Patricia Witherspoon Research Award

The University of Texas at Austin 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.

Amount of stipend: $2,000

Research Requirements:

Patricia Witherspoon

  • 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.

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 application is Monday, May 11, 2020.

Expectations by the Institute: The recipient will be expected to write a summary of their research for publication for the Institute and, if requested, make a short presentation before the Institute’s Advisory Council. 

2018 Witherspoon Award Winners

Zachary A. McGee

Zachary is a doctoral student in the Department of Government whose research interests include the U.S. Congress, political parties, policy process, agenda setting and elections. His current research focuses on the role of intraparty organizations, like the House Freedom Caucus or the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in Congress.

Emily Van Duyn

Emily is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Studies whose research interests focus on political communication and exploring news strategies to engage and inform diverse audiences. Some of ther specific interests include the relationship between spiral of silence and online deliberative environments, and the interaction between framing, sources, and media as a representative structure.


Click for Past Winners