We are pleased to introduce our newest funding initiative: Amplify Knight Voices & Broaden Community Connections: A New UCF Graduate Student Research Funding Program to Support Underrepresented Individuals and Groups.

Program Contact: Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne, Associate Professor of GIS in the UCF Department of Sociology and College of Sciences GIS Cluster. Email: timothy.hawthorne@ucf.edu 

Overview: This new graduate student funding program from Citizen Science GIS in the UCF Department of Sociology and College of Sciences directly supports UCF graduate students to amplify their voices and broaden community connections in research or educational activities focused on social, educational or environmental inequalities; oppression; anti-racist practices and systems; and/or brutality. The program places special emphasis on funding graduate students from underrepresented groups or/and those who work with underrepresented groups. UCF graduate students and/or graduate student teams are eligible to receive up to $1,000 in direct support for successful applications. Total program funding commitment in the 2020-2021 academic year is initially $5,000 from Citizen Science GIS at UCF. We challenge the broader community to join us to expand this program with donations to support more graduate students from more departments with a goal of $25,000 in new funding by Fall 2020.

Funding Goal 1: Amplify Knight Voices: In response to ongoing calls for fostering a more inclusive, just, anti-racist society and academy, our goal is to amplify the voices of graduate student scholars from underrepresented populations at UCF. We wish to directly support their research or educational activities aimed at addressing any and all forms of social, educational or environmental inequality; oppression; anti-racist practices and systems; and/or brutality. Our goal is to support the next generation of scholars aiming toward creating a more equitable, inclusive, anti-racist and just society and/or academy.

Funding Goal 2: Broaden Community Connections: In recognition that public participation from diverse groups enhances science, our goal is to broaden community connections in graduate student research and education activities. We aim to directly support graduate student work that includes meaningful partnerships with communities with high percentages of underrepresented groups. In this way, such communities can play a more active role in UCF-affiliated scholarship that impacts their communities. Our goal is to support scholarship with communities, rather than in communities.

Topics of Interest: We wish to directly support graduate student-led research and education activities aimed at addressing any and all forms of social, educational or environmental inequality; oppression; anti-racist practices and systems; and/or brutality. Applicants may address either or both of the two funding goals outlined above. To read our recent statement on the above topics and our solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement, see: http://www.citizensciencegis.org/we-stand-in-solidarity/.

Funding Eligibility and Priority: All UCF graduate students are eligible to apply as either an individual applicant or as part of a student team. Preference will be given to applications in any of the 3 categories below:

  1. UCF Sociology graduate student applicants from underrepresented groups;
  2. UCF Sociology graduate students proposing work with communities with a high proportion of underrepresented groups;
  3. Graduate student teams in other UCF departments led by students from underrepresented groups that include interdisciplinary connections with UCF sociology graduate students.

Funding Availability: UCF graduate students and/or graduate student teams are eligible to receive up to $1,000 in direct support of their successful application. Total program funding commitment in the 2020-2021 academic year is initially $5,000 from Citizen Science GIS at UCF.

Community Challenge to Increase Funding: We challenge other academic units and industry, alumni and community partners to donate to this program and partner with us so that it can be expanded to offer more research funding opportunities directly to UCF graduate students who are exploring the program’s stated goals. With additional financial partners, we are very much open to expanding in new ways to support student areas of study beyond those connected to or working with Sociology and/or GIS. 

Our Motivations: We have put forth the initial $5,000 to create this funding program because:

  1. We stand in solidarity with all in society who are calling out systematic racism, oppression, inequality and brutality across the U.S.;
  2. We acknowledge our privileged position as a community-based, scientific research organization that can take action and provide financial support to support action;
  3. We recognize we can improve our own organization’s understanding, practices and mentoring efforts related to research and education about systematic racism, oppression, inequality and brutality;
  4. We continue to support efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in the academy as this is part of our organization’s mission.

Additional Mentoring Option: Dr. Timothy Hawthorne, Founding Director of Citizen Science GIS and Associate Professor of GIS at UCF, is willing to serve as a mentor or co-mentor, either formally or informally, to assist students in executing the stated goals of selected proposals (though not required). Additional Citizen Science GIS student staff are also available to support. Adding a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) component to a proposal through such mentorship could be another way (though not required) to communicate project results as mapping and related analyses may offer opportunities to broaden impact.

Program Dates: July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 (pending continued availability of funds)

Key Program Dates/Milestones:

  • July-August 2020: Student Recruitment
  • Summer/Fall 2020: Community Challenge/Donations Open to Expand Funding Pool to $25,000
  • September 1: Round 1 Proposals Due
  • September 15: Round 1 Funding Decisions
  • November 17: Round 2 Proposals Due
  • December 1: Round 2 Funding Decisions

Application Components: Applications are limited to no more than 3 single-spaced pages with 11” or 12” inch font and 1” margins. Complete applications can be emailed as a Word document or PDF document to Dr. Timothy Hawthorne at timothy.hawthorne@ucf.edu. Applications should include all sections noted below, incomplete applications will not be considered. 

  • Key research question(s) and objectives identified and explained.
  • Short section on how the proposal supports one or both key themes:
    • Funding Goal 1: Amplify Knight Voices
    • Funding Goal 2: Broaden Community Connections
  • Short section citing 7-10 key articles (academic and/or non-academic) that support the research or education topic of interest.
  • A brief explanation of how the findings may be communicated to broad audiences.
  • Short biography of individual applicant (or all team members for a team proposal) explaining how they are part of an underrepresented group /or and how they are doing work with communities with high proportions of underrepresented groups.
  • For projects proposing to address Funding Goal 2, a short description of the community partner and their work with underrepresented groups.
  • Budget and justification. Identify and explain how the budget requested will support the application goals. Any budget items must be consistent with UCF spending guidelines. The proposed budget may not support UCF tuition/student fees, nor may it support food/beverages.

About Citizen Science GIS at UCF: Citizen Science GIS is an international award winning organization committed to increasing connections between science, technology and society. Since its inception in 2015, Citizen Science GIS has supported community-based research and broadening participation efforts in STEAM, most notably through our grant funded projects; our Maps, Apps and Drones Tour with K-12 students and teachers, and the ongoing development of the nation’s 1st GeoBus. To learn more, please visit: www.citizensciencegis.org.


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