Scholarship in Action

Holy Cross brings world-class scholars to New England’s second-largest city. Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Scholarship in Action program (SIA) advances Worcester-based faculty research that makes an impact and that provides rich experiential learning opportunities for Holy Cross students.

Through SIA, our community partners and faculty find innovative solutions to universal problems, and our students get a taste for how the liberal arts and the Holy Cross mission can reshape the world.

There are three main components to the program:

  • To encourage the Worcester community to come to Holy Cross with problems that we can address, using the talents, capacities, and skills of our faculty and students.
  • To encourage Holy Cross faculty to think Worcester first when developing research agendas, envisioning ways that their research can make a difference right here at home.
  • To encourage faculty to always bring their students into their work in Worcester, helping them see ways to connect their liberal arts education with our community.

The Initiative is managed by the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World at Holy Cross, which facilitates experiential learning opportunities for Holy Cross students.  To forward the initiative, SIA supports long-term grants (typically 2-3 years) and short-term seed grants that may cultivate longer-term community-based research and/or community-based learning projects.

Scholarship In Action Sponsoring WISER Initiative

SIA is sponsoring The Wiser Initiative this January with The Office Of Sustainability.  Check Out Our January Workshop and Google Site.

Long-Term SIA Grant Requirements

Scholarship in Action awards 2-3 year grants to projects involving Worcester-based faculty research.
  • are proposed jointly by Holy Cross faculty and local community partners
  • develop agendas for continuous long-term involvement in the local community
  • involve students at every stage of the research process. 
  • Produce immediate real-world impacts through scholarly research.

How to Apply for a 2-3 year SIA Grant

For applications instructions, please see the Application Guidelines. The deadline for 2022 SIA grants is Wednesday April 19, 2023.

SIA Seed Grant Requirements

SIA Seed Grants are modest grants of $2,000 that can help faculty jumpstart community-based research by providing faculty and their community partners with resources to embark upon community projects together. While grant requests typically follow a summer and spring application cycle, grant applicants may request an off-cycle review to accommodate extenuating circumstances required by the community research project.   To learn more about the SIA seed grants, please see the SIA Seed Grant guidelines. The next formal deadline for an SIA Seed Grant is Wednesday April 19, 2023. 


2021 SIA Recipients

Tsitsi Masvawure

Tsitsi Masvawure
Prof. Tsitsi Masvawure is Professor of Practice at College of the Holy Cross where she also serves as Coordinator and Advisor of the Health Studies Academic Program. She is a recipient of a 2021 Scholarship in Action Grant with AIDS Project Worcester, a standard-bearer for comprehensive HIV/AIDS services to individuals and families in Central Massachusetts. In this collaboration, APW and Prof. Masvawure, a medical anthropologist, will embark on a storytelling project, “Three Decades of AIDS Activism: Telling the Story of AIDS Project Worcester” that will eventually be featured through print, podcasts, and online exhibits.



two history professors close up one male and one female

Munya Munochiveyi and Tsitsi Masvawure

In 2021, Professors Munya Munochiveyi, from the History Department, and Tsitsi Masvawure, from the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies, received an SIA grant to work with the Family Health Center of Worcester to collaborate on building out an anti-racism curriculum for health care providers.   “The idea is to support the health care providers with skills and information on what racism is, how you identify it and how it might present itself at a health facility,” says Masvawure, who is a medical anthropologist by training and researches health issues like HIV. “It’s such an important project,” Masvawure says. “We’re responding to a community need, and if we can model for other liberal arts colleges and community organizations that these partnerships can be impactful and collaborative, I think that will be a meaningful contribution that academic institutions can make in the communities they reside in.”

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

In 2021, Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities at Holy Cross, and the Worcester County Poetry Association received a 3-year SIA grant (funded through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) to embark on Mapping Worcester in Poetry (MWiP), an initiative that will identify and mark sites related to seven nationally known poets from Worcester while also nurturing new poems about the city. MWiP will literally put Worcester's poetry on the map with an interactive website, self- guided tours, readings, a symposium, a Worcester Historical Museum exhibit, and a feature section of The Worcester Review. For more information, visit in-poetry/.  Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (also known as Beth) is also a poet whose work, appearing in various venues, has received an American Academy of Poets Prize and the Frank O'Hara Prize, among other awards. At Holy Cross, she teaches 19th- and 20th-century American literature. To learn more about Beth, visit her website




2020 SIA Recipients

Korde SIA Grantee

Shirish Korde

A celebrated composer and a Distinguished Professor of Music, Shirish Korde began “Composing Cultural Community” in 2020 in concert with Adrien Finlay from Music Worcester to develop a collaborative approach to pre-professional programs for the arts that brings music and the arts to new audiences and venues. With collaborations with the Music Worcester, the Worcester Public Schools, Nativity School, Worcester Art Museum, and programs across the city, Shirish Korde hopes to cultivate musical appreciation, music education, and pre-professional programs for students at Holy Cross and in Worcester.

2019 SIA Recipients

florencia anggoro professor psychology

With her expertise as a cognitive developmental psychologist, Florencia Anggoro, associate professor of psychology, will collaborate on research with EcoTarium, the children’s museum of science and nature in Worcester. The primary goal of this research is to improve our understanding of how children learn in informal settings, including museums and science centers and will result in the renovation of the EcoTarium’s early childhood science exhibits. 




lauren capotosto professor education

As a specialist of adolescent literary instruction, Lauren Capotosto, assistant professor of education, will work with Burncoat Middle School on a multi-year study aimed to increase adolescents’ book access and reading engagement through a justice-oriented summer reading program.





daina harvey professor sociology

With his expertise as a sociologist of food and the environment, Daina Cheyenne Harvey, associate professor of sociology, has partnered with the Community Harvest Project and South High School to develop a nutrition curriculum that will address food equity among Worcester’s youth and a larger study about food movements in urban spaces.




stone poche sia


Given their longstanding work on Latino history, Justin Poché, associate professor of history, and Cynthia Stone, professor of Spanish, have partnered with the Latino History Project of Worcester and with the Worcester Historical Museum to expand the Latino History Project’s archive and showcase it in public-facing digital form. Their work will lead to a 2022 exhibit at Worcester Historical Museum that will narrate and document the diverse and dynamic history of the Latino experience in Worcester.

2018 SIA Recipients

susan rodgers sociology

Professor Emerita of Sociology and Anthropology Susan Rodgers was awarded a Scholarship in Action grant in May 2018. Drawing upon five years of collaboration with the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project and with the Refugee Artisans of Worcester, Rodgers’s “Refugee Resettlement in Worcester” entails an anthropological ethnography about how refugees now living in our city are making new homes and new lives for themselves here after fleeing extreme violence in their countries of origin. Rodgers and Holy Cross student researchers conducted life history interviews with refugees and former refugees, ages l8 to 70, about various aspects of their resettlement journeys. Additionally, an exhibition of refugees' crafts (curated by Rodgers and students) were displayed at the Worcester Center for Crafts in 2020 as part of the project. 

Stephanie Yuhl

Professor of History Stephanie Yuhl was awarded a Scholarship in Action grant in May 2018. Following years of public history consultation, including her curation of the “Worcester in 50 Objects” exhibit at the Worcester Historical Museum, Yuhl’s project, “From Margin to Center” partners with the museum and various community representatives to make visible and accessible Worcester’s rich, but long-overlooked, LGBTQ+ history. This project includes collection management and archive building, an oral history project, and an object-based exhibit that together contribute to the museum’s larger strategic mission to become more inclusive, democratic, and collaborative in both its holdings and in its storytelling.

Seed Grants

SIA Seed Grants are modest grants of $2,000 that can help faculty jumpstart community-based research by providing faculty and their community partners with resources to embark upon community projects together. To learn more about the seed grants, please see the SIA Seed Grant guidelines.

2022 Seed Grants Recipients

  • Professor Alex Browman from the Psychology Department and his project “Using Tailored Psychological Interventions to Improve Motivation and Performance in Elementary School Math,”
  • Professor Yu-Jung Lin from the World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and her project “Second language acquisition in late adulthood.”
  • Professors Mary Ebbott, Katherine Lu Hsu, and Neel Smith from the Classics Department and their project for a new introduction in Greek through community-based learning.

More Information

Please contact Mary Conley with any questions or to learn more.