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Three UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate Students Awarded Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

December 5, 2018
UNC Global



Three students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were awarded grants under the 2018 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellows Program, making Carolina one of the top producers of fellows.

UNC-Chapel Hill was awarded more than $103,00 in funding for the program by the U.S. Department of Education. These fellowships allow doctoral students to pursue dissertation research abroad in foreign languages and area studies for 6 to 12 months. During this time, fellows are able to deepen their subject knowledge and develop capabilities not available to them through opportunities in the U.S.

The Fulbright Program, of which the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program is a part, dates to 1946 when the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright sponsored legislation to create the program as a means to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and the rest of the world. For more information about the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellows program at UNC, visit the Center for Global Initiatives website.

The 2018 UNC Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellows are:

Willa Dong is a doctoral student in health behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dong’s dissertation, titled “Understanding Aspirational Strain to Reduce the High Burden of Depression among Transgender Women in China,” employs a mixed-methods study on how stigma against gender minorities shape transgender women’s aspirations and their mental health. This study will use in-depth interviews and surveys to examine these experiences in partnership with community-based organizations. The results from this study aim to expand the understanding of determinants of transgender women’s mental health.

Claire Dunn is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science Anthropology in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Dunn’s dissertation, titled “Privileged Interests: Class-based Variation in Government Responsiveness in Brazilian States,” examines how the interests of different socioeconomic groups are reflected in policy decisions at the subnational level in Brazil.  Through interviews with local policymakers and civil society leaders in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, and Goiás, she aims to understand what factors push governments to be more responsive to the interests of the lower classes.

Ampson Hagan is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Hagan’s dissertation, titled “Migrants and Healthcare Worthiness in the Sahara of Niger and Algeria,” investigates how Sub-Saharan migrants, crossing the Sahara to reach the Mediterranean en route to Europe, are subject to expressions of health-related “deservingness”—moral arguments about whether or not unauthorized migrants deserve healthcare. Over 12 months of research in Agadez, Niger, this project will use participant observation via volunteering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and interviews with migrants and IOM medical staff to understand how expressions of moral deservingness effect sub-Saharan migrants’ experiences of humanitarian care during transit.


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