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Scholarly Retreat Awardees

The ByWater Institute and A Studio in the Woods seek to enhance and support the scholarship, creativity and cross-disciplinary activity of Tulane faculty and trainees by awarding one to two-week residencies during the academic year. These residencies provide a retreat for faculty and trainees across disciplines to work on a discrete project or scholarly pursuit that can be new or complementary to ongoing work.  The application is currently closed and will reopen for the 2020-2021 academic year in the spring of 2020. Click here to view the most recent application.


A professor in the Computer Science program of the School of Science and Engineering, Dr. Anastasia Kurdia came to A Studio in the Woods to create new and engaging materials for Tulane’s CS program and adapt those materials to be shared with Engage-cs.edu, an online community facilitated by the National Center for Women & Information Technology and consisting of faculty committed to broadening participation and increasing diversity in computing through great pedagogy.

Amalia Leguizamón is a sociologist concerned with the human and environmental ramifications of genetically modified foods. While in residence, she worked towards completing a manuscript entitled Seeds of Power: Genetically Modified Crops and Socio-Environmental Change in Argentina.

Nathan J. Lyons is an environmental scientist focused on rivers and how they change. Dr. Lyons used his residency to bring together geologists and evolutionary biologists to identify conceptual links about topography and fish biodiversity in Amazonia.

A PhD Candidate in Spanish, Ignacio Sarmiento’s research focuses on postwar Central American literature, paying particular attention to the problems of mourning and national community in Salvadoran and Guatemalan fiction. Sarmiento used his residency to work toward completing his dissertation.

All anthropologists, Chris Rodning, Marcello Canuto, Tatsuya Murakami, and Jason Nesbitt engaged in a weeklong collaborative retreat at A Studio in the Woods to explore and exchange ideas about the archaeology of monuments within cultural landscapes in the ancient Americas.

Dr. Anjali Niyogi, a physician, and Dr. Ashley Wennerstrom, a public health researcher and practitioner, have been collaborating successfully since 2014 to improve access to health care services for formerly incarcerated persons. Their residency was used to produce a manuscript documenting the process of developing their Formerly Incarcerated Transition Clinic as well as identify future funding sources for the clinic.


MarkAlain Dery is a physician and the founder of the Tulane T Cell Clinic who places compassion in the highest category of his professional duties. Dr. Dery used his residency to compile a collection of stories from his life and tie them together into a cohesive narrative promoting human rights, social justice, compassion and laughter.

Jocelyn Horner studies the relationship between creative self-expression and positive development among young people. While in residence she completed data analysis for her dissertation, Digital storytelling as positive development: African American adolescent women exploring the politics and possibilities of personal narrative, and held a planning retreat for HerStory NOLA, a young women’s storytelling and mentorship program that she founded.

Dr. Robin Vander is a professor of English, African-American and Diaspora Studies, and Performance Studies. During her residency at A Studio in the Woods, Dr. Vander worked on a manuscript length book of images and essays juxtaposing sites within the African Diaspora with reflections and critical research on modern-day Ghana, its resilience and sustainability.

Focusing on the field of counselor education, Dr. Cirecie A. West-Olatunji has initiated several clinical research projects that focus on culture-centered community collaborations designed to address issues rooted in systemic oppression, such as transgenerational trauma and traumatic stress. Dr. West-Olatunji’s residency afforded her time to revisit her work with the Children’s Crisis Unit of the YWCA Rape Crisis Unit and begin writing a book on Pediatric Counseling.

An assistant professor in engineering physics, Matthew Escarra used his residency to create a proposal for the NSF CAREER Award, the biggest young investigator award for junior scientists and engineers.


Sarah Gray is a clinical psychologist with a focus on early childhood. Dr. Gray applied to the Studio in the Woods Scholarly Retreat in order to support her completion of an application for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding the impact of violence exposure on young children’s developmental outcomes.

Andy Horowitz specializes in modern American political, cultural, and environmental history. He is writing a book which is under contract with Harvard University Press. He used his time at A Studio in the Woods to revise the manuscript and think critically about the material.

A behavioral ecologist, Samantha Lantz has been studying birds for over 10 years. While at A Studio in the Woods, she submitted the first chapter of her thesis for publication. The article came out in April 2016 in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and was featured in the National Audubon Society blog.

Kevin Morris received his PhD in philosophy from Brown University in 2011. His research is primarily in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the history of analytic philosophy. At A Studio in the Woods in fall 2015, Kevin worked on a pair of papers that discuss recent proposals for understanding place of conscious experience in the physical world.

The main focus of Dr. Lisa Settles’ clinical work is on the treatment of children under the age of six with a variety of emotional, relational, and developmental problems. Dr. Lisa Settles is the program director, lead psychologist, and grant writer for The Tulane Center for Autism and Related Disorders (TCARD).

Dr. Workineh Kite and Dr. Robert Blair used their scholarly retreat to analyze immunological data from studies on the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) which has implications for treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Dr. Grant McCall and Dr. Mary Townsend convened a two-day symposium at A Studio in the Woods bringing together scholars from the fields of philosophy and anthropology to discuss the some of the shared concerns of both fields; especially those having to do with social and political theory.


As a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, Dr. Shivaprasad Adireddy used his residency to finish writing a manuscript entitled Flexible Energy Storage Devices Based on Polymer-Dielectric Nanocomposites.

An assistant professor in the School of Social Work, Dr. Catherine Burnette’s research focuses on health disparities related to Indigenous Peoples. Data analysis conducted during her retreat enabled the identification of factors perpetuating violence and mental health disparities among American Indian and Alaskan Native populations in the Gulf South, bolstering resilience and informing the design of a state of the art intervention model for family resilience.  

A philosopher, Thomas Mulligan used his residency at A Studio in the Woods to continue work on his dissertation which sought to answer the question, “What is the role that merit should play when we choose our political leaders and distribute the benefits of social cooperation?"

Dr. Apollo Nkwake and Prof. Nathan Morrow both taught research methods and program evaluation at Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. While in residence, they prepared workshop tools and case studies for the American Evaluation Association and as well as a special volume on “Working with Assumptions: Key Concepts and Tools for Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation” for AEA’s New Directions for Evaluation Journal.

Courtney N. Baker is a clinical psychologist interested in trauma-informed care (TIC). Dr. Baker utilized her time in residence to analyze data and being an article based on her Trauma-Informed Care Belief Measure Psychometric Study, the goal of which is to begin closing the measurement gap related to TIC by developing and evaluating a self-report survey that assesses staff and teacher beliefs favorable to TIC.    

A professor of printmaking, Teresa Cole spent her time at A Studio in the Woods continuing work on her series Seamless Belonging, an exploration of identity and place, visualized through handmade paper works.

Nicole Burton spent time in residence while a doctoral candidate in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She worked on her dissertation prospectus at A Studio in the Woods, which attempted to fill in a gap in the literature on perception in infectious disease research by analyzing the relationship between ego perception of alter behavior and sexual risk behavior in different populations in New Orleans.