New graduate school grant supports research of under-represented students

AIM grant

SUMMARY: The AIM grant provides funds to support projects proposed by graduate students who are underrepresented in their academic fields.

By Laureta Ramaj, Graduate Student, M.A. in Communication & Advocacy

James Madison University strives to not only create an excellent academic environment for students but also remove barriers that can prevent students from achieving their academic potential. Generous contributions from supporters of graduate education have allowed The Graduate School to develop the Advancing Intelligent Minds (AIM) foundation account. Using these funds, THRIVE is providing grants to support projects proposed by graduate students who are underrepresented in their academic fields. The grants are helping these students conduct projects in their respective fields of study. 

To be considered for the grant, students submitted proposals describing their project idea, product, and budget. Proposals were selected for funding when they exhibited noteworthy scholarship or when they describe innovative activities. All grant recipients were required to deliver a tangible product, such as a performance, publication, presentation or a scholarly document.

Four students were awarded grants during the 2020-21 academic year. The recipients of the first AIM grants are Mathias Aboba from the Communication and Advocacy master’s program, Aniko Safran from the Studio Art master’s program, Anisha Patel, from the Psychological Sciences master’s program, and Miracle Ogbor from the Vocal Performance doctoral program. Their projects explore a variety of fields including health, music, art, and psychology. 

Grant recipient Miracle Ogbor, says that this grant came at the ideal time because it helped her cover the costs necessary to complete her dissertation. Her interdisciplinary Opera project showcases the work of the Nigerian classical music composer Dr. Ayo Oluranti and features a version of the classical Nigerian folktale ÒMÒ ÀGBÈ TÓ TÍ DÍ ÓLÓRIN (The Farmer’s Daughter Becomes a Musician). Miracle is appreciative that JMU has opportunities to help students who might greatly need a small grant. She says that she is “very grateful to be a recipient of such benefits. I hope this continues as it would be a great source of help to many other students in the future.”

Opportunities like the AIM grant provide students with access to higher education and allow them to pursue projects that otherwise would be impossible. These grants are needed to allow motivated and passionate graduate students to put their ideas into motion. The students’ achievements not only impact them personally but also have an impact on their communities. Currently, these grants are offered annually, but we hope to increase the number and frequency of funded projects as we receive donations to the AIM foundation account from generous donors.


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Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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