The University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration received a research fund to support further undergraduate research at Penn.
1982 College graduate Suzanne Turner and her husband 1982 College and 1985 Penn Law graduate David E. Schulman created the Turner Schulman Endowed Research Fund to promote research done by students.
“We have a deep allegiance to the school and this particular opportunity really interested us,” Turner said. “I’m a civil liberties lawyer, and David is a son of an immigrant, and this is where our different pasts really align."
“I’m from a long-term Penn family. My daughter just graduated and she is a fourth-generation Penn student," Turner added.
The Center, which is the first of its kind here at Penn, addresses the intersection between race, ethnicity, and immigration. Created last year, the Center will support research at Penn and is housed in the new Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics.
“This is a brand new initiative for Penn and for the School of Arts and Sciences,” said Michael Jones-Correa, who is the founder and director of the Center and one of Penn’s President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science. Jones-Correa is entering his third year at Penn, as the Center he formed is entering its second.
“The idea was to organize something that served as a bridge across the social sciences,” Jones-Correa said.
The Center hosts Post-Doctoral Fellows yearly. Roberto F. Carlos is the Center’s first and current fellow. Carlos’s research, which focuses on the role children play in shaping their parent’s politics, is supported by the Center.
“It gives me the opportunity to take a pretty solid research agenda and really hit the ground running,” Carlos said. “The Center and Michael’s goal is to try and give scholars who work on race, ethnicity or immigration a platform to be able to do that in a pretty welcoming environment.”
Because of its focus on the intersection between race, ethnicity, and immigration, the Center has tapped into many departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, including the Africana Studies department. The Center supports workshops that these affiliates hold.
“[The Center] basically covers one of the most important intersecting phenomena of our kind about race, ethnicity, and citizenship,” said Michael Hanchard, a professor of Africana Studies and one of the Center’s affiliates.
Applications to receive a research grant from the Center for both undergraduates and graduates opened this past Tuesday, and with a new fund, the research opportunities are not limited.
Graduate student Kimberly Cardenas is interested in applying for a research grant from the Center. Cardenas studies Latino Politics, specifically with respect to issues of gender and sexuality, by considering the ways Latinos within the LGBT community are politically active and applying that to their identity in American politics.
“It’ll be an amazing opportunity to apply for funding from them and get funds to do field work such as traveling to collect data, interviewing folks, and going to archives," Cardenas said.
"I think right now we’re seeing a lot of public discussion on race, given President Trump and the rise of similar presidents in other countries in Latin America, [and] I think these discussions are gonna be really important in the next coming years, as well as given that the country is changing demographically," Cardenas added.
Recently, Penn has seen major donations to its schools, such as the $50 million donation to the Wharton School this year, as well as donations to fund research, and to its centers, such as the $5 million donation to the Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease back in March.
“I think the center will really serve to complement the student body and open doors for research opportunities for undergrads,” Cardenas concluded.