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Fellowships give grad students dedicated time and funds to advance dissertation research

A total of 268 doctoral students have received The Graduate School’s Summer Research Fellowships since 2010. Generous donors sustain these opportunities, and The Graduate School names these fellowships to honor donors or the people they designate. Where did the students go? What did they learn and what did it mean for their future?
Let’s ask some of the 2017 fellows…

Learn more about the Summer Research Fellowships and how to apply

Lucy Burgchardt, doctoral student in communication
2017 Penny and Howard Aldrich Summer Research Fellow

“I study national parks and heritage conservation in the American Southwest. Thanks to my Summer Research Fellowship, I was able to attend ranger training at Mesa Verde National Park and conduct interviews with several heritage professionals in the Four Corners [including Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico] region. I also visited two archives. During the remainder of the summer, I transcribed the majority of the interviews that I conducted, organized the materials and notes that I collected during archive visits, submitted a manuscript for publication, submitted a chapter of my dissertation to my adviser and began work on another chapter of my dissertation. It was a tremendously productive summer.”

Did you know?
The Mesa Verde National Park contains ancient structures built by the Ancestral Pueblo peoples, who lived in the dwellings at Mesa Verde from about 600 to 1300 A.D.

Miranda L. Elston, doctoral student in art history
2017 Thomas F. Ferdinand Summer Research Fellow

“The Summer Research Fellowship enabled me to conduct primary research into little-studied early Tudor documents and works of art at museums, libraries and archives in England. My dissertation examines the way in which architecture during the reign of Henry VIII was depicted in works of art to understand better how these images convey cultural meaning associated with nationality, gender and status. My fellowship made it possible for me to not only complete critical object-based research but also to become part of the scholarly community in London, an experience which I would not have had otherwise.”


Jennifer Harker, doctoral student in mass communication
2017 Suzanne Levy Summer Research Fellow

“I study public relations and sport communication. This summer, I was able to complete one more step in my research by conducting an egocentric economic network analysis of the sponsorship and broadcast partnerships for each of the five American major sports leagues. This data not only helps to inform the economic capital of American sport but also helped position the focus of the next phase of my dissertation.”


Amanda Danielle Moehlenpah, doctoral student in Romance studies
2017 Vanessa Miller Gelbaugh Summer Research Fellow

“My dissertation project, which details the history of the English country dance in 18th-century France as well as its return to England, treats subject matter which has been studied very little in the past. Consequently, the completion of my dissertation depends entirely upon my ability to travel to libraries in Europe and consult primary sources. My fellowship this summer allowed me to spend two months in Paris and a week in London, looking at documents at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the British Library. Based on this research, I will be able to write a conference paper that will be presented at the Sorbonne in October and my prospectus which I will also defend this upcoming semester.”

Did you know?
Today’s popular contra dance has its beginning in English country dance.


Bryan Dougan, doctoral student in anthropology
2017 Diller-Gilligan Summer Research Fellow

“Thanks to support from The Graduate School, I was able to conduct archival work at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The data I collected there will form part of the historical basis for my future dissertation project. Additionally, I was able to travel to D.C. and Boston to conduct interviews with scholars for a research project on the emergence and practices of scholars who associate themselves with Global Mental Health. These interviews will help me revise my MA thesis into a scholarly journal article.”


Ani Govjian, doctoral student in English and comparative literature
2017 Chi-Jung Chu Memorial Summer Research Fellow

“The Graduate School Summer Fellowship has allowed me to conduct research in the special collections archive at Harvard’s Houghton Library. This has been a truly exciting summer of discovery. My work is on the intersection between science and religion in medieval and Renaissance England. Just yesterday, I transcribed a recipe for disappearing ink Isaac Newton wrote on a scratch of paper as my research-treat amid examining religious tracts decrying the scientific work of the Royal Society in England and treatises by chemists seeking to prove their work is science not superstition. I am coming away with two article plans and a solid collection of data for my dissertation.”

Did you know?
Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica was published in 1687.

Giuliano Migliori, doctoral student in Romance studies
2017 Suzanne Levy Summer Research Fellow

“The Suzanne Levy Fellowship helped me conduct research in Italy on how the image of the human body plays a crucial ethical and political role in postwar Italian culture. By accessing national and private archives in Turin and Milan, I was able to analyze works from Holocaust survivors, Italian journalists during the Allied campaign of liberation in 1943-1945 and postwar debates on fundamental issues, such as national identity, the cultures of fascism, new ethical communities and racial/gender divides. This opportunity enabled me to place my work within the current scholarship and has had a great impact on my project.”


Tim Smith, doctoral student in religious studies
2017 Christina Williams Summer Research Fellow

“My summer research fellowship has allowed me to travel to Japan to continue my study of Japanese religion in contemporary contexts. In coming to Japan this summer, I have connected with members of modern folk religious movements, helping me to better understand what these religions mean for their followers today. It has also given me the opportunity to meet with some of the top scholars of my field, broadening my opportunities for both this project and future research.”

Did you know?
A torii is the gate found at a Shinto shrine. These gates were traditionally made of stone or wood but now are made of several other materials.
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