New Grants Empower Community Transformation

Building a community where everyone feels represented and has a sense of belonging at UT Austin is a critical campus priority. In an effort to better support this type of meaningful transformation on campus, the Provost’s Office awarded 52 new grants to campus members in a new initiative – Actions that promote Community Transformation (ACT).

Launched this fall, ACT aims to support and enable members to transform their local communities on campus. ACT recipients receive seed grants — ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 — to support projects that promote a sense of belonging at the university.

“When you are part of a vibrant intellectual community like the one here at UT Austin, there is no doubt that extraordinary ideas exist. That was even more evident to us as we reviewed applications for the ACT. Members of our campus community have unique and creative solutions for building more inclusive environments on campus. Through ACT, we hope to provide a catalyst for these ideas, bringing them to life and providing positive change for our community” said Edmund T. Gordon, vice provost for diversity.

Areas of interest for the project include:

  • Graduate education
  • Undergraduate education
  • Departmental climate
  • Faculty hiring practices
  • Staff and faculty promotion and retention practices
  • Faculty development
  • Mentoring practices
  • Student recruitment practices

“Another exciting part of this initiative is bringing members of our community from all areas of campus together to work towards realizing a vision for our university to which we are all committed,” said Lydia Contreras, provost’s faculty leadership fellow.

The grants represent more than $225,000 to fund projects supported by units across campus, including: the Graduate School,  Financial and Administrative Services, Vice President for Research, the Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Education, College of Fine Arts, College of Liberal Arts, College of Natural Sciences, Dell Medical School, LBJ School of Public Affairs, McCombs School of Business, Moody College of Communication, and School of Nursing.

This group will hold joint meetings to mutually support the development of these projects throughout the year and is already working together to exchange ideas to maximize their impact.


Biomedical Engineering
Team members: Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, Mia K. Markey, Lacy White

Cockrell School of Engineering
Team members: Alyson Bodner, Amy Beebe, Gillian Hagaman, Suzanne Barber

Cockrell School of Engineering
Team members: Shelby Todd, Shawntal Brown, Johnny Hill, and Enrique Dominguez along with our FIG mentors and tutors

Cockrell School of Engineering
Team members: Raissa Ferron, Diana Marculescu, Mia Markey, Maša Prodanović, Adrianne Rosales, Preston Wilson

Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
Team members: Raissa Ferron , Patricia Clayton, Enrique Dominguez, Maura Borrego

Engineering Student Services
Team member: Mckinlaye Harkavy

Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program
Team members: Enrique Dominguez, Shawntal Brown, Shelby Todd, Johnny Hill, Tony Nguyen, LLC Tutor(s)


College of Education
Team members: M. Yvonne Taylor, Tiffany N. Hughes

College of Education
Team members: Alexis Bigelow, Jimmy McLean, Monica Pineda

Office of the Dean
Team members: Anita Swanson, Jigna Patel, Jordyn Jensen

Texas Center for Disability Studies
Team members: Dr. Nick Winges-Yanez,  Dr. Alison Kafer

Department of Art and Art History
Team members: George Flaherty, Adele Nelson, Eddie Chambers

Department of Art and Art History
Team members: Christina Bain, Donalyn Heise, Briley Rasmussen, Dawn Stienecker

Department of Art and Art History
Team members: Beili Liu, Megan Hildebrant

African and African Diaspora Studies
Team member: Niyi Afolabi

Center for Women’s and Gender Studies
Team members: Christen Smith, Sarah Nicholus, Grayson Hunt, Nancy Ewart, Pat Heisler

Department of English
Team members: Phillip Barrish, Roger Reeves

College of Liberal Arts
Diversifying Syllabi in Undergraduate Coursework in COLA
Team members: Jayme Walenta, Molly Polk

College of Liberal Arts
Team member: Gautami Shah

College of Liberal Arts
Team members: Terrence Chapman, Bethany Albertson, Allison Craig, Zach Elkins, Stephen Jessee, Mike Findley, Amy Liu, Raul Madrid, Eric McDaniel, Zeynep Somer-Topcu, Scott Wolford.

Department of Anthropology
Team members: Jason Cons, Anthony di Fibre, Courtney Handman, Sofian Merabet, Liza Shapiro

Department of Classics
Team members: Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, Pramit Chaudhuri

Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
Team members: Lilia Raquel Rosas, M.L. Mutrux (they/them/theirs)

Department of Philosophy
Team member: Michelle Montague

IC2 Institute/Dept of Psychology
Team members: Art Markman, Matt Kammer-Kerwick, Bruce Kellison, Riffat Manasia, Kara Takasaki, Susan Sookram

Religious Studies Department
Team members: Chad Seales, Aixin Dunn, Lucianne Nelson

Student Affairs 
Team members: Scott Brown, Mia Carter

Molecular Biosciences
Team members: Keiko Torii, Shelley Payne, Julie Perreau

Molecular Biosciences
Team member: Vishy Iyer

Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES)
Team members: Stuart Reichler, Shelly Engleman, Kara Rogers, Siobhan McCusker

Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Sciences (TIDES)
Team members: Brandon Campitelli, Kristin Patterson

Undergraduate Education
Team members: Kris Powledge Gaddy, Alyssa Ray, Paulina Reyes

Dell Medical School 
Team members: Mbemba Jabbi, Laura Colgin, Nicholas Jackson

Department of Psychiatry
Team members: David Hecker, Lynn, Monnat, Madison Perry, Dominique Egger

LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes 
Team members: Alejandra De Angulo Soriano, Luisa Gil Fandino

Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement
Team member: Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

Team member: Andrew Gershoff

MBA Admissions
Team members: Jaden Felix, Rodrigo Malta, Raji Srinivasan


Moody College of Communication
Team members: Heather Vaughn, Bianca Solis, Cole Wilson

Moody Data and Research
Team members: Anthony Fowlkes, Ya’Ke Smith

Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations
Team members: Shelly Rodriguez, Amanda Hager, Brad Love

School of Nursing
Team members: Lynn Rew, Heather Becker

Simulation & Skills Center
Team members: Nicole Manley, Chris Abbyad, Leigh Goldstein, Scott Hudson, Mayra Suarez


Sanger Learning Center
Team members: Paige Schilt, Nisha Abraham


Steve Hicks School of Social Work
Team members: Esther Calzada, Lainey Sevillano, Andrea Campetella, Montinique Monroe


Applied Research Laboratories
Team members: Nicole Karas, Carly Knowles, Kimberly Sanders, Kathleen Kaderka


Texas Career Engagement 
Team members: Brittany Leland, Troy Autin, Norma Guerra Gaier, Robert Vega

Team members: Katelyn Christiansen, Kate Russell, Carol Lee

Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
Team members: KB, Justice Madden, Ashley Coleman-Taylor, Christina Alexander.


Harry Ransom Center and Steve Hicks School of Social Work
Team members: Gretchen Henderson, Jim Kuhn, Graciela Gomez

Texas Advanced Computing Center
Team member: Dawn Hunter


UT Libraries
Team members: Lauren Harper, Wendy Martin, Hector Rodriguez, Hannah Champman Tripp, Brooke Womack