Published: Oct. 12, 2022

The funding will allow the scholars to pursue projects related to artists documenting ecological devastation in Southeast Asia and geopolitics in Iran, as well as for career development

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has awarded four 2022-23 fellowships and grants to scholars at the University of Colorado Boulder. The recipients will pursue academic work and lead innovative community projects to empower women and girls.

The fellowships and grants are part of a larger $6 million award that AAUW is providing to 320 scholars and community projects for the academic year.

“We’re proud to support the work of these outstanding scholars and community leaders,” said AAUW CEO Gloria L. Blackwell. “These exceptional awardees are dedicated to making contributions in a wide range of fields. We’re impressed by their work and can’t wait to see the great things they’ll accomplish throughout their research and careers.”

The CU Boulder award winners are:

Brianne Cohen

At the top of the page: A multimedia installation, titled Dioramas for Tanjong Rimau, by Zarina Muhammad, Joel Tan and Zachary Chan that was featured as part of Brianne Cohen's research. Above: Brianne Cohen is the recipient of the AAUW's American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship.

Brianne Cohen, the recipient of the American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship, who researches art history and criticism. AAUW awarded Cohen $30,000 for her project, titled: The Emphatic Lens: Contemporary Art, Ecology and Kinship in Southeast Asia.

Cohen’s research highlights art from Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore, where local artists use photography and video to show ecological devastation in the region and to call for renewed attention to the kinship between humans and nature.

“These artists are having their works shown around the world in major art shows, but there’s still not being much written about their wonderful artwork,” said Cohen, who plans to publish a book in 2023 highlighting the art and artists.

“And the kinds of things they are doing right now is particularly pressing and timely in terms of environmental destruction in the region and thinking about larger questions of ecological sustainability.”

AAUW’s American Postdoctoral Fellowships, like the one awarded to Cohen, support women scholars who are pursuing full-time postdoctoral research. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence; quality and originality of project design; and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions or fields of research.

A. Marie Ranjbar, the recipient of a $30,000 AAUW American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship, researches critical human rights, environmental justice and decolonial and postcolonial feminist theory by integrating feminist political geography with scholarship.

Since 2012, she has conducted research in Iran, where she examines evolving relationships between social justice movements, international institutions and global civil society.

A. Marie Ranjbar

A. Marie Ranjbar is the recipient of a $30,000 AAUW American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship.

During her fellowship, Ranjbar will be developing her book project, “From Persian Empire to Pariah State: Environmental Injustice, Racialization and Coloniality in Iran,” which examines state repression of environmental movements in ethnic minority regions of Iran.

“I am elated to be the recipient of the AAUW fellowship,” Ranjbar said.

Like Cohen, Ranjbar’s award was an AAUW American Postdoctoral Fellowship, which supports women scholars who are pursuing full-time study conducting postdoctoral research.

Lisa Peete, the recipient of an $11,125 career development grant from AAUW, is pursuing an MA in speech-language pathology. Peete’s award will provide her with financial support to attend conventions and training seminars essential to her profession and future academic goals, including pursuing a doctorate.

In an AAUW press release, Peete said it is an honor to win the prestigious award. She added that she is passionate about providing assistance to those with cognitive and phonological disorders.

AAUW career development grants like the one Peete received go to women who hold a bachelor’s degree and are preparing to advance or change careers or re-enter the workforce in education; health and medical sciences; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); or social sciences.

Neha Pazare, the recipient of an $18,000 AAUW award as part of the International Master’s/1st Professional Degree Fellowship, is pursuing a master’s in engineering. Pazare’s area of specialization is radio frequency microwave and high-speed digital design.

AAUW’s International Fellowships support women pursuing full-time graduate or postdoctoral study in the United States to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and who intend to return to their home country to pursue a professional career.

AAUW is one of the world’s oldest leading supporters of graduate women’s education. Since 1888, it has awarded more than $135 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 women from 150 countries.

Educational funding is especially important for women, given that they are disproportionately burdened by student debt, which is exacerbated by a lifelong pay gap that affects women in nearly every profession, according to AAUW. The association said its awards alleviate financial stress so women can focus on their educational and career aspirations.