Elon Honors Fellow receives competitive 2019 Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship for research

Louisa Sholar '20, an Elon University Honors Fellow, was one of three recipients of the 2019 Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship to support research for her honors thesis. 

Louisa Sholar '20, an Honors Fellow, received the 2019 Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship to support research for her honors thesis this summer.

Sholar, an international and global studies major and poverty and social justice minor, was one of three national recipients of a $5,000 grant awarded by the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Sholar used the fellowship to support research for her honors thesis, titled “Gender Justice and the Global Population Debate: A Case Study in Guyana.” Sholar's mentor for her research is Rebecca Todd Peters, professor of religious studies and director of the Poverty and Social Justice Program. 

The project examines the role of the gender justice framework of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) in addressing Guyana's high maternal and infant death rate, which is one of the highest in the world. Sholar's research focuses on GRPA's unique contributions to providing reproductive healthcare within the country.

With the help of the Portz Fellowship, Sholar recently traveled to the hinterland regions of Guyana to study GRPA’s expansion of services in partnership with the public hospital system. Sholar interviewed clinic staff, members of GRPA’s Board of Directors, the current and former executive directors, as well as key community contacts involved in women’s rights and activism in the country.

"This grant has already helped to enrich my project while I was in Guyana by ensuring that trips to more remote locations were possible," said Sholar. "It will continue to support me throughout the summer and during the fall and spring as I travel to conferences to share my work – expenses I didn’t have adequate funding for before." 

Sholar will now begin coding and analyzing data and documents from her time in Guyana as she prepares to complete her honors thesis in the spring of 2020.

The NCHC, which serves nearly 900 member institutions and more than 330,000 honors students, is a national organization designed to support and promote undergraduate honors education.

The Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship was launched in 2010 to support students involved in cross disciplinary research, offering funding for up to 18 months.

For information on applying for the Portz Fellowship, visit the NCHC’s website.