Sociology Awards

Jerome Davis Research Award

The Jerome Davis Research Award comes from the Jerome Davis Research Fund. This fund was established in 1924 to support Oberlin students who “worked with labor” to facilitate “mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of industry.”

Students were expected to publish the results of such fieldwork. Later in the 20th century, Dr. Jerome Davis agreed to expand the terms of the fund to make available study grants to “Honors and other well-qualified students in the social sciences at Oberlin to assist them in doing fieldwork in a community as part of their academic programs. In awarding the grants, consideration will be given to financial needs.”

The Jerome Davis Research Award Committee is chaired by a faculty member of the Oberlin College sociology department and includes faculty representatives from the departments of anthropology, economics, history, politics, and psychology.

Every fall and spring term, the Jerome Davis Research Award Committee invites high-quality applications from Oberlin College honors students and other advanced students (except Senior Scholars) engaged in research projects are invited to apply for support from The Jerome Davis Research Fund. These awards are designed to defray research costs of projects in the social sciences, and well-defined topics focusing on or having implications for the community (broadly defined).

How to Apply

Students can apply for reimbursement for research already undertaken​1 but need to submit an itemized budget signed with the Honor Code. Normally, awards will not exceed $1000 and may be used for expenses related to travel, interviewing, supplies, equipment rental, etc.​2 These funds are not for the purchase of equipment or for photocopying honors theses. Department advances or reimbursement requests will not be funded, and book purchases are rarely funded. The work should result in a research paper on a community-related topic.

Along with your application, you must have a faculty letter of support completed by your project advisor; it will not be considered without it.

Download both the Application Form and the faculty letter form here. Summer 2024 applications are due by 12 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2024 via email to Attach applications as .docx files.

Questions may be directed to the chair of the Jerome Davis Research Fund Committee, Greggor Mattson at

Download the poster 


[1] Reimbursement for previous research-related expenses are limited to those paid by the student. Return to reference 1

[2] All research must adhere to current ObieSafe Policies. Return to reference 2

Jerome Davis was born on December 2, 1891 in Kioto, Japan, where his parents were missionaries. Jerome spent his early childhood in Japan, as his father had helped to found Doshisha University and was a teacher there.

He came to the United States in 1904, to attend Oberlin Academy and, later, Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. He was an active member of the debating team and president of the Young Men’s Christian Association. After graduation in 1913, he decided he wanted to enter a service occupation. He worked for a year with the Minneapolis Civic and Commerce Association.

Among his other accomplishments, he was able to get a half holiday for workers in some of the larger factories in Minneapolis. In 1914, Davis decided to study for the ministry and also obtain a doctorate. He began studying at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University simultaneously. Davis did not return to school that fall [1915]. Instead, he volunteered to go to Europe and work with prisoners of war.

When the United States entered the war, he was put in charge of all YMCA work in Russia. At the request of the U.S. government, he directed the distribution of over a million copies of President Wilson’s “14 Points” message to soldiers in the German army. Davis opposed the United States invasion of Russia because he felt more could be accomplished by recognizing the Soviet Union and trying to work with that country than by going to war

After completing his work at Union Theological Seminary in 1920 and obtaining a PhD at Columbia University in 1922, Davis became an assistant professor of sociology at Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, he aided the labor movement by investigating a strike at the Amoskeag plant in Manchester, New Hampshire, and publishing his findings. The Federal Coal Commission asked him to investigate the labor situation in the coal mines of West Virginia. 

Many of his findings were incorporated in the Federal Coal Commission report. During this period, he also served as chair of the Social Service Commission of the Congregational Church. His work in social service brought him an in invitation, in 1924, to occupy the Gilbert L. Stark Chair of Practical Philanthropy at Yale University.

During his time at Yale, he organized monthly labor forums for the New Haven Trades Council; formulated a statement of social ideals regarding labor, which was adopted by the Congregational and Christian Churches of America; and served as chair of the Social Service Commission of all the Protestant churches in Connecticut.

He also served as chair of the Legislative Commission on Jails of the State of Connecticut for 12 years.

Some of Davis’ stands, particularly on organized labor, were unpopular with various members of the Yale Board of Directors. This hampered his career at Yale and eventually cost him his job. The case generated considerable publicity in 1936, and investigations were conducted by the National Education Association, the American Federation of Labor, and the American Association of University Professors.

Davis was elected president of the American Federation of Teachers in 1936, and served in that capacity for three years. In 1940, he was a delegate from Connecticut to the Democratic National Convention.

He was a visiting professor at various colleges and universities but never again held a full‑time teaching position.

During World War II, he headed the YMCA prisoner of war work in Canada and served as a correspondent in Russia in 1943 and 1944. In 1949 he headed a peace mission to Europe and in 1952, became the executive director of Promoting Enduring Peace, Inc…

Davis has written numerous articles and more than 20 books. He died  on October 19, 1979.

From a description of the Papers of Jerome Davis at:

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library
4079 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, New York 12538

Spring 2024

  • Angelina Martiniez – Chicanas Who Paved Our Path: The Fight for Educational Integration in Northside Houston
  • Siyun Pan – Data-driven solution to ED overcrowding
  • Ruby Feuerstein - Gendered Human-Animal Relationships in Rodeo

Fall 2023

  • Luca Johnson –A Mobile Ethnography of Los Angeles Public Transit
  • Leah Yonemoto-Weston – Fort Sill, Oklahoma: A Site of Historical Carcerality and Contemporary Inter-Minority Coalitional Activism 
  • Ella Bernstein – From Crémieux to Dreyfus: The Rise of Antisemitism in French Algeria, 1870-1900
  • Greta Arbogast – Location Matters: How Race, Class, Gender, and Place Intersect to Affect the Opportunities for Equal Education at Oberlin High School, Ohio
  • Sophie Qano – Are Smartphone Outsmarting Us? Examining the effects that smartphone presence has on connectedness to nature and well-being
  • Siyun Pan – Come As You Are: Exploring the Sexual Self Among Immigrant Adults



    Spring 2023

    • Chudi Martin – The Standing History of Afro-Diasporic Traditions in Trinidad & Tobago
    • Vera Grace Menafee – Grasping at the Roots: A Study of Sustainable Food Justice and Racial Healing Through Black Agrarian Organizing

    Fall 2022


    • Sophie Nelson– The Effect of TikTok Use on Sustained Attention, Working Memory, and State Affect in The Effect of TikTok Use on Sustained Attention, Working Memory, and State Affect in Young Adult Populations
    • Kari Allen – That Ain't None of My Sista: Stereotypes of Black Women in Film and Self-Perception
    • Mariam Entin-Bell – Disability, Community, and Pandemic: Multi-abled Frameworks of Precarity at Camphill
    • Haley Sablay – Perspectives on the Asian Baby Girl
    • Harriet Skowroneck – The Effect of Behavioral Synchrony on Theory-of-Mind Among Collaborative Music-Makers

    Spring 2022


    Fall 2021

    • Larisa Bushkin — Prospection Study Fall 2021
    • Jewel Cameron — Does Highlighting Racial Disparities in Climate Change Impacts Lower Whites’ Fear and Mitigation Behavioral Intention?
    • Colby Jeannine Fortin — Trauma, Art, and Community: Perzines Discussing Sexual Assault
    • Brooke Hijar, Madeline Van Houten, Alyssa Kapasi, Jada Kennerly, Rachel Kornet, Isaac Richman, Eytan Schillinger-Hyman, Alison Simonds, Julia Vincent — Strategies to Limit Alcohol Use in Social Situations at Small Liberal Arts Colleges
    • Yan Lou — Words from Home: The impact of child-parent contacts on Chinese international students’ psychological distress
    • Jinhan Wu — Power of “Like”: Impact of Pressing the Like Button on User Attitude

    The Comfort Starr Prize

    The Starr Prize was established in July 1902, by gift of $2,500 from Merritt Starr of Chicago, Illinois, to which was added his gift of $2,000 to the Endowment and Building Fund of 1923.

    By direction of the donor, interest is to be added to the principal of the fund until it reaches the sum of $10,000. The income is to be used:

    • first—to pay term bills and college charges of every kind, other than those for board and lodging of the children of Merritt Starr in any department of Oberlin College;
    • second—to pay for the education of deserving scholars in the college department in the studies of civics, economics, political history, and kindred subjects, as a reward for excellence in such studies.


    • Audrey Burkey
    • Lucie O'Brien
    • Haley Sablay

    • Emily Bosch
    • Ben Cohen
    • Estrella Gomez Hernandez
    • Alyssa Kapasi
    • Yan Lou
    • Jenna Mick
    • Belle Smith
    • Maddie Van Houten
    • Eva Wynn
    • Serena Zets