The Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs at Drake University announces its financial support for two interdisciplinary faculty-student research projects to enhance Drake’s involvement in addressing pressing global issues.
One research project, “Assessing, Collaborating, and Empowering to Improve Water Quality in Rural Uganda,” seeks to address water quality, as well as education and behavior impacting water quality.
Another research project, “Transnational Des Moines: Reframing Des Moines Immigrant and Refugee Narratives through Collaborative Research with Youth,” seeks to better understand the transnational immigrant and refugee experience in Des Moines. Both projects will be funded over a two-year period (2016-18).
Water quality is a pressing global issue that affects many aspects of daily life including health, education, and finances.
The purpose of this project is to utilize a Community Based Participatory Research approach to conduct a needs assessment and implement appropriate interventions to improve the utilization of clean water in rural Uganda. The project focuses on Kikandwa, a rural community of approximately 100,000 people located in central Uganda. Its primary water source is a borehole, with local springs and catchment tanks to collect rainwater as secondary sources. The project also will educate and engage the Drake community in addressing water quality issues and will serve as a template for research projects outside of Uganda. See a presentation on grant activities from Oct. 5, 2016, Heartland Global Health Consortium Conference -- breakout panel: Lessons Learned from and Next Steps for Implementation Following a Needs Assessment to Understand Water Quality in Rural Uganda
The interdisciplinary research team is comprised of the following faculty and students in Health Sciences, Environmental Science, Finance, and History:
Cassity Gutierrez, an Associate Professor of Health Sciences and Director of Pre-Professional Programs
Jimmy Senteza, an Associate Professor of Finance and Chair of the Department of Economics and Finance
David Courard-Hauri, an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) and Chair of ENSP
Amahia Mallea, an environmental historian and Associate Professor of History
Peter Levi, a fresh water ecologist and Assistant Professor in Environmental Science and Policy
Karli Kisch, a Psychology Major and Biology Minor with a Concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health
Hayley LeBlanc, a Neuroscience and Psychology Joint Major
Megan Lindmark, an Environmental Science Major with a Concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health
Augusta Weide, an International Business and Finance Joint Major with a Concentration in Management
This qualitative research project will offer knowledge-production, collaboration, and change pertaining to the transnational immigrant and refugee experience in Des Moines. Transnational captures the ways in which immigrants and refugees in this city maintain active lives in both their natal places of origin and destination through continual flows of information, goods, people, and capital. This project will seek to document and theorize knowledge from the perspective of immigrant and refugee actors themselves. It will use an asset-based community development approach that recognizes the capacity of transnational peoples and their associations to contribute to the city’s well-being. It will assert a new discourse that creates alternatives to age-hierarchical ways of understanding migrant and refugee communities (and indeed, most collectives) through centering youth and elders as key stakeholders, knowledge holders, and social change agents in building the future of Des Moines.
In addition to students who will be invited to join the project, the interdisciplinary research team includes the following professors:
Lourdes Guitérrez Nájera, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department for the Study of Culture and Society
Kevin Lam, an Assistant Professor of Urban and Diversity Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning
Darcie Vandegrift, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Chair in the Department for the Study of Culture and Society
The Rolland and Mary Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs at Drake provides in-depth international knowledge and experiences for select students who wish to pursue careers in international public affairs. The Nelson Institute was established in 2012 with a gift from Rolland and Mary Nelson, founders of Kemin Industries.