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Dr. Kate Brown’s Chernobyl research selected for 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program

On April 19, Professor Kate Brown was recognized when she, following a nomination by President Hrabowski, was awarded a research fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Carnegie Corporation’s fellows are selected based on how original, promising and influential the proposals were. Each fellow is awarded $200,000 towards research and writing towards challenges facing the nation, according to Carnegie. The program is aimed at aiding in the research process, especially in advancing the social sciences and humanities, and providing more knowledge to individuals in general.

Her proposal, titled “Chernobyl’s Pale: Health, Controversy, and Science in Determining the Contours of Nuclear Disaster,” concerns the effects of radiation on human health when considering the Chernobyl incident, and the influence Chernobyl has had over time. This proposal is a continuation of her American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, where she works with Timothy Mousseau, an evolutionary biologist at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Brown plans to investigate the effects of Chernobyl radiation such as considering specific archives regarding food and water that may have been contaminated. 

Brown was one of 33 scholars chosen nationwide. The nomination process involved three levels of review: the corporation started by seeking recommendations. 200 nominations were made, and final selections followed by a panel of 16 jurors.

Brown plans to support science with historical evidence, as most do not consider the historical perspective behind events. She believes that students can better understand the research process through her experience. Dr. Brown stated that she tries “…to include my reader along with my quest” within her book and that she hopes “…that students could find out what it means to be a historian and what radiation means to human health.”

 The other topics that such fellows from the Carnegie Corporation of New York provide different experiences regarding “… firearms, justifiable homicide, economic shifts, demographic shifts, abolition of prisons, the process for choosing judges, climate change, the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers, the adaptation of Islam in Western societies, the future of the Middle East and famine in the 20th century,” according to Carnegie.

The founder of the Carnegie Corporation of New York desired the corporation to create, advance and diffuse knowledge in order to essentially enlighten a nation. After completing their fellowship, fellows are expected to publish a book or major study regarding the new knowledge they have gained from this experience.

Brown’s previous publications include the books “Plutopia, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland, and Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of Places not yet Forgotten.”