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Justice, equity, and politics

Coleman Allums, sized, by Jordan Allums, Class of 2018

Photo of Coleman Allums, ’14 provided by Jordan Allums, ’18

Coleman Allums ’14 was set to prepare his third and final go-around for a highly competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship when he learned he won an award in recent weeks. “I knew how competitive this source of funding is and how few are awarded in my field, so my expectations were modest,” says the Sustainability Science/Economics graduate and Atlanta area native.

Allums scored one of only 15 fellowships granted in Geography nationwide. Across all disciplines, a mere 2,000 of the 16,500 total applicants for this cycle were awarded Fellowships, which means 88 percent of applicants didn’t get the good news.

Allums, who this fall is headed to the University of Georgia to work on his master’s, says he’ll study questions of justice and equity as they relate to geography. “Atlanta has an extensive racial history and much of the urban landscape is still highly segregated. As new cities continue to form in the metro area, there are questions we need to ask about who is included and excluded, and what the underlying reasons are for the formation of new municipalities. I want to understand how politics intersects with everyday life and with the history of the city and its suburbs,” says Allums.

His plan is to reserve the NSF funds for the Ph.D. program he’ll undertake after finishing his master’s. Allums says the flexibility of NSF GRFs is one of the perks, funding the researcher, not the topic. And speaking of funding, the grant is valued at nearly $140,000 over the five-year life of the Fellowship.

Allums says he owes his time at Furman and relationships built there for his success. “ . . . The research experience I was able to gain as an undergraduate was incredibly valuable—assisting numerous Sustainability Science and EES faculty with existing projects, developing my own research agenda, presenting at numerous conferences, working on multiple publications. My personal relationships with faculty, which were so important to me on a daily basis, translated to strong recommendations from instructors in diverse disciplines. ”

Since he won the award, Allums is still pinching himself. “When I saw my name on this year’s Fellows list, I was shocked. I still have to re-read my acceptance letter occasionally just to make sure I didn’t dream it.” he says.

Learn more about the the Furman Economics Department or the Sustainability Science major.

Last updated May 21, 2015
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Clinton Colmenares
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