Fall 2022 Sesquicentennial Grant Award Winners

The Office of the Chancellor is pleased to announce the fall 2022 recipients of the Sesquicentennial Grant Program, which was created to support activities and projects that engage with the university’s history, look ahead to its future and explore what makes Vanderbilt distinctive and unique.

Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging: Vanderbilt’s Next 150 Years

Vanderbilt has been selected to host the prestigious Medical Imaging Deep Learning conference in 2023 where 300-500 international scholars will present research and debate the technical and ethical implications of their work. With this grant, the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering will theme the conference “Impactful AI: Efficacy, Integration and Equity,” and provide scholarships to cover the registration for 20 graduate students and 10 medical trainees to attend.  

  • Bennett Landman, chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Benoit Dawant, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Electrical Engineering
  • Ipek Oguz, assistant professor of computer science

Cherokee and Chickasaw Students at Vanderbilt,

Funding for this project will support research, exhibit design and public commemoration of Vanderbilt’s 19th-century Cherokee and Chickasaw students.

  • Daniel Sharfstein, Dick and Martha Lansden Chair in Law, professor of history, and co-director of the George Barrett Social Justice Program

History and Legacy of Undergraduate Study Abroad at Vanderbilt

This project will include a physical exhibit and an interactive online digital timeline and stories chronicling the development, expansion and influence of Study Abroad at Vanderbilt.

  • Lorraine Catanzaro, principal senior lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Arik Ohnstad, director of the Global Education Office
  • Isabelle Crist, assistant director of global safety and security
  • Cynthia Paschal, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, School of Engineering
  • Julie Vernon, associate dean for academic success, assistant professor of the practice of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and executive director of SCI-STEPS
  • Mallory Perdue, executive director of stewardship

Innovation Challenge

A team from the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, will lead an innovation challenge involving teams of faculty, students and staff. 

  • David Owens, professor of the practice of management and innovation, professor of the practice of engineering management, and executive director of the Wond’ry
  • Mandy Lalrindiki, assistant director of innovation and design research, the Wond’ry
  • Yesenia Sevilla, director of strategic engagement and ecosystem development, the Wond’ry
  • Jaclyn Mothupi, associate director of social innovation, the Wond’ry
  • Kyle Caruso, program coordinator of entrepreneurship, the Wond’ry
  • Dan Drogosh, program coordinator of social innovation, the Wond’ry

Inclusive Public Engagement and Shared Authority: A Student-Led Vaughn Home Experience

This grant will support the development of a public outreach component to the student-executed Vaughn Home exhibition, scheduled for installation in Summer 2023. This exhibition will interpret the stories of the women and underrepresented minorities associated with the home, and Vanderbilt more generally, since its construction in 1875. This post-installation, public outreach component will be the focus of a course taught in Fall 2023 by Victoria Hensley, RPW Center Postdoctoral Fellow.

  • Victoria Henlsey, postdoctoral fellow, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities,
  • Holly Tucker, professor of French

Looking to the Future of Learning and Collaborating in Virtual Worlds

This grant will support the design and implementation of procedures for learning and collaborating in large-scale virtual reality environments using different technologies. 

  • Andrew McAvan, graduate student, psychological sciences
  • Timothy McNamara, professor of psychology
  • Robert Bodenheimer, professor of computer science
  • Soumyajit Chakraborty, graduate student, computer science

Project SHARE: Sharing Strategies for Academic Faculty and Student Recruitment

Project SHARE aims to launch a campus-wide collaboration for the graduate health professional degree programs established at Vanderbilt University. The campus-wide collaborative will provide a platform to share strategies schools/programs use to recruit faculty and students from underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities and underserved populations.

  • LeTizia Smith, assistant professor of nursing
  • Julie Steed, assistant professor of nursing

Rethinking Development: The Global Impact of Vanderbilt’s Graduate Program in Economic Development

This project will support the preparation of an academic report on the history and impact of the Graduate Program in Economic Development. This project will also support a plan to invite an eminent GPED alumnus for a campus visit and talk during Vanderbilt’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 2023.

  • Kamal Saggi, associate provost, faculty affairs
  • Xiaodong Huang, Andrew and Jennifer Hoine Chair in Economics
  • Edward Fisher, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Anthropology
  • Brooke Talley, program coordinator, graduate program in economic development
  • Pratap Khattri, graduate assistant, graduate program in economic development
  • Ning Ma, graduate assistant, graduate program in economic development

Trans-Pacific Links: The Vanderbilt Asian Alumni Project

The Trans-Pacific Links project aims to collect the history and stories of Asian alumni and Vanderbilt's linkage with Asia. The project will involve undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members in Asian Studies, as well as librarians and support staff.  

  • Guojun Wang, associate professor of Asian studies
  • Gerald Figal, professor of Asian studies and of English

Unexplored Legacy of the Social Gospel in the South: The Vanderbilt Contribution

This project examines the history of the social gospel in the South and will feature insights for current faith communities, connecting Vanderbilt Divinity School to the Nashville-area community. Audiences will be able to access the group’s research through number of platforms including podcasts and academic publications.  

  • Joerg Rieger, distinguished professor of theology, Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies, founding director of Wendlend-Cook Program in Religion and Justice
  • Aaron Stauffer, postdoctoral scholar in Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice, director of online learning for the Divinity School
  • Francisco Garcia, graduate student, Department of Religion
  • George Schmidt, graduate student, Department of Religion
  • Gabriella Lisi, communications director, Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice.

Vanderbilt Athletics Timelapse Animation Video

This grant will support the creation of an animated, timelapse watercolor video focusing on Vanderbilt's unique contributions to college athletics, including a special focus on the university's leadership in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion.  

  • Andrew Maraniss, coordinator of training and development, athletics
  • Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director
  • Tommy McClelland, executive director, athletics
  • Kristene Kelly, deputy athletics director for internal affairs
  • Alan George, associate athletic director

Vanderbilt Fusion Project

The Vanderbilt Fusion Project is a cross-disciplinary engineering project team and research initiative to build a functional miniature nuclear fusion reactor. The goal is to create a unique space for team members to develop the background and skills necessary to become creative engineers, innovators and leaders. After the reactor is completed, there will be a live-stream video from the heart of the reactor, enabling students, faculty and community to be inspired by the energetics that power the stars.  

  • Richard Teising, staff engineer, civil and environmental engineering
  • Ashok Choudjury, adjunct professor of materials science
  • Thomas Pennington, student, school of engineering
  • Logan Glazier, student, school of engineering
  • Kathryn Tam, student, mathematics
  • Anders Westermann, Student, Human and Organizational Development
  • Zachary Klinger, student, human and organizational development

Vanderbilt Lunar Labs Initiative

This grant funding will launch the Vanderbilt Lunar Labs Initiative with the greater goal of developing the lunar gravitational-wave observatory. This will be the first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary initiative in the nation that will bring stakeholders from physics, astronomy, engineering and the space industry. Vanderbilt is the premier institution for multi-messenger astrophysics and is home to the world’s largest university-based research center on radiation effects in space.  

  • Karan Jani, assistant professor of physics and astronomy

Vestigo: Vanderbilt’s Biomedical Research – A History of Innovation

This grant will produce a curated and designed book and website showcasing the biomedical research innovation of Vanderbilt faculty, staff and students over the past 150 years. This includes a focus on how Vanderbilt has impacted human health and where we are poised to create pathbreaking research in the future.  

  • Aaron Conley, director of external affairs and partnerships and communications coordinator
  • Chuck Sanders, professor of biochemistry
  • Kendra Oliver, assistant professor of pharmacology
  • Lorena Infante Lara, communications consultant
  • Stephen Doster, Editor, internal communications
  • Marissa Shapiro, senior communication specialist

Vanderbilt Self-Portrait

Vanderbilt Self-Portrait is a photography project that aims to capture the image and essence of Vanderbilt through the faces of its community members. The project authors will photograph students, faculty and staff, as well as the environments in which they study, work and relax. The expected outcome will be a student art gallery exhibition and photo book.  

  • Vesna Pavlovic, professor of art
  • Yvonne Boyer, librarian
  • Allen Zeng, student, college of arts and science
  • Richard Zhang, student, college of arts and science