2017 Tinker Summer Field Research Grants

 Javier Jauregui Lazo received a 2016 Tinker Summer Field Research Grant to investigate evolutionary adaptations of mosses in Central Chile. (Photo by Javier Jauregui Lazo.)

Javier Jauregui Lazo received a 2016 Tinker Summer Field Research Grant to investigate evolutionary adaptations of mosses in Central Chile.
(Photo by Javier Jauregui Lazo.)

2017 Tinker Field Research Grants are available to individuals for travel and field-related expenses for brief periods of pre-dissertation field research in Latin America, defined here as the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of the region. Awards are open to students across all academic disciplines and graduate degree programs.


Congratulations to the 2017 Tinker Field Research Fellows

Nicole-Marie Cotton, African American & African Diaspora Studies
On the Cusp of Recognition: The Afro-Mexican Racial Moment in Mexico City

Miles Culpepper, History
Guatemala's New Left and the Strategy of Violence

Margaret Cychosz, Linguistics
Bilingual phonological development in South Bolivian Quechua and Spanish

Catarina de Morais Gama, Spanish and Portuguese
Augusto Boal: Staging Resistance against the Brazilian Military Dictatorship

Jimena Diaz Leiva, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Assessing the toxic effects of mercury transfer from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems in the Peruvian Amazon

Alfonso Fierro, Spanish and Portuguese
Dr. Atl's Olinka

Robin Anne Fink, School of Public Health - Health and Social Behavior
Learning from Successful Intercultural Midwifery Models of Care: From Summer MPH internship at Centro Osa Mayor in Tulum, México to the Ecuadorian Amazon    

Monica Gimenes Hernandez, Spanish and Portuguese
Women, Violence, and the Nation in Brazilian Literature and Film

Rosalinda Godinez, School of Education
Transnational Community Processes of Indigenous Yucatec Maya Mothers in Schools

Jesús Gutiérrez, Anthropology
Colonial Legacies in the Brazilian Pampas: A Study in Material Memory and Recognition

Drew Hart, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Intraspecific morphological variation as a function of climatic gradients in two broadly distributed cloud forest epiphytes

Clarissa Ibarra, History
Becoming “Professional” Socialists: The Cuban-Soviet Collaboration for Development

Rosa Jimenez Barrios, Integrative Biology
Avian Genetic Diversity in the Mountain Cloud Forests from Nuclear Central America

Benji Kessler, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Color, vibratory signals, and courtship success across jumping spiders 

Carlos Martinez, Anthropology
The Island of Widows: An Investigation of Central America’s Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemic

Julia Nee, Linguistics
Conceptualization and Linguistic Encoding of Spatial Concepts in South Bolivian Quechua

Yessica Porras, History of Art
Murals in the Peripheries 

Sebastian Rubiano-Galvis, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Contested Undergrounds: Resource Control and Territorial Authority in Colombian Amazon mining areas

Manuel Santana Palacios, City and Regional Planning
Exploring the links between transportation and social capital in low-income communities in Latin America 

Carlos Schmidt Padilla, Political Science
Elite Networks, State Capture, and Democratic Development in Central America

Alice Taylor, School of Education
Gender, Child Marriage, and Education: Preliminary Dissertation Research in Brazil

Jose Vicente Tinoco Ochoa, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
The new wave of hydroelectric dams in the Andean Amazon: How sustainable?



- Informational Meeting on Friday, January 20, 2017, at 12:00 pm in the CLAS Conference Room (2334 Bowditch).
- Application due Monday, February 20, 2017, at 5:00 pm
- Funding awarded mid- to late- March

Application materials and more information:

- Grant Guidelines
- Application form
- Faculty Recommendation Form


Eligibility and Requirements


  • Registered UC Berkeley graduate students at the master’s or early stages of the doctoral level studies, including those pursuing professional degrees.
  • Tinker grants are for predissertation field research; they are not to be used for advanced dissertation research.
  • Non-U.S. citizens ARE eligible.
  • Applicants from Latin American countries who are interested in conducting research in their home countries must have no previous field research experience in that country
  • Must intend to register for the fall 2017 semester.
  • Must be proficient in the language of the country where research will be conducted.
  • Priority will be given to candidates who have not received Tinker funding in the past; however candidates who have received Tinker funding are welcome to apply, providing they meet other eligibility guidelines.


  • Tinker grants fund travel to Latin America, defined as the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of the region. Funds will primarily cover airfare, but could be utilized to cover other travel and research related expenses. NOTE: Applications for funding for research or travel in Puerto Rico will not be considered.
  • Time spent abroad may range from a minimum of two weeks to a maximum of four months.
  • Travel must be completed by August 31, 2017.


Tinker grants are intended to provide graduate students with early experience conducting hands-on field research in Latin America and the opportunity to develop independent research projects.

Grant can be used:

  • to become familiar with relevant information sources;
  • to conduct pilot studies and preliminary investigations;
  • to develop contacts with scholars and institutions in your field; and
  • to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of language and culture. **Please note: language study alone is not sufficient to receive a grant.

UC Berkeley policy mandates that research involving human subjects be approved or exempted by the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) before the research is begun. Applications for Committee review must be submitted approximately one month before the next scheduled CPHS meeting. For more information, see the CPHS website at cphs.berkeley.edu.


  • An informational meeting will be held at 12:00pm pm on Friday, January 20, in the CLAS Conference Room (2334 Bowditch).
  • Successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation meeting at 4:00pm on Wednesday, March 22.


Grant Application Process


  • Complete the application form (LINK TO APPLICATION FORM)
  • Write a proposal narrative (see section 7 of the application form)
  • Ensure that one faculty member has submitted a recommendation for you using the following link: http://bit.ly/2j9nhO6
  • Provide an unofficial transcript of relevant, graduate-level coursework
  • Combine application materials (application form, proposal narrative, and unofficial transcript) into one PDF document
  • Submit all application materials by 5:00pm on Monday, February 20, 2017, to Julia Byrd Mergendoller, julia.byrd@berkeley.edu 


  • Two faculty reviewers rank applications based on the applicant’s academic record, language ability, and the merit and eligibility of the proposed project.
  • CLAS awards grants based on the rankings.
  • Applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision by mid to late March.
  • Amount of each grant will depend on applicant’s travel destination and number of applicants eligible for this grant cycle.


Upon Return        

Four things are required of you upon return: an abstract, a summary report, at least two photographs, and a presentation. The first three items are due on Friday, August 18, 2017. Please submit them electronically to Julia Byrd Mergendoller at julia.byrd@berkeley.edu

1. Abstract

  • Complete the Abstract Form and write a paragraph-long abstract.

2. Summary Report

  • Submit a two- to three-page report in the form of a journalistic article describing your project.
  • All reports will be considered for inclusion in The Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies.

3. Photographs

  • Submit at least two original, high-resolution photographs (minimum 800x600 pixels).
  • Photos should be journalistic in nature and illustrate the subject matter of your report.
  • Photos should be submitted in jpeg, gif, or png. Images submitted as pdf or doc will not be accepted.
  • Captions for images will be submitted as part of the Abstract Form.

4. Presentation (date TBD)

  • Grant recipients are required to give an oral presentation about their research to other grantees and members of the CLAS community.
  • The presentation consists of a 15-minute summary of the project. Slides, PowerPoint presentations, videos and/or other media are encouraged.

Optional: Summer Research Blog


  • We highly encourage you to submit a blog entry about your research.
  • Blog posts should be 250 to 600 words in length and accompanied by photographs of yourself and your research topic. Please send blog entries to Julia Byrd Mergendoller at julia.byrd@berkeley.edu.

Questions? Contact Julia Byrd Mergendoller at julia.byrd@berkeley.edu.