Graduate Awards

Department Awards

Jessica L. Roy Memorial Award

This award honors the work and memory of Jessica L. Roy, who was a graduate student in the Sociology department at UC Santa Cruz. Jessica Roy earned an M.A. in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz in June 2004. Two months later, while engaged in her dissertation fieldwork in Kenya, she was killed in a vehicular accident near Nairobi. Her research in rural Africa was designed to illuminate the problem of access to safe water resources and the influence of gender relations on this access. Her approach was interdisciplinary, including environmental, feminist, and sociological perspectives. After Jessica’s death, her friends and family created the Jessica Roy Memorial Award, with the goal of supporting the kind of research in which she was engaged and continuing her legacy of involvement and commitment to social justice. According to the award terms, graduate students in any UC Santa Cruz department may apply. Preference will be given to applicants with a demonstrated interest in or pursuing studies focusing on issues of equity and poverty in international development, especially in relation to women and the environment. The Award is based on academic merit. It is intended to provide a stipend to support fieldwork travel and research.

Please email the Sociology Graduate Program Coordinator at if you have any questions.


  • Graduate student at UCSC
  • Demonstrated interest in or pursuing studies focusing on issues of equity and poverty in international development, especially in relation to women and the environment
  • Strong academic record
  • Fieldwork travel and research

Award Amount
$1,300 total available for award
Depending on the applicant pool, there will be up to two awardees

Application Instructions

Submit the following materials to Graduate Coordinator at by the deadline:

A.    Application form

B.    Project statement

  • Please provide a clear and coherent description of the goals and methods of your research project.  Your statement should also demonstrate your interest in, and/or how you will be, exploring questions about poverty, environment and international development, especially in relation to women. Please also enumerate your academic and personal goals (both short-term and long-term). This statement should be no more than 1,500 words. Please include your name on each page and use a 12-point font, and 1.5- or double-space format.

C.    Project budget

  • Submit as a separate document, a brief budget outlining the expenses to be supported by the award, which is intended to provide stipends to support fieldwork travel and research. This section should be no more than one page. Please include your name.

D.    Copy of unofficial UCSC transcripts

Previous recipients

2022: Elena Losada, Sociology
          Sanya Grace Cowal, Environmental Studies
2021: Ankit Sharma, Sociology
          Lucia Vitale, Politics
2020: Mette Frederiksen, Politics
2019: Ka-eul Yoo, Literature
          Erick Msumanje, Film and Digital Media
2018: Hallie Kampman, Environmental Studies
          Yvonne Sherwood, Sociology         
          Rachel Voss, Environmental Studies
2016: Isabelle Carbonell, Digital Film & Media
          Shunnan Chiang, Sociology
2015: Jenny Lovell, Environmental Studies
2014: Costanza Rampini, Environmental Studies
2013: Anjali Dutt, Psychology
2012: Chris Butler, Sociology
2011: Tiffany Wise-West, Environmental Studies
2010: Roseann Cohen, Environmental Studies
2009: Ariana Kalinic, Sociology
2008: Nichole Zlatunich, Sociology 

Sociology of Race, Class and Gender Award

The Sociology of Race, Class and Gender Graduate Award is a merit-based award for dissertation research that contributes to social science and public understanding on race, class and gender within the United States (and may also include one or more additional nations) that relates to, but is not limited to, health, education, language, environment, work, culture, and the economy. Eligibility is limited to UCSC sociology graduate students who have advanced to candidacy.

Previous recipients

2022: Roxanna Villalobos; Uriel Serrano.

2021: Michelle Parra for her Ph.D. dissertation prospectus: "Examining (Upwardly) Mobile Latinas’ Relationship to Heteronormativity."

2020: Nadia Roche for her Ph.D. dissertation:"Unruly Labia: Female Cosmetic Surgery and the Production of Normality."

2017: Claudia Lopez for her Ph.D. dissertation:"The Life-Cycle of Forced Migration: The Lives and Politics of Internally Displaced Peasants in Medellin, Colombia."

2012: Susy Zepeda for her Ph.D dissertation prospectus plus chapter: "Gloria Anzaldua: Altars, Archives, and Opening up the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands."

Fanny Carruthers Sociology Scholarship

Anne Jane "Fanny" Carruthers Howard died on February 15, 1972. She left a portion of her estate in a trust. Her bequest designated that her trust be used to fund scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students attending the University of California at Santa Cruz. Held up in the courts for many years, the trust was finally terminated and the balance was distributed as an outright gift to UC Santa Cruz to be administered pursuant to the donor's request. Beginning in 2005, the Fanny Carruthers Sociology Scholarship Fund will be used to fund the Fanny Carruthers Award in Sociology. One or more awards will be made annually, based on financial need and academic merit, to female undergraduate or graduate students of UC Santa Cruz who are graduates of Santa Clara County high schools and who are majoring in any concentration or track within sociology.

Previous recipients:

2009: Claudia Lopez

Campus Awards

Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas Mini-Grants 

The Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas (Huerta Center) (formerly known as the CLRC) awards research grants to graduate students (of any field) proposing to conduct research in the areas of interest to the Huerta Center including Chicanx, Latinx, and Latin American, migration, cross-border/hemispheric, and human rights studies. Funds are available for domestic and international travel for the purpose of archival  research and data collection and for research supplies and services. The requirements consist of: a) providing the Huerta Center with a copy of each proposal or publication of student's research; b) providing the Huerta Center with a brief narrative and financial report of  student's research; and c) giving the Huerta Center permission to acknowledge student's research in proposals and conferences. Also grantees may be asked to present their research findings as part of the Huerta Center Colloquium Series.

Lionel Cantú Memorial Award 

The Lionel Cantú Memorial Award was established to honor the life and scholarship of Professor Lionel Cantú, a Sociology Professor, who died unexpectedly on May 26, 2002.

Graduate students in any department who have demonstrated an interest in one or more of the areas in which Professor Lionel Cantú focused his work may apply. These areas include: immigration studies, transnational/cross-border studies, Latino/Latina sociology, gender and sexuality, and gay men and masculinity. The award winner(s) are selected by representatives from the Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas (Huerta Center), the Sociology Department, and the Latin American and Latino Studies Department. The fund is administered by the Huerta Center which announces the call for papers in spring quarter. To apply, submit three copies of a paper (research paper, field statement, or course paper are acceptable) with a cover letter that includes a brief statement on how you were influenced by Professor Cantú’s work.

Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 

The Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship encourages doctorate recipients whose research, teaching, and service contribute to diversity to pursue academic careers. The University of California awards approximately 15 postdoctoral fellowships annually in all fields for research conducted under faculty sponsorship on any one of the University of California's ten campuses. The award provides a salary (depending on the field and level of experience), as well as other health benefits, and an allowance for research and personal development expenses. Applicants should expect to have received their degree by June 30 of the year for which they’re applying. Positions are for one year usually beginning July 1, but may be approved for an additional year based upon research productivity. The primary purpose of the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is to provide fellows with time to focus on research and publishing activities that will enhance their prospects for appointment as a UC faculty member. The Program does not approve teaching responsibilities that will interfere with the time fellows need to devote to their research.

Chancellor’s and President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship

The Graduate Division issues the Call for Applications for both the Chancellor’s and President’s Dissertation-Year Fellowships (DYF). This call has typically been issued in the Spring quarter. The Department may nominate two students – one student for each award. The GEC decides departmental nominees from those who apply for consideration.

This is a competitive campus-wide award process. The Call usually states that at least four fellowships will be awarded in each category, however, there are usually more awarded. Both types of fellowship provide an annual stipend plus payment of full annual tuition. A nominee must be within one year of degree completion – that is, in the position of finishing by the end of the following spring quarter. Those in normative time – who will complete the Ph.D. by the end of their seventh year or earlier – are often in the best position to be nominated by the Department and selected as a finalist, but this is not an absolute requirement.

Both fellowships are awarded based on academic achievement of the nominee. Eligibility for the President’s fellowship also takes into account the extent the applicant contributes to the diversity of the pool of doctoral degree recipients. While Cota-Robles students were originally chosen in part because they contributed to diversity, there are only a limited number of those fellowships available for incoming students, and there may be other students in the program who contribute to diversity, and who would therefore be eligible to apply for the President’s DYF. Applicants self-select the award they wish to apply for and may apply for one category only. To apply for the nomination, the student submits: a letter of application describing the current status of dissertation research, with a detailed timetable for completion; and a letter of support from the faculty advisor evaluating the student’s academic work.

SAMPLE APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE. Some students have given permission that their applications may be used as examples. Students interested in applying for a DYF are welcome to view these in the graduate advisor’s office. There is no judgment about the quality of the application, nor indication about which received a nomination or award, or why. But these examples will likely provide an idea about how to structure an application. Supplemental materials – the advisor letter and department nomination – are not available for viewing. Additionally, you should not assume that what you’re viewing is the entire package submitted by the  applicant; some students choose to include various supplementary materials. There is wide variability in these applications. However, the key is a realistic timetable that contributes to completion within one year and a compelling description of the project.

Dissertation Quarter Sabbatical Fellowship

These awards enable PhD dissertation candidates to make swifter progress on their dissertation research and writing by offering fellowship support and fee remission without teaching obligations. This fellowship carries a stipend equal to the current TA salary and includes the same fee remission as a TAship. As for all fellowship eligibility, students must be fully enrolled in the sabbatical quarter. These fellowships are meant to help enrolled students make academic progress. 

To be eligible for the award, a student must: 

  1. Have advanced to candidacy by the time of application.* 
  2. Be within normative time and in good academic standing. 
  3. Be enrolled for at least five credits of graduate-level coursework. Students are ineligible to apply while on leave.
  4. Have served as a Teaching Assistant, Associate-In, or Teaching Fellow for six of the past nine quarters, and not including any summer TAships. 
  5. Have not received a Graduate Division sabbatical award previously. 
  6. Receive the endorsements of her or his faculty advisor and the departmental Graduate Representative.

*Students who QE by the end of winter quarter, and who have formed their dissertation committee, will be eligible to apply since they will advance at the beginning of spring quarter.

In spring quarter, the Graduate Division sends out the Dissertation Quarter Sabbatical Call, and departments forward it to their students. Students fill out a short application, and the GEC submits the names of its top three applicants in ranked order to the Graduate Division. Six quarters of TAships makes you eligible for the fellowship, but it does not guarantee that you will receive a fellowship. There are a limited number of these fellowships available campus-wide, and the final award decisions rest with the Graduate Division.

The student must specify the quarter they wish to use the sabbatical, and a limited number of sabbaticals are awarded campus-wide for any quarter. With approval of the department and the Graduate Division, the student may sometimes defer the award to a later academic quarter, but it cannot be delayed into a later academic year. The request to move a sabbatical should be arranged prior to accepting TAships.