CLAS awards Dissertation Writing Fellowships

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Juggling work, academics, and life outside the university, Ph.D. students can find their research and dissertations pushed to the backburner.

To support these students, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has awarded ten doctoral candidates the Dissertation Writing Fellowships. Each recipient will receive a fellowship of $13,750 and access to benefits from their department, which will give them the financial support and time needed to focus on their dissertation.

For several recipients, the award is more than just time. For Echo Smith, Ph.D. candidate in Classics, the fellowship is a symbol of CLAS’s confidence in her research.

“I feel privileged to have been chosen among such a distinguished group of graduate students— being selected as a recipient by the committee has given me a renewed sense of confidence in and enthusiasm for my own scholarship,” Smith said.

Mark Rheaume, Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition, also found the fellowship’s support went beyond the funding.

“This funding from CLAS not only offers financial support and all-too-precious time, but also a kind of emotional support: focus, confidence, a welcome granted by the community of scholars that make up CLAS,” Rheaume said. “It's a chance to commit, to jump into the deep end, in a way that I've never been able to in previous research projects.”

For Jacob Gallagher, Ph.D. candidate in Health and Human Physiology, the extra time not only allows him to focus on his dissertation but also his life beyond scholarship.

“In addition to the craziness of getting my doctorate degree, my wife and I are expecting our first born any day now,” Gallagher said. “With this fellowship, I will be able to reallocate that time to my dissertation, which then prevents my dissertation from encroaching on my family time.”

2022 Dissertation Writing Fellowship recipients and their dissertation topics include:

Lindsey Allemang Goldberg, Political Science—Gender and Reproductive Violence with Armed Rebel Movements

Md Asif Rahman, Geographical & Sustainability Sciences—Vulnerability and Flood Outcomes in the US

Patrick Brady, History—Loyalist Refugees in Revolutionary South Carolina

Eric Brown, Chemistry—Synthesis of Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfane Sulfur Donors and their Implications in Agriculture

Micki Burdick, Communication Studies—Conservative Women’s Activism in the Pro-Life Movement

Hannah Espy, Sociology—Classed Beginnings: Revealing the Hidden Curriculum of Preschool

Jacob Gallagher, Health and Human Physiology—Planning and Evaluating a Physical Activity Intervention Targeted to Rural Men

Shiao Liu, Statistics—Error Analysis of Deep Generative Models

Mark Rheaume, Music Composition—Public Memory Through Public Melody: (Re) Composing Aural Histories

Echo Smith, Classics—Ancient Dream Interpretation: From Text to Social Context

About the Dissertation Writing Fellowships:

The Dissertation Writing Fellows are selected annually by the CLAS Associate Dean for Graduate Education in collaboration with the CLAS Graduate Education Policy Committee, a committee of six elected graduate faculty from various disciplines and a CLAS graduate student appointed in consultation with leadership from the Graduate Student Senate.

Award recipients receive monthly payments from June-December for their award year. For more information about the application, award, and review process, read the full list of requirements and conditions on the CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowships page.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.