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2016-17 Grant & Fellowship Recipients

McColl Dissertation Year Fellowship

pv_photo1Pavithra Vasudevan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography whose work focuses on the stuff of environmental justice: toxicity, racism, and politics. Her dissertation research explores the history of race and waste in Badin, North Carolina, a segregated company town for workers at the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), from its establishment in 1915 to present-day issues of contamination. Pavithra has developed a play, “Race and Waste in an Aluminum Town,” which narrates the story of predominantly black West Badin based on excerpts from oral histories and observation of community meetings. Pavithra is grateful for the collaboration and mentorship of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network. This project has benefited from dissertation research funding from the National Science Foundation and the Society of Women Geographers, and collaborative research grants from the Carolina Center for Public Service and the UNC Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research. Her dissertation is titled “Searching in Aluminum’s Shadows: Black Geographies and Industrial Toxicity in North Carolina.”

Summer Research Grants


Geoffrey Hughes is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. As an archaeologist, his dissertation research explores the relationships between pottery production, landscape, religion, and social identity in 18th-19th century Moravian communities in and around Winston-Salem, NC.

Click here to view Hughes’s research poster on “Producing Identity and Moravian Pottery at Lot 38, Old Salem.”





Rachel Garringer hails from a sheep farm in southeastern West Virginia. She is a second-year MA student in Folklore, a contributing editor for Scalawag magazine, and the founder of the ongoing oral history project Country Queers, which documents the diverse experiences of rural and small town LGBTQIA folks in the United States. Her thesis explores how constructions of tradition and queerness influence young LGBTQ Central Appalachians’ organizing to bring about a just economic transition to a post-coal economy in the mountains. Her research interests are community-based public folklore, digital humanities, oral history, Central Appalachia, and rural queer experiences.

Click here to view Garringer’s research poster on “The Republic of ‘Fabulachia’: Queer Visions for a Post-Coal Appalachian Future.”

unc-bio-picTrista Reis Porter, Ph.D. candidate in UNC’s Department of American Studies, studies a variety of topics falling under the scope of American Art and Material and Visual Culture. Her dissertation addresses issues of identity, ideology, community, reception, and power around artists who tend to fall outside major canons of fine art. Bringing together the art and experiences of four artists working in a variety of mediums, she explores the shifting ways in which alterity, or otherness, has been and continues to be both confining and liberating within the contemporary art world. 

Click here to view Porter’s research poster on “Alterity, Agency, and Creative Identity in the Work of Thornton Dial, Chris Luther, Dominie Nash, and the Philadelphia Wireman.”


Victor Bouveron is a blues enthusiast from Lille, France. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in Folklore at the American Studies Department. Bouvéron explores the interplay of race, class, music and Gothic literature in the American South. His CSAS research grant funded ethnographic work with singer-songwriter Ray Cashman in Nolensville, Tennessee, fifteen miles from Nashville. Cashman connects blues and Gothic aesthetics in a fascinating way, delving into the literature of Harry Crews, Larry Brown and Tom Franklin.

Click here to view Bouveron’s research poster on “The Influence of Southern Gothic Literature on Southern Music.”



Charlotte Fryar ‪is a PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies, and her research interests include public higher education, oral history practice, digital methodologies, and twentieth century North Carolina history. Her dissertation uses oral histories and digital methods to document and interpret the long history of student activism against institutional racism on UNC’s campus. She holds a BA and MA in American Studies, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. After two years as a project manager at UNC’s Digital Innovation Lab, Charlotte now works for the Southern Oral History Program, where she is the first University History Field Scholar, a position supported by the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History.

Click here to view Fryar’s research poster on “Service to the State: The Legacy of William C. Friday.”


martinAmanda Martin is a third-year PhD student in City and Regional Planning. She conducts applied research on coastal resilience and inequality in metropolitan areas. Her summer research grant funded fieldwork on the impact of floodplain property acquisition programs on economic recovery in Eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd.

Click here to view Martin’s research poster on “Economic Resilience and Recovery in Princeville, NC.”


Rhagen Olinde

English & Comparative Literature: “History and Cultural Research in Grambling, LA”

Click here to view Olinde’s research poster.

Sounds of the South Grant


Eric Przedpelski is a senior Music Performance Major/Geology and Entrepreneurship Minor from Summit, New Jersey. Eric was the recipient of the 2015-2016 Sounds of the South Award from the Center for the Study of the American South. An aspiring jazz musician, Eric used the award to further explore his passion for American jazz music by studying its Afro-Cuban roots in Cuba. He embarked on a one-week journey to Santiago de Cuba where he recorded each and every musical encounter in order to capture the invaluable sounds.

Click here to view Przedpelski’s research poster on “Afro-Cuban Jazz and Its Influence on New Orleans Sound.”

View previous CSAS grant and fellowship recipients.