Psychology professor Phillip Hammack wins W.T. Grant Foundation grant

$350,000 awards support early-career researchers

Professor Phillip Hammack
Professor Phillip Hammack

Phillip Hammack, UC Santa Cruz associate professor of psychology, is one of five young professors in the U.S. selected for five-year $350,000 research grants from the William T. Grant Scholars program

Launched in 1982, the Scholars Program supports the professional development of promising early-career researchers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. The program has sponsored more than 150 up-and-coming researchers.

Each scholar receives funding to execute a rigorous five-year research plan meant to stretch their skills and knowledge into new disciplines, content areas, or methods.

Hammack's project, “Subverting the Impact of Stigma and Subordination: Toward Empowering Settings for Sexual Minority Youth,” will examine how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth respond to stress and stigma in their communities and how community-based organizations work with youth to create more positive climates.

Four other researchers won awards for work in pediatric dentistry, economics of education, neuroscience, and human development.

“We are very pleased with the strength and disciplinary diversity of this new cohort of scholars,” said Vivian Tseng, vice president for the program. “They bring an array of expertise along with ambitious plans to expand their expertise in order to tackle the important challenges facing young people.”

Each year, the William T. Grant Foundation selects four to six new scholars nominated by their supporting institutions. William T. Grant, who started a chain of stores bearing his name in the early 20th century, started the foundation in 1936 to support research in the social sciences, particularly to benefit young people.

Hammack, who joined UCSC in 2007, said his research will focus on community climate assessment, community survey design and implementation, and analysis of organizational settings.

One of his mentors, Stephen Russell, a sociologist at the University of Arizona, is a leading researcher of LGBT youth with extensive knowledge of California communities. His other mentor, Ilan Meyer, a public health scientist and social policy scholar at UCLA is the originator of the minority stress theory and an expert in sampling and surveying LGBT populations.