler, Annie Marcinek and Nari Senanayake have been recognized with the 2016 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Research Award to help fund their research pursuits. The award, open to all full-time Penn State undergraduate and graduate students, is funded by the Marjorie Grant Whiting Endowment for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledge and supported by Penn State’s University Libraries and the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK).

Award applicants are evaluated based on their proposal’s intellectual merit, research potential, creativity, research design and evaluation, qualifications and availability of resources to complete the work. Each recipient will present their research findings during the 2016-17 academic year and write an article highlighting the indigenous knowledge aspects of their projects for publication in Penn State’s open access indigenous knowledge journal IK: Other Ways of Knowing.

Eissler is a doctoral student in the dual-title Rural Sociology and International Agriculture and Development (INTAD) program. Her current research areas focus on gender in the context of climate change and smallholder cacao farming in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. She is working with The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) for her dissertation work, and worked with the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) for her master’s thesis research.

Eissler's thesis work investigated decision-making on technology adoption with smallholder coffee farmers in Costa Rica, and she has been engaged in various research projects with a heavy focus on community, gender, climate change, smallholder commodity farming and youth engagement. She also works closely with Mark Brennan, Penn State’s UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, and the UNESCO program.

Marcinek is a first year master’s degree student in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. Her studies focus on ecotourism in South America and its impacts on indigenous community organization, empowerment and environmental conservation. She has completed fieldwork focused on sustainable community projects among Kichwa communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, in addition to Quechua communities throughout the highlands of Cusco, Peru. Her interests include political ecology, ethnographic methodology and Spanish.

Senanayake is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography. Her research interests are broadly focused on the relationships between society, agriculture, health and the environment. Specifically, her doctoral dissertation research draws on political ecologies of health and science studies to analyze the shifting relationships between knowledge, disease and agrarian livelihoods in the dry zone of Sri Lanka.

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Last Updated May 31, 2016