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Other Awards

James. F. Harris Arts and Humanities Visionary Scholarship:

The College of Arts and Humanities holds an annual competition open to Masters and Doctoral students for the James. F. Harris Arts and Humanities Visionary Scholarship. This award honors the humanities and arts in action. Past recipients have demonstrated a well-rounded approach to service and community engagement in addition to their scholarship.


  1. Students should write no more than a 2-page description of how their breadth of interests and activities exemplify key principles of an arts and humanities education . They should then submit their description to their home department/program, including their current contact information and UID number.
  2. The department must include a letter of support for each nomination, written by a faculty member who can speak to the student's suitability for this award.
  3. Each unit may submit one nomination for the Harris Scholarship. The nominated student may be either at the Master's level or the Doctoral level.
  4. Both the student's description and the department's nomination letter should be submitted together in one PDF through the online application system.

To submit a nomination, the nominator should log onto, select the James Harris Arts and Humanities Visionary Scholarship application, complete each field, and upload a single PDF containing the student's description and the department's nomination letter. The online portal will start taking nominations on November 14. 

Deadline: December 5, 2016


Congratulations to the 2015-16 James F. Harris Arts and Humanities Visionary Scholarship winner:

Madeline Gent, Ph.D. Program in Art History



Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards

The Graduate School invites colleges to choose graduate students for Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards for exemplary achievement as a GA in AY 2016-17. The Graduate School will make approximately 80 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards annually and will recognize the awardees for 2017 at the Annual Fellowship and Award Celebration in May 11, 2017.

ARHU can nominate up to 10 graduate assistants for this award, all of whom will receive the award from the graduate school.   While the award does not carry a cash prize, it conveys the honor of being named among the top 2% of campus GAs in a given year.

To be eligible for this award, GAs must be currently enrolled Master's or Doctoral students holding at least a half-time graduate assistantship (TA, RA, AA) for AY 16-17.

ARHU is soliciting nominations from the chairs of departments. Here are the instructions for submitting your nominations to the ARHU Graduate Fellowships Committee:

  1. Each unit may nominate one graduate assistant for every 20 graduate assistants employed, up to a maximum of two.  The nominees may be drawn from administrative assistants, research assistants, and teaching assistants.  If your unit nominates two students, please rank order them.
  2. Nominations should be submitted on department letterhead and list the student’s name, UID, the kind of assistantship (RA,TA, AA), the place of assistantship, the student’s contact information (mailing and email address) and one paragraph that establishes why the student is an outstanding GA. Please do not write more than one paragraph.
  3. ARHU GAs working in units outside of ARHU are eligible for this award. If you are aware of an outstanding GA from your unit who works for another campus entity, please consider contacting their supervisor to help draft the nominating paragraph.


The deadline for receipt of nominations in the ARHU Dean’s office is Thursday, March 30, 2017.

Nominations should be sent as a single pdf to Betsy Yuen at


Graduate ALL-S.T.A.R. Fellowship

The Graduate School invites colleges to select outstanding students for the Graduate All-S.T.A.R. (Scholarship / Teaching, Administration, Research) Fellowship for AY 16-17. Approximately 4,000 UMD graduate students serve as teaching, administrative, or research assistants. The Graduate All-S.T.A.R. Fellowships are intended to honor graduate students who are both outstanding scholars and outstanding graduate assistants. Graduate All-S.T.A.R. Fellows will be featured on the Graduate School website. 

Students will be nominated by their college for this award. Colleges must submit their All-S.T.A.R Fellowship decision(s) to the Graduate School by April 21, 2017. 

All-S.T.A.R. Fellowship Guidelines:

Graduate All-S.T.A.R. Fellows can be any GA/TA enrolled in ARHU. (The student need not hold an assistantship in ARHU, but it is incumbent upon the unit to verify the significant contributions made by the student as a graduate assistant.)

Selection Process:

Each unit will forward just 1 candidate to the ARHU Fellowships Committee for consideration. This candidate may be at either the Master’s or Doctoral level. Those units with multiple graduate programs must deliberate at the unit level in order to determine who will be nominated (e.g. TDPS, School of Music, and SLLC can each submit only 1 nomination to ARHU). Please also describe your deliberation process when you submit your nomination.

The deadline to submit nominations to ARHU is March 30, 2017. College submissions are due to the Graduate School by April 21, 2017.

The department is responsible for forwarding the nomination package as a single PDF file to Betsy Yuen at  Nomination packages should include the following:

  1. Name of All-S.T.A.R.
  2. Photograph of the nominee
  3. Brief bio
  4. Summary describing the nominee’s outstanding scholarship and significant contribution as a graduate assistant (1- page maximum)
  5. Letter detailing the selection process used by the unit to determine the All-S.T.A.R. Fellow nominatee (half-page maximum)
  6. Statement written by the All-S.T.A.R. Fellow nominee describing how his or her service as a Graduate Assistant has enhanced his or her graduate education experience (250-word maximum)

Please direct any further questions to Dr. Mark Leone, Senior Faculty Advisor (; or Robyn Kotzker, Program Manager for Fellowships and Awards (, 301.405.0281).


Congratulations to the 2016-17 All-S.T.A.R. Fellowship  winners in ARHU:

Irina Alexandra Iles is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication specializing in the application of persuasive communication to health contexts. She uses quantitative research methods to explore the interplay between message properties, cognition, and emotion with the goal of promoting attitude and behavior change. Irina is also interested in potential byproducts or unintended consequences that persuasive health messages may have at the individual and societal level. Her research has been published or is forthcoming in outlets such as Health Communication, Journal of Health Psychology, American Journal of Health Behavior, and elsewhere. She has earned top paper awards in health communication at the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, and Eastern Communication Association conferences. Irina has worked on several grant-funded projects and has been an Intern with the Food and Drug Administration for two summer terms.

Strongly committed to issues of accessibility, inclusion, and justice for people with disability in her scholarship, teaching, and service, Ruth Osorio joined the Ph.D. program in the Department of English in 2013, concentrating in Language, Writing, and Rhetoric Studies. She completed her coursework within four semesters and satisfied the English department’s foreign language requirement by taking several upper-level courses in American Sign Language in Gallaudet University’s Summer American Sign Language Program. After passing her comprehensive exams, she advanced to candidacy in her fifth semester and was first among her cohort to submit her approved dissertation prospectus. She is now at work on her dissertation, “Disability Activism and Its Rhetorical Strategies,” which is a highly original and significant study of the rhetorical strategies and achievements of the disability rights movement and its impact on American culture. She has published two articles in the referred journals Peitho and Kairos. She has delivered more than ten papers at national and international conference. She has excelled as a Graduate Student Instructor teaching a variety of courses in the English department and has developed a new course, to launch in the Fall 2016 semester: English 296: “Reading and Writing Disability.” She has also served as a member of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, as the Graduate Liaison for the Disability and Accessibility Committee, as the UMD English Department Liaison to the Rhetoric Society of America, UMD Chapter, as a member of the program committee for the annual conference of the Graduate English Organization (GEO), and as the founding member of the UMD Disability Studies Reading Group, and as the English Department’s representative of the UMD Graduate Student Government. 



Additional Graduate School Prizes and Awards

Endowed Awards Guidelines and Nomination Information

The Graduate School currently offers four prestigious endowed awards: the Dr. Mabel S. Spencer Award for Excellence in Graduate Achievement; the Dr. James W. Longest Memorial Award for Social Science Research; the Michael J. Pelczar Award for Excellence in Graduate Study; and the Phi Delta Gamma Graduate Fellowship. Nominations are due to the Graduate School by March 8, 2017, by noon. Updated award guidelines and nomination forms are available below. 

The Dr. Mabel S. Spencer Award for Excellence in Graduate Achievement

The Spencer Award, established by the daughters of Dr. Mabel S. Spencer, honors the memory and outstanding professional achievements of Dr. Spencer. It carries an annual stipend of at least $15,000 and candidacy tuition remission (if not covered by other tuition remission).

Dr. Spencer taught at the University of Maryland from 1948 to 1968. Her energy, dynamic personality, and commitment to bringing about positive change made her a leader in the University community. Dedicated to programs and activities that advanced the interests of women at the University, Dr. Spencer was also known for her extraordinary ability to communicate with and provide assistance to her students, especially those from underrepresented minorities and from foreign countries.

Dr. James W. Longest Memorial Award for Social Science Research

The Longest Award, established by Mary Jack Wintle (Dr. Longest's spouse), honors the memory and outstanding personal and professional achievements of Dr. James W. Longest. It provides $2,000 to support doctoral dissertation research in the social sciences with potential benefits for small and/or disadvantaged communities. Candidacy tuition remission also will be granted for each of two semesters (if not covered by other tuition remission).  Eligible students must have reached candidacy by June 1, 2017.

Dr. James W. Longest served on the research faculty of Cornell University for ten years before coming to the University of Maryland in 1967. Dr. Longest retired and became Professor Emeritus in 1990. He took great interest in assisting students, for whom he set high professional standards, and continued advising students until his death in November 1992. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Longest supported an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving in the areas of community development and the delivery of services in rural areas.

The Michael J. Pelczar Award for Excellence in Graduate Study

The Pelczar Award honors the memory and achievements of Dr. Michael J. Pelczar who earned multiple degrees at the University of Maryland, including a doctorate in 1941, and whose career at the University spanned over 30 years.  This award offers $1,000 to an outstanding doctoral candidate who has demonstrated excellence beyond his or her course work, and who has served at least one academic year as a teaching assistant with a commendable performance. Eligible students must have reached candidacy by June 1, 2017.

The Phi Delta Gamma Graduate Fellowship

The Phi Delta Gamma Graduate Fellowship offers $1,000 to a student who “best exemplifies interdisciplinary scholarship achievement.”