New Seed Grants from Center for Mexican American Studies, Office of the Provost Support New Research on Latinos

Hispanics are the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority, accounting for 17 percent of the total population, according the U.S. Census Bureau. In Texas, 39 percent of the population is Hispanic. The University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) embarks on a new effort to support research about this growing and influential population.

The 2016 Faculty Research Seed Grants are a new offering through CMAS and Office of the Provost to provide funds to support policy-relevant and multidisciplinary research on Mexican-Americans and Latinos. Eight UH researchers have been selected to share $37,000 in this inaugural award.

“Given that we are projected to comprise a major segment of the future work force, student and voting populations, the issues that impact Latinos will inevitably impact the country,” said Pamela Quiroz, professor and CMAS director. “We also want our research to be able to influence the policy process and improve our communities.”

This annual funding opportunity represents a new effort for the University to support UH scholars conducting research on Latino issues. The award recipients represent faculty from political science, music, social work, art, psychology and Hispanic studies. Six faculty received $3,500, while two grants were awarded for collaborative or interdisciplinary studies.

“I am very pleased that the Office of the Provost and CMAS are funding scholarly efforts to enhance the research profile of faculty working on topics relevant to the largest minority group in the United States,” said Jason Casellas, assistant professor of political science. “This is especially important at UH because we are an Hispanic Serving Institution and our research has important implications for our community, state and nation.” Casellas received a $3,500 grant to explore attitudes about political representation and how they vary across a variety of dimensions.

“I am proud to recognize the efforts of our faculty members who have chosen to conduct research on Mexican-Americans and Latinos through our Center for Mexican American Studies” said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Paula Myrick Short. “By encouraging multidisciplinary research, we continue to break down silos within our University community as well as further develop our position as a powerhouse institution.”

The 2016 Seed Grant Recipients are:

 Collaborative/Interdisciplinary Grants:

  • Delilah Montoya and Nicolas Kanellos (Art & Hispanic Studies), “Contemporary Casta Portraiture: Nuestra Calidad” $8,000
  • Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus (Political Science), “A Double Whammy of Political Disenfranchisement? Latino Millennials and Voting Turnout” $8,000

Individual Grants:

  • Elizabeth Farfan-Santos (Comparative Cultural Studies), “Health Care Politics and Mexican Life in the United States” $3,500
  • Jodi Berger Cardoso (Social Work), “Trauma, Stress and Coping Experiences Among Unaccompanied Latino Immigrant Children in Texas” $3,500
  • Hanako Yoshida (Psychology), “Early Social Impact on Mexican Immigrant Children’s Language Development” $3,500
  • Cynthia Clayton (Moore School of Music), “The Music of Daniel Catan: La Mariposa Obsidian and Other Works (recording)” $3,500
  • Lan Ni (Valenti School of Communication), “A Model of Communication Effectiveness for Ethnic Community Organizations: Impact on Health of Hispanic Communities” $3,500
  • Jason Casellas (Political Science), “Racial and Ethnic Attitudes Towards Legislators and Representation” $3,500

“These grants are designed to encourage individual, collaborative and multidisciplinary work on issues that impact the Latino community,” Quiroz said. “Our scholars are some of the best in the nation and we want to support and showcase their work.”

The Faculty Research Seed Grants represent a new direction for the Center for Mexican American Studies.

“The purpose of this fund is to stimulate academic research by UH faculty about issues of importance to CMAS.  This makes UH more attractive to research faculty, and builds on our knowledge about how the culture in Houston, Texas, and the country is dynamically progressing,” said Steven G. Craig, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, where CMAS resides. “When research faculty are in the classroom, they expose their students to how to think about what is standard knowledge, and they can show how standard knowledge can be incomplete.”