iCubed associate director awarded Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship


By Jena K. Gray

Photo of Brandi Summers [View Image]

Brandi T. Summers, Ph.D., assistant professor of African American Studies and associate executive director of VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed) has been awarded the highly esteemed Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. Dr. Summers alongside Shermaine Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, are the first two faculty members from VCU to receive this highly competitive award.

The Career Enhancement Fellowship Program provides Dr. Summers with a one-year sabbatical grant, which includes funding for research, travel, or publication stipend and participation in an annual conference. Only 10 full-year Career Enhancement Fellowship awards are given each year.

Effective June 2018, Dr. Summers will turn her full focus and attention toward her book, Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press). Her book explores how aesthetics and race converge to locate or map blackness in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The book demonstrates how blackness (and race more generally) is constructed through spaces of urban redevelopment, media, and cultural space.

“This Fellowship excites me,” says Dr. Summers, “because it gives me space to think about what’s next, to think about future research projects.”

“This Fellowship excites me because it gives me space to think about what’s next, to think about future research projects.”

The mission of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is to identify and develop leaders and institutions to meet the nation’s critical challenges. Specifically, the Career Enhancement Fellowship Program aims to augment the presence of underrepresented junior faculty members and other faculty members who are committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and humanities.

Funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fellowship Program contributes to the Mellon Foundation’s mission to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.

As iCubed associate executive director, Dr. Summers demonstrates her commitment to solving real social problems through combining collaborative, mutually-beneficial partnerships and transdisciplinary teams of focused research and innovation to develop holistic solutions to urban challenges.

Congratulations to Dr. Summers for this accomplishment!

About iCubed

iCubed at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a cutting edge institute focused on catalyzing collaborative connections between the university and the community at large through innovative academic and research programs. Our transdisciplinary core teams collaborate with key community members in order to develop holistic solutions to 21st century urban challenges within the Commonwealth. For more information about iCubed or to apply to one of the transdisciplinary core teams, please visit: