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The Foley Institute 2019 Graduate Fellows



Congratulations to our 2019 Graduate Fellows! These fellowships are available thanks to the generosity of Scott and Betty Lukins, Alice O. Rice, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Foundation.


Each year the institute awards research fellowships to graduate students working on important public policy questions. These fellowships are available thanks to the generosity of Scott and Betty Lukins, Alice O. Rice, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Foundation.

This year we awarded six summer fellowships.

Valda Black’s (anthropology) research explores local personal agency during periods of external force in Peruvian native communities, and how the prehistoric Chanka cultural group’s identity and social associations changed due Inca imperial influence. This research is of interest to the modern-day community in the region since they still identity as Chanka. Funding from the Foley Graduate Fellowship has enabled her to collect and export samples for an cient DNA analyses to be used for modern DNA comparisons. This will provide the current Chanka community with direct evidence to their past associations to use in current land disputes with external mining companies.

Evelien Deelen’s (anthropology) research explores the relations between humans and horses in rodeo in the American Northwest. Rodeos are often scrutinized and stereotyped for promoting animal cruelty, while in reality animals are in the center of a complex and layered system of meaning, value, and care. Studying the human-horse relationship provides insights in the ‘more-than-functional’ meaning of the animal within a specific cultural system of traditional and contemporary values. These insights will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the use and treatment of horses in rodeo which in turn can open up the dialogue between different stakeholders.

Rebecca Donaway’s (communication) research examines the features of online political news that encourage (or discourage) news engagement, learning, and information seeking. Her fellowship will be used to fund focus groups with online news users to better understand impressions of news on Facebook. She hopes her work will inform media researchers who are exploring the many, dynamic processes underlying news consumption and content creators alike.

Morgan Montañez’s (sociology) research is focused on use of medical safety net programs in rural communities. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, rural communities have had persistently high uninsured rates despite having higher rates of poverty than their urban counterparts (meaning more residents were now eligible for Medicaid but are not using it). In addition, even insured rural residents find themselves with a lack of healthcare services compared to those living in urban communities. Rural communities face shortages of specialists and hospitals, lower numbers of doctors, dentists, and nurses, and also larger distances to travel to reach healthcare providers. Her work seeks to explore the consequences of these healthcare related disparities on a rural community.

Brianne Posey’s (criminal justice and criminology) research explores police interactions with victims and offenders of intimate partner violence. She specifically focuses on the individual, situational, and environmental factors observed during officers responding to domestic violence. Data was obtained by annotating over 350 videos of police officer body worn camera (BWC) footage, complete with visual imaging and sound, from one single police department located in the Pacific Northwest. Her research aims to influence first responder trauma informed training and officer de-escalation models, as well as community violence prevention efforts.

Randy Powell (history) studies how US religion and politics intersect and inform the ideologies and policies Americans accept, especially in regard to conservatism. Specifically his research focuses on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their involvement in political issues from the Great Depression to today. By analyzing Latter-day Saint political history, he hopes to demonstrate the vast influence that relatively small religious groups can have on American political life.

Left to right: Rebecca Donaway, Brianne Posey, Valda Black, Evelien Deelen, and Randy Powell. Below: Morgan Montañez