2016-2017 Award Recipients

The University of Oregon Graduate School administers a range of fellowships and research awards annually, resulting in the support of 25 students for the upcoming 2016-17 academic year. These awards, most of which are donor supported, range from $500 to $18,000 per year and, in some cases, include tuition support.

This year the Graduate School expanded the University of Oregon Dissertation Research Fellowships from one award last year to thirteen this year, including school and college-funded awards and a brand new fellowship supported by a bequest from UO alumnus, Eric Englund. UO Dissertation Research Fellowships are designed to support outstanding doctoral students and promote excellence in research at the University of Oregon.

“The Graduate Research Fellowships and Awards acknowledge the outstanding work of our students and highlight the broad range of research conducted at the UO,” said Scott L. Pratt, UO Graduate School Dean and Professor of Philosophy.  “These awards provide essential support, ensuring that these scholars can complete their projects and become successful alumni of the University of Oregon.”

This year’s UO Doctoral Research Fellowship went to Sripoorna Paniyadi Krishna Bharadwaj from the Department of Physics. Bharadwaj’s work seeks to understand fundamental properties of quantum ferromagnets. This fellowship is awarded to the most outstanding doctoral student at the University of Oregon as determined by a faculty selection committee. The fellowship carries an award stipend of $18,000 and a university tuition waiver. 

Jon LaRochelle, from the Department of Philosophy, received the Eric Englund Research Fellowship, designed to support PhD students whose research is in American literature, history, philosophy, or other related fields. LaRochelle’s project draws on American philosophy—especially pragmatism—to explore a novel conception of power. LaRochelle’s research addresses what it means to have and seek power in the context of community activism while examining the issue of homelessness in Eugene.

In addition to the UO Doctoral Research Fellowship and the Eric Englund Research Fellowship, the following eleven individuals received a UO Dissertation Research Fellowship in partnership with their College or School:


Cem Kayatekin, Architecture, School of Architecture and Allied Arts
Sara Pacchiarotti, Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences
Iris Peng, East Asian Languages & Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences
Paul Downen, Computer & Information Science, College of Arts and Sciences
Alexander Bies, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
Steven Leone, History, College of Arts and Sciences
Klaree Boose, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
Spirit Brooks, Critical & Sociocultural Studies in Education, College of Education
Jeffrey Xie, Marketing, Lundquist College of Business
Esi Thompson, Media Studies, School of Journalism and Communication
Mark Rockwood, Music Theory, School of Music and Dance

Additional awards include the Betty Foster McCue Scholarship for Human Development and Performance. This year Elisa De Vargas from Counseling Psychology and JJ Hannigan from Human Physiology will receive $5,000 for this prestigious award to support their research. De Vargas’ research investigates how the effective use of certain counseling techniques by therapists correlates with positive changes in the behaviors of young adults struggling with alcohol abuse. Hannigan’s research uses electromyography to determine the cause of a common running-related knee injury.

Michelle Fong, Psychology, and Joze Moreno Pelayo, International Studies, received the UO Public Impact Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship provides recipients with a stipend and the opportunity to participate in a research advocacy workshop for graduate students and faculty. Joze Moreno Pelayo’s research examines labor and social adaptations of Syrian refugees while Michelle Fong explores the difference between merely surviving versus thriving in Laotian children.

The Gary E. Smith Summer Professional Development Award provides support to outstanding master’s or doctoral students pursuing academic, professional development, or training enrichment opportunities during the summer. This year’s recipients will be traveling all over the globe to gain a variety of new skills, from learning GIS (geographic information system) mapping techniques in England to studying the works of philosopher Gilles Deleuze in Rome, Italy. This year’s winners are:

Hayley Brazier, History, College of Arts and Sciences
Martina Ferrari, Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences
Matthew Graham, Critical & Sociocultural Studies in Education, College of Education
Jennifer Lewis, Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
Natalie Reich, Musicology, School of Music and Dance


Ross Anderson, Educational Leadership, was awarded the Margaret McBride Lehrman Fellowship, designed to support graduate students pursuing studies in writing and communication. Anderson studies and writes about arts integration and the role of creativity in public education.

The David S Easly Memorial Award supports outstanding master’s and doctoral students pursuing degrees related to environmental conservation and preservation. Recipient Jared Pruch from Environmental Studies investigates the potential for collaboration between young farmers and land trust organizations in Oregon. Pruch hopes to determine whether land trusts may be uniquely poised to help fill the gap between aging farmer-landowners and the next generation of Oregon farmers.

Dorianne Wright from Psychology won the Southeast Asian Studies Award. Wright’s research aims to combat chronic undernutrition in children among poor rural populations in Laos through educational interventions that integrate sensitive caregiving with a clean, hygienic environment.

The Future Stewards Program will provide an opportunity to work with the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon to help to make graduate education more accessible for their members.  The intent of the award is for tribal members who have earned graduate degrees at the University of Oregon to have the opportunity to return home and become stewards of their communities who will support their traditional culture, foster educational opportunities, and promote economic development. This year's award goes to Marquerite Metcalf, Education Studies.

The Oregon Sylff Graduate Fellowships for International Research fellowship is funded by the Nippon Foundation of Tokyo to nurture leaders who will transcend geopolitical, religious, ethnic, and cultural boundaries in the world community for the peace and well-being of humankind. This year's UO recipients are Shawna Meechan, PhD candidate in Politicial Science, and Xiaoning Sun, PhD candidate in Psychology. Shawna's research explores how post ethnic conflict states transition to stability in Northern Ireland and Kenya. Xiaoning is designing targeted and culturally appropriate interventions that allow children who have experienced early adversities the chance to live to their fullest potential.

The Margaret Wiese Graduate Research Award supports graduate student research related to preserving the culture, language and/or artifacts of northwestern Native Americans. This year's award goes to Andrea Willingham, Environmental Studies and James Snyder, Critical & Socio-cultural Studies in Education. Andrea is researching the effects of climate change in Alaska while James' research revolves around the importance of place, land, and culture to the field of Indigenous education and preservice teacher education.

Leanne Merrill, PhD in Mathematics recieved the Graduate Teaching Excellence Award, designed to recognize outstanding teaching performances by experienced graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) who have demonstrated a commitment to developing their instructional skills, while at the same time excelling in their academic degree program. Her research explores stable homotopy groups of spheres.


Copyright © 2011-2018 University of Oregon. All rights Reserved. Eugene Oregon 97403.

UO prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by UO policy. Questions may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, or to the Office for Civil Rights. Contact information, related policies, and complaint procedures are listed on the statement of non-discrimination.