Center for Global Studies supports faculty and students with awards

Joshua Flores
August 24, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for Global Studies (CGS) recently awarded $223,000 in fellowships and support to Penn State faculty and students whose work advances projects, research and studies focused on global issues.

The travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic posed unique challenges to CGS initiatives, as CGS uses most of its awards to fund faculty and student travel abroad. In this second year of the pandemic, CGS continued to adapt and find creative ways to support faculty and students.

CGS focuses on advancing global studies including research, coursework and language acquisition through several initiatives. To date, Penn State has been awarded more than $4 million in 12 years in Department of Education Title VI grants to support the center. CGS funding currently focuses on two types of awards — Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to support undergraduate and graduate students and CGS Research Awards to support faculty engaged in global studies research. 

Sophia McClennen, CGS director and professor of international affairs and comparative literature, said she was pleased to be able to support international studies for faculty and students despite the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

“The pandemic revealed that we truly live in a globalized world, which made the mission of supporting global studies experiences for faculty and students even more pressing,” McClennen said.

2021 Center for Global Studies Research Awards

CGS Research Awards have played an essential role in helping to advance Penn State’s mission to develop and sustain global studies research. This award provides up to $4,000 in funding to tenured and tenure-track faculty members at Penn State.

Due to ongoing travel restrictions, most of the 2020–21 awardees were unable to travel internationally to utilize their funds. Therefore, CGS will defer the use of the awards to 2021–22 for the following four faculty recipients, who expressed that they were highly appreciative of the deferment given the negative impact the coronavirus has had on their international research agendas:

  • Tracy Rutler, assistant professor of French and women’s studies, “Careful Science: Redefining Disability in the 18th Century Francophone World”
  • Eliyana Adler, associate professor of history and Jewish studies, “Palaces of Memory: Bridging Local and Imaginary Place and Space”
  • Martha Few, professor of Latin American history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, “The Rise and Spread of Postmortem Cesarean Operations for Fetal Baptism in Spanish and Portuguese Empires”
  • Ran Zwigenberg, assistant professor of Asian studies and Jewish studies, “Nuclear Minds: Cold War Psychological Science and Hiroshima”

“I am grateful that CGS will still be able to support my research travel that I had originally planned for summer 2020 to The British Library and the Wellcome Library in London when the pandemic restricted travel and closed these archives,” said Few. “The materials housed there, which are not digitized or available elsewhere, are critical to my book manuscript in process."

Tracy Rutler, Eliyana Adler, Martha Few, and Ran Zwigenberg

The Center for Global Studies at Penn State will defer the use of the awards to 2021–22 for the following four faculty recipients (from top left to bottom right): Tracy Rutler, Eliyana Adler, Martha Few and Ran Zwigenberg. 

IMAGE: Penn State

2020–21 Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowships

Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) fellowships support undergraduate and graduate students in achieving competency in select foreign languages and conducting research in related international and area studies. These academic fellowships are dedicated to language and area studies coursework that can be completed either at Penn State or overseas.

This year’s five undergraduate FLAS fellowship recipients were all high-achieving students in their second, third and fourth years of study. The following students received $15,000 to support them throughout the academic year:

  • Harrison Brennan, Hindi
  • Ross Harps, Russian
  • Cecil Houseknecht, Chinese
  • Samantha Landmesser, Arabic
  • Kristen Miller, Portuguese
Harrison Brennan, Ross Harps, Cecil Houseknecht, Samantha Landmesser, and Kristen Miller

This year’s five undergraduate Foreign Language and Areas Studies fellowship recipients (top left to bottom right; center included): Harrison Brennan, Ross Harps, Cecil Houseknecht, Samantha Samantha Landmesser and Kristen Miller.

IMAGE: Penn State

Four accomplished graduate students, also in their second, third, and fourth years of study, will be supported by FLAS fellowships. The following recipients received $33,000 to support them throughout the academic year:

  • Zachary Clark, Chinese
  • Leorah McGinnis, Chinese
  • Brian Smith, Arabic
  • Adam VanGorder, Portuguese
Zachary Clark, Leorah McGinnis, Brian Smith, Adam VanGorder

Four accomplished graduate students, also in their second, third, and fourth years of study, will be supported by Foreign Language and Areas Studies fellowships (from top left to bottom right): Zachary Clark, Leorah McGinnis, Brian Smith and Adam VanGorder.

IMAGE: Penn State

These academic fellowships are dedicated to language and area studies coursework that can be completed either at Penn State or overseas. Additional information on these awards and other CGS funding opportunities can be found at the Center for Global Studies website. ​

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 25, 2021