Past and Current Connected PhD Recipients


Houman Kooraei-Oliaei (2022)

Houman Kooraei-Oliaei received funding to work as a GIS specialist and researcher for the Yazda Organization, a global Yezidi non-governmental advocacy and relief organization. Through this project, Houman enhanced his skills in project management, GIS analysis, and created and maintained a geodatabase.

Arantxa Ortiz (2022)

Arantxa Ortiz received this grant to support her editorial work as a section editor for Visual and New Media Review (the Society for Cultural Anthropology's online publication). Arantxa gained experience in multimedia editorial work and enhanced her publishing skills.

Collaborative Community Projects

Moriah King (2020)

Moriah King collaborated with Growing Places, a nonprofit group based in Leominster, MA that focuses on improving access to healthy and environmentally sustainable food for residents in food insecure regions of North Central Massachusetts. King conducted a visual ethnography for the organization to document local farm practices by working alongside small-scale farmers in the towns of Westminster and Ashburnham, Massachusetts. The products of this collaboration with both Growing Places and the farmers themselves were two short videos narrating the relationship between place, food infrastructure and community. As Growing Places expands its digital presence and increases its collaboration with local farmers in North Central Massachusetts, this highly useful information will enable it to best adapt its practices to local goals and needs.

Moriah King (2022)

Moriah King used this grant to support her work with the Urban Farming Institute (Mattapan, Massachusetts). She applied multimodal and visual ethnography to create a public history of the urban farming community. This project allowed Moriah to continue gaining practical experience in applied anthropology by collaborating with the Urban Farming Institute to answer community-driven questions.

Deniz Kizildag (2023)

Deniz was awarded funding to volunteer as a health educator at the Dana Farber Blum Family Resource Center Van for skin cancer prevention and enroll in an online course titled: "Disease Screening in Public Health" taught by Professor Antoine Flahault who is a professor of public health at the University of Geneva. Through these experiences, Deniz combined hands-on experience at the DFCI cancer prevention van with coursework on learning disciplinary perspectives in public health.

Arantxa Ortiz (2021)

Arantxa Ortiz received funds to attend the Flaherty Film Seminar and to work as a digital archivist with a Boston-based immigrant rights grassroots organization. She created the Undocumented Histories Archive to document political struggles for immigrant rights in the United States, including ongoing campaigns for driver's licenses for all residents in Massachusetts and beyond.

Changhong Zhang (2023)

Changhong received funding to create multimodal (hi)stories of Wenjiashan to share and preserve family (hi)stories in the form of an exhibit in the village and an interactive documentary. Changhong gained experience facilitating community-centered work, collaborating and video storytelling.

Skill-Building and Credentialing Projects

Kim Craig (2021)

Kim Craig's award allowed her to spend time learning how to use Adobe After Effects through online tutorials. This project helped her with the post-production phase of the feature-length documentary she plans to make as a part of her dissertation work. Developing her skills in motion graphics will support Kim as she pursues a career in creating educational media.

Sarah Han (2022)

This grant allowed Sarah Han to partake in a digital editing course offered by New York Film Academy. Sarah developed her filmmaking skills including designing, editing, learning audio/visual effects, multimodality and creative storytelling. This experience enhanced her filmmaking skills in visual ethnography.

George Van Kollias III (2022)

George Van Kollias III used this grant to support a collaborative summer project where he developed hands-on skills in remote sensing technology and spatial data acquisition and management. Van worked with the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) and the University of Florida Gatoreye Unmanned Flying Laboratory. He assisted these organizations as they conducted a regional scale landscape survey in the Upper Usumacinta River Region of southern Mexico.

Houman Kooraei-Oliaei (2020)

Houman Kooraei-Oliaei received funding to take a course in geospatial data management offered by Esri Academy, the training wing of the Environmental Systems Research Institute. After completing the course, he took an ArcGIS certification exam, necessary for him to demonstrate proficiency in the widely used geographic information system, a tool with a large number of applications both in and out of academia.

Higher Education Administrative Internships

Douglas Bafford (2020-21)

Douglas Bafford was awarded an internship to work with the Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Office to help facilitate faculty-mentored research experiences for undergraduates. The goals of this internship were to collect data on student research in order to create a baseline for grant reporting and create a better infrastructure for collecting data in the future. Douglas also aided in planning and executing the 2021 Research Symposium. Lastly, he launched and supported a peer mentoring program for undergraduate students.

Jara Connell (2020-21)

Jara Connell was awarded a fellowship to work with the Office of Communications. The goal of the fellowship was to support the department as they learned more about their target audience. Jara worked on a number of initiatives including conducting market research analysis, improving internal audience lists for more effective outreach, and expanding the Digital Asset Management system.

Moriah King (2021)

Moriah King was awarded a fellowship to work with the Department of Community Service in order to interface with and enact positive change within the Waltham community. The goals of the fellowship were to support two different initiatives within the department: the BIPOC Student Leadership Mentoring and Networking series and the Commitment to Service Award program. Moriah designed, conducted and analyzed assessments to evaluate the impact of the department's community engagement efforts. She also collaborated with local community organizations and Waltham High School to lay the foundation for mentorship and other opportunities for Spring 2022.