International Awards

2022 GWI International Fellowship Winners

GWI offers every three years, on the occasion of its triennium, a fellowships programme that makes it possible for women graduates to complete exciting research in many important fields. For example, they are exploring new frontiers in medicine, analysing the impact of global trends on women and children and assessing conservation efforts. Many are working in areas directly related to GWI priority interests. Their studies will have far-reaching benefits, for their own careers, and for the communities and countries from which they come.

GWI Recognition Award winner Hebatallah Tolba, University of East London presentation about her work and appreciation of the GWI Recognition Award is HERE.

GWI invites you to see the previous 2019 fellowship awardees here.

GWI 2022 fellowship awardees and their work summary are listed below. 



The GWI 2022 Winifred Cullis Fellowship (CHF 5000) - CAITLIN MCMILLAN, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

PhD title: Making space for the Displaced: Examining the Impact of Humanitarian practices on care and Wellbeing amongst Refugees in Cyprus.

Caitilin McMillan is a passionate peacebuilding and human rights advocate with a professional background in international development and gender equality. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where her research examines the impact of humanitarian care work supporting the mental health and wellbeing of refugees in Cyprus as they navigate the EU’s asylum system and remake home.

Her work furthers GWI’s mission as she collaborates with women survivors of war to improve mental health and psychosocial care practices in the aftermath of violence. Psychosocial approaches often still remain a relative ‘black box’ within the humanitarian sector, but broadly offer a way of thinking about care that captures the inseparable relationship between an individual’s psychological wellbeing and their embeddedness in the wider social environment.

Her work looks at how these spaces of care are produced by civil society organizations and sheds light on the intimate geopolitics of how refugees alongside local humanitarian workers heal trauma while advocating to prevent future violence.

Before pursuing her PhD, Caitilin worked with grassroots groups, local governments and NGOs across North America, West Africa, Europe and Asia. Many of her roles were dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls. Most recently, she worked for Plan International, a girls’ rights NGO, where she led innovative research and evaluation on inclusive education projects in Sierra Leone promoting gender equality, access to school, learning for girls and sustainability.

She has also worked with displaced communities around the world, including helping shape a grassroots response in the UK and travelling to Greece in response to the refugee crisis.

Caitilin holds a BA (honours) in Global Development Studies from Queen’s University in Canada as well as an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford.

Funds for Women Graduates - Crosby Hall Fellowship - SAMANTHA NEWBY, University of Manchester

PhD Tile: The Design of a Textile-Based, Wearable, Thin-Film System for Harvesting and Storing Body Thermal Energy

Samantha Newby gained her undergraduate degree from Hofstra University in NY, USA with a focus in costume design and construction. She then worked in industry, on Broadway, for several years before deciding to change her focus. While on Broadway she became passionate about environmental protection and sustainability and wanted to focus on creating a better future for textiles that does not destroy the environment.

She went to North Carolina State University and earned a Master’s in Science with a focus on sustainability and management. Following that, she set out to have a more technical impact on the industry and, specifically, the future of smart textiles. She is currently seeking her PhD from The University of Manchester’s Department of Materials with a focus on sustainable energy that utilises textiles.

Her project focuses on harvesting energy though various temperature variations near the textile that can be then used to power sensors or other technology. The purpose of this technology is to give autonomy to those who do not have access to reliable energy.

This research will pave the way for sustainable energy at an individual level that has numerous applications across many fields. This research will allow more at-home care and analysis which will help communities that do not have full access to medical personnel produce long-term treatments without having to travel to medical centres. This research will also offer opportunities to women in education as this will allow women in developing nations to have better access to computers and online education that is currently difficult to acquire.

Ida Smedley Maclean International Fellowship British Federation of Women Graduates - ELISA GENOVESI , Kings College London

PhD title: Development and pilot evaluation of a programme to help teachers support children with developmental disabilities in mainstream school settings in Ethiopia.

Eli is a PhD student in the “Global research on Autism and other Developmental disorders” (GLAD) Lab, in the Department of Psychology at King’s College London (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, IoPPN), supervised by Dr Rosa Hoekstra and Dr Charlotte Hanlon. Her main research interests are in developmental disabilities, inclusive education, and intervention development for low and middle income countries.

Graduating from King’s College London with a First Class Honours degree in Psychology, Eli was awarded a Dean’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement and the 2019 Jelf Medal for the IoPPN for her academic excellence combined with service to her programme and peers at King’s as well as the community beyond King’s. She then completed with Distinction the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King’s College London joint MSc in Global Mental Health. For her MSc final project, Eli conducted a systematic review of qualitative studies on stakeholders’ experiences, attitudes and perspectives on inclusive education for children with developmental disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Eli’s PhD is funded by the Economic & Social Research Council London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership. Her PhD research employs predominantly qualitative methods, and aims at collaborating with Ethiopian stakeholders to develop and evaluate a context-appropriate programme to help teachers support children with developmental disabilities in mainstream school settings. The intervention will be co-developed through stakeholder workshops and working group sessions and piloted at a few mainstream schools. As girls with disabilities in Africa face greater challenges to have their right to education acknowledged compared to boys, the intervention will include any additional supports needed to ensure that girls with disabilities equally benefit from the intervention.

Eli is a qualified Mental Health First Aider and experienced in working with children with developmental disabilities in clinical and educational settings. As well as conducting her PhD project, Eli works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Psychology BSc at King’s College London. Additionally, she is co-supervisor of a placement student and a third-year research project student, mentor to two first-year PhD students, and social media manager for the GLAD Lab.

Daphne Purves Award - New Zealand - ISABELA DOS SANTOS, University of Toronto

PhD title: An Oasis of Peace in the Heart of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Case of Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom

Isabela Dos Santos is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. She studies peace and conflict with a focus on the Middle East. Her doctoral research explores the village of Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom (WAS-NS), which in English translates to “Oasis of Peace.” WAS-NS is a binational and bilingual village of Palestinian Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel “dedicated to building justice, peace and equality in the country and the region” (WASNS, n.d.).

Isabela is interested in understanding how peace has been possible in WAS-NS. She wants to use her research to inform peacebuilding practices elsewhere in the Middle East and in the world. Isabela is fluent in English, French, and Portuguese and is currently learning Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. Upon completing her doctoral degree, she would like to work in the peacebuilding sector either for the Government of Canada or for an international, non-governmental organization. Outside of her studies, Isabela loves running, reading, and cooking and baking for her family and friends.


PhD title: Computational design of curved crease origami

Klara Mundilova is a PhD student in computer science at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria.

Klara’s research interests are in computational origami, in particular the geometry of curved-crease origami, that is, the geometry of shapes that can be obtained by folding a flat sheet of material such as paper along curves. Due to their aesthetics, ease in fabrication, structural stiffness, and space-saving transport, these shapes have applications in fields such as architecture, design, engineering, and aeronautics. Although manual fabrication is relatively straightforward, the mathematical description and the computational design of curved-crease origami shapes are still difficult tasks.

Klara enjoys investigating novel construction methods for curved-crease design. For example, she implemented the novel construction approach for creases between arbitrary developable surfaces and a cylinder or a cone as a plug-in named Lotus for the commercial CAD software Grasshopper / Rhino. The components of Lotus allow users with limited knowledge about the mathematics of curved creases to interactively design curved-crease origami shapes. In the proposed project, Klara plans to extend the functionality of Lotus to offer more parametric design possibilities.

Klara’s plug-in has sparked the interest of architects and designers and has already been used in a seminar for graduate architecture students. Klara collaborates with architects and designers and provides technical knowledge and software solutions for design problems. Ultimately, the goal of Klara’s fundamental research is to make curved crease origami design more attainable for interdisciplinary research. She believes that curved creases have the potential to address the need of functional material-efficient lightweight constructions.

Cynthia Burek Environmental Recognition Award - HANNAH FITCHETT , University of St. Andrews

PhD title: The ‘nature’ of Climate Activism: an examination of Extinction Rebellion as a movement of conceptual and ethical reform in London and Madrid.

We are facing a climate emergency, but leaders attending COP26 failed to establish targets capable of preventing irreversible ecosystem loss ‘and crisis after crisis for the most vulnerable people’ (IPCC, 2018: vi) by limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. Activism pushing for effective climate crisis mitigation is therefore increasingly vital, but what motivates and shapes such activism, and how does it impact those involved?

Hannah Fitchett is a PhD student in social anthropology, exploring efforts to mitigate the climate crisis within the recently emerged transnational Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement. Her research examines how XR’s innovative ‘regenerative culture’ approach, which attempts to change how people relate to themselves, others, and ‘the natural world’, is perceived and manifested by XR activists. Through multi-sited fieldwork comparing XR London and XR Madrid her research explores how national histories and politics of environmental engagement influence XR activism. Fitchett investigates activists’ on-the-ground experiences of XR’s ‘regenerative culture’ approach, and asks how activists are re-learning how to relate to the world around them through their activism.

Her research explores how these experiences relate to the recent wave of social science theories arguing that the Western ideas of ‘nature’ as separate from and opposed to humanity, must change to facilitate effective climate breakdown mitigation. Her enthusiasm to gain nuanced, in-depth anthropological insight into the social change emerging within the West’s largest current climate movement, is motivated by her conviction that such insight can assist effective and socially just climate breakdown mitigation.

Fitchett’s research builds on her interest in the anthropology of activism, which led her to conduct anthropological fieldwork among pro-democracy activists in Japan for her undergraduate thesis. Her research is informed by her environmental charity background, during which she led a collaborative project with educators in the UK exploring how to innovate primary and secondary education to equip young people for the impacts of climate breakdown. Additionally, her ongoing engagement in environmental activism, including within XR itself, ensures the relevance of her research questions, and provides her with long-term insight on the social change such activism is creating. Fitchett’s research is informed by her work as a Research Assistant on a collaborative anthropological research project at St Andrews university investigating everyday ‘eco-anxiety’ in Britain’, in which she developed in-depth insights into the influential changes in worldviews that climate breakdown is causing in the West.

Nazan Moroglu Young Members Recognition Award - SHALINI NAIR, University of Sussex

PhD title: Exclusionary discourse of sexual violence in India

Shalini is a Gender Studies PhD candidate at the University of Sussex. Her research builds on almost two decades of exposure to the field, first as a journalist for leading Indian national newspapers and then as a postgraduate researcher. Her journalistic reports on gender, social justice, rural-urban development have had a marked impact and have received many prestigious awards including the Thomson Reuters Kurt Schork Memorial Award in International Journalism, Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism, National Award for Excellence in Rural and Development Journalism, Redink Award for Excellence in Journalism (for Gender Equality) and the Laadli Award for Gender Sensitivity (Jury citation).

Her thesis examines how marginalised survivors of sexual violence in India navigate and resist various intersectional oppressions in everyday and exceptional spaces. Her work, theoretically informed by her own lived experiences of privilege and marginality and from exhaustive learnings from the field, is aimed at effecting change in both policy and the overall exclusionary discourse of sexual violence. With the aim of disseminating her research so that it feeds into policy and also benefits the community around her, Shalini writes op-eds on gender issues, is a Trustee with Survivors’ Network (The rape crisis centre at Sussex, UK) and is also part of its People Who Experience Racism working group.

Her research investigates the sexual violence discourse through a combination of fieldwork across the country and policy analysis. Her work attempts to deconstruct not just the many forms that the crisis of sexual oppression takes in a diverse geopolitical context, but also the community-led possibilities for contesting them. In the process, it examines collective resistance as a space for critical education and for raising political consciousness and outlines areas for intervention in policy as well as in the global feminist theory-praxis.

GWI Recognition Award - ELIZA GOODPASTURE, University of York

PhD title: Kindred Spirits: Friendship and Ambition Among Women Artists in England, 1870-1920

Eliza Goodpasture is a PhD candidate at the University of York, supervised by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn. Eliza received her MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and her BA from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She has held positions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Frick Collection, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. She is currently the editor in chief of Aspectus: A Journal of Visual Culture.

Her doctoral research examines the impacts of female friendship among artists working in England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is interested in the ways in which friendship between women artists can be re-understood as a form of collaboration. Her work examines the logistical and emotional impacts of friendship and argues for its fundamental relevance to the study of the work and lives of women artists at the turn of the twentieth century.

She uses four case studies to examine different facets of female relationships and their impact on the artistic output of their participants. These case studies include the familial and domestic relationships between Laura Teresa Alma Tadema, her sisters Emily Epps Williams and Ellen Epps Gosse, and her stepdaughter Anna Alma Tadema; the friendship between Annie Swynnerton and Susan Isabel Dacre; the collegial friendships between a group of women who attended the Slade School of Art in the 1890s:

Edna Clarke Hall, Gwen John, Ursula Tyrwhitt, Gwen Salmond Smith, and Ida Nettleship John; and the romantic partnership between Ethel Sands and Nan Hudson. Together, these different friendships offer a fuller picture than currently exists of the true centrality of female friendship to the lives of working women artists in this period, and the breadth of forms these friendships could take. This project not only deepens scholarly understandings of Victorian and Edwardian women artists, but it also broadens our collective knowledge of relationships between women and their importance throughout history.

GWI Recognition Award - SARAH HIEPLER, University of Aberdeen

PhD title: Death’s place in museum practices, displays, and interpretation: an ethnography examining death in university museums in the UK.

Sarah Hiepler is a PhD student in Anthropology-Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen. Hiepler has an MPhil in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford and a BA in Art History from Southern Methodist University with Minors in Music, Arts Management, and Archaeology.

She has taught on the courses: Introduction to Anthropology, Peoples of The World; Introduction to Anthropology, Questions of Diversity; and the School of Social Science’s Summer Bridging Program’s spotlight on Social Inclusion and Cultural Diversity at the University of Aberdeen.

Hiepler is also a peer reviewer for Common Ground Research Networks and presented a paper at their Inclusive Museum conference in 2021. She was an invited special guest lecturer for SMU’s 2022 Seminar on Ancient Art on anthropological approaches to the study of ancient human remains. She looks forward to joining the teaching team at the University of St Andrews Social Anthropology Department as a teaching assistant in 2022.

Hiepler’s current research goes behind the scenes of museums to address how death is exhibited in the UK, in particular focusing on archaeological and anthropological university collections. She has conducted fieldwork with multiple museums and institutions including the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, the Petrie Museum at University College London, the Garstang Museum at the University of Liverpool, the Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester, the Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh, and the Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean Museums at the University of Oxford, to name a few. Utilizing multiple methods, including participant observation, interviews, focus groups, archival research and digital anthropology, Hiepler’s research will contribute to death studies, museum studies and related fields through her ethnographic writing which will introduce new case studies to the wider academic community and address how death and its place in the UK can be understood through museum practices, displays, and interpretation.

GWI Recognition Award - MICHELE PFLUG, University of Oregon

PhD title: ‘In pursuit of her Butterflies’: Madness, Violence, and Science in the English Countryside, 1650-1715

Michele Pflug is a history PhD student and graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, where she studies the history of women and natural history in the British Atlantic world. Her broader research interests fall at the intersection of the history of the book, the history of domesticity, and the history of science in the early modern period. She holds an MA in history from Binghamton University, in New York, where she wrote her thesis on household recipe books and won the Andrew F. Bergman Award in Creative Writing.

Michele’s current research focuses on the life of the English gentlewoman Eleanor Glanville, an early 18th century female lepidopterist whose family accused her of insanity and subjected her to domestic abuse. Her dissertation explores the imbrication of Glanville’s intellectual and personal life to shed light on the early articulations of stereotypes and the creation of barriers that women in STEM still face today. Her methodology combines archival research with literary theory and an analysis of material culture to understand prevailing gender norms in the period. Michele is dedicated to using her research to educate the public and plans to create an interactive website on Eleanor Glanville’s life.

Michele has worked in libraries and museums for the last four years. She served as a curatorial assistant and art preparator at the Binghamton University Art Museum for two years where she developed a deep commitment to using digital platforms for public history projects. There, she curated an exhibition on early modern scientific prints. She has served as a Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Fellow and special projects outreach archivist for University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives.

GWI Recognition Award - HEBATALLAH TOLBA, University of East London

PhD title: A becoming: Materiality, affect and subjectivity in women’s religious rituals practice in Egypt.

Hebatallah Tolba is a creative writer and researcher. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of East London researching the psychosocial effects of Islamic religious rituals on women’s gender performativity in Egypt. She is looking at how the knowledge produced during the ritual practice by women in Egypt impact their day-to-day life, their negotiations in the private and public space.

Tolba completed her MA degree in Education Gender and International Development at the Institute of Education in London and wrote her thesis about the bodily and emotional experience of women participating in funeral and burial rituals in Egypt. She has performed as a storyteller as part of « House of the stories » troupe in Cairo and her writings have been published by the Arab Council for the social sciences, BBC Arabic, Mada Masr and Goethe Institute. Her research interests include personal narratives, new materialism and religion, gender and religion, corporeality and the politics of emotions. Prior to academia, Tolba worked in non-profit education initiatives managing trainings and educational events across Middle East and Africa as part of Oracle Education Initiatives.

GWI Recognition Award - DIANA VOLPE, University of Oxford

PhD title: Legitimacy, discourse, and power: Italy-Libya relations, and the case of the Mediterranean

Diana Volpe is a DPhil candidate in International Development at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the ethics of the duty of rescue and the externalisation of migration control in Italy-Libya relations. She is particularly interested in the power of discourse in legitimising outsourcing policies and legitimising measures when these policies implicate human rights violations. Before starting her PhD, Diana obtained a Master’s Degree in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, where her thesis provided a critical discourse analysis of narrative frameworks in Italy between government actors and NGOs, regarding sea rescue practices.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and International Relations from University College Dublin. Diana also has experience in policy research and consulting with in different research contexts, such as think tanks and international organisations such as IOM.

Diana is seeking a GWI award to fund her PhD work, which comprises of a three-part research of Italy’s current practices of migration control. This research will first analyse current practice from a moral and legal perspective; then focus on how Italy justifies these policies; and finally how these justifications are met and understood by the public.

GWI Recognition Award - YURONG YU, Imperial College London

PhD title: Measuring biodiversity impacts with more precision, less bias and more influence.

Yurong is a PhD candidate at Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College. She was originally trained to be a social scientist and an economist in Beijing, China. In 2016, she received my BA in Development Studies (Rural Regional Development) from China Agricultural University and went to Columbia University for an MA in Climate Science. During her studies, and internship with WWF Beijing and Wildlife Conservation Society NY, she shifted her interest to wildlife conservation.

Yurong’s PhD focuses on investigating how transportation infrastructures pose potential impacts to regional biodiversity conservation on a global scale. The overall goal is to create a multi-stakeholder-involved evidence-based method for assessing the biodiversity impacts. In addition, Yurong is a member of the Program of Homeward Bound Female Leadership in STEM.

Thankfully, GWI is funding Yurong’s research on improving involvement of females in regional wildlife conservation management. In her fieldwork in Hainan, China and Jiangxi, China, she found that females are disproportionally engaged in local conservation decision-making, while their perspective by nature should be equally important as males’.