McColl Fellows and Summer Research Grant Recipients for 2014-2015
McColl Dissertation Year Fellow
Rob Shapard is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at UNC Chapel Hill, where he is writing his dissertation on historical perceptions of the longleaf pine forests of the American South. He also has been a field scholar for the Southern Oral History Program at CSAS, and formerly was a reporter for the Herald-Sunnewspaper in Durham, N.C.
McColl Early-Stage Research Fellow
David Cranford is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology. His dissertation is an archaeological study of household organization and variability within the Catawba Nation leading up to and following the American Revolution (c. 1760-1800) and focuses on two late 18th century Catawba domestic sites near Rock Hill, South Carolina
Summer Research Grant Recipients
Bryan Davis is a master’s student in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research, and also a UNC alumnus, with a BA in History and Asian Studies in 2008. When asked how he made the jump from area studies to applied mathematics, he usually replies, “It’s a long story.” The truth of the matter is that studying mathematics seems like a natural extension of his interests, which has been in human systems, such as social systems, governments, and markets. After finishing his undergraduate studies, he moved to China, where he lived for four years, working as a translator and economic researcher. During his time there he became interested in using math to model and understand human behavior, and decided to return to school to fill in the gaps in his knowledge. In his research at UNC, he’s directed his efforts at issues far closer to home. His research with the Center addresses parole rates for serious offenders in North Carolina, focused on a statistical analysis of the major factors that influence parole decisions.
Shelby Dawkins-Law is a 2nd year student in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement strand of the PhD program in the School of Education. Her research interests are in the effects of racial and economic segregation in public elementary and secondary schools, focusing on the ways that public universities respond to these inequities by implementing policies to remain accessible to marginalized and underrepresented students. Her CSAS Summer Research Grant-funded project is a pilot study that seeks to collect student narratives of their experiences in the Wake and Charlotte-Mecklenburg County public school systems as each discontinued their desegregation bussing plans in the last fifteen years. Shelby hopes to refine this research for her dissertation, with the aim of contributing qualitative findings that can inform higher education policy reform at the nation’s public colleges universities in an effort to make post-secondary education accessible for all students.
Sophie Dent is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on the effects of dietary change and differential access to nutrition on historically marginalized groups in the American South.
Mary Donegan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her dissertation explores micro-geographies of entrepreneurial biomedical firms in the Research Triangle area, with particular attention towards the roles that universities, large corporations, non-profits, and government play in shaping long-term entrepreneurial spatial patterns in the region. Prior to starting her doctoral program, Mary earned her M.R.P. from UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning.
Lauren Du Graf is a PhD candidate from Seattle in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. Her article “‘Droits d’auteur’: The Faulknerian Author-Function in Godard’s Film Socialisme” received the 2012-13 A. Owen Aldridge Prize for an Outstanding Essay by a Graduate Student from the American Comparative Literature Association. Du Graf’s dissertation explores transnational modernist networks and communities of the mid-20th century.
Brian Fennessy is a third-year graduate student in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill. His interests range broadly through nineteenth century political and cultural history. His current project explores the discourse and political uses of white anti-Confederate memory in the Reconstruction South.
Jeffrey Harris, Ph.D. candidate in European history, is a Gulf Coast native and attended the University of South Alabama and The Ohio State University. He specializes in French and French colonial history. His dissertation, “Inventing the People: The Struggle for the General Will in the French Revolution,” connects metropolitan and colonial France to examine the development of democratic politics in the French Atlantic world. His work also examines Franco-indigenous relationships in North America and Oceania from the eighteenth century to the present.
Elijah Heyward, III is a second-year PhD student in UNC’s Department of American Studies. His research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century African American religion, documentary studies, education, and Gullah culture.
Bianca Lopez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology. She is working to complete her dissertation research on the effects of urban development on forests in the Southeast.
Josh Parshall is interested in American Jewish identity, with an emphasis on the American South. His current research focuses on the activities of the Southern District of the Workmen’s Circle during the first half of the twentieth century. Previously, Josh worked as an oral historian in Jewish communities throughout the region. He holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Kansas and an MA in Folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill.