AAUW Fellowship and Grant Recipients in Florida 2023-24


Courtney Whitcher

  • American Dissertation Fellowships
  • 2023-24
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee-FL)
  • Primary Area of Expertise – Biology – Ecology and Evolution

Uncovering the Evolution of Biofluorescence in Tree Frogs                                                    Courtney Whitcher is an ecology and evolutionary biology Ph.D. candidate at Florida State University. Her dissertation research examines the function, mechanism and evolution of tree frog biofluorescence. During her Ph.D. program, she has also designed and developed a citizen science and educational resource related to her research called Finding Fluorescence (https://findingfluorescence.wixsite.com/home). She hopes her efforts help to illuminate the unseen world that surrounds us.

Cae Joseph-Massena

  • American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowships
  • 2023-24
  • University of Miami (Coral Gables-FL)
  • Primary Area of Expertise – Language and Literature

Ezili-phonic Fiction: Sounding Haitian Feminism                                                                                Cae Joseph-Masséna is a jazz vocalist and cultural critic who studies the entanglement of voice, music, and ritual in Black women’s texts. Her current project introduces the notion of “Ezili-phonic fiction” to describe novels by Haitian women that combine a high focus on voice with references to vodou deity Ezili. This project reclaims sound as a central category of the Haitian imaginary. It also amplifies Haitian women as theorists who push against narrow understandings of voice and embodiment.


Bhavleen Kaur

  • International Doctoral Degree Fellowships
  • 2023-24
  • Florida International University (Miami-FL)
  • Primary Area of Expertise – Architecture & Planning

Integrated Design-to-Construction Strategies for Lightweight Habitats using Robotic Fabrication                                                                                                                                        Bhavleen Kaur’s research addresses the global crisis of resource depletion in architecture and construction by proposing integrated design-to-construction strategies using natural materials and robotic fabrication. Her work aims to reduce fabrication time, cost, and reliance on nonrenewable resources through sustainable construction methods and adaptive robotics. Using a design-based approach, her research showcases the potential of these strategies through prototypes and iterative processes.

Shauntel Clarke

  • International Master’s/First Professional Degree Completion Fellowships
  • 2023-24
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ (Daytona Beach-FL)
  • Primary Area of Expertise – Aviation Education 

Hailing from Jamaica, Shauntel Clarke knew seeking an education in aviation operations and management would mean leaving home for an adventure. Now, she is living her dream working toward her Master of Science degree in aviation while building a network of future collaborators. In the near future, she’ll begin her own career journey as an aviation professional working to create educational spaces in Jamaica for girls who share similar interests.

Mirian Molina de Cruz

  • International Master’s/First Professional Degree Completion Fellowships
  • 2023-24
  • University of Florida (Gainesville-FL)
  • Primary Area of Expertise – Nonprofit Administration, Sustainable Development

Yadira Molina de Cruz, a Honduran forester, has worked with community forestry enterprises for more than 25 years in natural resources management. In 1994 she earned a Bachelor of Physical Science in California with a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2004, she cofounded Madera Verde, a nonprofit working with communities across Honduras’s North Coast. Because she has been able to work and raise three kids thanks to the support of her husband, she thinks women’s empowerment processes must include men.


Rosaria Matthew

  • Career Development Grants
  • 2023-24
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee-FL)
  • Social Work

Rosaria Matthew is a second-year clinical MSW student, a crisis counselor at United Way’s social service and suicide prevention hotlines, and a certified rape crisis center volunteer. Upon graduation, she intends to partner with survivors of trauma in the community mental-health field, providing accessible therapy, trauma-informed resources, psychoeducation and prevention programs. She hopes to empower them at the micro and macro levels to pursue recovery and, ultimately, their full potential.


University of Central Florida Research Foundation

    • 2023-24
    • One -Year
    • SLAM-Space

Science Leadership and Mentoring (SLAM) is a curriculum-based mentoring program between 7th-grade girls and University of Central Florida (UCF) women STEM majors. SLAM-Space centers on exposing, encouraging, and supporting young women in space-related STEM fields such as aerospace engineering. SLAM-Space includes women space leaders and professionals as guest speakers, a visit to the UCF Robertson Observatory and Planetarium, and a full-day field trip to the Kennedy Space Center.

  • Award Project Lead Anne Bubriski-McKenzie