Tomlanovich Research Equity Fund

The Tomlanovich Equity Research Fund will provide up to $10,000 total ($5,000 for the faculty member and $5,000 for the undergraduate student) for the academic year to support a research project conducted by a faculty member and undergraduate student team that builds upon the vision of the Women’s Leadership Institute to advance leadership equity for women globally.

The funded proposal may be awarded for a research project that focuses on topics, including but not limited to, gender equity and intersectionality with race, ethnicity, social class, and/or other social identity points.

To learn more and apply:



Award Winners

  • 2021 Research Teams

    Research teams Dr. Nazita Lajevardi and undergraduate student Jasmine Jordan, and Dr. Cristina Bodea and Dr. Andrew Kerner with undergraduate students Zac Ozormoor and Lillian Meng are the winners of the inaugural 2021 Women's Leadership Institute Tomlanovich Equity Research Fund. 

    Dr. Lajevardi, Dr. Bodea, and Dr. Kerner are all faculty in the Department of Political Science, and Jasmine, Zac and Lilian are majoring in the discipline as well. The teams' research will explore the disparities and discrimination that women face both politically and professionally, domestically and abroad.

    Dr. Bodea and Dr. Kerner: Central banking and gender-based credibility 

     Dr. Bodea, Dr. Kerner (both pictured left), Zac, and Lilian's research will explore the absence of women in leadership roles in central banking in the United States, Europe and Japan. While in these countries, women often play an influential and visible role in politics and the behind-the-scenes of central banking, Dr. Bodea and her team believe it could have something to do with perceived credibility. 

    "A big part of being an effective central bank is convincing the market that you are committed to avoiding inflation and otherwise capable of managing the economy," explained Dr. Kerner.
    "Because central bankers typically cannot be fully monitored, generating credibility around that is often a matter of projecting that the central banker is the credible 'type.'" 

    "We suspect that this is a gendered concept, and one that under some circumstance makes it difficult for women to get appointed. So, our experiments are meant to find out, how biased are people against female central bankers?"

    The team will be employing surveys throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan to gather the data needed to address this important question. 

    Dr. Lajevardi: How relationships impact policy for women of color 

    Dr. Lajevardi (pictured left) and Jasmine's research will focus on whether or not contact with women of color impacts how Americans understand the intersectional discrimination that women of color face in social, political, and economic spaces. The study will look at two different kinds of contact - contextual, meaning passive relationships, and personal - to see which is more impactful.

    "I am humbled to receive support from the Women's Leadership Initiative and the Tomlanovich Equity Research Fund to study how contact with women of color affects a number of outcomes alongside Jasmine Jordan, an incredibly brilliant and talented undergraduate star at MSU," said Dr. Lajevardi.

    "As women of color, we have both been interested in researching contact theory and improving sociopolitical outcomes for marginalized communities. And the opportunity to work with such a brilliant student and in further improving our understanding along intersectional lines about issues that affect women of color is the greatest privilege I could ask for."

    The team will be using multiple qualitative surveys to better understand how women of color fare in their workplaces, their day-to-day lives, and American democracy as a whole.

    The WLI Tomlanovich Research Equity Fund grants $5,000 to faculty teams and undergraduate students whose research builds upon the Women’s Leadership Institute's vision to advance leadership equity for women globally. All social science faculty are eligible to apply, and selected researchers are given the opportunity to present their research to the WLI board, at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF), and at one academic conference of their choice. 

    Read more updates from the WLI here.


Supporter Spotlight

The Tomlanovich Equity Research Fund was born out of the passion and commitment to advance leadership equity for women globally by using thought leadership and empirical research as the catalysts. The two primary supporters of this fund, Ann Tomlanovich and Margaret Dimond, both self-proclaimed lifelong learners, exemplify a passion for growth through scholarship. With multiple degrees between them and numerous hours logged reading, training, and growing, it is clear to see learning is what inspires them. Throughout their careers, both Ann and Margaret have shown a commitment to excellence. They have worked at the top of their industries with numerous accolades from the professional world. However, it is not their c-suite titles that mark them; it is their dedication to giving back, their work empowering women leaders, and their efforts to support and enrich their communities. Michigan State University, College of Social Science, and the students represent communities close to both of their hearts. Together in 2021, the inaugural year of the Tomlanovich Equity Fund, Ann worked to establish the fund, and Margaret helped to grow the fund, expanding it to support two faculty and undergraduate research teams. This collaboration, this passion, and this commitment characterize Ann and Margaret and their dedication to igniting women leaders and advancing women's equity globally.


Ann Tomlanovich

Ann Tomlanovich, J.D.

Ann Tomlanovich holds a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Michigan State University, an M.A. in Organizational Management from Central Michigan University, and a J.D. from Detroit College of Law, now MSU College of Law. Tomlanovich has held director level positions in customer satisfaction, supply chain and profit and loss business units in Chrysler Group before retiring in 2007. Ann currently serves on the College’s Women’s Leadership Institute Executive Board of Advisors.

Margaret Dimond

Margaret Dimond, PhD

Margaret Dimond, PhD, is President and CEO of McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac MI. Margaret earned her Bachelor of Arts from St Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and a Master of Social Work from Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Philosophy from Michigan State University. She was recently honored as a Distinguished Alumnae by the Michigan State University College of Social Sciences. She serves on the Oakland University Board of Advocacy and Resource Development, and is a trustee of Olivet College, Mercy High School, and University of Detroit Jesuit High School. She is also a board member of Dearborn Federal Credit Union. Margaret currently serves on the College’s Women’s Leadership Institute Executive Board of Advisors.