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Villanova University’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI) announces 2020-21 WFI Research Grants

Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI) announces 2020-21 WFI Research Grants

VILLANOVA, Pa.—Villanova University’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI), endowed by Lawrence Waterhouse Jr., ’59 CLAS, and housed within the Department of Communication in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has announced the recipients of its 2020-21 WFI Research Grants.

WFI was founded on the principle that scholars, students, activists, and practitioners of communication have an important role to play in the ongoing struggle for social justice. One of the ways the Institute enacts this mission is through the annual funding of research grants. These grants, which are selectively awarded on the basis of peer review, support the scholarly work of Communication scholars from across the U.S. and around the world, work emphasizing communication, its impact on the world around us, and its power to create social change and social justice.

This year, WFI increased its grant funding to offset the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given the crisis posed by the global pandemic, WFI made a strategic decision this year to substantially increase the funds allocated to the WFI Research Grant program,” said Bryan Crable, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Director of the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. “We hope this plays a role in offsetting the decreased funding available from most institutions and agencies for scholars doing this important work.”

Continued Crable, “Our strategic increase in grant funds meant that we accepted nearly twice as many applications as in typical years, and devoted nearly $125,000 to the support of scholars in Communication who are demonstrating the utility of our perspective to the creation of a better, more just world.”

Below is a list of the 2020-21 WFI Research Grant recipients. For brief summaries of these projects, click here.

The application deadline for the 2021-22 WFI Research Grants will be announced by January 2021. For more details on the WFI and this research grant program, including specific information on the grant application requirements, please visit the WFI website.


2020-21 WFI RESEARCH GRANT RECIPIENTS (in alphabetical order, by Principal Investigator):

  • “Legitimizing Grief and Addressing Health Inequity: A Culture-Centered, Community Based Campaign for Pregnancy Loss and Stillbirth Awareness” ($4,958): Sarah Aghazadeh, University of Maryland.
  • “Using Entertainment-Education Programming to Promote Verbal Sexual Consent and Positive Attitudes Toward Women Among Adolescents” ($6,500): Cassandra Alexopoulos, University of Massachusetts Boston; Drew Cingel, University of California Davis.
  • “Rethinking (LGBT) Empowerment in the Global South: Exploring the Emancipatory Potential of Critical Dialogue for LGBT Rights NGOs in Ghana” ($9,970): Godfried Asante, San Diego State University.
  • “Communicating Success in Cultural Terms: A Postcolonial Perspective on NGO Monitoring, Evaluation, and Agency” ($8,102): Kellie Brownlee, University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • “Is Facebook News Biased Against My Opinion?: Testing the Influence of Comments on the Hostile Media Effect & a Solution to the Problem” ($9,295): Sherice Gearhart, Texas Tech University; Ioana Coman, Texas Tech University; Alexander Moe, SUNY Brockport.
  • “Witnessing the Impact of COVID-19 in Disabled People’s Lives: A Web Archive and Community Newspaper Series” ($9,520): Kelly C. George, Immaculata University.
  • “Collective Memory and Visual Communication: The Archival Legacy of the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, Gallup New Mexico” ($10,000): Allison Griffiths, Baruch College, The City University of New York.
  • “Constructing Transgender Suicide in U.S. Public Culture: A Critical Genealogy” ($6,631): Joe Edward Hatfield, University of Arkansas.
  • “Speaking for Social Justice Project” ($10,000): Shawn J. Parry-Giles, University of Maryland; Skye de Saint Felix, University of Maryland.
  • “Storytelling in Online Healthcare Dialogues About COVID-19” ($9,963.17): Robert C. Richards, Jr., University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; Laura W. Black, Ohio University; Anna W. Wolfe, Texas A&M University; Chul Hyun Park, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; Carson S. Kay, Washburn University; David L. Brinker, Tufts University.
  • “Trigenerational Latinx Intimate Health Communication” ($10,000): Valerie Rubinsky, University of Maine at Augusta; Angela Cooke-Jackson, California State University Los Angeles; Ashley Aragon, University of Maryland.
  • “Effective Strategies to Counter the Spread of Misinformation on WhatsApp: An Experiment in Kenya and Senegal” ($10,000): Melissa Tully, University of Iowa; Dani Madrid-Morales, University of Houston.
  • “Reproductive Healthcare at the Margins” ($8,990): Amy Way, Villanova University.
  • “Empower and Protect the Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19 Through Examining Health Risk Information Seeking and Avoidance Behaviors” ($10,000): Qinghua Yang, Texas Christian University; Weidan Cao, Ohio State University.