Patricia Witherspoon Research Award

Creating More Voters and Better Citizens


Patricia Witherspoon Research Award

University of Texas graduate students are invited to apply for The Patricia Witherspoon Research Award to offset costs associated with conducting original research in the areas of public service, government, community service, civic life, citizenship, or politics.  Previous research topics have included faith-based organizations, family policy, immigration, and educational interventions. Past award winners have used the funding to pay for focus groups, survey instruments, and other aspects of their research. The deadline for the application is Monday, May 4, 2015.

2014 Witherspoon Award Winners

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine is a doctoral student in the Department of Radio-Television-Film. Her area of study is political participation on digital media. By using survey and experimental techniques, Katherine’s dissertation will examine in-depth the relationship between digital media and political participation, a relationship whose research has provided conflicting results. Her survey and experimental components will be in the field in the two months prior to the November general election. Her prospectus, “Political Participation on Digital Media: How Social Pressure and Social Networks Impact Voter Turnout,” can be read here.

Kristin J. Kelly

Kristie is a doctoral student in the Department of Government. Her major fields of study are American Politics and Quantitative Methodology. Kristie’s dissertation focuses on youth voting behavior in the United States, and she is especially interested in investigating the age gap in vote choice that has emerged over the last few presidential elections. The Witherspoon Award will help Kristie collect data to complete her dissertation, which will help to better understand how motivation and engagement influence political behavior among young Americans entering political adulthood. Kristie’s prospectus, “The Quiescence is Over: Issue-Based Voting among the Millennial Generation,” can be found here.

Patricia Witherspoon

Research Requirements:

  • Amount of the stipend: $2,000
  • Original research must be conducted in public service, government, civic life, citizenship, or politics. 
  • Preference will be given to students working on master's theses or doctoral dissertations.
  • All research must be overseen by a faculty member.
  • The research must be conducted for a course taken for credit.
  • Expectations by the Institute: The recipient will be expected to write a summary of their research for publication for the Institute. Please contact Chuck Courtney, Assistant Director for Administration at 471-7208 with questions.

To apply, please email the following to

  • Contact information including name, address, email, and telephone number.
  • Major field of study and current overall GPA.
  • Two page research prospectus including research question, brief summary of the literature, methodology, expected results and anticipated start and end dates.

Applicants may also be asked to participate in a face-to-face interview. The deadline for the application is Monday, May 4, 2015.