Five BMCC Professors Awarded a Total of More Than $72K Through CUNY’s Black, Race and Ethnic Studies Initiative

August 24, 2022

5 professorsThe historic Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies Initiative (BRESI) Council of The City University of New York (CUNY) has awarded five Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) professors individual grants totalling $72,200 to continue developing their research and scholarly projects from September 2022 through June 2023. The awards are made possible through the generous support of the Mellon Foundation.

“This recognition demonstrates the reach and impact of BMCC and our faculty’s expertise,” said BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe. “The passion our professors feel for their respective fields and the commitment they demonstrate through rigorous scholarly projects carries into the classroom and inspires our students. We are grateful to the BRESI Council members, and the visionary support of the Mellon Foundation, for honoring this important work.”

The BMCC awardees, with their amount won, BRESI category and project title are as follows:

  • Lissette Acosta, Assistant Professor, Ethnic and Race Studies: $20,000, BRES-focused student research, “Black Studies Across the Americas”
  • Kirsten Cole, Associate Professor, Teacher Education: $12,000, Faculty research grants for community colleges, “The Impact of Anti-Racist Pedagogy Professional Development,” a project she co-leads with Shawn Grant, Assistant Professor, Business Management, and Angela Polite, Instructor, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts.
  • RaShelle Peck, Assistant Professor, Ethnic and Race Studies: $10,103, Faculty research grants for community colleges, “Black Ratchet Futures in the Embodied Popular”
  • Lesley Rennis, Associate Professor and Chair, Health Education: $18,000, BRES-focused student internships, “BMCC Public Health Academy; Creating Health Equity Student Internships”
  • Linta Varghese, Assistant Professor, Ethnic and Race Studies: $12,000, Faculty research grants for community colleges, “The Good Employer: Mutual Interest as Organizing Strategy in the Domestic Workers Movement”

More than 500 proposals were submitted from across CUNY for consideration for the BRESI awards and were evaluated by members of the BRESI Council and nine committees. The five BMCC awarded project proposals are among a total of 126 proposals selected for funding. The selection criteria includes qualities such as innovation, focus and impact on the development of ethnic studies, and sustainability. The awardees also represent a broad cross-section of the CUNY community.

In an email announcing the news, Rachel Stephenson, Chief Transformation Officer at CUNY, thanked the co-chairs of the BRESI Council; Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Baruch College and president of CUNY’s Research Foundation, and Judith M. Anderson, Associate Professor of Africana/African American Studies at BMCC. “I would also like to thank our invaluable colleagues Duffie Cohen, University Executive Director of Academic Planning, and Woldine Guerrier, Administrative Executive Assistant, for going above and beyond to get us here,” she said.

The faculty-led projects supported through BRESI relate in different ways to the BMCC Strategic Plan including Strategic Goal 5: Strengthen our culture of care for students, faculty and staff.


  • The Black, Race, and Ethnic Studies Initiative (BRESI) Council of CUNY has awarded five BMCC professors individual grants totalling $72,200
  • BRESI grants are made possible by the Mellon Foundation
  • Professors Lissette Acosta, Kirsten Cole, RaShelle Peck, Lesley Rennis and Linta Varghese will continue developing projects in ethnic studies and more

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