OUR Research Grant Examples

All Grants are Divided into two categories for review. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and ASSH (Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities). Both Catagories are reviewed based on the same criteria.

Below are several examples of grants divided into the two review categories. These are real grants that were funded through our office in the last year. Following their pattern and structure will not guarantee a successful grant proposal, but may help to give you ideas for your own proposal.

Funded STEM Grant Proposals



Project Title

Investigating Stormwater as a Potential Source of Nutrients and Microplastics in the Indian River Lagoon


Microplastic research investigates plastic pollution within the size range of 5mm – 1µm, which may be composed of varying polymers and designs. Annual global plastic production (393 million tons in 2016) will soon outweigh human biomass (1). This thriving industry has led to widespread microplastic pollution in recent decades, and due to their size, microplastics are highly accessible to a wide range of biota. Ingestion has been documented in organisms as large as birds and humans, and as small as zooplankton (2). Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) readily accumulate on microplastics, which can then be released into organisms upon ingestion or deposited into the surrounding environment (3). A previous study done by a University of Central Florida undergraduate found an average of 23.1 plastic pieces per liter of water in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), as compared to a similar study on a highly industrialized Chinese estuary, which found a maximum of 13 pieces per liter (4). It is unclear where these particles originate from, and how they are interacting with nutrients in the water and sediment. This study aims to determine if stormwater outfalls are a major source of microplastic pollution in the IRL, as well as how the introduction and dispersal of microplastic pollution interacts with nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) availability. Specifically, we seek to determine if: 1) microplastics and nutrients co-occur in higher concentrations adjacent to stormwater outfalls relative to areas distant from stormwater sources, 2) the existence of stormwater baffle boxes (gated structures on outfalls which aim to slow the velocity of water and remove pollutants) significantly reduces nutrient and/or microplastic pollution, 3) terrestrial stormwater ponds serve as a sink for nutrients and microplastics prior to water discharge into the IRL, and 4) storm events create a flush of nutrients and microplastics into the IRL. This study will sample 60 discrete locations in the IRL monthly for 3 months. Forty-five randomly selected sites located within the northern IRL will be tested, ranging from New Smyrna Beach to Titusville, with 15 field replicates at open stormwater outfalls, 15 at outfalls fitted with baffle boxes, and 15 controls located a minimum of 2 km from a stormwater outfall. The remaining 15 samples will be collected from randomly selected stormwater ponds within the northern IRL drainage basin. Additionally, a subsample of 5 sites of each treatment will be sampled immediately pre- and post-storm events. This storm sampling will occur at least 6 times during summer of 2019. At each site, sampling will include the collection of two 10 cm sediment cores and two 1-L surface water samples. Each sample will be analyzed for abundance of microplastics using a dissecting microscope, identity of microplastics using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and nutrient content including nitrate, phosphate, and ammonia. This will give insight to whether there is a correlation between the sources of microplastics and the presence (or absence) of nutrients that are essential to natural biogeochemical cycling. If stormwater is found to be a major contributor of microplastics in the IRL, it is also likely a major contributor globally, and may be impacting biogeochemical cycles on the same scale. It is essential that studies such as this one are carried out locally and internationally, so that we may find much needed solutions to microplastic pollution.


Literature Review

  1. Lebreton, L., & Andrady, A. (2019). Future scenarios of global plastic waste generation and disposal. Palgrave Communications, 5(1), 6.


  1. Cole, M., Lindeque, P., Fileman, E., Halsband, C., Goodhead, R., Moger, J., & Galloway, T. S. (2013). Microplastic ingestion by zooplankton. Environmental science & technology, 47(12), 6646-6655.


  1. Law, K. L., & Thompson, R. C. (2014). Microplastics in the seas. Science, 345(6193), 144-145.


  1. Waite, H. R., Donnelly, M. J., & Walters, L. J. (2018). Quantity and types of microplastics in the organic tissues of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica and Atlantic mud crab Panopeus herbstii from a Florida estuary. Marine pollution bulletin, 129(1), 179-185.


Starting in May 2019 for 3 months:


Use CEELAB-available data on GIS interface to determine 60 randomly selected stormwater drainage points for sampling (15 stormwater outfalls, 15 outfalls fitted with baffle boxes, 15 control locations a minimum of 2 km from a stormwater outfall, and 15 stormwater ponds) in the northern Indian River Lagoon and drainage basin.  A subset of 5 from each treatment will also be randomly selected for pre- and post- storm sampling.


Collect 2 10-cm sediment cores and 2 1-L water samples on a monthly basis from each of the 60 locations selected for microplastics examination; additional samples pre- and post- storm events will also be collected on the subset of 5 locations in each treatment. One sample from each site will be analyzed for microplastics, and the second for nutrients. This sampling is permitted with valid saltwater fishing license.


Sediment and water samples will be filtered and analyzed under a dissecting microscope to determine microplastic abundance and diversity.


Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy will be used to identify types of plastics present.


Sediment and water samples at each site will be subjected to nutrient analysis including extractable nitrate, phosphate, and ammonia.


Complete statistical analysis of data.  Prepare poster presentation for UCF Summer Showcase (July 2019), SHORE Showcase for undergraduates in marine science in New Smyrna Beach (December 2019), and SURE Showcase (April 2020).  Prepare manuscript for submission to peer-reviewed journal.



Jacklyn Condon: Lead microplastics data collection, starting with the collection of sediment cores and water samples. Microplastics will be separated from samples and analyzed for size, abundance, and identification. Water samples will then be vacuum-filtered, and sediment samples treated with potassium hydroxide and filtered to isolate plastics. A dissecting microscope will be used to analyze all samples and identify solids as organic or plastic – based on texture, fragility, and response to heat. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) will be used to identify types of plastics present.


Evan Duga: Lead collection of nutrient data, starting with the collection of sediment cores and water samples. KCl extractable nutrient method will be implemented on the collected sediment cores. This data will determine amount of nitrate, phosphate, and ammonia in the sediment samples. Once extractable nutrient samples are collected concentration of the nutrients in sediment and surface water will be determined by analysis on the SEAL AQ2 automatic discreet analyzer.


Shared responsibilities: Field work; Data analysis; Poster presentations; Manuscript preparation.



Filters needed in order to process and analyze samples:

Pack of 100 filters (0.47 diameter, 0.45 microns, gridded) $209.94, Fisher Scientific,


Reagents for nutrient extraction and SEAL AQ2 Automatic Discreet Analyzer:  Total = $598.84

 Reaction segments (100pkg x 2) $178.00, Seal Analytical

 2ml sample cups (1000pkg x 2) $86.00, Seal Analytical

 EDTA dehydrate (ACS) $56.78, Fisher Scientific

 Phenol (crystalline) $62.44, Fisher Scientific

 Sodium nitroferricyanide dihydrate $128.00, Fisher Scientific

 Sodium Hydroxide (pellets, ACS) $37.96, Fisher Scientific

 L-Ascorbic Acid (crystalline/certified ACS) $21.00, Fisher Scientific

 Potassium Phosphate Monobasic (crystalline/certified ACS) $28.66, Fisher Scientific


Roundtrip travel to Northern Indian River Lagoon at 0.445/mile: 427 miles: $190.02


Materials provided by CEELAB (Dr. Walters): Dissecting microscope, vacuum filter, 1 L bottles, petri dishes, potassium hydroxide solution, GIS software on laboratory computer


Materials provided by the Aquatic Biogeochemistry Lab (Dr. Chambers): Vacuum filtration apparatus (vacuum 1 L Erlenmeyer flask, Buchner funnels, vacuum tubing), centrifuge, centrifuge vials, scintillation vials, precision weighing scales


Sum of total budget = $998.8

Amount Requested


Fund Amount




Project Title

Selective detection of Fentanyl using electrochemical sensor based on Molecular imprinted polymer


Objective Statement:
This project aims to develop a cost effective, robust and selective electrochemical sensor based on molecularly imprinted polymers that can differentiate fentanyl and its analogues among other drugs such as heroin, cocaine and morphine.
In recent years, the abuse and misuse of drugs has significantly increased, resulting in an annual cost of around $400 billion (French, 1997). Among them, fentanyl has progressively been used as an adulterant due to its high potency (100 and 50 times more potent than morphine and heroin, respectively). In fact, in 2015, the Drug Enforcement Agency alert fentanyl as a “threat to health and public safety” and more recently (in 2016) the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported fentanyl and its derivatives as responsible of overdoses in ten different states in US (Scholl, 2019). Thus, the development of detection methods of fentanyl is extremely important. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recommend the use of immunoassays (ELISA) and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC/MS) methods for the determination of fentanyl in different matrices (UNODC, 2018). However, these techniques present a few disadvantages. ELISA lacks the selectivity and sensitivity required to differentiate between fentanyl and its analogues (UNODC, 2018). While, LC/MS is costly and time consuming (Tankeu, 2013). Furthermore, both techniques require skilled-labor. Therefore, electrochemical sensors may be an alternative method for the rapid, user-friendly, inexpensive and selective detection and quantification of fentanyl to be used by first responders. Electrochemical sensors are devices consisting of a recognition phase coupled to an electrochemical transducer for the translation of a chemical/biological signal into a measurable electrical signal (Antuña-Jiménez, 2012). Molecular imprinted polymers (MIP’s) can be used as recognition element in electrochemical sensors to ensure the selectivity of the sensor. MIP’s are synthetic biomimetic receptors containing specific cavities created based on an analyte. MIP’s are produced by the growth of a polymeric structure around a molecule used as a template. Then, this template is removed from the MIP to obtain specific cavities analogous to the template molecule (Ceglowsky, 2017). For the development of sensors, MIP’s can be formed directly on the electrode surface by electropolymerization, which can be referred to as E-MIP.
E-MIP’s present several advantages such as, easy preparation, cost effective, efficient, sensitive, high reproducibility, stability in adverse conditions (acids, bases, organic solvents, high temperatures and high pressures) and the capability of application in point-of-care tests (POCT) (Ceglowski, 2017).
The E-MIP’s will be electropolymerized on the surface of a gold electrode (Au-E) in the presence of fentanyl and a monomer through cyclic voltammetry (CV) in an electrolytic solution at controlled pH (Beluomini, 2018). Pyrrole (PY) and ortho-phenylenediamine (o-PDA) will be
the monomers studied due to difference of their properties. A conductive and a non-conductive polymer will be formed from these monomers, polypyrrole (PPY) and poly(ortho-phenylenediamine) (Po-PDA), respectively. For the non-conductive polymer, the detection will be evaluated in two ways: (i) directly, by the electrochemical signal of the analyte; and (ii) indirectly, by the suppression of redox probe (Fe(CN)63-/4-) signal due to occupation of the MIP cavities by the analyte (Sharma,2012). For the conductive polymer, direct detection will be used because the analyte has an electrochemical signal, which will increase upon increasing the concentration (Sharma, 2012). After the polymerization, the next step is the template (fentanyl) removal from the MIP cavities by immersing the E-MIP in a solvent in which fentanyl is soluble. Finally, the E-MIP is ready to be used. The E-MIP will be characterized and evaluated by CV and square wave voltammetry. For the optimization of the E-MIP, some conditions, such as ratio of monomer to template, the number of cycles, interaction time of the monomer and template before electropolymerization, the time and solvent needed to remove and rebind the template will be analyzed. Then, the performance of the optimized E-MIP will be evaluated by the determination of the linear range, limit of detection (LOD), response time, and selectivity. The final step will be the application of the sensor to forensic and biological samples in order to improve selectivity.
Expected outcome:
The expected outcome is to obtain a low cost, robust and selective sensor through the evaluation of the optimal polymer to detect fentanyl, the determination of the ideal ratio monomer:template, and the solvent for template removal from the MIP. Continuously, we expect to obtain a good linear range with low LOD and high selectivity in a short response time. We expect to improve the selectivity of the E-MIP through applications in real samples.

Cited Literature: References

1) UNODC (2018), Recommended Methods for The Identification and Analysis of Fentanyl and Its Analogues in Biological Specimens: Manual for Use by National Drug Analysis Laboratories, UN, New York, https://doi.org/10.18356/aca7aca5-en.
2) Tankeu, Sidonie, et al. “Vibrational Spectroscopy as a Rapid Quality Control Method ForMelaleuca AlternifoliaCheel (Tea Tree Oil).” Phytochemical Analysis, vol. 25, no. 1, 2013, pp. 81–88., doi:10.1002/pca.2470.
3) Cegłowski, Michał et al. “Molecularly imprinted polymers as selective adsorbents for ambient plasma mass spectrometry.” Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry vol. 409,13 (2017): 3393- 3405. doi:10.1007/s00216-017-0281-2
4) Sharma, Piyush S et al. “Electrochemically synthesized polymers in molecular imprinting for chemical sensing.” Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry vol. 402,10 (2012): 3177-204. doi:10.1007/s00216-011-5696-6
5) DEA strategic intelligence section. 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment. 2018, www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/DIR-032- 18%202018%20NDTA%20final%20low%20resolution.pdf.
6) Antuña-Jiménez, Daniel, et al. “Molecularly Imprinted Electrochemical Sensors.” Molecularly Imprinted Sensors, 2012, pp. 1–34., doi:10.1016/b978-0-444-56331-6.00001-3.
7) Beluomini, M.A., da Silva, J.L. & Stradiotto, N.R. Microchim Acta (2018) 185: 170. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-018-2710-0
8) M.T. French, L.J. Dunlap, G.A. Zarkin, K.A. McGeary, A. Thomas McLellan, A structured instrument for estimating the economic cost of drug abuse treatment, J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 14 (1997) 445-455, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0740-5472(97)00132-3
9) L. Scholl, P. Seth, M. Kariisa, N. Wilson, G. Baldwin, E. Release, Drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths-united states, 2013-2017, Morb. Mortal. Rep. Surveill. Summ. 67 (2019) 1419-1427, https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm675152e1

Author Responsibilities

We plan to start the project in January with the determination of the ideal polymer that will present the best response for fentanyl. After the ideal polymer is chosen (about 3 weeks), the optimization of the sensor will take place (about one month). Beginning in March, we will evaluate the performance of the sensor to obtain a good linear range with low LOD and high
selectivity in a short response time (about two weeks). Finally, we will spend the remainder of the time applying the sensor to forensic and biological samples.

Budget and Justification:

The fentanyl will be provided by Dr. Candice Bridge and therefore, does not appear on the budget.
$252.00- Pack of 3 gold electrodes from CH-instruments for measurements.
$79.00-Platinum counter electrode from CH-instruments for measurements.
$38.00- Alumina suspension 1 uM, 6 oz from Buehler for polishing the electrodes.
$38.00- Alumina suspension 0.3 uM, 6 oz from Buehler for polishing the electrodes.
$38.00- Alumina suspension 0.05 uM, 6 oz from Buehler for polishing the electrodes.
$92.00- 2 packages of MicroCloth (polishing pads) from Buehler for polishing the electrodes.
$80.00-100 mL of Pyrrole from Sigma Aldrich, monomer to form conductive molecular imprinted polymer.
$30.00-100g of Ortho-phenylenediamine from Sigma Aldrich, monomer to form non-conductive molecular imprinted polymer.
$48.00 -Potassium hexacyanoferrate (II) trihydrate from Sigma Aldrich to be used as a redox probe.
$55.00-Potassium hexacyanoferrate (III) from Sigma Aldrich to be used as a redox probe.

Total Funding Amount Requested: $750.00

Funded ASSH Grant Proposals


School of Performing Arts

Project Title

Sewanee Summer Music Festival Percussion Studio


The objective of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Percussion Studio is to provide students the opportunity to be fully immersed in a musical experience not available on campus: to collaborate, learn, and perform with some of the foremost orchestral musicians in the country.  Throughout the month-long festival in Sewanee, Tennessee, I will be playing in an orchestra of professional quality under world-renowned conductors, performing chamber music with other percussionists and instrumentalists, as well as taking lessons from major orchestral players and university professors from around the world.  This means that I will be getting some of the foremost instruction in percussion available throughout the summer, which will allow me to cement myself in the young generation of orchestral musicians and help develop my career path as a professional musician.  The festival will also afford me the opportunity to give back to the community by participation in educational outreach as well as free performances in the community. 

Beyond my goal of developing into a great orchestral musician, I will be competing in the Jacqueline Avent Concerto Competition where I will have the opportunity to compete for a scholarship award, along with a chance to perform in concert with the Festival Orchestra as a featured soloist during the final week of the festival.  Not only will this festival provide me with an experience that will help determine my future career, but it will help me reach out to the young students that I teach in Orange and Brevard County, by sharing the information I’ve learned with them, and how they can take advantage of all the musical opportunities in their lives, and what skills they can learn from the activity.

Since the beginning of this academic year, I have been preparing to audition for this festival which has a very competitive application process.  I had to study many orchestral pieces as well as put in countless hours of practice to execute the audition music as flawlessly as possible.  I was required to record multiple excerpts from the orchestral literature on six different instruments to be judged by a panel of professionals, as well as provide multiples references from other music professionals.  Upon completion of all audition recording and application materials, I submitted an application before the Priority Scholarship Deadline.  This, along with a competitive application allowed me to be accepted to the festival and also receive a $1,500 scholarship for the festival.  It was of the utmost importance that my recordings were of the highest quality, as recording is the most superior form of publication for a musician.  This helped document my mastery of the instruments, musical interpretation, musical intent, as well as my knowledge of the literature and ability to analyze music of the most complex form.

This festival will go beyond simply performing music at the highest level, but it will teach me the skills of self-promotion and help me become an entrepreneurial musician, which is one of the most important skills that a musician needs in today’s professional environment.  This festival will also influence me in many ways, allowing me to give back to my peers at UCF, helping us make music at an even higher level than we already do.  Some of the ensembles I play in on campus are the UCF Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, New Music Ensemble, as well as Black Steel, our steel drum band that plays at many events around campus.

The importance of this festival and how it will play a role in my future cannot be overstated.  I will gain knowledge in addition to what I have already learned at UCF, which is worth quite a bit on its own, and this will help me play a significant role in the percussion community by taking what I’ve learned and becoming an innovator in the field of percussion.

Literature Review

This is some of the orchestral and operatic literature I was required to audition with, as well as some of the repertoire I will be playing in the Festival Orchestra this coming summer:


La Mer by Claude Debussy

Polka, from “The Golden Age” by Dimitri Shostakovich

Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Dimitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 4 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Carmen (Opera) by Georges Bizet

Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” by Antonin Dvorak

Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi

Capriccio espagnol by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Appalachian Spring Suite by Aaron Copland

Rain Tree by Toru Takemitsu

Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach

Multiple String Quartets by Wolgang Amadeus Mozart.


August 2018-February 2019: Study materials, listen to respected recordings, practice, and prepare music for Priority Scholarship Application Deadline


February 2019: Apply to festival and record references


March-June 2019: Study music, listen to respected recordings, practice, and prepare music to be played at the festival, as well as practice concerto for the Jacqueline Avent Concerto Competition.

June-July 2019: Attend Sewanee Summer Music Festival.  Rehearse in an orchestra of professional quality daily.  Rehearse chamber music daily.  Take a lesson with some of the foremost percussionists of the world weekly.  Perform multiple programs in the community weekly.


My responsibility for research and results as a student author (performer) can be seen in my performance quality.  The way that I prepare, practice, and perform will affect the way I am seen in the eyes of professionals and the quality of student that an education at UCF can provide.  The results of my research are typically seen in the arts community as performances and the affect it has on the audience and community. 

              The arts are a vital part of the culture of any community, and it is my job to help foster an environment that entertains the hearts and minds of everyday people.  While scientific research can help break boundaries, music manifests itself in a similar way.  My responsibility to perform music at the highest level will be seen in the enjoyment and reaction of each audience member I will play for this summer.  It is no secret that music plays a vital role in everyone’s life and the cultural identity they represent.  In the way scientific research can change the world and affect lives, music has the same potential in helping meld the hearts and minds of people of all ages. 

              Researchers are required to understand everything about their topic, prepare the material, and execute their plan to a T.  Playing in a professional orchestra works the exact same way: instrumentalists are required to prepare their music individually by studying scores, listening to recordings, and practicing, and are then required to rehearse with the orchestra while collaborating on an effective interpretation, all culminating in a performance for an audience that has come to feel some sort of emotion.


The Sewanee Summer Music Festival is a program that brings together the best of conductors, musicians, and arts enthusiasts in the world to perform music for an entire month in Sewanee, Tennessee, which takes substantial funds to put together.  As a student wishing to study for the summer at Sewanee, it very similar to attending a university where you pay for an application, tuition, and room and board. 

              Once all of these items are combined, it costs exactly $5,000 to attend Sewanee which does not include travel to and from the festival.  After I applied to the earliest deadline (Priority Scholarship) with a competitive application, I was awarded a $1,500 scholarship which will lower my cost of attendance to $3,500.  It will also cost roughly $500 to travel to and from the festival which makes the amount I need to pay about $4,000. 

              I plan on using money saved from working and performing to help for the scholarship as well as $400 I am applying to receive from the UCF Student Government Association CRT Committee.  A grant of $1,000 would be instrumental in getting me to a festival that will alter the path of my musical career.  If awarded, this would lower my cost for travel and the festival itself to about $2,600, which I plan on paying with my saved funds.

              The benefits that this festival will offer me will have lasting effects for the rest of my career and life, so funding from UCF would be incredibly helpful in creating this influence in my future.

Amount Requested


Fund Amount




Project Title

Growing up Puerto Rican: College Student’s’ Reality of Staying in Puerto Rico Post-Maria


Objective Statement

This research project will provide insight about the students of the public university in Puerto Rico and the particulars of their experience after Hurricane Maria.


Due to the events of September 20th, 2017 many changes have been forced on the people of Puerto Rico. The arrival of Hurricane Maria uncovered great susceptibility in the island. An article released by El Nuevo Día on March 9th states that more than 135,000 Puerto Ricans left the island and it is predicted to increase throughout the next couple of years (Delgado Robles 2018). With an approximate $90 billion spent in damages, more than 462,000 households received $1.4 billion in FEMA individual Assistance for repairs and disaster relief, others were relocated to hotels in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (FEMA 2018, Kishore et al. 2019). Although FEMA provided relief and reconstruction help, many people were displaced and permanently scarred from Hurricane Maria.

The displacement of Puerto Rican residents is an important factor to consider when looking at the economy and recovery measures in the island. Those who stayed, whether by choice or fate, live the reality of life in the Puerto Rico post-Maria. The colonial status of the island provides for a vulnerable position for further damage (Rodriguez-Diaz 2018). The debt crisis was brought to full display by the hurricane, yet it has been part of its history since the Spanish-American War of 1898 (Backiel 2015). The long history of disregard towards the debt could no longer be ignored once Maria hit, leaving Puerto Rico at the hands of an oversight board that had been appointed by President Barack Obama back in 2016 through the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (or PROMESA). The Fiscal Oversight and Management Board was delegated control Puerto Rico’s budget (Rodriguez-Soto 2017).

The Economic reconstruction devised to address the debt has led to cuts to social programs funded by the state. One of these programs is its public university, the University of Puerto Rico. Students enrolled in the university had outside factors that further affected their situation prior to the hurricane. March 21st, 2017 the UPR campus in Rio Piedras agrees to begin a campus wide strike to fight the fiscal plan that had been presented. Most of the campuses join in the following weeks, leading a strike that continued until June 12th. This greatly delayed students’ degree timeline (Meléndez García 2017). While students were working hard to make up lost time, Maria hit and the university was closed for 40 more days. These factors have done a great injustice to college students in Puerto Rico. Student activism in the UPR is not a new trend, it has been done in the past and they have stood firm in their resistance towards the “kidnapping” of their public education in the midst of this economic crisis (Martinez and Garcia 2018, Atiles-Osoria 2013). It is pivotal to understand the experiences of these students to seek ways to help.


The data for this study will be collected through face-to-face interviews to gather information on the experience of students at the University of Puerto Rico. The interview participants will be gathered from contacting professors of the university by email, flyers around the campus and social media posts in campus related organizations. The interviews will take place where and when it is most convenient for the participants. Each interview will be guided by a question guide that will cover information about personal background, education, financial situation, mental health, etc. in order to understand the common themes that need to be addressed. About 25-30 interviews will be conducted or until we reach saturation. The data gathered will be transcribed and analyzed to find themes and subthemes. The participants will have to be over the age of 18 and had been enrolled before and after Hurricane Maria in the University of Puerto Rico as an undergraduate or graduate student.

Expected outcome

  1. Significance or use of this project

In understanding or beginning to understand this population the findings can contribute to the creation of programs (at the government or university level) to cater to the needs of the students.

  1. Worth of the project

This project is very valuable as UCF has taken important steps to support Puerto Rican students and community through the Puerto Rican Research Hub

  1. What new knowledge, understanding, or insight will be gained

What is known about the students of the university of Puerto Rico tends to be drawn from what is seen and reported on by the media outlets. Giving the students an opportunity to share individual and personal experiences provides an objective understanding to social research that has yet to be done. By sparking a conversation with the people around me, and eventually at conferences, it will provide the visibility and perspective about what many are unaware of or choose to ignore.

Literature Review

Rodriguez Soto, Isa. 2017. “Colonialism’s Orchestrated Disasters in Puerto Rico.” Anthropology News 58(6):277.

Rodriguez-Diaz, Carlos E. 2018. “Maria in Puerto Rico: Natural Disaster in a Colonial Archipelago.” AJPH 108(1):30-2.

Martinez, Andrew and Nichole M. Garcia. 2018. “#HuelgaUPR: The Kidnapping of the University of Puerto Rico, Students Activism, and the Era of Trump.” Frontiers in Education 3(84):1-11.

Kishore, N., Marques, D., Mahmud, A., Kiang, M. V., Rodriguez, I., Fuller, A., … Buckee, C. O. 2018. “Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.” The New England Journal of Medicine 379(2):162-70.

Delgado Robles, José A. 2018. “Más de 135,000 boricuas se desplazaron a EE.UU. tras el huracán María.” El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved November 9, 2018 (https://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/eeuu/nota/masde135000boricuassedesplazaronaeeuutraselhuracanmaria-2405116/)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2018. Hurricane Maria. (Also available at https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria)

Meléndez García, Lyanne. 2017. “Cronología de la huelga en la UPR.” Metro Puerto Rico. Retrieved November 9, 2018 (https://www.metro.pr/pr/noticias/2017/06/05/cronologia-la-huelga-la-upr.html)


For the remainder of the Spring 2019 semester I will be putting together a proposal with the help from my mentor Dr. Fernando Rivera. This work will be done prior to the summer because of the timeline of summer classes in the University of Puerto Rico. The summer term begins May 21st and goes through June 24th for at least one of the campuses. Once the proposal is put together, I will be traveling to Puerto Rico and conducting face-to-face interviews with the students there. The timeline for the interviews will range from mid-May to late June. Once the data is gathered, I will return to UCF to finalize any transcription and begin the analysis of the interview data. From July through August the data will be analyzed, and conclusions will be reached for the study.



Flight Costs: Because these interviews require honest answers. Allowing the participants to feel safe and relaxed can be achieved by conducting in person interviews in Puerto Rico. Flights to Puerto Rico estimate around $400 roundtrip for the dates around May 22 and June 23.

Car Gas reimbursement: I will be traveling to conduct the interviews between campuses of the University of Puerto Rico. The distance between the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras is 99 miles. Due to the unpredictability of the student’s schedules there might be multiple trips that will have to be taken between the campuses. I estimate an approximate total of 500 miles will be traveled during the trip. (500 x .445= $222.50)

Equipment: $65.03. Product: Olympus Digital Voice Recorder WS-853, Black. Vendor: Amazon. To ensure a safe place (IRB) for the recording of each interview it has a USB feature that allows for accessible uploading to my laptop and great audio quality for non-traditional/ loud interview locations. It is qualitative data, much of the finding will depend on the quality and reliability of the recordings.

Amount Requested


Fund Amount



Political Science

Project Title

Sea-Level Rise and Climate Justice for Native Americans: An Analysis of the United States’ Response and Responsibilities


Objective Statement:

This project investigates the perceptions of members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida regarding sea-level rise and native lands; planning for sea-level rise; and the relationship between coastal Tribes and the state and federal government in the context of sea-level rise. This project aims to engage with and accurately communicate the perceptions of Tribe members by serving as a platform for Tribal voices and dialogue surrounding the topic of sea-level rise.


Mean sea-level is projected to rise 0.3-1 meter higher across U.S. coasts than the mean global sea-level rise of 2.0-2.7 meters by 2100 (Sweet et al., 2017). Sea-level rise driven by climate change poses an urgent, twofold threat to Native Americans, a particularly vulnerable minority group. Sea-level rise threatens Tribes’ health, economic development, social stability, and cultural values (Norton-Smith et al., 2016; Weinhold, 2010), and the resulting loss of traditional lands threatens the cultural practices and ties to heritage that provide ontological grounding for many Native Peoples. 5.2 million people identified as American Indian and Alaska Native in the 2010 United States Census, and there are 573 federally-recognized tribes (Norris, Vine, & Hoeffel, 2012). The Federal Trust Doctrine implies a responsibility for federal policy to aid Tribes by compensating them for impacts of sea-level rise. While the government has already taken action to relocate Native American communities displaced by sea-level rise, these plans do not compensate for the irrevocable loss of heritage land washed away (Spear, 2019). Due to the unquantifiable nature of the damage to Native American communities who lose their lands to sea-level rise, a process of compensation must transcend relocation measures and monetary transactions. To combat federal aid programming that perpetuates the social, legal, and cultural disenfranchisement of Native Americans, legislation for compensation must endorse and empower Tribes’ autonomy by including the insights of Tribal and community stakeholders in a meaningful manner (Magni, 2017; Norton-Smith et al., 2016).



This study employs mixed methods to address the question of the United States’ response and responsibilities surrounding the threat sea-level rise presents to coastal Native American Tribes. A legal analysis of historical laws and policies and modern legal interpretations of Native American law is employed and situated within the framework of international human rights law. Additionally, case studies of two coastal Native American Tribes, The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and The Seminole Tribe of Florida, are reviewed in the context of addressing the research question. These case studies consist of focus-group and individual interviews during which Tribe members share their perspectives on and understanding of sea-level rise and its effects on their Tribe. These interviews will be transcribed, coded, and analyzed to identify and report on participant perceptions. This constitutes listening to audio interviews; recording the dialogue; coding each line of the dialogue to identify a major theme or perception expressed; and analyzing the content of interviews for trends, themes, and other data points to portray stakeholders’ experiences and perceptions.


Expected Outcome:

The results of the fieldwork-research component of this project will provide case studies of the effects of sea-level rise on Native American policy from the perspectives of members of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. By traveling to conduct fieldwork at reservation sites of both Tribes, the researcher will gain primary source data to analyze in understanding the effects of climate change on coastal Native American Tribes. Ultimately, the purpose of this project is to give a platform to the voices and perspectives of Native Americans as they face loss of heritage land to sea-level rise. This perspective is critical to ensuring any form of climate justice for these Tribes in their relationships with state and federal governments.


Literature Review

Magni, G. (2017). Indigenous knowledge and implications for the sustainable development agenda. European Journal of Education, 52(4), 347-447. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12238


Norris, T., Vines, P. L., & Hoeffel, E. M. (2012). The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010. United States Census Bureau 2010 Census Briefs. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/c2010br-10.pdf


Norton-Smith, K., Lynn, K., Chief, K., Cozzetto, K., Donatuto, J., Redsteer, M. H., …White, K.P. (2016). Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: A Synthesis of Current Impacts and Experiences. United States Department of Agriculture General Technical Report PNW-GTR-944. Retrieved from: https://www.climatehubs.oce.usda.gov/sites/default/files/Norton-Smith%20pnw_gtr944.pdf


Spear, K. (2019). A Climate Change Adaptation Plan in Response to Sea Level Rise for the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. U.S. Geological Survey Wetland Aquatic Research Center. Retrieved from: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/wetland-and-aquatic-research-center-warc/science/climate-change-adaptation-plan-response-sea?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects


Sweet, W. V., Kopp, R. E., Weaver, C. P., Obeysekera, J., Horton, R. M., Thieler, R. E., & Zervas, C. (2017). Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States. NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083. Retrieved from: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20180001857.pdf


Weinhold, B. (2010). Climate Change and Health: A Native American Perspective. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(2), A64-A65. doi: 10.1289/ehp.118-a64


Focus-group and individual interviews will be conducted from July-December 2019, and all traveling will take place during this time period. All recorded information will be masked for identifying information, transcribed, destroyed or properly stored, and analyzed from September 2019-March 2020. The project will culminate in May 2020 with the defense of an Honors in the Major Thesis based on the project.


***** ***** is responsible for all fieldwork site travel; individual and focus group interviews; and transcription, coding, and content analysis of participant dialogue.


  1. Round-trip mileage to the Big Cypress Seminole Tribe of Florida Reservation and Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum for three trips

$206.93 (155 total miles/trip x $0.445/mile x 3 trips)

These trips work in a sequence to facilitate fieldwork interviews with Tribe members of the Big Cypress Reservation and archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum: The first trip is to meet with Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum researchers, Tribe leaders, and the Tribe Oral Historian to gain preliminary perspectives and establish focus group interview questions. The second trip is to conduct the first focus group interview and follow up on interviews with Museum researchers and Tribe leaders. The third trip is to conduct a follow-up interview with the focus group 2-4 weeks after the first interview to revisit the conversations had and record participants’ perspectives on discussed issues with a buffer of time following the first focus group.


  1. Round-trip mileage to the Hollywood Seminole Tribe of Florida Reservation for two trips

$267.00 (300 total miles/trip x $0.445/mile x 2 trips)

These trips work in a sequence to facilitate fieldwork interviews with Tribe members of the Hollywood Reservation; it is critical to interview Tribe members from the Hollywood Reservation, as it is the Seminole Tribe of Florida Reservation closest to shoreline: The first trip is to meet with Tribe leaders and to conduct the first focus group interview of Tribe members in residence at the Hollywood Reservation. The second trip is to conduct a follow-up interview with the focus group 2-4 weeks after the first interview to record participants’ perspectives on discussed issues with a buffer of time following the first focus group.


  1. Hotel stay at Holiday Inn Express and Suites Fort Lauderdale for each of the two trips to the Hollywood Seminole Tribe of Florida Reservation

$146.00 ($73/night x 2 nights)

Hotel stays in Fort Lauderdale are necessary during the two fieldwork visits to the Hollywood Reservation, as its distance from the starting travel point of Fort Myers, Florida, would require too short of a day at the fieldwork site if travel to and from the site was completed in one day versus two.


  1. Round-trip mileage to the Miccosukee Indian Village in Everglades National Park for three trips

$309.72 (232 total miles/trip x $0.445/mile x 3 trips)

These trips work in a sequence to facilitate fieldwork interviews with Tribe members of the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida: The first trip is to meet with Tribe leaders to gain preliminary perspectives integral to the formulation of focus group interview questions and to formulate an appropriate, agreed-upon protocol for focus group interviews. The second trip is to conduct the first focus group interview and follow up on interviews with Tribe leaders. The third trip is to conduct a follow-up interview with the focus group 2-3 months after the first interview.; this time lapse is necessary to allot for the progress of the State of Florida Everglades Restoration Project, a key topic in interviews with members of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Total: $929.65

Amount Requested


Fund Amount




Project Title

Australian and New Zealand ANZACs of World War I: Public Memory and the Making of National Identity


Objective Statement

My objective is to explore, through archival research, both the erasure of women and people of color in the creation of this mythology in the 1920s and the pervasiveness of the Anzac brand in popular and official views of national identity in the century since.


Last year, at the National Museum of New Zealand, I encountered an exhibition on Anzac soldiers’ involvement in the Gallipoli campaign of World War One. Later, when I read an article on Anzacs of Chinese origin, I wondered why representations of Anzacs were almost exclusively of white males, and how this reflects on Australian and New Zealand national identity.

Since the 1980s, historians have explored the beginnings of national identity. Ernest Gellner asked if nations are born, and Benedict Anderson theorized on what forms “imagined communities.” More recently, Yuval-Davis, among other scholars of race and gender, argue that exclusion, rather than inclusion, is central to national identity. My work seeks to understand the origins of national identity as it pertains to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) and their service at the Battle of Gallipoli.

Prior to WWI, national identity was not solidified in these new nations in the British Commonwealth. Australia gained independence on January 1, 1901. New Zealand’s independence was a slower process; however, it was not seen as a nation on the global stage until after the war. People used local identities, saying they were from Victoria or New South Wales, rather than being from Australia. A narrative was needed to unify the nation and to paper over the dishonorable penal colony origins of Australia.

WWI provided the catalyst for White Australia’s creation myth. The hyper-masculine act of war was heavily idealized in these societies and portrayed as honorable and as “a great adventure.” C.E.W. Bean, the official historian of the war appointed by the Australian government, wrote volumes on the Anzacs’ glorious deeds and popularized the myth to the public. Bean took liberties with the truth at times, but the myth was embraced by a population who wanted to rewrite the narrative of a military disaster and a government who found a readymade propaganda tool to drum up militarism in future wars. The myth of the nation being carried on the shoulders of the loyal, irreverent and egalitarian civilian-soldier (the “digger”), which was analyzed by historians Graham Seal and Carolyn Holbrook, was the victory of white male idealization in these societies. It also erased the existence of indigenous populations before European settlement and the genocide committed against these populations.

Recently, scholars Marilyn Lake and James Brown have been critical of the Anzac myth, and the backlash they encountered indicates the emotional attachment modern Australians and Kiwis have to the myth. Any criticism of Anzac is seen as blasphemous. Other authors, such as Peter Rees, Joy Damousi and Joan Beaumont have looked at women and people of color as Anzacs. As a Chinese-Indian woman who grew up in Singapore, I want to be part of this growing field of research.


In August 2019, I will travel to Australia to conduct research at museums and archives. Chapter one of my thesis concerns the formation of the myth in the 1920s. I will visit the National Archives in Canberra to look through their extensive collection of WWI-era documents and newspaper clippings relating to the creation of the myth. These collections are not available elsewhere.

Chapter two analyzes the public’s consumption of this myth. My visits to the Australian War Memorial, the National Museum of Australia, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Anzac Memorial, in Melbourne and Sydney, will be critical to my analysis of how the public memorializes the war.

Chapter three, which contains the most cutting-edge research, asks: how did the erasure of non-white males in the making of this myth happen, and who are those who had their stories erased? Through archival research in Canberra, I will gain more information on women and people of color in the war. Alastair Kennedy’s book on Chinese Anzacs is not available in the US, but will be obtained in Australia.

Expected Outcome

My work will be an important contribution to a burgeoning literature on the place of women and people of color in Australian and New Zealand national identity in a multicultural world. I will present my work at the Phi Alpha Theta history conference and the Showcase of Undergraduate Research in Spring 2020 and publish my third chapter as a standalone work in the Undergraduate Research Journal.

Literature Review

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. New York: Verso, 1983.

Bean, C.E.W. Anzac to Amiens. Melbourne: Penguin Books, 1946.

Bean, C.E.W. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, vol. 1., 8th edition, Sydney: Halstead Press, 1938.

Brown, James. Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of Our National Obsession. Collingwood VIC: Redback, 2014.

Beaumont, Joan, and Allison Cadzow, ed. Serving Our Country: Indigenous Australians, War, Defence and Citizenship. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2018.

Damousi, Joy, and Marilyn Lake, ed. Gender and War: Australians at War in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press: Melbourne, 1995.

Gellner, Ernest. Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983.

Gilroy, Paul. There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, ed. The Invention of Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Holbrook, Carolyn. Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2014.

Inglis, Ken. “Men, Women, and War Memorials: Anzac Australia.” Daedalus 116, no. 4 (1987): 35-59. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20025123.

Lake, Marilyn, Henry Reynolds, Mark McKenna, and Joy Damousi. What’s Wrong With Anzac?: The Militarisation of Australian History. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2010.

Macdonald, Charlotte. “The First World War and the Making of Colonial Memory.” Journal of New Zealand Literature: JNZL, no. 33 (2015): 15-37. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43681960.

Prior, Robin. Gallipoli: The End of the Myth. London: Yale University Press, 2009.

Rees, Peter. The Other Anzacs: Nurses at war, 1914-18. Crows Nest NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2008.

Scarlett, Philippa. “Aboriginal Service in the First World War: Identity, Recognition and the Problem of Mateship.” Aboriginal History 39 (2015): 163-81. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43687040.

Seal, Graham. Inventing Anzac: The Digger and National Mythology. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2004.

Stanley, Peter. Lost Boys of Anzac. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2014.

Thomson, Alastair. Anzac Memories: Living With the Legend. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Thomson, Alistair. “Anzac Memories: Putting Popular Memory Theory into Practice in Australia.” Oral History 18, no. 1 (1990): 25-31. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40179137.

Trevor-Roper, Hugh. The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Yuval-Davis, Nira. Gender and Nation. SAGE Publications: London, 1997.


May-June 2019: Extensive reading of existing literature on nationalism and the Anzac myth.

August 8-30, 2019: Research trip to Australia, visiting memorial sites in Melbourne and Sydney and spending several days at the National Archives in Canberra conducting research on women and people of color. This timeframe only roughly overlaps with the fall semester, but it is the only time of the year I can go without missing excessive amounts of class. Since it is the off-peak tourist season, it is also cheaper for me to visit.

September/October 2019: Drafting chapter 1.

October/November 2019: Drafting chapter 2.

December/January 2020: Drafting chapter 3.

February/March 2020: Working on revisions/presenting at history conferences/publishing in Undergraduate Research Journal.

April 2020: Defend thesis (deadlines for 2020 are not up on the HIM website yet.)

Late April 2020: Submit thesis to UCF library.

May 2020: Graduate.




Airfare: Singapore to Melbourne, August 8, $269.

– Flying on Scoot, a budget airline.

Airfare: Sydney to Orlando, August 30, $623.

– Flying on Jetstar, another budget airline.

Milage: Melbourne to Canberra to Sydney, 600 miles. ($0.445/mile x 600 =) $267.

– Driving is more cost-effective than flying.

Rental car costs: Melbourne to Canberra to Sydney, $242.

– Renting the smallest and cheapest car from a budget company.

Accommodation: Hostel in Canberra, $15/night x 6 nights = $88.

– Staying in a 10-bed dorm to keep costs effective.

Accommodation: Hostel in Melbourne, $15/night x 3 nights = $45.


Costs above $1000 will come from the money I saved while working a part-time job over the past 2 semesters. I will also be staying with friends in Sydney to minimize accommodation costs. Thank you for giving me the funds necessary to complete my essential research.

Amount Requested


Fund Amount