Brazil Initiation Scholarship: 2017 Awardees Announced

2017 BIS Winners

Nohora Arrieta Fernandez, PhD Student in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies at Georgetown University.
Nohora Arrieta Fernandez will conduct research in Rio de Janeiro at João Cabral de Melo Neto’s personal archive to explore his poetry’s relationship to sugar production and modernity in Pernambuco.

Timothy Frye, PhD Student in Hispanic and Lusophone Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at University of Minnesota
Timothy Frye will conduct research on mapping technologies, Amazonian literature and the politics of water in the Zona Franca area of Manaus in comparison to the canal texts in Panama and Nicaragua.

Gurdeep Kaur, Masters Student in Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Gurdeep Kaur will conduct research in Fortaleza, Ceara on the light rail transit project underway and its anticipated effects on the lives of low-income residents of Fortaleza.

Brazil Initiation Scholarship Committee:

Ana Lucia Araujo, Chair

Vivaldo Santos

Rubia Valente

The Brazil Initiation Scholarship (BIS) is a key component of BRASA’s agenda to expand Brazilian Studies in the United States. BRASA invites applications from graduate and undergraduate students for a one-time $1,500 travel scholarship to do exploratory research or language study in Brazil. This scholarship targets aspiring Brazilianists with relatively little or no experience in Brazil. It seeks to contribute to the student’s initial trip (for a period from six weeks to three months), to heighten the student’s interest in Brazil, and deepen his/her commitment to Brazilian studies in the United States. Students are encouraged to combine this scholarship with other grants or awards.

Application Information

Eligibility: Proposals for the BIS will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

Highest priority will be given to applicants who are outstanding college seniors, recent college graduates applying to graduate programs in Brazilian studies or in Latin American studies with the intent of focusing on Brazil, or new graduate students already focusing on Brazil.

Students from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are eligible. In exceptional cases, applications from the natural sciences will be given consideration (for example, someone in environmental sciences who is writing a dissertation on the Amazon or pollution in São Paulo and who plans to continue research on Brazil).

Preference will be given to those applicants who have little or no in-country experience in Brazil. A student requesting funding to undertake an exploratory research trip should present evidence at the time of the application that he/she has achieved at least an intermediate level of competence in the Portuguese language sufficient to carry out the proposed research. Successful applicants may combine BIS with other grants, scholarships, or awards, as long as he/she specifies clearly how the funds are going to be spent (for example, the BRASA scholarship might be used to cover travel costs, while a grant from another source could be used for living expenses, etc.). Applicants are required to be BRASA members at the time of submission.

Application Process: A complete application (partial applications will not be considered) will include the following documents: (NOTE THAT ALL OF THE DOCUMENTS EXCEPT FOR THE TRANSCRIPTS AND LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION MUST BE SUBMITTED AS ONE PDF OR WORD DOCUMENT).

  1. The application cover page (download form)
  2. A two-page prospectus (double spaced, 12-point font)
  3. A two-page résumé or CV;
  4. A budget specifying how the $1500 will be spent
  5. In the case of undergraduates or recent college graduates, a letter of intent to study Brazil in graduate school
  6. A two-page bibliography on the subject of study, and evidence that the applicant has achieved at least an intermediate level of competence in Portuguese (competence can be demonstrated by a transcript or a letter from a university instructor of Portuguese)
  7. Proof of membership in BRASA
  8. Two letters of recommendation from professors
  9. Copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts

The letters of recommendation and transcripts may be mailed directly to BRASA at the address below. All other materials should be submitted together either as PDF or Word files in a single email to In the subject line write “BIS 2014 Submission + your name” and nothing else. (e.g. BIS 2016 Submission Smith, Mary).

Evaluation Criteria and Selection Process: In order to be considered for the scholarship, the two-page prospectus should:

  • Clearly and coherently outline the project’s engagement with Brazil
  • Demonstrate as precisely as possible the feasibility of the proposed exploratory research project and how it will contribute to the student’s academic development
  • Briefly discuss the role the work undertaken in Brazil will play in shaping the applicant’s future course of academic study (for instance, it could be the seed project for a larger grant application, provide the basis of a paper prepared for presentation at a BRASA conference, or serve as the foundation for future research on Brazil)

Report: Upon completion of the research experience in Brazil, recipients are required to file a two-page, double-spaced report with the BRASA Executive Director summarizing their activities and identifying relevant academic outcomes. In addition, a statement accounting for the expenditure of funds must be sent to the BRASA Executive Director. Following completion of studies in Brazil, BRASA strongly encourages recipients to participate in a subsequent BRASA Conference in order to report on their activities.

Deadline for application: December 15, 2016

Awards will be announced by January 15, 2017. To submit a proposal and for all other correspondence regarding this award, contact:

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Brown University
111 Thayer Street, Box 1970

Providence, RI 02912-1970


2016 BIS Winners

Benjamin Bradlow, PhD Student in Sociology at Brown University.
Benjamin Bradlow will conduct research in Sao Paulo, Brazil interviewing activists, government and officials to compare spatial inequality in Brazil and South Africa.

Mira Kohl, PhD Student in Modern Latin American History at Tulane University
Mira Kohl will conduct research in Brazil utilizing archives to examine national anxieties over sovereignty and modernity during the development of Manaus.

Juan Suarez Ontaneda, PhD Student in Latin American Literatures and Cultures at University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.
Juan Suarez Ontaneda will conduct research in Rio de Janeiro relying on private archives to explore how theater has been used as a space to contest racial ideologies. He focuses on the work of Abdias do Nascimento.


Brazil Initiation Scholarship Committee:

Gladys Mitchell-Walthour, Chair

Steve Butterman

Matthew Taylor

Christopher Dunn