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ISCE Social Science PREP Program

The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE) established the Social Science Preparing your Research for an Extramural Proposal (PREP) Program to support new social science researchers, or those with limited success in securing external funding, to develop the skills and experience needed to lead their own projects as principal investigators. Faculty selected for the program receive funding to support preliminary research activities and mentoring to prepare a proposal.

2022-2023 ISCE Social Science PREP Recipients include:

  • Elinor Benami, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, “Reassessing drought indicators used to finance relief payments in the U. S. Crop Insurance Program.”
  • Heather Davis, assistant professor of psychology in the College of Science, “Investigating shame as a mechanism underlying eating disorder comorbidity.”
  • Junghwan Kim, assistant professor of geography in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, “Assessing urban walkability with an artificial intelligence (AI) method: A case study in small-sized U.S. cities.”
  • Karin Kitchens, assistant professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science, “Identifying variation in juvenile sentencing.”
  • Michael G. Sorice, associate professor of forest resources and environmental conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, “Ecosystem stewardship as a policy target: Cultural expectations for private lands in the United States.”
  • Hannah M. Sunderman, assistant professor of agricultural, leadership, and community education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, “An intersectional approach to leader(ship) identity development through meaning making.”
  • Clara H. Suong, assistant professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science, “Popular but unimportant? Power and language in digital diplomacy.”


PREP Program Overview

The primary goal of this year-long program is to support faculty whose research is likely to lead to external funding.

This two-semester, structured program consists of didactic and interactive sessions where cohort members learn to develop a competitive grant proposal to be submitted to a federal or state agency or private foundation.  Fall semester activities include 1 to 2 sessions per month to review funders’ requirements and develop a compelling 1–2-page concept paper to communicate ideas to a program officer. Spring sessions consist of writing, reviewing, critiquing, and discussing cohort member proposals. Cohort members are expected to spend time outside of sessions on tailored assignments (fall) and their proposals and brief reviews of their peers' proposals (spring). The ISCE leadership team will provide individually tailored mentorship throughout.

Award recipients must commit to attending scheduled meetings, contacting program officers as appropriate, providing feedback on proposal ideas and drafts of cohort members, and submitting a grant proposal for which they will serve as PI.  

ISCE awards six to eight researchers up to $7,500 to conduct preliminary research activities in addition to participating in the cohort sessions each year.



Contact Yancey Crawford ( or Isabel Bradburn (