Sample Grant Proposals

American Studies - Academic Year URG Proposal

A Monumental Absence: Slavery and the National Memorial Landscape

The National Mall is the site of memorials to presidents and political leaders, veterans and fallen soldiers, and the victims of the Japanese internment and the Nazi Holocaust. In what historian Kirk Savage aptly describes as this "monumental core" of the nation, "the one place above all" where "people come to find the nation and to engage with it as citizens," there remains a conspicuous commemorative void: there is no national memorial to slavery. In my senior honors thesis (advised by History Professor Kate Masur), I will analyze the causes and significance of this absence.

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Anthropology - Academic Year URG Proposal

“Juntos dejamos las calles (Together We Leave the Streets): Analyzing the Objectives, Priorities, and Perspectives of Organizations Supporting Street Youth in Cochabamba, Bolivia”

While studying abroad in Bolivia in 2008, I was privileged to work with a group of street kids through a nonprofit organization that supports street youth in Cochabamba.  Through conversations with these kids that revealed their conflicting attitudes towards organizations providing them with services, I began to question the extent to which such programs align their objectives and intervention strategies with the actual priorities and desires of the youth.  I was taken aback by a seemingly paradoxical situation in which various programs are attempting to support the needs of Cochabamba’s st

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Anthropology-ISEN - Summer URG Proposal

“Gweekanimad (The Wind Shifts): Renewable Energy & Cultural Revitalization on the White Earth Reservation”

For decades, Native American reservations have tried to reconcile becoming economically self-sufficient while still retaining their culture and values. Recently, reservations have begun to view renewable energy as a way of improving their economic situation and tribal sovereignty in a way that aligns with cultural traditions and preserves their values and institutions. My project will examine how renewable energy initiatives offer a holistic approach to development, retaining Native American traditions and also reasserting them.

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Art History - Academic Year URG Proposal

“Taking Back the City: Street Art, Site-Specificity, and the Battle for Urban Space”

In the summer of 2009, I traveled to the United Kingdom to conduct field research for my senior honors thesis on the commodification of stencil graffiti. Specifically, I studied indoor and outdoor works by Banksy, a famous stencil graffitist, to ascertain how his migration from the street to the gallery impacted the meanings of artworks that were fundamentally dependent on their streetbased contexts. My time in London and Bristol was highly productive, but my research uncovered even more fascinating and urgent questions about the broader relationship of street art to the city of London.

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Biology - Summer URG Proposal

“Comparison of Synapses on Basal and Apical Dentrites in Hippocampal Neurons”

The hippocampus is a brain structure implicated in learning and memory consolidation.  Damage to this region has been shown to impair the ability to form new memories.  In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, an age-related neurodegenerative disease, symptoms of amnesia have been related to the deterioration of neural circuitry have within the hippocampus.  However, the neuronal connections that underlie this circuitry have not been elucidated, making it difficult for researchers to understand the mechanisms underlying hippocampus-related amnesia.  As a result, I propose to use a novel imagin

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Biomedicine - Academic Year URG Proposal

“Examining The Role Of Transmembrane Protein Cd74 In The Epileptic Brain”
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Chemical and Biological Engineering - Summer URG Proposal

"Development of a Primary Mouse Ovarian Follicle In Vitro Culture System"

When diagnosed, female cancer patients often face a terrible dilemma, one where life-saving chemotherapy destroys the ability to have children later in life. This choice is especially painful for prepubescent girls whose ovaries are unable to produce mature eggs for traditional in vitro fertilization. Follicle culture may offer a solution, one where these women can have children by maturing their follicles in vitro. I will study follicle maturation using defined media and follicle co-cultures, which will help us to understand the mechanisms of follicle maturation.

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Chemistry - Academic Year URG Proposal

“The Enantioselective Total Synthesis of Streptorubin B”

In the late 1940s, malaria was largely eradicated in the United States, due to a rigorous campaign by the CDC to dose American homes and reserves with the potent, and now notorious, biocide, DDT. However, attempts to use such tactics worldwide over the next two decades accumulated as both an expensive failure and an ecological disaster.

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Communication Science-SESP - Summer URG Proposal

“Long-Term Retention of Novel Words in Young Children”

There is evidence demonstrating that young children have an outstanding capacity for learning new words. However, children do not learn every word that they come across equally easily. Booth (2009) theorized that children will learn words more easily when they know something meaningful about the objects being labeled. She tested this possibility by presenting 3-4 year old children with pictures of novel animals and artifacts with a novel label and noncausal or causal information.

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Creative Writing - Academic Year URG Proposal

"Race and the 20th Century”

Race is a powerful force that has driven some of the most significant historical events of the twentieth century, and I want to study it as an internal force that can both limit and broaden one’s self-perception. The purpose of my project is to reveal the complexities and ambiguities of racial identification in relation to the individual’s pursuit of happiness and personhood.

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Creative Writing-Classics - Summer URG Proposal

“Updating a Classic: A Modern Adaptation of Aristophanes’ Acharnians"

As a Classics major, I am interested not only in Greek history and literature, but also in methods of translation.  I believe that the purpose of a translation is to make a work accessible to, and understandable by, a new set of readers; for this reason, I wish to write translations that are not simply English renderings of the Greek originals.  Translations, as I see them, require either extensive explanations of historical and cultural references or modern adaptations of the references themselves.  This summer I will make Aristophanes’ Acharnians accessible to modern readers by w

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Documentary Film - Summer URG Proposal

“Os Roqueiros: A Socio-Cultural Study of the Emerging Rock and Roll Subculture in Northeastern Brazil”

Currently, in the rural Northeast of Brazil in a town called Açu, there is a cultural struggle taking place as a group of people are attempting to establish themselves outside the traditional norms of Northeastern society.

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Engineering - Academic Year URG Proposal

“Ice Prevention on High Voltage Power Lines”

Every year, winter brings freezing temperatures and powerful storms to central and northern portions of the U.S.  In particular, ice storms can potentially be very damaging to high-voltage electric power transmission and distribution lines.  Under severe conditions of freezing rain, high-voltage power lines within an entire geographical region can be crushed under the weight of accumulated ice.  Such damage can take weeks to repair, and it can cause significant social and economic disruptions for the people served by the downed power lines.  This investigation looks at methods of preventing

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Engineering - Summer URG Proposal

“Design and Implementation of an Innovative Hydraulic Ram Pump Pressure Release Mechanism for the Philippines”

According to the 2006 United Nations Human Development Report, more than one billion people in the world do not have access to clean water and over two billion people do not have adequate sanitation.  This is an ongoing problem in the rural Philippines where rough mountainous terrain makes fetching water an arduous task. The mission of the Northwestern University Ram Pump Team is to provide the rural villagers of Tress Hermanos access to clean running water and sanitation through the implementation of a RAM pump system.

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History - Summer URG Proposal

“The Redeemers Were Believers: Political Opposition to Reconstruction in the Journals of Southern Baptists”

There is a glaring gap in the narrative of American religious history regarding the role of religion during Reconstruction, the period following the Civil War (1865-1877) in which the South underwent drastic political, social, and economic change. Despite the extensive work that historians have done on religious life in the South, there has been surprisingly little research on the interplay between the Christian beliefs of white Southern Democrats and the virulent political and racial arguments that they made against “Yankee rule” in the South.

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