UConn Research Announces First Recipients of Seed Funding For Inclusive Research Initiatives

JEDI – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – rewards projects that support interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and creative work

An aerial photo of the gold cupola of the Wilbur Cross building as the sun rises in the horizon

(Ryan Glista/UConn Photo)

Six projects have been granted UConn’s first-ever seed funding dedicated to research and collaborations the address societal issues such as equity and inclusion.

UConn Research recently announced the recipients of the JEDI Research initiative. The awards advance innovative research, scholarship, and creative work on topics contained in the acronym – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Selected interdisciplinary projects include investigations into traffic safety inequities in environmental justice communities and alternative approaches for school safety. Other awarded submissions explore discrimination experienced by transgender and non-binary youth, establishing a memorial and museum at the former Mansfield Training School, and researching the practice of ethnic studies across the United States.

“Congratulations to our first cohort of researchers to earn these prestigious awards, which reflect so much of what UConn represents as an institution,” says Pamir Alpay, interim Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. “These projects break down disciplinary silos to embrace critical research topics of growing relevance to our state, nation, and the world.”

Three projects received $20,000 in funding for scholarly or creative expansion, designed to support JEDI-themed projects in the fine arts, the development of scholarly book projects focusing on equity and diversity, and the establishment of innovative partnerships among disciplines. Two projects received $60,000 in funding, reserved for larger scale research projects so they can be better positioned to seek greater funding in the near future.

UConn Research announced the JEDI Research Initiative last May – coincidentally just after Star Wars Day. Research Development Services Manager Matthew Mroz said the initiative was successful in its mission to generate creative interdisciplinary proposals from faculty, as evidenced by the quality of the awarded submissions and the number of disciplines that participated in the program.

The 2021-2022 JEDI awardees are:

Emma Amador, History – $19,638
Bright Futures: Antonia Pantoja and the Practice of Ethnic Studies in US History

Alaina Brenick, Human Development and Family Sciences – $19,997.19
Validating a measure of school-based interpersonal and institutional discrimination experienced by transgender and gender non-binary youth

Brenda Brueggemann, English – $20,000
The UConn – “Mansfield Training School” Cross-Institutional History:  A Memorial and Museum

Kiel Brennan-Marquez, Law Instruction and Research – $20,000
Reimagining School Safety—in Connecticut and Beyond
Co-PIs: Sukhmani SinghSchool of Social WorkMiguel de FigueiredoSchool of LawKen BaroneInstitute for Municipal and Regional PolicyAndrew ClarkInstitute for Municipal and Regional PolicyCasey Cobb, Neag School of Education

Sukhmani Singh, Social Work Instruction and Research – $59,998.64
An Intersectional Examination of the Educational Trajectories of Youth Sentenced to Probation

Davis Chacon Hurtado, Civil and Environmental Engineering – $60,000
Equity in livability: An exploratory analysis of spatial equity in roadway safety and driver behavior using naturalistic driving data
Co-PIs: Alexandra PaxtonPsychological SciencesJohn IvanCivil and Environmental EngineeringKerry MarshPsychological Sciences