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Scholarship & Award Opportunities

American Culture offers two scholarships/awards every year.

All majors and minors within our unit (American Culture; *Latina/o Studies; Native American Studies; Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies; and Arab and Muslim American Studies) are eligible to apply for the Joel S. Siegel Scholarship.

All currently declared majors and minors in American Culture or one of its *Ethnic Studies Programs are eligible to compete for the annual Richard Meisler Writing Award in American Studies. Please see below for more information.


Joel S. Siegel Scholarship

This $2,500 scholarship is awarded annually to an American Culture student with financial need and who best represents the potential for excellence in our program. 

The Richard Meisler Writing Award in American Studies

The Richard Meisler Writing Award in American Studies:  Starting in 2017, American Culture will make an annual $500 award for an outstanding essay in American studies. This writing award is named in honor of our cherished colleague and department advisor, Richard Meisler, who took great delight in getting to know our students’ unique talents and perspectives. In that spirit, this award recognizes those same talents as they are so often reflected in their outstanding writing and research. 



All currently declared undergraduate majors and minors in American Culture, Arab and Muslim American Studies, Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, Latina/o Studies, and Native American Studies are eligible to submit essays for the writing award.  Only essays written during the current academic year are eligible for review. Students must have been enrolled at the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan during the semester in which the essay was written, but the essay does not have to have been written for an American Culture class. Each author may submit only one entry.



Essays are evaluated by the American Culture Undergraduate Committee. The committee will judge essays for their contribution to understanding an aspect of American culture, including issues emerging from race and ethnic studies, history, literature, media studies, performance studies, women’s studies, LGBTQ studies, the social sciences, and other related fields. Essays will be judged on their originality and the clarity of presentation.



Essays should be no longer than 30 pages, typed and double-spaced, including notes and/or bibliography. Reviews will be conducted through blind review.  

Past Writing Award Winners

2012 Winner

Amara Lopez, "Notions of Home Beyond the Field"

2013 Winners

Jasmine Reyes, "Violence and Agency In Lorraine Hansberry's play Les Blancs"

Lorna Mosher, "To be Attractive and a Comedienne"

2014 Winners

Carlina Duan, "I am Not a Geisha"

Kavitha Iyengar, "The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Creating the Mexican-American Frontier"

2015 Winners

Ariel Kaplowitz , Mujeres Por La Causa: Chicana Feminists in the International Women’s Year

Patrick Mullen-Cuyoy , A Not-So-New Colossus: United States Response to Central American Immigration in the Mid-1980s and the Mid-2010s

Nour Soubani , Complicating the Arab-American Identity: The Role of War and Violence in Arab-American Creative Writing from 2001-2014

2016 Winners

Mena Hermiz, Criticism of the 'Clashing Civilizations' Theory

Dylan Nelson, Relational Resistance: Misunderstanding, Race, and Sacred Power in Mid-Eighteenth Century Delaware Nativist Revival

2017 Winners

Ashley Bock, "Detroit Skylines"

Charlene Franke, “Southwest Native American Artistry in the Twentieth Century”

Jocelyn Reinert, “Selling Humanitarianism”

2018 Winners

Madison Jones, "We Must Secure the Existence of Our People"

Kristina Perkins, “Uses of the Cut-up: On (Re)Producing Collective Authorship”

2019 Winners

Caitlyn Zawideh, "Deepfakes, Truth, and the Individual"

Holly Reynolds, “Summary of the 1868 Crow Land Session”

2020 Winners

Anne Boyd, "A Nation That Forget its Past Has No Future: White Supremacy and a Confederate Monument in Phoenix, Arizona"

Syd Lio Riley, "Transgender Inclusion in Residential Communities at the University of Michigan"