Increasing the Pipeline of Underrepresented Scholars

UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program

The purpose of the UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program is to engage scholars interested in an academic career with an individualized research program under the mentorship of one or more UK professors, along with research career development activities. As a UNITE Predoctoral Fellow, this stipend will supplement existing or expected funding from the Graduate School, college, or department. The UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program will provide a $10,000 stipend over 9 months and $1,000 annually to support research related expenses for selected PhD students.

Please review the UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program Call for Applications and submit applications via Qualtrics. Submissions must be completed by 03/15/2024 at 11:59 pm.


Past Awardees

UNITE collaborated with the Office of the Vice President for Research to support the following 2021 Lyman T. Johnson postdoctoral fellowship awardees. 


Dr. LeAnna T. Luney

Dr. LeAnna T. Luney will join the University of Kentucky under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah LaCour and Dr. Gregory Vincent. Her postdoctoral position as a Lyman T. Johnson fellow will contribute to scholarship produced in the College of Education's Civil Rights Initiative.

Luney will continue her research on how Black womxn and femme student organizers cope and care for themselves at predominantly white universities. Her work will provide an intersectional intervention to scholarship on African Americans in higher education within unique sociopolitical contexts (e.g., the University of Kentucky's history as a land grant institution and Kentucky’s Black Lives Matter activism). She hopes to advance research in which policymakers create systemic change and educational resources that center the demands of Black womxn and femme undergraduate student organizers to improve diverse gendered experiences in academia.



Dr. Aurora Santiago Ortiz

Dr. Aurora Santiago Ortiz is a social justice educator and scholar, lawyer, and filmmaker. Her work focuses on antiracist feminist, anti-colonial, and participatory research methodologies and popular education projects. As a Lyman T. Johnson Fellow, Santiago Ortiz will be working with Dr. Fatima Espinoza and Dr. Gia Mudd-Martin on the development of a sociotechnical infrastructure that improves health outcomes and facilitates the sharing of information during crisis for Latinx communities through a social justice, participatory research framework. She will also focus on preparing her book manuscript, Circuits of Self-Determination: Solidarity as Decolonial Praxis, for publication.