30 Graduate Students Receive Fall 2015 Research Travel Grants

Monday, February 1, 2016

30 Graduate Students Receive Fall 2015 Research Travel Grants

By Sally Kral

The Graduate School has awarded 30 Research Travel Grants for research-related travel occurring during the fall and winter of 2015-2016. Recipients comprised students from 24 different fields travelling to locations around the globe, including cities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Each fall and spring, the Graduate School awards travel grants of up to $2,000 to assist graduate students in research-focused travels that directly relate to their dissertations.

“I love reading travel grant applications and seeing examples of the fascinating research being conducted by our students,” said the Graduate School’s Associate Dean Jason Kahabka.

“We fund these awards fully from Graduate School endowments, recognizing that so many of our alumni and donors value the experience and perspectives gained through travel.” 

Fall grant recipient Mackenzie Pierce, a Ph.D. candidate in musicology, examines the relationship between music and politics through the experiences of Polish-Jewish musicians who survived the Holocaust and World War II. His grant allowed him to travel to Warsaw, Poland and consult archival collections at the University of Warsaw Library, the contents of which he expects to inform two chapters of his dissertation.

Mackenzie Pierce

This trip allowed me to carry out in-depth work with primary sources, and hence better understand the political and artistic decisions made by two key protagonists of my dissertation,” Pierce explained. “Since these sources have not been published or digitalized, it was essential to consult them in Warsaw.”

Elizabeth Kelly, a Ph.D. candidate in the field of neurobiology and behavior, is studying how society shapes behavior at the physiological, ecological, and evolutionary levels.

Kelly applied for a travel grant to spend 29 days at the Southwestern Research Station in Arizona, where she will observe and study how two closely related wild bird species, the Mexican jay and the Western scrub jay, distinguish between two quantities—for instance, food supplies—for survival and how interactions between the species inform their decision-making.

“The Graduate School’s research travel grants help students access remote field sites, visit unique archival resources, and interact with other researchers. These can be transformative experiences, and Cornell is committed to making sure students can achieve their goals as safely as possible.  Some of the most impactful research takes place in areas where crime, disease or even natural disasters create increased risk, so students need the appropriate support structures for safe travel.” said Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara A. Knuth.

Cornell’s program for keeping students safe while traveling, particularly overseas, provides emergency medical and evacuation assistance at no charge and without prior registration. To support emergency communications and travel insurance, students traveling internationally must enter their travel itinerary and contact information into Cornell’s International Travel Registry.  

“Events like natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Nepal last spring, really underscore the value of this service,” said Jan Allen, associate dean for academic and student affairs.

“As soon as we learned of the earthquake our office, Risk Management and Insurance, and the International Travel Registry were able to pull up the registry very quickly to find out if Cornell graduate students were there and take the necessary steps to ensure their safety.”

Applications for spring or summer 2016 travel are due to the Graduate School (143 Caldwell Hall) by 4:30 p.m. on February 1 and by 4:30 p.m. on October 1 for fall 2016 travel. Research travel grant applications are available here.

Learn more about Graduate School research travel grants here.


The complete list of Fall 2015 travel grant recipients:

Student Name

Graduate Field

Acorn, Elizabeth


Allevato, Daniella M

Plant Biology

Bazler, Joseph C

Industrial and Labor Relations

Bennett, Ruth E

Natural Resources

Best, Cora M


Bistolas, Kalia S


Cheung, Shoan Yin

Science and Technology Studies

Chung, You Jin

Development Sociology

Croteau, Chantal E

Asian Studies

Frost, Jackqueline

Romance Studies

Jost, Ethan D


Katz, Molly R

English Language and Literature

Kelly, Elizabeth M

Neurobiology and Behavior

Larson, Erin I

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Leal-Yepes, Francisco A

Animal Science

MacNeill, Keeley L

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Mason, Nicholas A

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

McDonald, Caitlin A

Ecology and Evolutionary Biolory

Mittan, Cinnamon S

Evology and Evolutionary Biology

Pierce, John M


Rahadiningtyas, Anissa D

History of Art & Archaeology

Sanchez Talanquer, Mariano


Sengar, Nikita

Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

Tan, Hui Fen


Taylor, Whitney K


Wijaya, Elizabeth

Comparative Literature

Xu, Dafeng

City and Regional Planning

Zhang, Jiai

Food Science & Technology

Zhang, Youyi


​Sally Kral is a communications and outreach assistant in the Graduate School.