2017-2018 Undergraduate Student Research Grant award winners announced

Communications arts students looking at art installation.

Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Undergraduate Student Research Grant award winners.

The Undergraduate Student Research Grant program provides $25,000 in funding per year with the purpose of encouraging curiosity, creativity, risk-taking and scholarly investigation into an interdisciplinary project or subject of interest relevant to the student’s major.

Learn more about their projects at the Undergraduate Student Research Grant page.

Tareena Rising
Through video and animation, the team will create a short narrative neo-Western film inside a painted, wallpapered, sculptural TV studio set. The film will respond to collective research into the myth of the nomadic cowboy by subverting the West with gendered interiority.


  • Andy Gottschalk, Painting + Printmaking
  • Kelly Boyer, Kinetic Imaging
  • Brad Eisenhauer, Photography + Film
  • Rachel Lamb, Theatre

Building a Rotational Caster
The team will construct a variable-speed rotational caster to create and exhibit a collaborative body of work centered around hollow-casted plastic, rubber, and glass pieces. The machine and the team’s findings will be available for Sculpture and Crafts students in the future as a supplement to flexible mold-making, foundry and kiln-forming glass curricula.


  • Anthony D’Angelo, Sculpture + Extended Media, double major in Spanish
  • Joe Gindhart, Craft/Material Studies

Virginia State Park Printmaking
The goal of this project will be to showcase the beauty of Virginia’s State Parks while exploring two traditional printing techniques. The project will create a series of posters that help illustrate what the parks have to offer, as a way of bringing awareness to the conservation efforts that have gone into preserving these pockets of Virginia.


  • Catherine McGuigan, Communication Arts, Environmental Science double major
  • Madison Hall, Communications Arts, Art History minor

48 Hour Film Fest at VCU
The 48-Hour Film Fest at VCU is a fast-paced, engaging creative quest that will occur over one weekend in February 2018. Over the course 48 hours, 10 teams will work to write, shoot, and edit short films in advance of a public screening of all films at Grace Street Theatre.


  • Greer Allie Meagher, Photography + Film
  • Connor Gillooly, Photography + Film
  • Victoria Kee, Photography + Film
  • Brittany Clark, Theatre
  • Payton Baril, Kinetic Imaging
  • Will Barker, Photography + Film
  • Ellen Abernathy, Photography + Film

Homecoming is an evening length dance performance that will showcase several artistic voices responding to experiences of leaving and returning home, returning to self—contending with one’s identity and voice in the face of oppression, and the understanding of motherhood through storytelling and movement abstraction.


  • Christine Wyatt, Dance + Choreography
  • Jelani Taylor, Dance + Choreography
  • Jaleel Jackson, Music
  • Adriana DeRosa, Photography + Film
  • Sarah Lubert, Painting + Printmaking

The Hush Behind the Lips
The project is a short film inspired by a true story of sexual abuse that happened to the filmmaker of the piece during his childhood. The film explores the effects of sexual abuse on both men and women in developing countries such as modern Iran. The film is intended to raise awareness and develop a sense of empathy through sharing a personal story based on a personal trauma.


  • Milad Rezaei, Photography + Film
  • Sepidar Misaghian, Craft/Material Studies
  • Kylie Newcomb, Photography + Film
  • Michelle Taft, Photography + Film, Dance + Choreography minor
  • Peyton Johnson, Kinetic Imaging

The Historical Richmond Coloring Book
The team will create a coloring book based on the diverse history of Richmond. The goal of this project is to increase the knowledge of diversity and bring light to underrepresented communities in Richmond.


  • Shanna Brandt, Graphic Design
  • Jessica Casey, Photography + Filmmaking
  • Stephanie Turner, Biomedical Engineering

The team will host a series of four fiber workshops for LGBTQ teenagers in the Richmond area and teach wet felting, crochet, weaving, and sewing through the lens of understanding identity by making art.


  • Stuart Shepard, Craft/Material Studies, Sculpture + Extended Media
  • Porcelyn Headen, Photography + Film
  • Noelani Jones, Craft/Material Studies

Featured photo: Previous Undergraduate Student Research Grant (2016-2017) Communications Arts team Dawn Carr, Morgan Colonna, Katelyn O’Leary, Virginia Stephenson and Katharine Thompson work on the Depot sound stage with their dog Belle.

Photo by Diego Valdez (BFA ’14), Courtesy of VCUarts.


January 16, 2018