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 next application deadline is Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

2015 Witherspoon Award Winners

Nitya Rao

Nitya Rao

Nitya is a doctoral student in the Department of Government concurrently pursuing a master's degree in statistics through the department of Statistics and Data Science. Nitya's research project allowed her to combine her substantive interest in American politics with her methodological training in statistics. Read Nitya's research results here


Eun Yeon KangEun Yeon Kang

Eun Yeon Kang is a doctoral student in Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. Her major fields of study are corporate social responsibility and advertising effects. The Witherspoon award allows Kang to continue to pursue her academic career in research about corporate citizenship in the service industry, especially the hotel area. She collected data during this summer for her study on message-framing effects for hotels’ corporate citizenship and suggested applicable strategies for hotels to effectively communicate their philanthropic efforts. Eun Yeon hopes that the findings will help hotels to inform service corporations’ active communication, and also their engagement to serve as socially responsible members in society. Read Eun Yeon's research results here

Research Requirements:

Patricia Witherspoon

  • 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.
  • 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, Associate Director, Administration at 512-471-7208 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 2016 application is Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

Click for Past Winners