By Jodi Boyle

The University at Albany may have transitioned to remote learning halfway through the spring semester this year, but it’s clear that our students remained thoroughly engaged in research, were able to complete projects using digital resources, and continued to apply for annual research funding opportunities with the University Libraries.

Fittingly, the University Libraries recently announced the 2020 Patricia Stocking Brown Research Award recipients are graduate student Carissa Halston and undergraduate student Shelby Hafener. The annual award honors the late Professor Patricia Stocking Brown, who taught Biology and Women’s and Minorities’ Studies for 35 years at nearby Siena College.  More than a decade ago, donors from the University at Albany’s Women’s Studies and Biology Departments, including Professor of Women’s Studies Emerita Bonnie Spanier, established The Patricia Stocking Brown Fund for Feminist Social Justice Research in University Libraries to support and promote students’ interest in and use of primary materials housed in the University at Albany Department of Special Collections & Archives.

A second-year doctoral student in the Department of English, Carissa Halston received the 2020 graduate award for research on mass incarceration of women in prisons for a novel in-progress that will ultimately become her dissertation. This project, under the supervision of Dr. Laura Tetreault, builds upon work Ms. Halston began in the Department of English’s Current Trends in Rhetorical Theory and Research: Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition course.

A senior with a double major in History and Political Science, Shelby Hafener received the 2020 undergraduate award for her research into the organization ACT UP’s activism efforts in regard to the New York State prison system and the state’s budget, both in relation to the AIDS crisis. This project was created as part of the Department of History’s Senior Research Seminar. Dr. Laura Wittern-Keller of the Department of History serves as faculty advisor. Ms. Hafener received her bachelor’s degree in May.

Although the University’s remote operations did not allow Ms. Halston or Ms. Hafener to receive their award certificates with their advisers in person in the Department of Special Collections & Archives as is traditional, each recipient received their award in May via postal mail.  

Trained at the University of Michigan in comparative endocrinology, and a self-described feminist, Patricia Stocking Brown was the first female faculty member in the sciences at Siena. There she established an extraordinary career as a caring and rigorous teacher and researcher who promoted student research, feminist analytical thinking, and evidence-based medicine. Professor Stocking Brown was the wife of University at Albany Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biology Emeritus Stephen C. Brown.

Professor Patricia Stocking Brown died in 2004 from metastatic breast cancer. The University at Albany Libraries’ Department of Special Collections & Archives holds Brown’s papers along with those of the grassroots nonprofit Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!), which she co-founded in 1997, and the New York State Breast Cancer Network, a coalition of grassroots breast cancer groups around the state, she co-founded soon after.

View Patricia Stocking Brown's Papers

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Patricia Stocking Brown Research Award applicants must be a registered University at Albany graduate or undergraduate student and currently engaged in or planning a research project/class paper related to social justice. Awardees must utilize at least one manuscript or archival collection at the University as part of their research. 

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