Nicholas Limerick, an associate professor in the Anthropology & Education program, has garnered two prestigious awards to continue his ongoing ethnographic research of indigenous education in Ecuador.

In April, Limerick learned he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to support his fieldwork on a book exploring teachers advocacy on behalf of student learning at a school located in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito.

The NEH grant preceded an announcement that Limerick’s work in Ecuador has also earned him recognition as a 2021 National Academy of Education (NAEd) Spencer Fellow. Limerick was among 25 scholars selected from a pool of 249 applicants for a fellowship that supports early-career research in the fields of history, theory and educational practice.

“The NAEd/Spencer Fellowship Programs cultivate the next generation of education scholars by funding their research projects and providing resources to strengthen their research and research training, including mentorship from NAEd members,” said NAEd President Gloria Ladson-Billings.

Limerick's research explores and seeks to address linguistic conflicts that impede the education of indigenous Ecuadorian people. His studies focus on the impact of standardized alphabets introduced by missionary educators, development workers and academics on learning among indigenous populations that communicate with traditional, culturally-specific alphabets.

Limerick expressed appreciation for the honors: "The grant and fellowship will be of great help for carrying out my ethnographic research in Ecuador.... It's sometimes challenging to do the kind of research that I enjoy, since it requires much time and also, in my case, being located outside of New York. I'm also excited to learn from others who received the fellowship.”

The Comparative & International Education Society last year honored Limerick with the George Bereday Award for his 2018 Comparative Education Review article, Kichwa or Quichua? Competing Alphabets, Political Histories, and Complicated Reading in Indigenous Languages.

—Steve Giegerich