Graduate Resources

The CLA has excellent students with outstanding contributions in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.  This section of the webpage features students who have been awarded fellowships.  This list will be continually updated.  Come back to this webpage to check out new recipients of awards in the future.

Meet seven of our graduate student recipients of such prestigious fellowships as the Fulbright and the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship.  These outstanding students offer advice to fellow graduate students looking to develop their potential as researchers and scholars.

Gulcin Con

Gulcin Con

Sociology, Dr. J. Jill Suitor (Advisor)

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program

"Cross-cultural comparisons of adult sibling relationships between American and Turkish families”

My research examines structural and individual dimensions of sibling relationships in adulthood and explores how these relationships affect the lives of adults and their families from a within-family perspective. Fulbright Scholarship is offered to me for pursuing my PhD.degree, thus it is not restricted to a single project or solely to my dissertation.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

The Fulbright scholarship is of a very specific nature and differs for international and American applicants. My advice to all applicants is to be ready for a long process of application and high competition. Also it would be really useful to know precisely what their research will look like, and why they have to pursue their PhD/Master's degree in the specific country they are applying to. National and International Scholarships Office and Purdue Fulbright Association also provides extremely useful information/suggestion sessions on the application process.


Liz Hall

liz hall

Anthropology, Dr. Melissa Remis (Advisor)

NSF (National Science Foundation) GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program)

Assessing pathogen prevalence in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes vellerosus) in a fragmented forest:  Implications for chimpanzee conservation and human health

My research explores the emergence and transmission of infectious disease in and among overlapping populations of nonhuman apes and humans in West and Central Africa.  I integrate disease ecology, wildlife biology, and anthropology to better understand factors that influence disease patterns to inform multidimensional approaches to improve wildlife and human health.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

Ask people who are not experts in your area of research to read and comment on your proposals.  Depending on the application, your reviewers may not necessarily be in your discipline or have knowledge of your specific area of interest, so it is important that your application can be easily and well understood by a wider audience.  It is also beneficial to give yourself plenty of time to work on your application and make revisions before the submission date, though this is easier said than done!


Kyle Jones

Kyle Jones

Anthropology, Brian C. Kelly (Advisor)

Social Science Research Council Dissertation (SSRC) Proposal Development Fellowship

"Uniting all of Peru isn't easy”: Youth and the Associational Life of Hip Hop in Urban Peru

My project examines the ways hip hop collectivities have emerged across cities in Peru, and the roles they played in young people's lives. Funds from the grant were used to support data collection through ten months of ethnographic fieldwork in Huancayo, Cusco, and Lima, Peru.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

Grant writing is its own art form, which you get better at the more you do it. I received this grant on my third attempt over two years of applying, and after numerous drafts. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of your peers, advisor, and committee to get feedback on your drafts and on reviewer comments, and then just try again.


Joe Marshall

Joe Marshall

Sociology, Daniel. V. A. Olson (Advisor)

NSF (National Science Foundation) GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program)

"Economic Inequality, Social Trust and Religious Context"

My interests are in the extent to which religion (one of the most powerful sources of human identity) may reinforce social divisions or foster values of trust and altruism. Because the GRFP is awarded to the student and not tied directly to one specific project, the funding will allow me to pursue these interests in a variety of ways over the next three years.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

I think it’s very important to get help from faculty who know the specifics of the grant or fellowship for which you are applying. I attended an extremely helpful workshop organized by the college that dealt specifically with NSF funding. Also, our department's Director of Graduate Studies, Prof. Mangala Subramaniam, gave me tremendously useful insights into the inner workings of GRFP applications. I could not have succeeded without these sources of help. Also, GRFP applicants should pay attention to their record. Try to connect your research to past experiences and accomplishments, and emphasize the broader impact of your work. Finally, expect to write and rewrite multiple drafts of your application. Think of each revision as a learning opportunity that will benefit both your current application and your future writing.


Suzanne Thompson Clemenz

Suzanne Thompson Clemenz

American Studies, Bill Mullen (Advisor)

Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies

"Morality Play: Reframing 'Family Values' in Contemporary Southern U.S. Narratives"

My project explores U.S. Southern literature and life-writing as imaginative sources for the amelioration of local and global challenges. Writers such as Alice Walker, Olympia Vernon, Barbara Kingsolver, Dorothy Allison, Kaye Gibbons, and bell hooks reveal a feminist ethical orientation engendered by conditions of violence, poverty, and discrimination in rural Southern life. Their real and imagined communities seek healing and sustainability in the midst of globalization, economic instability, environmental degradation, and changing race relations. Studying these writers collectively shifts them from the margin to the center of the Southern imaginary and suggests that the rural, agrarian South can be fertile ground for transformative solutions. The funds received through the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women's Studies are supporting the research and writing of this dissertation.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

Be persistent. Competition for funding is tight, and many applications and rejections may precede an award. Seek out faculty members who are knowledgeable of funding opportunities and whose enthusiasm and support helps you stay focused and set high goals.


Elizabeth Wirtz

Elizabeth Wirtz

Department of Anthropology, Sharon Williams, Ellen Gruenbaum, & Riall Nolan (Advisors)

NSF (National Science Foundation) DDRIG (Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant)

"The Inhumanity of Humanitarianism: Interactions Between the Refugee Regime and Somali Refugee Women in Kakuma, Kenya”    

This research project focuses on the ways in which the politics of humanitarian aid create, both intentionally and inadvertently, systems of abuse against refugee women. The NSF DDRIG award has generously provided funds to support research costs in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

I would recommend that students strongly consider, and demonstrate, how their research project will contribute meaningfully to the broader world, especially outside of their discipline and academia.


Verity Whalen

(visiting assistant professor at Purdue)

Verity Whalen

Anthropology, Kevin J. Vaughn (Advisor)

NSF (National Science Foundation)

DDRIG (Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant)

“Re-Becoming Nasca: A Household-Based Analysis of the Transformation of Community and Tradition at a Late Nasca Village”

My research draws from theories of community, practice, and materiality to investigate how social relationships and traditions are reimagined through periods of sociopolitical reformation. Focusing on the archaeological site of Cocahuischo, I use a household-based perspective to demonstrate that identities, traditions, and power dynamics were restructured through daily practices.

What advice would you give other graduate students trying to apply for similar funding?

My advice to other grad students applying for NSF dissertation improvement grants is threefold: (1) read as many successful grant applications as you can get your hands on, (2) if possible, talk with someone who has had experience as an NSF reviewer, and (3) ask as many colleagues and mentors as possible to read a draft of your proposal.

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