Fellowships Community events for Fall 2018:
Register for our kick-off workshop: Monday, August 27, 2018, 11 am - 1 pm Jones Commons, 316 Lindquist Center
Receive text message reminders about Fall 2018 AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship deadlines: sign up here or text @uiaauwacom to 81010
Receive text message reminders about Fall 2018 AAUW International Fellowship deadlines: sign up here or text @uiaauwicom to 81010
Fall 2018 Overview
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers several fellowships to graduate student women, including the American Dissertation Fellowship ($20,000 stipend for U.S. citizen and permanent resident doctoral student women in their final program year) and the International Fellowship ($18,000 stipend for Master’s/professional degree students; $20,000 stipend for doctoral students; $30,000 stipend for postdocs; applicants must be women who are citizens of a country other than the United States who plan to return to their home countries to pursue a professional career). University of Iowa graduate students applicants are also eligible for the Fellowship Incentive Program ($500 for applying if feedback from a faculty advisor and fellowships advisor is obtained before submitting to AAUW--full details on webpage).
- Official Homepage: http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/
- Deadlines: This year’s deadlines are November 1, 2018 (American Dissertation Fellowship) and November 15, 2018 (International Fellowship).
Eligibility: Official AAUW fellowship eligibility is described on by AAUW for each fellowship (linked below); read their descriptions carefully for full information. Briefly, eligibility criteria include:
- American Dissertation Fellowship: Women scholars in any field of study completing a doctoral degree/dissertation by the end of the funded fellowship period (apply at the start of your second-to-last year, funding during last year, graduate within a few months of the funding period’s completion); you must be done with all coursework, have passed all preliminary/comprehensive exams, and have your dissertation research proposal approved by your committee by the application deadline. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents by the application deadline.
- International Fellowship: Women scholars who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents who intend to return to their home countries to pursue a professional career, are proficient in English, and plan full-time academic study during the fellowship year. Applicants can be pursuing a Master’s degree, professional degree (such as an MD), doctoral degree (such as a PhD or EdD), or postdoctoral/post-MFA research; note that the stipend amount varies by degree program.
Deadlines: This year’s deadlines are November 1, 2018 (American Dissertation Fellowship) and November 15, 2018 (International Fellowship).
Application components are described more extensively at the AAUW pages for each fellowship (linked below). Briefly, the components include:
- American Dissertation Fellowship: (A) 3 recommendation letters, including one from your dissertation advisor; (B) a CV or Resume; (C) a budget; (D) responses to several narrative questions; (E) official graduate transcripts; (F) a form from the chair of your department (or a similar official) verifying you have an approved dissertation research proposal, have completed all courses, and completed qualifying examinations.
- The narrative questions generally have a 300 word limit except for the project description (700 words). In Fall 2015, example prompt topics included: career plans and professional goals, abstract, project description, autobiography, commitment to women and girls, budget narrative, teaching experience, and other background information.
- International Fellowship: (A) 3 recommendation letters from professors or professional colleagues, at least some of whom (ideally) will be from your home country and can also comment on the country’s need for the skills you will acquire through your degree; (B) a CV or Resume; (C) a budget; (D) responses to several narrative questions; (E) official transcripts; (F) supporting documentation of prior degree(s) and current enrollment; (G) official TOEFL test scores or waiver request.
- The narrative questions generally have a 300 word limit. In Fall 2015, example prompt topics included (but are not necessarily limited to): career plans, relevance to field/need in your home country, why you chose the current institution, background about your family and importance of education, commitment to women and girls, plans to pay for any additional expenses.
Resources for Applicants
Official Resources: AAUW is always the final, authoritative source of information about their fellowships. Read all of their information carefully.
- AAUW’s American Dissertation Fellowship page states the following context on how you will be evaluated:
- “In selecting fellowship recipients, the following criteria will be considered:
- Applicant’s scholarly excellence
- Quality of project design
- Originality of project
- Scholarly significance of project to the discipline
- Feasibility of project and proposed schedule
- Qualifications of applicant
- Applicant’s commitment to women’s issues in the profession/community
- Applicant’s mentoring of other women
- Applicant’s teaching experience
- Potential of applicant to make a significant contribution to the field
- Applicant is from an underrepresented racial/ethnic background
- Applicant is from an underrepresented area of the country and/or type of university other than a top-level research institution
- Financial Need"
- “In selecting fellowship recipients, the following criteria will be considered:
"The primary criterion for fellowship awards is scholarly excellence."
- AAUW’s International Fellowship page for 2018-2019, including context on how you will be evaluated:
- “The following criteria apply to the selection of International Fellowships:
- Residing in home country at time of application
- Position on return to home country
- Academic and/or professional qualifications
- Applicant’s commitment to the advancement of women and girls in her home country
- Proposed time schedule
- Quality and feasibility of proposed plan of study or research
- Demonstrated evidence of prior community and/or civic service in home country
- Applicant’s country’s need for the specialized knowledge or skill
- Financial need
- Motivation for graduate study or research
- Applicant is from an underrepresented area of the country and/or type of university other than a top-level research institution”
- “The following criteria apply to the selection of International Fellowships:
- Advice from previous fellows:
- Introductory guides to grant writing (not specific to AAUW fellowships):
- “On the Art of Writing Proposals”, an overview of funding proposal writing strategies by the Social Science Research Council
- Scholarly Pursuits: A Guide to Professional Development During the Graduate Years, Chapter V (Cynthia Verba, Harvard)
- Grant Proposals (or Give me the money!) - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- UI donated example essays – log in to Sharepoint using your HawkID (hawkid[@]uiowa.edu, not first-last[@]uiowa.edu) and password. Please note these resources are donated for individual educational use by University of Iowa students only.
Feedback Appointments: The UI Graduate Success Office (email@example.com) can give feedback on written drafts of your application materials. We strongly recommend booking appointments well in advance, as Fall semester is the busiest season for fellowships. If you are applying for an AAUW fellowship and none of the available online options work with your schedule, please contact us—we will do our best to find additional scheduling options. Additional field-specific fellowships advisors on campus are listed here.
Reference Letters: The best letters are from people who can best comment on your activities and qualities that are most relevant to the fellowship’s evaluation criteria—for AAUW fellowships, your references collectively should be able to address your scholarly qualities, context about your project’s significance and feasibility, and your impact through teaching/mentoring/outreach.
- “Letters of Recommendation” by The IU GradGrants Center, Indiana University (introductory guide to picking and working with letter writers)
- “Writing a Letter of Recommendation,” an extremely useful resource for students and faculty by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (advice is generalizable across fields)
Incentive Programs: Preparing a competitive application for AAUW requires a great deal of thought, time, and effort that helps you further develop your research ideas and writing skills. In recognition of this investment and the benefits, UI graduate student applicants for the AAUW American Dissertation Fellowship or International Fellowship can be eligible for up to two different incentive programs:
- Fellowship Incentive Program (FIP): Graduate students who get feedback on a developed draft of their application from both a fellowships advisor (e.g., UI Grad Success appointment; Amy Charles, Chemistry -- only students specifically in the Chemistry department; Linda Hand, Nursing; Carmen Langel, IIHR--Hydroscience and Engineering -- only IIHR-affiliated students) and their dissertation advisor before submitting the final version to AAUW can be eligible for a $500 award independent of the funding decision outcome.
- If you plan to work with a comparable fellowships advisor not listed above, please have them e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to ensure coordination with the Fellowship Incentive Program.
- Supplement for External Fellowship (SEF) Program: Please contact the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) Biomedical Science Ph.D. programs for more information.
Outreach Resources: AAUW requires applicants to be active in work that benefits the well-being of women and/or girls in the world in some way. This may be through your research and/or involvement in community organizations. Applicants with a long-standing track record of involvement will be most competitive; if you are considering applying for an AAUW fellowship in the future, here is a non-exhaustive list of campus and area organizations that may align with your outreach interests.
- Diversity at Iowa – Building Community (campus organizations)
- Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) Iota Chi
- UI Student Cultural or International Organizations (undergraduate and graduate)
- UI Student Mentoring Resources
- Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)
- Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC)
Resources for Letter Writers
Review Criteria and Reviewer Perspectives
- Reviewers for AAUW fellowships are evaluating applicants on multiple criteria, including (but not limited to): the student’s scholarly qualities; context about the project’s significance and feasibility; and the student’s impact through teaching, mentoring, and/or outreach.
- If you are a research mentor, you are in an especially powerful position to be able to provide expert context about the quality of project design, originality of the project, scholarly significance of the project to the discipline, the feasibility of the project, and the applicant’s qualifications to do the project (AAUW). The most helpful recommendation letters will include specific examples and details to establish that context.
- Asserting that “this project is very original” is less persuasive than giving concise explanations about what specific new approaches, new subject matter, new perspectives, etc. the applicant takes.
- Saying an applicant is “the most promising student I’ve seen at this point in a degree program” would be an even more powerful statement with quantitative scope (“[…] in # years of mentoring # doctoral students”) and/or qualitative context (“[…]in terms of initiative to seek further training opportunities and the ability to critically analyze primary research papers”) to clearly state the reasons the student is promising.
Reference Letter Resources
- “Writing a Letter of Recommendation”, an extremely useful collection of advice from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (advice is generalizable across fields).
- Particularly note pp. 10-11 and 15-19 for examples of how many small word choice differences (often unconsciously done when describing female vs. male applicants) can add up to a substantially stronger or weaker impression of an applicant.
- A Nature article by Dutt et al. (2016) found that letter writers from the Americas tend to write longer letters than writers from other geographic regions (Table 3). Be aware of the potential impact of cultural differences in how lengthy or superlative a letter is expected to be—especially if most reviewers will be used to letter norms in the Americas.
- Also see Table 2 and “Methods” section for a summary of letter qualities that surveyed senior faculty interpreted as “excellent,” “good,” or “doubtful.”
- American Dissertation Fellowships page, including criteria for selection and application review
- International Fellowships page, including criteria for selection and application review
- The UI Graduate Success Office (email@example.com) can give feedback on written drafts of your application materials. We strongly recommend booking appointments well in advance, as Fall semester is the busiest season for fellowships. If you are applying for an AAUW fellowship and none of the available online options work with your schedule, please contact us—we will do our best to find additional scheduling options.
- Amy Charles, Chemistry (link); currently, Amy can work only with students specifically in the Chemistry department
- Nancy Goldsmith, Nursing (contact, background)
Faculty, staff, and students willing to work with graduate student AAUW applicants:
- Michele Aichele (Graduate Student, Music) – AAUW fellow
- Cathleen Moore (Faculty, Psychology) - mentor
- Student Q&A - email, phone
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 319-335-3427
- Student Q&A - email, phone
For specific eligibility and submission questions, please also contact AAUW through their official homepage: http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/
Read about current and previous University of Iowa graduate student winners of AAUW American Dissertation Fellowships and International Fellowships (view additional UI winners, including postdoctoral fellows and career development grant winners here):
- 2017-2018 application cycle, 2018-2019 fellowship:
- 2015-2016 application cycle, 2016-2017 fellowship:
- Michele Aichele, Musicology
- 2014-2015 application cycle, 2015-2016 fellowship:
- 2012-2013 application cycle, 2013-2014 fellowship:
- Berhan Gelan, Counselor Education and Supervision
- 2007-2008 application cycle, 2008-2009 fellowship:
- Sharon Lake, American Studies/Women’s Studies
- 2006-2007 application cycle, 2007-2008 fellowship:
- 2005-2006 application cycle, 2006-2007 fellowship:
- Ifeoma Nwankwor, MPH
How extensive does my work to improve the lives of women and/or girls have to be?
- Ideally, you should already be interested in (and active in) activities that improve women’s lives and have a long-term commitment to these goals because you want to do so, not because you “have” to only for the fellowship. That said, the ways in which you can work toward improving women’s lives can take many different forms; for example, two of the most recent UI graduate student winners of AAUW fellowships show that the impact can be through your dissertation research (historical analysis of a French female composer) or through volunteering and outreach activities (co-founding the local chapter of Graduate Women in Science). Browsing the AAUW Fellowships and Grants Directory can help show the range of ways in which previous fellows have shown their commitment to women’s issues. Commitment to the advancement of women is included in the evaluation criteria, but the specific actions you take because of that commitment can be flexible as long as you make a strong case for their positive impact and your own involvement.
How strict is AAUW about the International Fellowship’s requirement to plan to return to one’s home country for a professional career? Do they take extenuating circumstances about political stability, economic opportunities, etc. into account?
- The evaluation criteria do include your plans to return to your home country to pursue a professional career, and these plans are part of the eligibility criteria for this fellowship. Please contact AAUW for further questions or clarification.
- The 2018-2019 guidelines for this fellowship’s recommendation letters also state that: “When possible, recommenders should be professors or professional colleagues in the applicant’s home country who can speak about the applicant’s qualifications and about the country’s need for the specialized skill or knowledge she plans to acquire with her proposed study or research.”
The AAUW International Fellowship 2018-2019 evaluation criteria include “residing in home country at time of application.” Can I still apply if I am already a student in the USA?
- Yes. Your location at the time of application is considered as one factor in your evaluation, but it is not listed in the eligibility criteria for this fellowship.
How much will my reviewers know about my research topic?
- Your application should withstand an expert’s scrutiny yet still be understandable to a non-specialist reader from your subfield. Because “applications are reviewed by distinguished scholars and should be prepared accordingly” (AAUW), there is a chance that you may be reviewed by a world expert in the topic. However, the AAUW fellowships are open to graduate student women in almost any research discipline; therefore, you should write to be understood by an intelligent, educated reviewer who may not have any background in your subject area at all (e.g., if you are in Art History, be understandable to someone in Electrical Engineering). Because each essay is very short, you will not have room to go into the same level of specialist detail that you would if writing for a journal or your thesis committee.
What is routing, and do I have to do routing for this application?
- Routing with the Division of Sponsored Programs (DSP) requires the final versions of your materials to be submitted to DSP on their website 5 business days before the deadline on the funding organization’s website (see the DSP website for more information). Routing is mandatory for awards that require a faculty member or the university itself to submit the application on your behalf (examples: NSF DDRIG, NIH F31/F30/R36).
- Because you submit the AAUW fellowship application yourself, independently, as an individual, you do not have to complete routing to submit the application. You, the applicant, are solely responsible for submitting your materials to the funding agency by the deadline.
- If you win an AAUW fellowship, you will need to contact DSP as soon as possible to set up an award management account in the UI system.
Do I need to submit my fellowship application materials to the Graduate College before they are submitted to the funding agency?
- No. The Graduate College can give writing feedback on your application (content, clarity, style, accessibility to a non-specialist reader) that we strongly encourage you to utilize; getting feedback from a fellowships specialist is also part of the FIP eligibility requirements. However, this feedback is not required to submit an application to AAUW.
Does the Graduate College submit my application materials for me?
- No. You, the applicant, are solely responsible for submitting your materials to the funding agency by the deadline.
Is this opportunity Fellowship Incentive Program (FIP)-eligible?
- (i) Doctoral students applying for the American Dissertation Fellowship, (ii) doctoral students applying for the International Fellowship, and (iii) Master’s/professional degree students applying for the International Fellowship are eligible for a $500 application incentive award. You must work with your faculty advisor and get feedback from a fellowships advisor before submitting the final materials to AAUW. Read more about FIP here.
- (i) Postdoctoral scholars, (ii) applicants applying as graduate students for postdoc funding, and (iii) applicants for other AAUW grants or fellowships are not currently eligible for FIP.
Who are the fellowships advisors I have to meet with to be FIP-eligible?
- Fellowships advisors include the Grad Success Office, Linda Hand (Nursing - only nursing students), Amy Charles (Chemistry -- only students specifically in the Chemistry department), or Karen Wachsmuth (International Programs). If you are working with another fellowships advisor in your department who fills a similar role, please have them contact us at email@example.com in advance to ensure coordination with the Fellowship Incentive Program.
- DSP reviews grant applications only for completion and formatting, not content or clarity of writing style; therefore, DSP routing is not a substitute for feedback from a fellowships advisor.
I’m a previous winner, reviewer, or mentor who would like to be a Community Contact. How can I have my name added to the list?
- Filling out this Qualtrics form will let you send us your contact information and the ways in which you would like to be involved. If you have additional questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your willingness to share your expertise!
How much time does it take to write an application for this fellowship?
- Longer than you may think! Even though the AAUW narratives are only 300 to 700 words each, shorter applications are often the most challenging because every word is valuable in such limited space. Writing for a reviewer who isn’t a specialist in your topic (and who will be reading about you and your project for the first time) is a distinct challenge compared to writing for an all-specialist audience (such as a journal, your advisor, and other people in your research group).
- The specific amount of time varies, but you should allow ample time for:
- Brainstorming on your own and with others
- Contacting prospective reference writers to see if they’re willing to write a strong, positive letter for you
- Drafting an outline
- Writing the first draft
- Revising the draft to where you are comfortable having others read it
- Getting feedback from specialist readers (e.g., your advisor, other people in your research group) and non-specialist readers (e.g., fellowships advisors, other trusted friends/family/mentors)
- Making revisions, final editing
- Sending final or near-final versions of your materials to your reference writers
- Submitting to the funding agency (NOT at the last minute)
How can I find other fellowship opportunities?
- Please see our “Fellowships” professional development page.