SAFE Student Spotlight: Josie Patch

Josie Patch
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Spring 2023

Project: "Archiving Environmental Justice: Collaborative Ethnographic and Oral History Fieldwork on Bioenergy Development in Rural Eastern North Carolina"

Patch received a Spring 2023 Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) grant to cover hotel expenses while she conducted fieldwork in Robeson County for a project titled "Archiving Environmental Justice: Collaborative Ethnographic and Oral History Fieldwork on Bioenergy Development in Rural Eastern North Carolina." The project aimed to compile a digital empirical humanities and physical archive of contemporary materials related to the transformation of eastern North Carolina into a center for bioenergy development in historically Black and Indigenous communities.

"I was able to stay in the same hotel as my faculty advisor and fellow research assistant, where we could also host our collaborators. With the funding for my hotel covered, I was able to work from my hotel room and have a home base for fieldwork while traveling to surrounding towns and counties during the weekend," shared Patch, who is currently a senior anthropology major from Greensboro.

Patch conducted the work as a student researcher in the Eastern North Carolina Environmental Justice Collaborative, a university-community research partnership that aims to strengthen existing capacities and nurture new capabilities for social resilience and environmental justice in rural eastern North Carolina, especially with Black, Indigenous, and multiracial communities facing extractive industries. According to Patch, the trip allowed her to practice research skills that she learned in her classes, such as field-based interviews, research planning and ethics, and data management. It was her first research-related trip in her academic career.

"Simply having my hotel expenses covered helped immensely with my fieldwork. I did not have to stress about affording a hotel and budgeting less money for food, gas, or other expenses while traveling. Instead, I could more freely research, study, and learn knowing that my overnight expenses had been taken care of," said Patch.


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Department of Anthropology
The Department of Anthropology offers a comparative and holistic approach to the study of the human experience. The anthropological perspective provides a broad understanding of the origins as well as the meaning of physical and cultural diversity in the world — past, present and future. Learn more at

Written by Autumn Dagenhardt
Edited by Lauren Gibbs

April 9, 2024

Josie Patch
Published: Apr 9, 2024 11:20am