September 25, 2018
At the 2018 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, a group of Lee Ann Fujii’s friends and colleagues – including Stephanie McNulty, Nicholas Rush Smith, and Robin Turner – launched a fundraising effort in her honour. Recognizing her extraordinary impact on the discipline through her scholarship and her mentorship, her colleagues decided to take steps to further her work on a crucial political and professional need for political science: diversifying the discipline. As Lee Ann wrote before she passed away, the barriers to a more diverse discipline are numerous. For many students and junior scholars, financial barriers can be a particular impediment to gaining a foothold in the discipline.
To that end, Lee Ann’s colleagues are working with the American Political Science Association to expand the granting capacity of its Minority Fellow Travel Grant Program. Currently, the travel grant program provides small grants to approximately 15 MFP Fellows to help them attend the APSA Annual Meeting – a key professionalization activity. The goal is to raise $35,000 in order to expand the program’s granting capacity for five years and rename it in Lee Ann’s honour for the duration of that period. Beginning at the 2019 Annual Meeting, APSA will award the Lee Ann Fujii MFP Travel Grant as a tribute to Dr. Fujii’s commitment to supporting the next generation of scholars and her contributions to the discipline.
In thinking about Lee Ann’s life work, her colleagues decided that working to expand access and opportunity for a new generation of scholars would be a particularly fitting way to honour her memory because, as her student Lahoma Thomas has written, building a diversified discipline was a key component of Lee Ann’s mentorship. As Ms.Thomas said, “Lee Ann emphasized the importance of building community among like-minded scholars. She recognized that attending conferences was an important space for young racialized scholars to network and meet others with similar methodological practices and epistemological sensibilities. As a strategy to reduce the barriers inhibiting the participation of racialized doctoral students at APSA, this fund honours Lee Ann’s commitment to diversifying the discipline.” Another student of Lee Ann’s, Jessica Soedirgo, concurs: “Lee Ann was both a mentor and a role model. She was a fierce advocate, an exceptional listener, and generous with her time and comments. She helped me find my scholarly voice and modelled through her own work how to stay true to it. I am so deeply grateful to Lee Ann for believing in me and investing in me as a person and as a scholar.”
Anyone interested in supporting this effort can contact the APSA development team at 202-483-9357 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Gifts of any amount in the form of cash, appreciated stock, or direct transfers from retirement accounts are accepted from both APSA members and non-members alike.
How to Give:
– Nicholas Rush Smith
A seminar honouring the life and work of Lee Ann will be held on Thursday, September 27th and Friday, September 28th. The seminar will feature a number of Lee Ann’s colleagues, friends and former students reflecting on her contributions to the discipline and beyond. More information can be found here.