Awardees announced for 2024 HSI Faculty Seed Grant Program

June 26, 2024

More than 30 projects from University of Arizona faculty members have been funded since 2021

HSI seed grants 2024

Maura Catherine Varley Gutierrez

The HSI Faculty Seed Grant Program supports scholarly research and creative endeavors that promote the flourishing of traditionally underrepresented and under-resourced communities on campus and beyond.

Recipients of the 2024 Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) Faculty Seed Grant Program have been announced by the program's university sponsors: The Office of Research, Innovation & Impact (RII) and HSI Initiatives. Since the program's inception in 2021, 31 projects from University of Arizona faculty members have been funded, totaling $625,000.

The HSI Faculty Seed Grant Program supports scholarly research and creative endeavors that promote the flourishing of traditionally underrepresented and under-resourced communities on campus and beyond.

"The scholarship supported by the HSI Seed Grant Program highlights our faculty's expertise, creativity, community-mindedness and interdisciplinary ambitions," said Elliott Cheu, interim senior vice president for research and innovation. "The proposals accepted in 2024 serve as a beacon for the coming months, welcoming all scholars who aim to improve the lives of their diverse communities."

Kim Patten, associate vice president for research development, encouraged the community to learn about previous awards.

"I’m excited to share summaries of the projects funded through the 2024 HSI Seed Grant Program," she said. "These projects demonstrate innovative research and scholarly activity that are shaped according to our values and establish preliminary data and findings to support our faculty for further research.”

Below is a summary of the projects funded by the HSI Faculty Seed Grant Program in 2024:

  • Genesis Arizmendi, assistant professor of speech, language & hearing sciences, received funding to develop “Pathway for Underrepresented Education and Networking in Training and Empowerment (PUENTE) for Diversity in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.” This initiative focuses on dismantling systemic barriers that impede the enrollment and participation of underrepresented students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) professions. Arizmendi emphasizes PUENTE's potential to increase Latino representation in these fields. "By actively recruiting and supporting underrepresented Latino students, we nurture a new generation of healthcare and educational providers who bring their lived experiences, cultural knowledge, and linguistic expertise to the forefront. This representation will foster culturally and linguistically responsive services that truly meet the needs of our diverse communities."
  • Nadia Alvarez Mexia, assistant professor of practice and assistant director of learning development and community involvement for the W.A. Franke Honors College, will develop "Honors as Origin for a National Opportunity and Research Support in Hispanic Serving Institutions." This project addresses the gap in research and narrative about Honors experiences in HSIs. Alvarez Mexia aims to "reframe the HSI narrative by recognizing and emphasizing the unique strengths and experiences of Honors colleges and programs at HSIs, particularly in serving their students."
  • Katherine Cheng, assistant professor of educational psychology at the College of Education, received funding for "Enhancing Emotional and Motivational Development to Support Health Equity and Educational Retention in Historically Marginalized University Students." She will be partnering with AWARDSS-plus program, TRIO-ASEMS, THRIVE Center, and Think Tank to provide resources enhancing retention in higher ed.
  • Athena Ganchorre, assistant dean in the College of Veterinary Medicine and assistant research professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning & Socio-Cultural Studies in the College of Education, will address the shortage of diverse veterinary professionals in rural Arizona by reducing barriers to veterinary education for community college students. Using Augmented Reality technology, Ganchorre's project will provide educational opportunities, mentorship, and academic support. "I'm excited about advancing diversity in veterinary medical education through innovative outreach efforts," Ganchorre said. "We need a diverse and inclusive veterinary workforce that reflects the needs and demographics of Arizona's agricultural and pet-owning communities."
  • Maura Varley Gutierrez, associate professor of practice in the Department of Teaching, Learning & Socio-Cultural Studies, College of Education, received funding for "Nuestro Futuro: Uplifting Culturally Responsive Bilingual Education." This project will highlight UArizona Bilingual Elementary Education Program alumni implementing bilingual, culturally responsive education. Gutierrez hopes these stories will "create a sense of belonging for bilingual undergraduate students and help them see their potential as future bilingual, culturally responsive educators.
  • Jhonatan Henao-Muñoz, assistant professor of practice for the W.A. Franke Honors College and the Office of General Education, received funding for "Advocating for Bilingual & Culturally-Responsive Higher Education Project (ABC Higher Ed)" to build the university's capacity to offer its faculty professional development in linguistic servingness. The aim is to support Hispanic-Latine/x students by maintaining and enhancing their bilingualism (English/Spanish), acknowledging their bi/multiculturalism and fostering spaces for their biliteracy skills. Henao-Muñoz envisions the ABC Higher Ed project replicated in other language combinations to sustainably and broadly foster linguistic servingness in borderland communities.
  • Kavan Hazeli, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, will carry out “Engineering Mentors Promoting Outreach, Wellness, Education, and Respect (E.M.P.O.W.E.R.).” “The project connects undergraduate students to pre-college students in the community to allow pre-college students to see themselves as engineers and build the confidence and self-efficacy of current undergraduate students, encouraging them to persist in engineering education. Another goal, is to build a strong connection between authentic community relationships and the success of Latinx and other historically underrepresented student populations in engineering education” says project member Noel Hennessey, director of ENGineering Access, Greater Equity, and Diversity (ENGAGED).
  • Tarnia Newton, assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing, received funding for "The Arts, Health, and Binational Resilience: A Photovoice Conversation on Immigration Journeys through the US-Mexico Borderlands," a cross-disciplinary collaboration involving the College of Nursing, College of Fine Arts, School of Arts, Center for Creative Photography, and Mexico's Nursing UNISON and IIESS. “Our ultimate goal is to inspire a new social imagination that compassionately addresses global migration, fostering connection and healing,” says Newton.
  • Alyssa Ryan, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering & mechanics and assistant director for the Center for Applied Transportation, will address transportation inequities faced by older Hispanic individuals with disabilities. "I am excited about the potential to create more equitable transportation systems," Ryan said. "I hope my work will inform policies that directly benefit communities with the most need, leading to improved quality of life and justice for older Hispanic individuals with disabilities."
  • Marcos Serafim, assistant professor of art in the School of Art, has been funded for “Membrana semipermeable: Data, the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and the US-Mexico border.”


Applying for the HSI Faculty Seed Grant Program

Applicants to this internal grant may request up to $15,000 for projects with a single investigator (PI). Multidisciplinary applications from two or more eligible PIs representing different departments and disciplines may request up to $25,000. Awardees are selected in annual cohorts through a shared governance, faculty peer review process. Click here to learn more.

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