INSPIRE! Community Engaged Research Seed Grant Awarded Projects

The first group of awarded proposals for the INSPIRE! Community Engaged Research Seed Grant program was announced in January 2024. The names of the awarded PIs along with their project titles and abstracts are listed below. This page will be updated with more awarded projects as the INSPIRE! program continues.

Tier Two

Headshot of Erica Crespi.

Erica Crespi
School of Biological Sciences

We are very excited to work in partnership the Kalispel Tribe to assess potential habitat for re-introduction of northern leopard frogs, a native species that is experiencing population decline in the Pacific Northwest region, with only one population remaining in Washington. We share the Kalispel Tribe value of returning this species to its native range, and this project extends other research conducted with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Northern Leopard Frog Recovery program exploring ways to optimize captive rearing conditions and monitor success of reintroductions.

Headshot of Samantha Fladd.

Samantha Fladd
Asst. Prof., and Museum of Anthropology Director
Department of Anthropology

The Community Engaged Research Seed Grant (Tier 2) is supporting hosting one or two workshops in the Southwest to guide subsequent research on women’s histories in the Four Corners Region. Women’s experiences and contributions have often been overlooked in traditional archaeological research, and we hope to provide a new narrative of the past that centers their lives. Working with collaborators at WSU and the non-profit Archaeology Southwest, I will use funding from the Seed Grant to organize meetings in the Southwest to gauge interest in the project and hopefully build a steering committee of Indigenous women to guide subsequent research and outreach efforts.

Molly Kelton and a young child sitting at a table with large sheets of paper and a set of oil pastels.

Molly Kelton
Associate Professor
Dept. of Teaching and Learning

WSU’s INSPIRE! Community Engaged Research Seed Grant program is supporting me in partnership development, needs assessment, and community-based inquiry related to wildfire education in Eastern and Central Washington. This project includes (1) recruiting community-based partners, with a focus on rural communities underserved in STEAM education and (2) a series of hands-on, arts-based community events that bring together families, STEAM educators, researchers, wildfire frontliners, and policy makers to identify needs and questions pertaining to wildfire as a complex socio-scientific issue with consequences for daily decision making. My scholarship focuses on STEAM learning in out-of-school settings like museums and community-based organizations. At the heart of my work is a commitment to collaborating with educational practitioners and community members to co-design and study educational programs and exhibits. This seed grant is supporting me in continuing my community-engaged research with communities served by WSU while expanding the scope of my research to include the urgent issue of wildfire in the Northwest.

Headshot of Ming Luo.

Ming Luo
Flaherty Assistant Professor
School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Our project addresses challenges faced by Native Hawaiians in preserving and reclaiming their land, culture, and resources amidst ongoing exploitation and struggles with land rights. We leverage our robotics experience to create innovative solutions that may support farming, environmental monitoring, unexploded ordnance detection, and nutrient evaluation on indigenous lands. Through this project, we are creating partnerships with Native Hawaiian non-profits and organizations, conducting site visits, and hosting workshops to co-design technology in line with their vision. By actively involving the community in the design and prototyping process, we aim to foster meaningful relationships and contribute to the empowerment and well-being of Native Hawaiians, who have often been marginalized and overlooked.

Tier Three

Cheryl Ellenwood
Assistant Professor, School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs

Achieving Full Management Authority: How Nez Perce Fisheries Manage Life Sources with Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Data is a political and cultural history of the Nez Perce Fisheries’ transfer of authority to full management of the Dworshak and Kooskia Fish Hatcheries. It argues that Nez Perce success in salmon recovery stems from cultural knowledge that informs fisheries’ efforts. By focusing on one Native nation, this study closely examines the impact of Nez Perce Fisheries on cultural health, local and tribal economy, and the region. The study facilitates a better understanding of federal policy, Joint Secretarial Order 3403, which aims to fulfill the trust responsibility to Indian Tribes in the stewardship of federal lands and waters. The research partnership has three major aims. First, it investigates how a tribe utilized tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and litigation to situate them as rightful stewards. Second, the partnership will produce a comprehensive backstory of public collaborations between the Nez Perce, State of Idaho, Army Corp of Engineers, and Federal Government and the impact of full tribal management authority. Third, the partnership will examine how tribal authority of life sources can improve the cultural health of a Native nation. The partnerships centers all aspects of the project to benefit the tribe, including creating data for tribal governance.

Emily Van Alst
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology

I am thrilled to have received the Community Engaged Research Seed Grant – Tier Three. As an Indigenous archaeologist and new tenure track faculty member at WSU, this funding will be essential to growing my current community-engaged archaeological project. The grant will allow me to work directly with my community, including visiting circles, interviews, and rock art site visits so that we can reclaim our sacred sites. I appreciate Washington State University’s commitment to community-engaged work and supporting faculty and scholars working towards bettering their research by working with, by, and for their communities.

Headshot of Jacqueline Wilson with a bassoon.

Jacqueline Wilson
Assistant Professor
School of Music

The support I am receiving through WSU’s INSPIRE! Community Engaged Research Seed Grant (Tier III) will provide the students at Lakeside Elementary with important, culturally affirming, experiential learning opportunities. By incorporating Coeur d’Alene and pantribal musics into the curriculum, the students will benefit from the deeper understanding resulting from an enhanced music education curriculum that is uniquely tailored to them, their culture, and their tribal community. This seed grant supports my continued efforts to place Indigenous concepts of relationality and reciprocity at the center of my pedagogy, creative activity, and service.