Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students

Graduate Student Awards

In the fall, graduate students may apply for research travel grants.

All spring graduate student awards have been combined into a single application process for spring.  You may still apply for more than one award. Please indicate all of your choices on the Graduate Student Awards Cover Sheet.

Please complete the Graduate Student Awards Cover Sheet.

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Application Process

For all awards, please add the following to the Graduate Student Awards Cover Sheet and submit as a single PDF file:

  1. A description of the student’s planned research program, explaining connections to STS topics, literatures and methods, along with a timeline for the period of the fellowship or explanation of the travel to be conducted (not to exceed two single-spaced pages, even if you are applying for more than one award)
  2. A current curriculum vitae
  3. A current UW unofficial transcript
  4. A budget if you are applying for a travel award
  5. A brief letter of recommendation from the candidate’s faculty advisor or other faculty member familiar with the student’s record and interests, sent to

For more information about any of these awards, please contact Holtz Center Associate Director, Lyn Macgregor.

Top-Up Fellowships for Continuing Graduate Students in Science & Technology Studies

Deadline: April 1

The Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies offers a program of top-up fellowships for continuing graduate students with research interests in the field of science and technology studies, broadly construed.  Each award totals $4000, distributed in $2000 increments at the start of the 2019-20 and of the 2020-21 academic years.  Up to six awards will be offered.

These awards are open to graduate students in good standing in any UW-Madison graduate program.  Students who accept these awards are expected to attend the Holtz Center brown bag series and other events, and are encouraged to take the introductory graduate seminar, STS 901.

Graduate Student Research Travel Grants

Spring deadline (for Summer/Fall Cycle): April 1
Fall deadline (for Winter/Spring Cycle): November 1

The Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies invites proposals for travel grants of up to $1,000 from graduate students working on STS-related research, that is, research on the intersections of society with science, technology, or medicine.  Funds may be used for travel to research sites or for presenting papers at professional conferences.  Some preference will be given to students with a Ph.D. minor in STS, but students in all departments are encouraged to apply.  Eligible research activities include visits to ethnographic research sites, travel to conduct interviews or engage in collaborative work, and trips to archival collections and specialized libraries.  A list of recent winners is below.

* Beginning in AY 2017, Holtz Center Travel Awards must be paid as reimbursements for travel.  Lodging, transportation and other expenses can only be reimbursed when they are consistent with UW Travel Policy.

Summer Scholar Awards

Deadline: April 1

The Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies invites applications from UW-Madison doctoral students for research support for the summer each spring.  Applicants may come from any disciplinary background as long as the proposed research engages the field of science and technology studies.  Awards may support preliminary or pilot research in advance of the student’s dissertation, or a phase of the student’s dissertation research.   Awards can range between $2,500-$4,000.


  •  Applicants must be current UW-Madison Ph.D. students entering at least the second year of graduate studies in the fall of 2019.
  •  Applicants’ research proposals must include a strong emphasis on science and technology studies.

Conditions of the Award 

  1. If not already enrolled, successful applicants must enroll in the STS Ph.D. minor program in the year of their Summer Holtz scholarships.  Holtz Summer Scholars must complete paperwork for enrollment in the STS Ph.D. minor by May 30, 2019 before any award funds are activated.  Those who fail to do so will forfeit their awards. They must also commit to completing the STS minor program.
  2. Summer Scholars must submit a post-award report of 500 to 1,000 words by September 30, 2019.
  3. Recipients of the award are expected to participate fully in the activities of the lively STS community at UW-Madison, including regular attendance at Holtz Center colloquia, workshops and other events.
  4. Members of the Holtz Center’s Steering Committee will review all proposals based on overall quality, potential contributions to science and technology studies, and intellectual significance.

Recent Top-Up Fellowship Winners

2019-21 Top-Up Fellowship Winners

Kallista Bley (Geography) is conducting research related to water quality monitoring and public health governance.

Chloe Haimson (Sociology) is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology department. Her research examines both the direct and indirect consequences of incarceration, as well as the discretionary decisions made by professionals working in the criminal justice system. For her dissertation, she is focusing on the role of parole supervision after prison in the reentry process and how parole agents perceive, as well as make choices about, the reentry trajectories of the people they supervise. She is interested in the rising role of algorithmic risk prediction tools in this process, as well as its impact on the broader criminal justice system.

Zhe Yu Lee (Geography) is a PhD student in the Department of Geography. He is developing a PhD project oriented around the knowledge politics of land-related bureaucratic practice in Indonesia. He has broader interests in how scientistic epistemological frameworks that became dominant during the 1950-1970s in the context of global decolonization and Cold War geopolitics have consequentially structured techno-managerial imaginaries of contemporary global environmental governance. His research draws on scholarship in subfields as diverse as political history, science and technology studies, political ecology, critical development studies, socio-legal studies, history of social sciences, social studies of neoliberalism, critical international relations as well as environmental and agricultural history.

Mariam Sedighi (Educational Policy Studies) is specializing in Comparative International Education and Global Studies. Mariam is broadly interested in the ways individuals make meaning of different systems of truth — such as imperialism, Islam, and globalization—and how those different discourses translate into material, social, and ethical practices.

Patrick Walsh (History) is a historian of modern biology. His current project examines the life and work of nineteenth-century French physiologist Charles Brown-Séquard, who is famous (and infamous) for his unconventional experiments on blood, nerves, glands and gonads. Brown-Séquard’s work provides an insight into how biological “life” was articulated, navigated and then defined in the nineteenth century, and how this elusive concept was translated into technologies of the body. Walsh’s project tracks how the concept of “life” changes with time, and how it persists as an ongoing intellectual issue in contemporary scientific debates.

2018-20 Top-Up Fellowship Winners

Rod Abhari (Communication Arts)
Ayodeji Adegbite (History)
Kate Carter (Political Science)
Margaret Earley (Sociology)
Adam Hayes (Sociology)
Siddharth Menon (Geography)

2016-18 Top-Up Fellowship Winners

Daniel Bornstein‘s (Sociology) research focuses on the use of sustainability standards to regulate large-scale agriculture. A number of multi-stakeholder schemes have emerged to govern the environmental and social impacts of biofuel production. Daniel is interested in the role of third-party auditors tasked with verifying companies’ compliance. What forms of evidence do they consider valid, and how do they incorporate the perspectives of local communities?

Dagoberto Cortez‘s (Sociology) dissertation investigates how doctor-patient interactions are socially organized and co-constructed in cancer clinics. He uses ethnographic observations of clinic visits, draws on conversation analysis to interrogate audio recordings of these visits, and utilizes in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore interactions between terminal lung cancer patients and their doctors and to examine medical decision-making. The project analyzes: 1) how patients diagnosed with non-curable lung cancer, their caregivers, and oncologists talk about the cancer; 2) how important information from diagnostic tests (e.g., CAT scans, MRIs, PET scans) is presented; and 3) how treatment decisions are made, given that the patient has already been diagnosed with having an incurable disease.

Laura Alex Frye-Levine studies the articulation of environmental knowledge at the intersection of ecology and society.  Her dissertation examines processes of heterodoxy in the community of practice known as ecological economics.

June Jeon’s (Nelson Institute & Sociology) research investigates the production and reproduction of ignorance in scientific laboratories with combination of historical and ethnographic methods. Specifically, he intends to demonstrate how environmental scientific researches are shaped by public policy, corporate influence, and socio-historical contexts, and that, therefore, the production of scientific knowledge and ignorance are tied to various forms of manufactured ignorance.

Zhe Yu Lee‘s (Geography) research interests encompass the legacies of social processes behind the scientization of environmental and economic knowledges in the Cold War geopolitical context (i.e. with the advent of technics of statisticalization, quantification, metrics, classification) and how they have led to the contemporary dominance of “expert-driven” modes of land, environmental and sustainable development governance in many different parts of the world, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Madeleine Pape (Sociology) studies the intersections of gender, governance and science through three case studies: 1) the gender eligibility regulations of international sports governing bodies, 2) the NIH regulations for sex/gender inclusion in preclinical health research in the US, and 3) gender mainstreaming in research and innovation in the European Union.

Stephanie Velednitsky‘s (Geography) work combines science and technology studies and post-colonial theory to study science’s role in producing, circulating, adjudicating and distributing industrial risks among diverse parts of society.

Recent Graduate Student Travel Award Winners

Summer/Fall 2018 Winners

Christine Anhalt-Depies, Wildlife Ecology
Mohammed Arefin, Geography
Elena Hight, Sociology
Vishesh Kumar, Curriculum & Instruction
Wendy Li, Sociology
Reynaldo Morales, Curriculum & Instruction, Nelson Institute
Autumn Nielsen, Nelson Institute
Sid Ponnala, Industrial Systems Engineering
Dustin Weiler, Industrial Systems Engineering
Jiangjiang Wu, Anthropology

Winter/Spring 2017-18 Winners

Ten Graduate Students Receive Travel Grants for Winter/Spring 2017-18 Cycle

Danya Al-Saleh, Geography
Amanda Friz, Communication Arts
Nick Lally, Geography
Robert Lundberg, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies / Law School
Amanda McMillan Lequieu, Community & Environmental Sociology
Ben Power, Political Sciences
Jason Rocha, Communication Arts
Heather Rosenfeld, Geography
Stephanie Velednitsky, Geography
Yidong Wang, School of Journalism and Mass Communications

2017 Winners

Daniel Bornstein, Sociology
Helen Bullard, Fine Art
Ian Carillo, Sociology
David Coppini, Mass Communication
Laura Alex Frye-Levine, Sociology
Alison Mikulyuk, Zoology
Eric Nost, Geography
Madeleine Pape, Sociology
Molly Simis, Life Sciences Communication
Jojin Van Winkle, Fine Art

Recent Summer Scholars

Summer 2019 Scholars

June Jeon (Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology) is a PhD candidate in Sociology (joint-PhD candidate in Environmental Studies) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He investigates how state power and the market system co-organize scientific institutions, and how the mode of production of scientific knowledge in such institutional contexts systematically fails to address the problem of social and environmental justice. He is currently finishing his dissertation entitled “Scientific Habitus: Power, Ignorance, and Institutions in a Bioenergy Research in the United States”.

Yidong (Steven) Wang’s (Journalism & Mass Communication) research revolves around the question how interactions among media technologies, media production, and culture foster social changes. His current project focuses on how the digital media infrastructure conditions the experience and expression of queer sexualities among LGBT+ communities—particularly the ecological co-constitution of technological platforms and queer cultures of user communities. He also conducts research on politico-cultural discourses channeled through digital media in social movements like the Hong Kong localist movement and the marriage equality movement in Taiwan.

Chris Wirz (Life Sciences Communication) is interested in the public opinion, (social) media discourse, and networks involved in the communication of controversial science, health, and risk-related topics. He is also interested in the dynamics surrounding stakeholder communication about science- and risk-related issues, especially when these interactions involve different types of expertise and power.

Summer 2018 Scholars

Kallista Bley (Geography) is conducting research related to water quality monitoring and public health governance.

Chris Holmes (Sociology) is studying the social processes by which researchers in many scientific fields adopted significance testing and related techniques, as well as the implications of such techniques for creating scientific facts, disciplining researchers, and authorizing scientific expertise.

Top-Up Fellowships for Recruiting New Graduate Students

To nominate students for the top-up competition, please submit a single PDF file of each student’s complete admissions packet by email to

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Top-Up Fellowships for Recruiting New Graduate Students

Deadline: February 15

The Holtz Center announces its 2019 competition for top-up fellowships for admitted graduate students. The fellowships are designed to help recruit graduate students who plan to work on topics in science and technology studies, construed broadly.  We will offer up to five two-year fellowships.  Each fellowship totals $4000 distributed over two years.

These awards are open to incoming students in any department that includes faculty who are members of the Holtz Center. We expect departments to use these awards to help recruit their most promising applicants, and these awards should supplement rather than replace other types of funding.

Students who accept these awards will be expected to attend the Holtz Center brown bag series and are encouraged to take the introductory graduate seminar, STS 901, as well as participate in other Holtz Center activities.

To nominate students for the top-up competition, please submit a single PDF file of each student’s complete admissions packet by email to In the text of the email, briefly explain the relevance of the student’s interests to STS. The email must also describe the funding package being offered to the student, including nominations for University Fellowships. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15 at 5:00 pm. Departments are welcome to tell prospective students that they have been nominated for these awards, and that decisions will be announced by late February.

The Holtz Center will announce a second round of top-up fellowships in the spring for current Ph.D. students.

If you have questions, please contact Lyn Macgregor, Associate Director, Holtz Center, at

Holtz Fellowship Announcement 2019