Penn Arts & Sciences Logo



SAS Dissertation Research Award (DRA)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Penfield, Teece, and SAS Dissertation Research Award are intended to facilitate the progress of students who are engaged in an early or intermediate stage of dissertation research. Candidates who can be expected to finish their dissertations in 2022-2023 are not eligible for this competition, but may be proposed instead for an SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

Candidates for all three awards will be evaluated as part of a single pool by members of the SAS Committee on Graduate Education. Winners who satisfy the restrictions of the Penfield and Teece Awards will be funded from the income of those endowments, until funds are exhausted. The SAS Committee on Graduate Education will determine from which endowment successful applicants are funded; applicants need not indicate which of the Penfield, Teece, or DRF funds they prefer.

 • Penfield Awards, funded by a bequest that dates from 1930, are intended to aid students of “diplomacy, international affairs, and belles-lettres.” In keeping with those foci, SAS has traditionally used Penfields to help students who need to do research overseas.

 • Teece Awards result from a new endowment established in 2007 thanks to the generosity of David and Leigh Teece. David J. Teece, who holds the Thomas W. Tusher Professorship in Global Business at the Haas School of the University of California at Berkeley, is a Penn Ph.D. alumnus in Economics. While a student, David benefited from a Penfield Fellowship himself, so he and Leigh designated the Teece Fellowships for a similar but distinctive purpose. These awards are for graduate students working in the physical and social sciences who are doing applied research that is empirical or field-based in nature and interdisciplinary in its foundations. Teece Fellowships may cover any element of research expense, travel, books, data acquisition, and tuition.

 • SAS Dissertation Research Awards are supported by the School’s unrestricted funds, so they can aid students not eligible for a Penfield or Teece Award. In addition, once the Penfield and Teece funds are exhausted, students who would otherwise be eligible for those competitions may receive a DRF if they rank higher than remaining candidates in the combined pool of nominees.

Requests for grants to support travel and/or other research expenses must be justified by an itemized (but not excessively detailed) budget.

Research funds may be used during either the Summer of 2022 or the 2022-2023 academic year, or both. The maximum award for a Summer DRF will be $5,000. Budgets should not include normal living expenses (food, rent, etc.), as stipends are intended to cover those costs. However, requests may be made for costs of temporary lodging away from home, if the student must continue to pay for a usual living place, or for extra costs of eating out during travel when self-catering is not feasible. The aggregate amount of money we have to support these awards is limited, so the amount we can offer towards each request will depend on the number and nature of the applications we receive. Our goal is to help as many deserving students as we can with our resources.

Recipients of DRA’s should be working full-time on dissertation research, although in the case of Summer fellowships, two or three weeks of vacation are permissible. Please note that the purpose of Penfield, Teece, and DRF Awards is to support graduate students while they are working on their dissertations. Thus, to be eligible a student must have an approved dissertation proposal prior to nomination. All awards will be made on the basis of academic excellence and the merit of the dissertation project, but we will use as one indicator of excellence the ability of candidates to progress through their Ph.D. programs in timely fashion, with due regard for unusual programs of study that might require a longer period of preparation or research. In calculating the student’s time at Penn, we will adjust for transfer credits and leaves of absence.

A completed application must include:

(1) An up-to-date unofficial Penn transcript, which should include the status of the preliminary examination, foreign language requirement, etc.

(2) Two current letters of recommendation. (Please ask your recommenders to send these as email attachments directly to the Grad Chair.)

(3) A list of publications and conference papers, if any. (You may enclose reprints if they are not bulky.)

(4) The tentative title of the dissertation, the name of the dissertation supervisor, and a concise “Dissertation Proposal” of no more than five pages, written for a scholar outside of the major field of study.

(5) A statement from the nominee discussing his or her specific plans for the fellowship period.

(6) If funds for travel and other research expenses are requested, an itemized budget.

Penfield, Teece, and SAS Dissertation Research Fellowships (DRF) Recipients


Lauren Bakst (recipient)
Jonathan Dick (recipient)


Jacob Myers (recipient)
Noa Nikolsky (recipient)
Nat Rivkin (recipient)


Matthew Aiello (recipient)
Matty Hemming (recipient)
Noa Nikolsky (recipient)


Dahlia Menghui Li (recipient)
Jane Robbins Mize (recipient)


J. Felix Gallion (recipient)
Ava L.J. Kim (recipient)
A.V. Aylin Malcolm (recipient)
Nico Millman (recipient)
Kiana Murphy (recipient)


Davy Knittle (recipient)
Rovel Sequeira (recipient)


Tajah Ebram (recipient)
Sam Waterman (recipient)


Evelyn Soto (recipient)
Hao Jun Tam (Howie) (recipient)


Melanie R. Hill (recipient)
Clare Mullaney (recipient)
Sara Sligar (recipient)


Chris Jimenez (recipient)
Dianne Mitchell (recipient)