Research Faculty Grant Recipients

2023-2024 Awards

Photo of Meenakshi Rishi

Meenakshi Rishi

PhD; Professor, Department of Economics

Responding to the Cry of the Earth: Using Behavioral Economics to Assess Public Support for Improvements in Air Quality

Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental health threats, and the exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a critical public health issue in many regions of the world. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is large and varied and contributes to a significant number of negative environmental and health effects. One of the goals of the goals of the Laudato Si Action Platform (LSAP) is to respond to the Cry of the Earth by adopting renewable energy and clean air policies that aim to reduce pollution from power plants.   But little is known about public preferences for such environmental policies. This project will attempt to address this research gap by focusing on insights offered by Behavioral Economics. In particular, I plan to study the use of the Willingness to Pay (WTP) method to assess the optimality of existing environmental regulations concerning air pollution from coal fired power plants.  These WTP estimates can provide guidelines for budgetary allocations for environmental policies.

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Jennifer Fricas

PhD, MPH, RN; Assistant Professor; Co-Coordinator, Public Health Internship (PHI)

Understanding Embodiment: A Critical Connection for Improving Human and Environmental Health Under Laudato Si' in the Anthropocene

In today’s Anthropocene, the context of increasing environmental degradation accompanies ongoing ill and worsening human health, both disproportionately affecting the most marginalized humans and environmental spaces among us. Embodiment is a complex concept with the potential to help health professionals understand integral ecology, and the importance of the Laudato Si’ platform, to which Seattle University is committed. Embodiment is also a potential pathway for enacting a truly holistic view of health as framed by Indigenous knowledges and Catholic Intellectual Tradition principles, which both honor “the accumulated wisdom of the past.” In this project, Dr. Fricas will investigate the concept of embodiment, contextualizing it with data from research into well-being in Ecuador, in order to spur meaningful changes in the education and practice of health professionals.

2022-2023 Awards

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Christie Eppler

PhD, Marriage and Family Therapy, Professor and Program Director

Narratives of Spirituality and Embodied Systemic Resilience

This project’s dialogue between faith narratives and systemic resilience will support LMFTs and clinical students in training to find their clients’ strengths and help those who suffer thrive. The purpose of this project is to translate a shared vision which uses different terms and definitions into a model that LMFTs may use to name, assess, intervene, and bolster what is good – both for the common good (world) and for clients. This project contributes to the field of systemic therapy, or marriage/couples therapy, who are relational-focused, holistic, and strength based.

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Amelia Seraphia Derr

MSW, PhD, Interim Director, Bachelor of Social Work Program, Associate Professor

Educating for Self and Community Care: Sustaining Students in their Social Justice Work

This project seeks to investigate how resilience education can build capacity in social work students. I
will use the proposed funding to research ways social work educators are supporting future social
workers in areas of resilience, self-care, and burnout prevention and to identify ways to infuse this
content throughout the required foundation social work curriculum. To inform the education of future
social workers, I seek to answer the following questions:
1. What is known about effective ways to teach and build resilience in social service professional
training programs?
2. In what ways are social work programs currently teaching this content in their curriculum?

2021-2022 Awards

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Maureen Feit

Director, Nonprofit Leadership

From Transaction to Transformation: New Models of Leadership & Capacity Building in Community Organizations

This research project is designed to address the question: Which theories and approaches to leadership development are effective as community-based organizations (CBOs) transition away from transactional and towards transformational capacity building? To answer this question, I will conduct a participatory, qualitative study of two fellowship programs developed in partnership with Rainier Valley Corps (RVC) and designed elevate the leadership of people of color working in community organizations in King County, Washington.

This project engages and extends on fundamental questions of pluralism and solidarity embedded in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Working for social justice means grappling with the intellectual and moral challenges of pluralism, and the Catholic intellectual tradition can teach us about how to "grapple nonviolently with pluralism and intercultural interaction" (Hollenbach, 2010). Current approaches to capacity building for CBOs impose a singular (often corporate) model of management and ignore the multiplicity of needs and strengths in the communities that CBOs serve. This study will explore alternative models of leadership development and capacity building that center questions of inequality, poverty and the meaning of justice, and that are experimenting with ways to embed dignity and solidarity into organizations that are aiming to serve communities deeply impacted by injustices.

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Allison Machlis Meyer

Associate Professor, English

Both Extirpate and Vagabond Forever: Material Formations of Faith in Early Modern Compilation

This project asks how the processes of compiling eclectic, separately-created and separately-printed works into unique physical books—called Sammelbände—construct early modern thinking about religious difference. These compiled volumes provide compelling work for an examination of the fraught religious identities permeating the early modern period: they are polyvocal books that through their material form unsettle codified historical narratives about faith divides between Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims. Organized around formations of faith, the polyvocal compilations of this study generate a unique kind of intertextual, interreligious discourse amongst bound-together texts. Through their very materiality, they explore, reproduce, and sometimes challenge the dialogue between faith and culture animating the Catholic intellectual tradition. This project considers the interpretive implications of such dialogic material intertextuality by reading compiled texts in conversation not only with one another, but with some of the most important ideas about religious faith, tradition, and inclusion that stretch from the early modern period to our own moment.

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Nova Robinson

Associate Professor, History Department and International Studies Program

The Woman Question: The League of Nations and the Shaping of the International Women’s Rights System

With ICTC support, I will study St. Joan’s International Alliance’s imprint on the construction of international women’s rights norms. Unlike some of the major secular women’s organizations, St. Joan’s, a Catholic feminist organization, appears to have been a tireless advocate for representation from the colonized world. The research will be integrated into a larger book project The Woman Question: The League of Nations and the Shaping of the International Women’s Rights System.

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Donna Teevan

Associate Professor, and Chair, Theology and Religious Studies

The Jesuit University in a Secular Age: Theological Perspectives

Philosopher Charles Taylor has described our era as “a secular age.” There is no doubt that there have been fundamental shifts in the role that religious perspectives play in shaping worldviews in the West and that these shifts are part of the context of Jesuit education today. Fortunately, Jesuit institutions have a long history of engaging culture in a way that is world-affirming and adaptative as well as critical where appropriate. In that spirit, this project undertakes a theological engagement with secularity and considers its implications for the mission and identity of Jesuit universities. It is my hope that such an exploration, undertaken in dialogue with the Jesuit educational and Catholic intellectual traditions, may contribute to a discernment of what is authentic and of value in the “secular age” in which we live and point to ways forward that are genuinely Jesuit and Catholic.

2019-2020 Awards

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Sharon Callahan, EdD

Director, Doctor of Ministry Program

Photo of Amelia Derr, MSW, PhD

Amelia Derr, MSW, PhD

Assistant Professor

"Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families in Seattle: The Role of the Local Sector"

Photo of Quan V. Le, PhD

Quan V. Le, PhD

Associate Professor, Economics

"Laudato Si and Sustainable Coffee Production in Vietnam"

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Peter Amah, PhD

Faculty, Organizational Leadership

"The Ignation Pedagogical Paradigm in Extended Reality"

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Gregory Moy, PhD

Assistant Professor, School Psychology (SPSY)

"Social Justice and Care for Persons: Labor Conditions in School Psychology"

Photo of Sharon A. Suh, PhD

Sharon A. Suh, PhD

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

"Finding Safety in the Body: Trauma-Informed Mindfulness Practice"

2018-2019 Awards

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Angelique Davis, JD

Associate Professor in Political Science and Global African Studies

“N.H.I.: Three-Fifths Justice in the Twenty-First Century”

Photo of Ted N. Fortier, PhD

Ted N. Fortier, PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

"The Last Jesuit"

Ted N Fortier's profile

Photo of Robin Narruhn, PhD, MN, RN

Robin Narruhn, PhD, MN, RN

Assistant Professor in Nursing

“Challenges to Thriving for the Marshallese Community in Washington State”

2017-2018 Awards

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Jessica Ludescher Imanaka, PhD

Associate Professor, Philosophy

"Laudato Si', Technologies of Power, and Contemplation: A Search for Liberty, Equity, and Justice"

Photo of Ali Altaf Mian, PhD

Ali Altaf Mian, PhD

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies

"From Somalia to Seattle: Theological Reflections on the Pacific Northwest's Muslim Refugees"

Photo of Dung Q. Tran, PhD

Dung Q. Tran, PhD

Instructor, Organizational Leadership

"Listening with One's Heart: Towards a Benedictine Model of Leadership in Turbulent Times" 

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Jason Wirth, PhD

Professor, Philosophy
Associate Professor, Film Studies

"Bhutan's Gross National Happiness in Dialogue with Laudato Si"

Photo of Valentina Zamora, PhD

Valentina Zamora, PhD

Associate Professor, Accounting

"Tax Policy Reforms and Income Inequality from a Catholic Social Thought Lens"

2016-17 Awards

Photo of Rob Efird, PhD

Rob Efird, PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology

"Effective Pedagogy: Responses to Laudato Si’and Pope Francis’ Call for Ecological Education"

Photo of Amelia Derr, PhD

Amelia Derr, PhD

Assistant Professor, Social Work

"Calling to Social Justice Work: Exploring the Contribution of Catholic Social Thought to Social Work Education"

Photo of Sharon Suh, PhD

Sharon Suh, PhD

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

"Occupy this Body: Mindfulness as Political and Recuperative Strategy"

Photo of Meenakshi Rishi, PhD

Meenakshi Rishi, PhD

Professor, Economics

"Laudato Si': Ecological Debt and Carbon: An Empirical Exploration"

Photo of Dung Q. Tran, PhD

Dung Q. Tran, PhD

Instructor, Organizational Leadership

"Mercy Within Mercy: The Heart of Pope Francis' Spiritual Leadership in a Broken World"

2015-16 Awards

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Michael Jaycox, PhD

Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

"Social Anger and the Struggle for Justice: Emotion, Grassroots Protest and Catholic Social Ethics"

Photo of Jodi O'Brien, PhD

Jodi O'Brien, PhD

Professor, Sociology

"How Practicing Catholics Practice Teachings on Marriage, Family and Sexuality"

Photo of Rev. Trung Pham, S.J., STL, MFA

Rev. Trung Pham, S.J., STL, MFA

Assistant Professor, Fine Arts

"The Wounds of Chirst"

Photo of Daniele De Santis, PhD

Daniele De Santis, PhD

Instructor, Philosophy

"Eternal Being, Personhood, and Human Action in the Philosophy of Edith Stein"

2014-15 Awards

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Bonnie Buchanan, PhD

Associate Professor, Finance; Director, Professional MBA Program

"Subsidiarity and Corporate Governance: Working Toward a Common Good"

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Sean McDowell, PhD

Associate Professor, English; Director, University Honors Program

"Energia, the Stirring or Ardor, and the Poetic Mind of Robert Southwell, S.J."

2013-14 Awards

Photo of Therese Corey, PhD

Therese Corey, PhD

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

"Demonic Mind Readers and Deceivers: What De Malo 16 Can Tell Us About OIntellectual Attention in Aquinas"

Photo of Andrew Davis, PhD

Andrew Davis, PhD

Assistant Professor, Old Testament, Boston College

"Abraham Heschel's Personal papers Relating to Vatican II"

Photo of Rev. Thomas Murphy, S.J.

Rev. Thomas Murphy, S.J.

Associate Professor, History

"Catholic Opinion and Fenian Raids into Canada, 1866-1871"

2012-13 Awards

Photo of Gabriela Gutierrez y Muhs

Gabriela Gutierrez y Muhs

Professor, Modern Languages and Women and Gender Studies
Director, Center for the Study of Justice in Society

For her work on spirituality and religion in Latina/o and Chicana/o literature. 

Photo of Erica Yamamura, PhD

Erica Yamamura, PhD

Associate Professor, Student Development Administration

For her project on the experiences of first-generation college students at Jesuit universities. 

Faculty Profile

2011-12 Awards

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Daniel Dombrowski

Professor, Philosophy

“As a result of the grant I received from the Catholic Thought and Culture program, I was able to complete a book titled Rawlsian Reflections in Religion and Applied Philosophy (Penn State University Press). I was also able to complete some articles, all of which explored the implications of neoclassical or process theism. All of these works are attempts to drive a wedge between traditional theism, on the one hand, and religious skepticism, on the other.”

Faculty Page

Photo of Sean McDowell, PhD

Sean McDowell, PhD

Associate Professor, English; Director, University Honors Program

“The Catholic Thought and Culture Research Grant I received in 2011 enabled me to conduct research that resulted in conference presentations and publications. In England in the 1640s, after religious and political tensions turned into armed conflict between the High Church Anglican King Charles I and his Puritan Parliament, poet and Anglican priest Richard Crashaw converted to Catholicism and escaped Cambridge just before the Puritan army descended upon the city. My work examines the effects of Crashaw’s conversion on his representations of emotional states in his last, posthumous collection, Carmen Deo Nostro (1652). Without the generosity of the Catholic Thought and Culture Research Grant, neither my research on Crashaw’s Catholicism nor my ability to share it with colleagues in literary studies would have been possible.”

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