• Alissa Cordner, Assistant Professor of Sociology, is the co-Principle Investigator with collaborators at Northeastern University on a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation entitled "Perfluorinated Chemicals: The Social Discovery of a Class of Emerging Contaminants." The goals of the research are to track the social and scientific discovery of perfluorinated chemicals, hazardous chemicals that are widely used in industrial production. This project will investigate the emergence of lay awareness, scientific research, government involvement, media coverage, litigation, and advocacy around this class of chemicals. Cordner will analyze regulatory documents and public testimony about voluntary and regulatory action related to perfluorinated chemicals, and will conduct interviews with affiliated individuals. The project will lead to a better understanding of chemical risks and environmental health controversies, and will contribute to research on alternatives assessment, chemical substitution, and environmental regulation.
  • Melissa Clearfield, Professor of Psychology, was awarded a grant sub-award from the Hemera Foundation. She and Whitman College are part of a larger grant to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child to launch innovative research focusing on at-risk children from pre-natal to three years of age and their caregivers. At Whitman, Clearfield and students in her Whitman Infant Learning and Development (WILD) lab created a simple Play for Success intervention for low-income infants to boost object exploration and, eventually, executive function. They will partner with the Children’s Home Society of Washington to test this intervention through the Early Head Start program. This intervention will eventually lead to better problem-solving skills in this at-risk population.
  • Whitman College received a planning grant of $90,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its efforts to foster practices of diversity, inclusion, and equity on campus. The planning grant builds upon work the College has done over the past three years, including creating a Diversity Council and hiring a Chief Diversity Officer. Funding from the planning grant will enable the College to bring together members of the Whitman community for a series of focused discussions of faculty, staff, and students. In addition, the College will bring in external facilitators (University of Michigan Program on Intergroup Dialogue) and a nationally-known consultant (Dr. Damon Williams) to provide training and guidance to campus groups. These efforts will lead to the creation of a set of implementation strategies that will ultimately contribute to the development of Whitman College’s strategic plan for diversity.



  • The Pacific Power Foundation awarded Whitman a grant of $4,000 to continue the Advanced Studies Enrichment (ASE) program, a weekly tutoring program for AP math and science students from Walla Walla High School. The program offers high school students a great study environment, help understanding new and challenging concepts, and a peek at the college environment. Whitman students have the opportunity to try out their teaching skills, help others, problem solve and engage with their community.
  • The Carrie Welch Trust awarded Whitman a grant of $34,000 over three years to support the Walla Walla-Whitman Imaginative Writing Partnership, in which Whitman students use the knowledge and skills they gain in creative writing courses to teach imaginative writing to K‐12 students in the local schools. At each session, Whitman tutors lead the class in a writing activity (usually with a reading component), collect their work, and return for the following session with written feedback on the younger students’ writing. The outreach program was developed and directed by Associate Professor of English Scott Elliott.
  • The McMillen Foundation has awarded Whitman’s Studio Art department two grants totaling $38,725 to support The Hand + The Machine, program that examines the artist’s relationship to tools and technology. The project includes workshops by prominent visiting artists, a collaboration with the Walla Walla Foundry, and the purchase of new equipment, including a CNC router, laser cutter, and 3-D printer.
  • Associate Professor of Philosophy Patrick Frierson received a Spencer Foundation grant of $39,000 in order to pursue his project, “Pedagogy and Agency in the Philosophy of Maria Montessori.”