Introduction

The Transdisciplinary Studies Program and the Office of Research, Sponsored Programs & Grants invites doctoral students who have completed at least 16 units toward their doctoral degree and who are on track to submit and defend their dissertation proposal by June, 2023 to apply for the Crossing Boundaries Research Award. The award recognizes students who are using cross-disciplinary and applied research methodologies and perspectives in their scholarship in innovative, creative, and compelling ways.

This is a competitive fellowship award for promising, early-phase, scholarly projects that cross disciplines, institutions, and sectors. Awards will be given for individual projects/applicants, or, in the case of a collaborative project, up to two CGU students can share a single award.

Targeted applicants are doctoral students working on a research project in one of the following categories:

  • Collaborative Scholarship Across Two Different Departments or Fields.
    This work should involve one or more collaborators, consultants, or research mentors outside of one’s home academic department.
  • Collaborative, Cross-Sector Scholarship with Community, Industry, Non-profit or Governmental Partners.
    This work should involve one or more cross-sector collaborators, consultants, or research mentors from a non-academic setting.
  • Collaborative Scholarship Across Two Different Institutions.
    This work should involve one or more collaborators, consultants, or research mentors outside of one’s home academic department and institution.

Award Details

  • Six Awards at $10,000 per award per project.
  • The award will be disbursed in two installments, one in February 2022, and the second in February 2023, following the successful completion and presentation of the research by June of 2023.

Award Q + A Information Session

Please join Dr. Andrew Vosko (Associate Provost and Director of Transdisciplinary Studies) and Eusebio Alvaro (Associate Provost for Research) for a Q+A information session to learn more about the Crossing Boundaries Research Award.

View Recorded Award Q + A Information Session (Zoom)


Eligibility Requirements

  1. Concurrent Registration in a unit-bearing course or doctoral study. Registration must be maintained for both the spring and fall 2022 terms.
  2. Completion of 16 Units of coursework for the PhD as a doctoral student in any field of study at CGU before applying for the award. Units taken while enrolled in a master’s program at CGU that will count towards the doctoral degree are acceptable. Units transferred from an external degree program will not count.
  3. Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students must have and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with an Incomplete (I) or Grade Pending (GP) on their student record from CGU must resolve the ‘I’ or the ‘GP’ before applying for the award. Students with an ‘Unsatisfactory’ (U) on their record from CGU cannot apply for the award.
  4. Students who have advanced to candidacy on or before January 1, 2022 are not eligible for the award.
  5. A Reasonable Expectation of Advancement to Candidacy for the PhD degree by June 2023 (within 18 months of award acceptance).
  6. Letters of Support from Two Faculty or Other Senior Collaborators representing two distinct academic departments or disciplines stating that the student meets the award eligibility requirements, or one letter from an academic department and the other from a non-academic, senior collaborator.
  7. Students agree to Complete Three of the Following Award Requirements within 18 months of receiving notification of the award (by June 2023): 
    1. Awardees are required to present their research to colleagues either at an outside conference or at a research symposium held within CGU or at The Claremont Colleges.
    2. Participate in The Big Pitch (3 min thesis) held during the award year.
    3. Participate in a podcast to describe the project with the Associate Provost of Transdisciplinary Studies, the Associate Provost for Research or other CGU interviewer. 
    4. Record a webinar presentation for an internal CGU website.
    5. Failure to complete three of the award requirements will result in the award being rescinded and any funds used must be re-paid to the University.
  8. When submitting your application, by signing the Certificate of Eligibility Statement, you agree to abide by the eligibility and requirement terms.

Evaluation Criteria

An awarding committee will review all applications and select recipients using specific evaluation criteria and the rubric below. Selected research projects will demonstrate that the scholarship:

  1. Utilizes boundary-crossing methods and perspectives: 
    1. Methodologies and perspectives from multiple disciplines or sectors are integrated into a new way of framing the central research question/problem,  
    2. Multiple methodologies and perspectives from the different disciplines and practices are well defined and explained
    3. The project is collaborative across CGU and/or outside of the University, and project teams are multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental or inter-institutional.
  2. Includes a clear command of the research questions, contexts, and interpretations with generalizable merit and significance for each discipline or sector represented in the project.
  3. Methodological validity and feasibility of the project timeline.
  4. And a strong academic performance record.

How to Apply

Please Note that the application period is closed and will re-open in the fall of 2022.

  1. Publishable Abstract*  of your research project (250 word maximum). 
  2. Description and Rationale of Your Research Plan*  including and organized by the following (not to exceed 1200 words): 
    1. the research project title and the word count of the research plan;
    2. how and why the research project crosses disciplines or sectors;
    3. the rationale and context within previous scholarship, specific aims, and the projected significance of the research project;
    4. and the information-gathering and analytical methods and techniques to be used in the research project.
  3. Project Timeline* that outlines the research project’s stages and reasonable expectation of completion for each stage (one half page maximum).
  4. Budget Justification*  explaining how you would use the funds to research and draft a dissertation proposal, and an itemized budget for research expenses. University Tuition and Fees may be included in the budget (one page maximum).
  5. Curriculum Vitae* (maximum of two pages).
  6. Writing Sample*  that demonstrates your ability to do original research and synthesis (maximum of 20 pages). This may be a paper from a previous or concurrent course or an original article/opinion piece/report.
  7. Faculty/Senior Collaborator Letters of Support Statements*  from two CGU or affiliated faculty members representing two distinct/different academic disciplines, or from one CGU or affiliated faculty member and another senior collaborator (previous advisor from an MA or BA program, etc.). The goals of a letter of support (maximum of two pages) are to:
    1. Specify what the student researcher will contribute to the research.
    2. Assess the potential for the student research to complete the project.
    3. Convey enthusiasm for the work.
    4. Lend credibility to the proposal.
    5. Be unique and written from the point of view of faculty (or other senior collaborator’s) expertise and knowledge of student researcher’s potential.

* Required Item

Please Note:

  • The Center for Writing & Rhetoric can provide one-on-one consultation support for applicants.
  • Only doctoral students are eligible for the award.
  • Only two doctoral students per collaborative project may earn the award, however, the project may involve any number of other cross-disciplinary and/or cross-sector collaborators, consultants, or research mentors.
  • Each doctoral student working on the collaborative project:
    • must apply for the award.
    • must meet the eligibility requirements.
    • must submit all required application items.
  • Letters of support should be included in the application submitted by the student and not emailed separately.
  • Please note most reviewers of your application will be outside of your field of study, so write clearly and avoid or clearly define specialized terms or concepts.
  • The Transdisciplinary Studies Office will provide a copy of an applicant’s Academic Transcript to the review committee. Applicants do not need to provide an academic transcript in the application.
  • Applicants cannot save a draft of their application within airSlate. Applicants must complete the airSlate application form in one session. Incomplete Applications will be rejected and the applicant will need to re-submit their application.
  • Failure to complete three of the award requirements will result in the award being rescinded and any funds used must be re-paid to the University.

If you have questions about the award, please contact the Transdisciplinary Studies Program at transdisciplinary.studies@cgu.edu.


Current Research Award Fellows

The Office of Research, Sponsored Programs & Grants and the Transdisciplinary Studies Program are pleased to announce the Crossing Boundaries Research Award Fellows for the 2022 – 2023 academic year. The six recipients and brief descriptions of their research projects are listed below. This is an impressive set of projects that illustrate the high-quality, high-impact research conducted across CGU.


Michelle Arch

School of Arts and Humanities

“‘There Was Somebody Else in Reserve’: The Neurobiology of Literary Doubles”

Due to the era’s marked prevalence of literary delusion and binary consciousness, situating clinical schizophrenia and its manifold symptoms in the context of nineteenth-century fiction creates an unforced paradigm for modern psychiatric studies and neuroscientific deductions in critical analysis. While my thesis concurs that literary characterizations of dissociative behavior and “madness” can be traced to neurobiological or neuropsychiatric origins, I submit that some of the etiologic associations of the literary double being advanced are unsupported or insufficiently nuanced. The purpose of this research is to analyze the hypotheses proposed by existent studies, with a particular emphasis on the assessments of self-alienation, mirrored-self misidentification, and other autoscopic phenomena in the Victorian novel, and offer a more scrupulous and accordingly more meaningful alternative perspective to the neurobiological interpretations.

My research applies cognitive neuroscience and brain anatomy, primarily the neural correlates of phenomenal and introspective self-consciousness, to fiction that portrays compromised self-face recognition and reduplicative hallucinations interpreted as symptomatic of emergent or advanced schizophrenia and is commonly and/or aptly implicated in neuroscientific criticism. A fundamental component of my inquiry involves a comparison of nineteenth-century schizophrenic incarnations to actual patients with right frontal cortex deficits or impairments, as well as a review of analyses conducted on the same literary representations. This assimilation of neuroscientific discernments with historical psychological depictions and literary criticism purports a formative alliance between psychoanalysis, neuroscience, and the humanist narrative and therefore enables a fully authenticated psychopathological narrative self.


Byengseon Bae

Division of Politics and Economics

“From Slavery to Present Racial Disparities in Health: Identifying Moderators and Mediators of Structural Racism for Health Policy and Interventions”

Our research project aims to reduce the detrimental effects of structural racism on the health of Black people in the United States. To achieve this goal, we conduct transdisciplinary research. As a cross-institution, international, cross-disciplinary team, we cross not only the boundaries of politics, history, and public health, but also the domains of behaviorism and structuralism. Existing research on health disparities has disproportionately focused on individual-level factors and there are a few studies examining the role of structural racism on health disparities. The major reason for this is because it is difficult to measure structural racism. We will contribute to the literature by measuring structural racism using share of the county slave population in 1860. Using seemingly unrelated regressions (SUR), structural equation modeling (SEM), and instrument variable (IV) estimation, we aim (1) to identify whether share of the county slave population in 1860 is associated with present-day racial disparities in health and (2) to find moderators and mediators of structural racism on health disparities in order to inform policymakers what actions can be implemented to attenuate and prevent the detrimental effects of structural racism on present-day racial disparities in health. This research has an enormous significance because if governmental and non-governmental institutions know the underlying mechanism how structural racism affects present-day racial health disparities, resources can be more strategically and effectively allocated to improve the health of Black people. By so doing, we will solve a long-lasting, entrenched social problem: excessive mortality of Black people in the U.S.


Ann Marie Castleman

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

“Crossing the Global Divide: Exploring the Purpose, Use, and Contributions of Participatory Evaluation in the Global North and Global South”

Participatory evaluation (PE) includes stakeholders in the process of co-creating and implementing an evaluation. It is used globally in different disciplines, geographies, and contexts. Case examples of PE in practice show extensive variation in key aspects of the evaluation approach, including who is involved in the evaluation, the depth of participation from stakeholders, and how much control evaluators have over the evaluation process. Furthermore, previous research suggests that PE is primarily used as an evaluation capacity building tool to promote organizational learning and decision-making in the Global North while it is used in the Global South to promote empowerment and social transformation . This research aims to understand differences that may exist in the practice and study of PE internationally. This will include a rapid review of the PE literature from 2012-2021 (including journals published in the Global North and the Global South) and interviews with individuals immersed in PE practice globally. This research may help identify tangible ways for decolonizing evaluation, learning from evaluation in the Global South, and commissioning evaluation in contexts where Western ways of thinking may not be relevant.


Shine Kim

School of Educational Studies

“Awareness of Power Imbalance: Reframing Academic Victimization in PhD Programs”

Academic victimization–harassment that occurs within academia–is widespread among doctoral students. According to a recent global survey of PhD students published in Nature, 21% of respondents reported experiencing bullying, harassment, and discrimination by supervisors during their PhD programs (Woolston, 2019). Academic victimization can negatively affect students’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being, which can harm their personal lives, academic progress, and career development (Flaherty, 2019; Levecque et al., 2017). Despite a growing body of research examining academic victimization from the student (victim) perspectives (e.g., Martin et al., 2015; Byars-Winston & Dahlberg, 2019), there is little systematic analysis of academic victimization from the faculty (perpetrator) perspectives and power imbalance within graduate education programs (Aguinis et al., 1996).

This Crossing Boundaries research project aims to fill in this critical research gap by drawing on cross-disciplinary perspectives, including psychology, sociology, management, education, and criminal justice. Specifically, this project proposes and empirically examines a novel, cross-disciplinary theoretical framework to understand academic victimization and power imbalance through the student and faculty perspective connected to an overlapping continuum of faculty unsupportive, uncivil, and abusive behaviors. This project employs a qualitative study design for semi-structured interviews with current or former doctoral students at a university in Southern California. Interview data will be coded and analyzed using the thematic analysis approach to identify overlapping experiences and themes. Findings of this project will inform the development of academic victimization and power measurement, and policy and programs aimed at preventing and reducing abuse of doctoral students in higher education.


Rainita Narender

Division of Politics and Economics

“Evaluating the Benefits of Post-Incarceration Services on Recidivism”

Reducing California’s staggering recidivism rates has persisted as the most prioritized yet challenging goal faced by the California Criminal Justice System (CCJS). As two-thirds of individuals released from prison re-offend within two years of release, finding feasible solutions to deter re-offense is of great importance. A recent program geared to mitigate rising recidivism rates in California is the Specialized Treatment for Optimal Programming, STOP, program offered by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This program offers housing, counseling and vocational resources to individuals considered the highest risk to re-offend based on their offense history, socioeconomic status, psychological and physiological safety. This project applies a transdisciplinary approach to investigate the populations that take-up STOP programming and if access helps reduce the likelihood of future re-offense.


Pamela Ogata

School of Community and Global Health

“Crossing Boundaries to Decode Health Inequities among Latinx and COVID”

Background: As of December 16, 2021, Latinx continue to have the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases and death rate in Los Angeles County indicating an apparent health inequity. An interdisciplinary approach is needed to understand the causal pathway or predictors of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality (health outcomes) among Latinx.

Specific Aims:

  1. Identify demographic, biologic (pre-existing conditions, health status), and treatment types that are associated with severe COVID-19 morbidity (illness) or mortality (death) among Latinx patients at a community hospital.
  2. Determine if the predictors for severe COVID-19 morbidity or mortality among Latinx patients differ by level of acculturation (intergenerational access).
  3. Determine if type of health insurance as a measure of social/human capital is a component of the causal pathway in COVID-19 morbidity or mortality.

Methods: Collaborate in cross-sector scholarship with a medical team at a community hospital and university faculty from economic and epidemiology departments to analyze health insurance, acculturation, demographic characteristics, pre-existing conditions, and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality among Latinx who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 2020 and April 2021. Measures of association will be calculated using cox hazard regression and prediction models will be created using step-wise regression analysis.

Results: This cross-disciplinary exploratory research will uncover some factors associated with COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, and it will also help identify additional research questions which can translate into deeper dissertation-level inquiry on structural barriers, political economy, human capital, and social epidemiology theoretical frameworks.