Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Two LACIS Faculty Awarded WARF Research Grants

One of the intended uses of this blog is to highlight our dedicated and innovative core and affiliated faculty members, to recognize their research and applaud their achievements. As the Fall 2013 semester winds down, we would like to recognize two affiliated faculty award recipients—David Kiefer, MD and Stephanie Jutt, Professor of Flute —who won grants through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to further their research in the LACIS regions, specifically in Latin America

David Kiefer amidst medicinal plant garden

Dr. David Kiefer, of the Department of Family Medicine, has a particular fascination with ethnobotany in Latin America as it relates to medicinal uses of plants. You may remember that Dr. Kiefer presented “Medicinal Plants: Traditional Medicine Is ‘Modern’ Medicine” as part of our LACIS Lunchtime Lecture series and the two-part “People Who Understand the Language of Plants” programming in the fall of 2012. Kiefer, together with master’s student Jack Buchanan of Agroecology received a WARF Discovery Challenge Award given to UW faculty to further their research through an interdisciplinary collaboration. Kiefer and Buchanan will use their funds to further their field research concerning medicinal plant use in Amazonian regions of Ecuador, a country David has now visited nearly a dozen times throughout the course of his present research.  This grant will fund their travel which will allow for the collection of interviews with locals and the development of a community medicinal herb garden. When asked to give some examples of typical plants he encounter in use in Ecuador, Kiefer listed some familiar household fixtures such as garlic, chamomile, aloe, jasmine and lemongrass.


Stephanie Jutt, Professor of Flute and the Woodwinds Area Chair, has always had a love for music from Latin America. Growing up with Mexican heritage in L.A., Jutt was raised on traditional rhythms and even played in a salsa band in her early 20s.


More recently in 2010, Stephanie was on a year-long sabbatical, first in Oaxaca, Mexico collaborating with LACIS core faculty Carolyn Kallenborn, Professor of Design Studies, and next in Argentina. Based in la Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Jutt did a tour of master classes and recitals throughout the country, visiting cities such as Mendoza, Salta, and San Juan.

“Otoño Porteño” by Astor Piazzolla, Stephanie on Flute

In early 2013, Stephanie was recognized in the Graduate School’s Fall Competition–largely administered with WARF funding–which she will use towards her current project. Jutt aims to produce a professional recording of a Latin American and Iberian repertoire including music from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Spain. Stephanie stresses that there is a stark lack of a recorded anthology of many of these pieces, due in large part to the difficulty of accessing scarce sheet music. Much of it was unearthed after digging and rifling through the vast collection of Jutt’s collaborator and piano accompanist for the recording, Pablo Zinger from Uruguay. In addition to the recording production, Stephanie plans to hold a public recital and incorporate a visual component including Kallenborn’s art.

Stephanie in front of Carolyn Kallenborn’s Textile Art Installation

Textile Art Installation by Carolyn Kallenborn

While we are sure that this is by no means an exhaustive listing of our faculty’s awards for the year, it serves rather as a reminder of the diverse range and importance of the research LACIS faculty are conducting on campus and in our related regions. Congratulations to David Kiefer and Stephanie Jutt!