By Jodi Boyle, Supervisory Archivist

The University Libraries announced in April that graduate student Ruth Murcia was the 2021 Patricia Stocking Brown Research Award recipient.

A second-year master’s student in the Department of History, Ruth received $500 for her research to explore the complicated relationships between labor organizers, unions, and undocumented workers from Central America in New York during the 1980s. Many of these workers were women performing domestic labor, individuals historically ignored by formal labor law protections. She is also analyzing the role of politics in these relationships. This project was created in the Department of History’s Graduate Research Seminar. Dr. Ryan Irwin served as faculty advisor.

Ruth Murcia received the 2021 Patricia Stocking Brown Research Award

Ruth enrolled in the combined BA/MA program in History and received her bachelor’s degree in May 2020 and her master’s in May 2021. She has been accepted into the doctoral program in Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies at the University at Albany beginning in fall 2021.

The annual award honors Professor Patricia Stocking Brown, who taught Biology and Women’s and Minorities’ Studies for 35 years at nearby Siena College. 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. 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.

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 related to the study of social justice, housed in the Department of Special Collections & Archives. Award applicants must be a registered University at Albany graduate or undergraduate student and currently engaged in or planning a research project or 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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