Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students

2023-24 Graduate Student Award Process

The Holtz Center is currently offering STS Mini Research Fellowships in the amount of $1,000 during the fall (2023) and spring (2024) funding cycles to UW-Madison graduate students engaged in STS-related research.

The deadline for fall mini research fellowships is November 1, 2023 and the deadline for spring mini research fellowships is April 1, 2024. Although students who received mini research fellowships in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 are welcome to apply, priority will be given to students doing STS-related work who did NOT receive a fellowship last year.

Our annual spring funding opportunities for graduate students will still also include our summer scholars program. STS Ph.D. minor students are invited to apply for research support for the summer as a summer scholar. The deadline for applying to the summer scholars program is April 1, 2024.

Top-up fellowships are available for continuing graduate students with research interests in the field of science and technology studies. Top-up fellowships are also offered to UW-Madison departments to recruit new graduate students interested in the field of science and technology studies.

The deadline for continuing graduate student top-up fellowships is April 1, 2024.

The deadline for top-up fellowships to recruit new graduate students is February 21, 2024.

Click to see fellowship rating criteria here: Student Fellowships Rating Criteria

Graduate Student Awards

All graduate student awards have been combined into a single application process.  You may still apply for more than one award. Please indicate all of your choices on the appropriate graduate student awards cover sheet.


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Application Process

For all awards, please add the appropriate cover sheet and submit as a single PDF file.

Holtz Center Graduate Student Awards Cover Sheet

  • Please add the following to this coversheet and submit as a single PDF file to
  • 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, including any travel to be conducted (not to exceed two single-spaced pages)
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A current UW unofficial transcript
  • A brief letter of recommendation from the candidate’s faculty advisor or other faculty member familiar with the student’s record and interests should also be sent separately to

Virtual Conference Registration Fee Request Form

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

STS Mini Fellowships

Deadline: November 1 for the fall; April 1 for the spring

Although the most acute impacts of the pandemic are receding, life is still disrupted for many in our graduate student community. In response to those ongoing challenges, the Holtz Center is continuing to offer student support through our more flexible mini-fellowship mechanism. All students engaged in STS-related research may apply for research support fellowships of $1000.

Mini-fellowship funds may also 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.

* Lodging, transportation and other expenses can only be reimbursed when they are consistent with UW Travel Policy.

The Holtz Center Steering Committee strongly encourages members of under-represented groups and any students facing hardship to apply for mini-fellowships. Students who are uncertain about their eligibility or who have other questions should contact Sainath Suryanarayanan ( No student will be required to disclose personal hardship as part of the application process.

To apply, please complete the Cover Sheet and send to

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

Deadline: April 1 (every year)

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 2024-25 and of the 2025-26 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 lunch seminar series and other events, and are encouraged to take the introductory graduate seminar, STS 901.

To apply, please complete the Cover Sheet and send to

Summer Scholar Awards

Deadline: April 1 (every year)

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 2024.
  •  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, 2024 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, 2024.
  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.

To apply, please complete the Cover Sheet and send to

Recent Top-Up Fellowship Winners

2022-23 Top-Up Fellowship Winners

Gabriel Carter (English)

Edmund (Ned) Molder (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)

Amani Ponnaganti (Geography)

Past Winners

Aida Arosoaie (Anthropology)

Cynthia Baeza (Curriculum and Instruction) is a PhD student from the Curriculum and Instruction Department. She is a WCER, Ed-GRS, and a Top Up Fellow. Her primary research interest is in the intersection between Bilingual and Science education for Latinx emergent bilingual students. She is in the process of completing a minor in the Science and Technology Studies (STS) field to promote cross-disciplinary integration, civic engagement, and critical thinking in bilingual and science education. Cynthia joins the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a 7-year teaching experience. Her experience in teaching and leadership has led her to plan and facilitate professional development for educators and educational leaders at the local, state, and international levels. Cynthia hopes her research will enhance high-quality science education in bilingual programs for emergent bilingual students.

Joshua Doyle-Raso (Medical History and Bioethics) started at UW-Madison in 2018, after completing his BA History at McGill University in Montreal and earning an MA in History and International Development Studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Josh is beginning his PhD dissertation work in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, examining how the health and healing strategies of migrant agricultural workers have historically undergirded international labor and food supply chains in North America. Specifically, his work examines how central Mexican laborers who travel to work on Ontarian fruit and vegetable farms have navigated their health both at home in Mexico and at work in Canada. His work examines the ways in which health, disease, injury, and community creativity and resilience have shaped our present world.

Patrick Walsh (History) investigates the cross-talk between bacteriology, immunology and endocrinology in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in America in his dissertation. As a historian of biology and medicine, he cares about how biology becomes therapy, and how therapy becomes biology. He is grappling especially with the notion of “pasteurization,” and what this meant for the physiological sciences, the life sciences, and for therapeutic industries. Walsh takes seriously the provocation that the twenty-first century is the “century of the microbe,” and he thinks that the advent of germ theory is a rich place to begin re-evaluating histories of self, the organism and biological practice.

2020-22 Top-Up Fellowship Winners

Xerxes Minocher (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) is interested in how communities shape, and are shaped by, digital technologies. Their dissertation research explores how communities of practice respond to the emergence of AI technologies. Using case studies of both mundane and controversial instances of AI technology, this work reflects on the politics of knowledge at play in the development, adoption, and contestation of ‘AI’.

Amanda Rose Pratt (English) is a PhD student in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric. Her research examines the way psychedelic substances are constructed as therapeutic from the perspectives of psychedelic science and psychedelic publics. Situated at the intersection of conversations within critically engaged rhetoric of science, science and technology studies, and phenomenology, this project works to understand the unique relationships between psychedelics, science, and publics, with an underlying goal to intervene in important and timely conversations around access, equity, diversity, and inclusion in psychedelic studies.

Prince Vincent-Anene (History) examines the place of technology in African societies and how technologies imbricate culture, politics and religion. His research interest also revolves around the question of laboratory, and he aims to trace laboratories beyond the western epistemic traditions of built infrastructures.

Yiping Xia (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) is a PhD student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research looks to form a grounded understanding of people’s engagement with news, drawing from the long-standing emphases by STS on epistemology, expertise, and situated knowledges. Working with colleagues, he has also conducted and published studies on digital disinformation and journalist-audience relationships on social media.

Yidong (Steven) Wang (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) is a PhD candidate at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Informed by cultural studies and queer theory, his research focuses on communication ecology and community media. He has been working on a dissertation with LGBTQ communities in Beijing, China and Madison, Wisconsin. He has professional training in journalism and performed publicity work for multiple organizations.

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 Summer Scholars

2022-23 Summer Scholar

Sahil Sasidharan (Geography)

Past Summer Scholars

Erin Gangstad (Communication Arts) is a PhD student in the Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture track of the Communication Arts department at UW. She studies historical discourses, images, and places of disease and healing. Her current dissertation project considers the historical phenomenon of climate medicine, analyzing three prominent case studies of curative places in American between 1880 and 1950. This summer, with generous funding from the Holtz Center, Erin will conduct archival research for her chapter on Saranac Lake, New York. She plans to investigate how historical discourses framed the town’s ‘alpine air’ as a curative climate and to explore how various stakeholders conceptualized the relationship between air, consumption, and the sick patient’s body. Erin on Twitter

Siddharth Menon (Geography) is a Doctoral Candidate in Geography, with a PhD Minor in STS, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests lie at the intersection of International Development, Urban Studies, Political Ecology, and Science & Technology Studies (STS). He is currently conducting ethnographic research about the building construction industry in Kerala, India.

Summer 2020 Scholars

Anna Beck (Human Geography) is a PhD student in Human Geography at UW. She researches infectious disease prediction (including algorithms, real-time data collection and distribution, and predictive hotspot mapping) through critical global health and STS lenses in order to understand and intervene in unequal health, livelihood, and mortality outcomes. Shifting timescales in global health initiatives allow speculative futures of global health catastrophe to be brought into the present, making vulnerable communities even more vulnerable though preemptive health governance. As a critical health geographer and a cartographer, she works to highlight these inequalities for both popular and academic audiences.

Laura Lawler (Geography) is a PhD student in people-environment Geography. She studies the political ecology of agriculture, climate adaptation, and market-based conservation strategies. Her master’s work focused on governance strategies in agricultural entrepreneurial training for refugees in resettlement in California. Her current dissertation research is on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), particularly as it is enacted in Eastern and Southern Africa. She is exploring CSA with a hybrid feminist political ecology-STS framework to understand how CSA (e.g. agricultural carbon credits and related climate adaptation policies) is governed and how CSA programming affects existing livelihood resiliency strategies. She is also interested in visual-semiotic methodologies and participatory community-based research.

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.

Recent STS Mini Fellowship Recipients

Spring 2022-23 Mini Fellowship Recipients

  1. Elaine Almeida (School of Journalism & Mass Communication)
  2. Vipulya Chari (Communication Arts)
  3. Joshua Doyle-Raso (History)
  4. Dayeon Eom (Life Sciences Communication)
  5. Allyson Gross (Communication Arts)
  6. Fauziyato Moro (African History)
  7. James Rosenberg (Sociology)
  8. Zhe Yu Lee (Geography)
  9. Shimin Zhao (Philosophy)

Past STS Mini Fellowship Recipients

Ayodeji Adegbite (Medical History and Bioethics) is a PhD student in History of Science, Medicine and Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses generally on the history of health, infectious diseases, and environmental and social change in Africa. Ayodeji has researched on the history of yellow fever and Ebola in Africa. He received his BA in history from University of Ilorin, Nigeria, where he also acquired a degree in Peace and Development Studies at the university’s Center for Peace and Strategic Studies. He teaches Global Environmental Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Vipulya Chari (Communication Arts) is a PhD Candidate in Rhetoric, Politics and Culture at the Department of Communication Arts. She studies postcolonial digital cultures and policy with specific attention to the intersections of rhetorics of technology, development and nationalism. Her dissertation project looks at digital infrastructure-building and discourses of development in contemporary India. Vipulya on Twitter

Allyson Gross (Communication Arts) is a PhD student in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture in the department of Communication Arts. Her research explores speech across time and constructions of audience in future-focused rhetoric. She is currently working on a project at the intersection of STS and material rhetoric which focuses on time capsules constructed for deep futures. Allyson on Twitter

John Koban (English) is a dissertator in the Composition and Rhetoric Program in the English Department. He takes an ecological approach to rhetoric to study controversies about Indigenous sovereignty, particularly when those controversies materialize in public debates about fisheries management and river restoration projects. His orientation is grounded in settler colonial critique – one that prioritizes and promotes Indigenous sovereignty and traditional knowledge while unsettling state knowledge and management practices that aim to erase Indigenous sovereignties. John’s interests are informed by previous inquiry into political religious movements, especially with the politics of the apocalyptic Protestant right and its effect on public policy (including environmental policy), and informed by research into the environmental conditions of racism in urban settings.

Cecilia Kyalo (Curriculum and Instruction) and her research focus on health education. She explores the relationship between HIV/AIDS education and intervention strategies. In Cecilia’s dissertation, she examines how the notion of the “girl child” has come to be regarded as an exceptional subject of intervention in HIV/AIDS education in Africa. She seeks to identify the limits of the category “girl child” by examining how knowledge production and relations of power in HIV/AIDS education overlook the complexity of the manifestation of the pandemic in society.

Sarah Stefanos (International Division)

Noah Terrell (English) is a PhD student in Literary Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Noah has a broad set of research interests which traverse 20th century literature, film, and theory in the Anglo-American, French, and Japanese traditions. His work is strongly indebted to and informed by modernist studies, environmental studies, and queer theory. His current research project looks at the role the typewriter played in the activity of literary production for author William Burroughs. By centering Burroughs’ essayistic writings on the typewriter as a technology of literary production, Noah contends that we might be able to rethink some of Burroughs’ literary and personal idiosyncrasies. Noah takes a special interest in Burroughs’ obsession with “bugs” and “viruses” — and how the typewriter might constellate the possible associations these two Burroughsian figures have with language, queerness, and computers.

Fall 2020 STS Mini Fellowship Recipients

Aida Arosoaie (Anthroplogy)
Kallista Bley (Geography)
Sarah Frank (Sociology)
Amy Gaeta (English)
Haein Kim (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)
Laura Livingston (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)
Siddarth Menon (Geography)
Amanda Pratt (English)
Margaret Early (Sociology)
Angela Serrano Zapata (Sociology)
Kassia Shaw (English)
Kathryn Simmons-Uvin (Art)
Patrick Walsh (History)
Liyang Wang (Curriculum & Instruction)
Yiping Xia (Journalism & Mass Communication)
Liangfei Ye (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies)

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 21 (every year)

The Holtz Center announces its 2021 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 February 21. 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 Sainath Suryanarayanan, Associate Director, Holtz Center, at

Recent Top-Up Fellowship Students

2022-23 incoming top-up award winners 

Yadhav Deerpaul (History)

Kelsey Reichenbach (Community & Environmental Sociology)

Cassidy Rempel (Communication Arts)

Hsuan Yu Wang (History)

Past incoming top-up award winners

Samm Newton (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies) earned her M.A. from Oregon State University through the Environmental Arts and Humanities program after several years as an environmental professional and educator. She is currently a first year Ph.D. student in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, and is pursuing a minor through the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History, and the Environment. Her work focuses on coupled marine-human systems, specifically the relationships between science and technology, petrochemical culture, and slow violence in contemporary history. Samm is an artist in addition to her work at UW-Madison and hopes to blend her scholarly and creative practices.