Scholarships, Awards, and Prizes

Each academic year, the Department of History awards over $40,000 to our undergraduates in order to fund student research projects, recognize superior writing achievements, and acknowledge outstanding students. History students at any stage of their academic career are eligible and should strongly consider applying. Writing prizes, scholarships, and research fellowships look great on resumes and can even lead to new opportunities. Applications for all the awards offered by the Department of History open at the beginning of each spring semester. Awardees are announced during the last several weeks of the spring semester.

For the 2023-2024 awarding cycle, applications will open on February 1, 2024 and will close on March 20, 2024.

Applications for History Department prizes, scholarships, and research fellowships should be submitted online, via the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH). If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact

Writing Prizes

Only one application is required for most History writing prizes.  If you submit a paper through WiSH using the Department of History Undergraduate Writing Prize Application, it will be considered for all of the prizes for which it is eligible. Please note that one other History writing prize, the $1,000 Farha Tahir Award in African History, requires a separate WiSH application for consideration.

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Alfred Erich Senn Prize | for best historical essay or thesis on Baltic and/or Russian history

The Department of History is pleased to offer a $1,000 writing prize named in honor of Professor Emeritus Alfred Erich Senn. This prize will be awarded for the best undergraduate historical essay (or thesis) written on Baltic and/or Russian history. The winning student must be a declared History major.

Recipients of the Alfred Erich Senn Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Brian Deisher,The Hyperborean Dream” (Instructor: Patrick Iber)
  • 2022-2023 – Qingze “Karlsson” Zhao, “The Fate of Leninism in the Soviet Union and China” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2021-2022 – Isabella Prenger, “They Will Know How to Die: The Decembrists, Western Liberalism, and Russian Tradition” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan)
  • 2020-2021 – Alyson Long, “Diaspora Politics: How the Lithuanian-American Community Sought American Support for an Independent Lithuania 1890-1950” (Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia)
  • 2019-2020 – Victoria Paige, “The Rouged Army: Soviet Women Soldiers’ Counter Narratives of the Great Patriotic War” (Instructor: Francine Hirsch)

American Indian History Prize

($500) for the best undergraduate paper on American Indian history. Both History and non-History majors/certificate students are eligible to receive the prize.

Recipients of the American Indian History Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Claudia Liverseed, Teaching Domesticity: An Analysis of Indigenous Assimilation Policies, Practices, and Resistance, 1880s to the early 1900s” (Instructor: Paige Glotzer)
  • 2022-2023 – Madeline McGlone, “’The names had best be short’: Charles E. Brown’s Mounds and ‘Playing Indian’ at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum” (Instructor: Troy Reeves)
  • 2021-2022 – Zoë Klett, “Becoming A Commodity: A History of Madeline Island” (Instructor: Matt Villeneuve)

Andrew Bergman Prize | for best undergraduate paper written for a history course

(One $1250 award and up to two $750 awards) for the best undergraduate paper written for a history course, based on quality of writing and research, with special attention to clarity and accessibility of writing. This does not need to be a term paper.

Recipients of the Andrew Bergman Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – KJ LeFave,Politics of Citation – The Indispensability and Attempted Erasure of Ojibwe Women in the Works of Schoolcraft, Johnston, and Cadotte” (Instructor: Matt Villeneuve); David Meister,A New Relationship of Man to the Universe: The Manhattan Project and the Dawn of Artificial Intelligence (Instructor: Patrick Iber); Sara MulrooneyTelling an Indescribable Story: Memorializing Genocide in Cambodia” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch)
  • 2022-2023 – Axell Boomer, “Mascot, Maiden, Memory: How Rockton, Illinois uses Hononegah to Rewrite the History of its Land” (Instructor: Matt Villeneuve); Samantha Hertel, “Forced Landing: The Failed Militarization of the WASP Program” (Instructor: Mary Lou Roberts); Kelley Schlise, “’All Nature Seemed Happy’: A History of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal” (Instructor: Matt Villeneuve)
  • 2021-2022 – Isabelle Cook, “Survival: Magda Herzberger’s Holocaust Story” (Instructor: Amos Bitzan); Cole Roecker, “From Roots to Ruralism: The History of Environmentalism in the French Front National, 1980-2021” (Instructor: Laird Boswell); Frederic Hofmann, “Synthetic States: Social Science Theory and Poll Data in the Simulmatics Election Model” (Instructor: Devin Kennedy)
  • 2020-2021 – Aaron Kinard, “Race Relations at the Plate: The Marichal-Roseboro Fight and Racial Politics in the 1960s” (Instructor: David McDonald); Rachel Rosen, “Hyper-Militaristic and Racial Ideologies: Sculptors of War Crimes” (Instructor: Louise Young); Rachel Lynch, “Failures of Phoenix: The Ineffective Nature of Counterinsurgency in Vietnam” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2019-2020 – Marissa Miller, “The Tudor Period and the Gaelic Learned Class: Resisting Anglicization and Identity Building in Gaelic and Gaelicized Connacht and Ulster between 1560-1603” (Instructor: Karl Shoemaker); Nick O’Connell, “Modern Questions and Historical Answers: An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Construe of the Reconstruction Amendments and States-Federal Power Balance between 1870 and 1900” (Instructor: Patrick Iber); Alyson Long, “The Blazis-Kublius Family: From Lithuanian Village to Illinois City” (Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia)
  • 2018-2019 – Daniel Ahrendt, “Purchasers of Their Own ‘Kith and Kin:’ Southwest Borderlands Captive-Taking and the Limits of U.S. Authority in New Mexico, 1849-1852” (Instructor: Susan Johnson); Hilary Miller, “When Terror Took Out the Count: Evaluating Israel’s Response to the Assassination of U.N. Mediator FolkeBernadotte” (Instructor: Laird Boswell)
  • 2017-2018 – Emma Wathen, “In Sickness and in Health? Wisconsin’s Eugenic Marriage Law, 1913-1981” (Instructor: Karl Shoemaker); Thomas Rademacher, “Wisconsin Sand and Gravel Mining: From 19th Century Gravel Pits to 21st Century Frac Sand Mines” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2016-17 – Audrey Piehl, “The Wisconsin Spirit, How the eugenics and anti-vice movements worked in tandem to police the female body (1888-1921)”   ($1250) (Instructor:  James Sweet); Kelli Wozniakowski, “A History of the Original Green Dragon Tavern”  ($750) (Instructor:  James Sweet)
  • 2015-16 – Alexander Brauer, “Life on the margin: Jews and African-Americans at the University of Wisconsin (1920-1970)” ($1250) (Instructor: Tony Michels); Cody Dunn, “When My Brother Fell: Gay Men, Manhood, and HIV/AIDS” ($750) (Instructor: Susan Johnson)
  • 2014-15 – Curt Strek, “Bowling Lanes and Assembly Lines: Bowling and Economic Development in the 21st Century Milwaukee” ($1000) (Instructor: Sean Dinces); John Wendt, “The Second Way of War: Genteel Honor, Martial Glory, and Frustration in the Antebellum Officer Corps along the American Frontier” ($1000) (Instructor: John Hall)
  • 2013-14 – Colin Higgins, ($1250) “Dilemmas of Global Health: Scientific Knowledge and the Politics of Malaria Control in East Africa (1918-1950)” (Instructor: Neil Kodesh) ; Isaac Lee ($750) “America’s Napoleon: The Rhetorical Construction of Napoleon Bonaparte” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan)
  • 2012-13 – Paul Abu-Taleb, ($1250) “The Decisive Elements: The Impact of American Military Strategy on the Civilian Populace of Vietnam” (Instructor: John Hall); Haley Kerkhoff, ($750) “The Perfect Mold: Tupperware Home Parties and the Strategic Recruitment and Training of its ‘Ideal’ Dealers” (Instructor: Nan Enstad)
  • 2011-12 – Aubrey Lauersdorf, ($1250) “’For we are the owners of this land, and it is ours’: Traditional Female Influence in the Great League of Peace and Power and Changing Role of Iroquois Women in the Era of Colonization” (Instructor: John Hall); Alexis Brown, ($750) “Rhetoric and Representation in the 1895 Atlanta Cotton Exposition and Paris Exhibition of 1900” (Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen)
  • 2010-11 – Konrad Krebs, ($1250) “MP3 Madness and Suing for Sound” (Instructor: Nan Enstad); Paul Abu-Taleb, ($750) “Children of Doctrine: Counterinsurgency and Noncombatant Violence in Vietnam”(Instructor: John Hall)
  • 2009-10 – Lindsay Miller ($1250), “Contributions of the Postal Service to Victory in the American Revolution” (Instructor: Jean Lee) – Paul Axel ($750), “The Evil You Know: How China’s Nuclear Ambitions Changed the Cold War and the World” (Instructor: Jeremi Suri)
  • 2008-09 – Angela Manderfeld ($1250), “Working in Wisconsin: The Postal Worker Experience, 1940s-1980s” (Instructor: Camille Guérin-Gonzales); Danielle Dorr-Niro ($750), “Use It Up-Wear It Out-Make It Do! The Role of Rationing in Promoting the American Food Industry During WWII” (Instructor: Nan Enstad)
  • 2007-08 – Theodora Narus ($1000), “Urban Renewal in Madison, WI: The Uprooting & Disenchantment of the Poor from 1950 to 1979” (Instructor: John Sharpless); Marissa Floyd ($500), “The Compatibility of Christianity & Socialism in the Context of the Kress Controversy of 1905 in Milwaukee” (Instructor: Tony Michels)
  • 2006-07 – Margaret Hilliard ($1000), “Autobiography, History, and the Problem of Memory” – (Instructor: Rudy Koshar); Kurt Kastenholz ($500), “Toward Reunification: How the Liberal Democratic Party Used the Japanese Supreme Court to Break Down the Separation of Religion and State”- (Instructor: Sarah Thal)
  • 2005-06 – David van der Linden ($1,000), “The Bitter and the Sweet: Debating Coffee and Imagining Empire in Great Britain, 1650-1700.” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan); Justin King ($500), “The Challenge to Partnership: Economics, Domestic Politics, and Evolving Alliance Relationships, 1971-74.”(Instructor: Jeremi Suri)

Baensch Prize | for best essay on Wisconsin history

($500) for best essay on Wisconsin history. Projects considered need not deal with Wisconsin exclusively, but the subject must clearly center on the history of the territory and/or state.

Recipients of the Baensch Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Ethan Isselmann, “The Letters of World War I” (Instructor: Leslie Bellais)
  • 2022-2023 – Evie Sellers, “The Rise and Fall of Industry in Downtown Milwaukee: A Landscape History” (Instructor: Matt Villeneuve)
  • 2021-2022 – Kelley Schlise, “A Baroness Among Milwaukee’s Beer Barons: The Story of Lisette Schandein” (Instructor: James Sweet)
  • 2020-2021 – Max Herteen, “The Braves, The Brewers, and the Burbs: The History of Integration in Milwaukee” (Instructor: David McDonald)
  • 2019-2020 – Ania Kotecki, “Voice is Power: Resisting Sexual Assault at UW-Madison” (Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz)
  • 2018-2019 – Daniel Ahrendt, “Nakoma, Wisconsin: Remembering Indians and ‘Playing Indian’ on the Outskirts of Madison” (Instructor: Bill Cronon)
  • 2017-2018 – Thomas Rademacher, “Wisconsin Sand and Gravel Mining: From 19th Century Gravel Pits to 21st Century Frac Sand Mines” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2016-17 – Matthew Hansen, “The Beast that Built a Town: The Impact of the Legend of Hodag and its Creator on Northern Wisconsin” (Instructor: John Hall)
  • 2015-16 – Mia Sato, “In Our Image: How We’ve Built Our Old Third Ward” (Instructor: Bill Cronon)
  • 2014-15 – Sam Jagodzinski, “The Only Constant is Change: A History of Richard Ira Bong Recreation Area”
  • 2013-14 – Emily Nelson, “Ginseng’s Wisconsin Roots: The Growth of an Industry”
  • 2012-13 – Colin Higgins, “From Forest to Field: Nature, the State, and the New Deal in Rural Wisconsin” (Instructor: Athan Biss)
  • 2011-12 – Kristen Schumacher, “We Have Just Begun to Fight: Radical Labor, Cold War Politics, and the 1952 United Electrical Workers Strike at Marathon Electric” (Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng)
  • 2010-11 – Jack Garigliano, “A Question of Authority: Class Consciousness and Scientific Expertise in Wisconsin Agriculture, 1848-1890” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2009-10 – Adam Breihan, “Triumphant Insurgency: Meyer Adelman and the Emergence of Wisconsin SWOC” (Instructor: William Jones)
  • 2008-09 – Mary Van Eerden, “The Right to Vote: Women’s Suffrage in Wisconsin, 1900-1919” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2007-08 – Ann Babe, “The Wisconsin Idea: Origins and Development, 1870-1920” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2006-07 – Anna-Lisa Dahlgren, “The Bennett Law: Hoard’s Fight for English Language Education” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2005-06 – Rebecca Wolfson, “The Lost City: From Pavement to Oak.” (Instructor: William Cronon)

Civil Resistance Writing Prize

The Civil Resistance Writing Prize will award two prizes of $500 each to the best papers written by an undergraduate History major or History certificate student on the history of nonviolent protest and/or civil resistance. Papers written in both History- and non-History courses are eligible and can be diverse in geographic and temporal breadth, but priority will be given to those that focus on the Global South. The winning papers will be published on the Nonviolence Project website.

Recipients of the Civil Resistance Writing Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Axell Boomer,Teaching History as an act of Nonviolent Protest: SNCC’s Freedom Schools and History Curriculum” (Instructor: Mou Banerjee); Natalie Suri,The Story of a Progressive City Plagued By School Segregation” (Instructor: Paige Glotzer)
  • 2022-2023 – Chloe Foor, “Deconstructing Folk Catholicism: Combating Catholic Hegemony during the Philippines’ Colonial Era” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy); Beatrice Windorski, “The Filipino Mafia: A Study of Filipino Solidarity in the United States Navy from the 1970s to the Present” (Instructor: John Hall)
  • 2021-2022 – Jackson Neal, “The Body’s Cartography: on Dance, Queerness, and White Hegemonic Masculinity” (Instructor: Christopher Walker); Emilie Springsteen, “The Underground Railroad: David Ruggles’s Fights Against the Institution of Slavery” (Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz)

Curti Prize | for best historical essay of term-paper size and scope

($200) for the best historical essay of term-paper size and scope, written by an undergraduate non-major.

Recipients of the Curti Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Sam Wood,The Port Mansfield Channel and its Effects on Padre Island, TX” (Instructor: Matt Villeneuve)
  • 2022-2023 – Isabella Cerda, “Radical Student Press at UW-Madison: An Analysis of the Black Voice From 1971-1973” (Instructor: Kathryn McGarr)
  • 2021-2022 – Mason Braasch, “The All American Girls’ Professional Baseball League and the Curated Image of Femininity” (Instructor: Kathryn McGarr)
  • 2020-2021 – Yizhe Shang, “Ritual Failure and Colliding Empires: Revisiting Macartney Embassy’s visit to China” (Instructor: Viren Murthy); Chase Mueller, “Air Power, Politics, and Peasant Armies: The US Bombing of Cambodia and its Outcomes” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2019-2020 – Arielle Mora Hurtado, “Menstrual Product Marketing Strategies of the Late Twentieth Century: An Analysis of Menstrual Product Advertisements Published in Seventeen Magazines from the 1970s to 2000s” (Instructor: Judith Houck)
  • 2018-2019 – Lauren Hartman, “Mankato, MN: Exploring My Hometown’s Evolving Connection to Minnesota’s Broader Transportation Network” (Instructor: Bill Cronon)
  • 2017-2018 – Elizabeth Somsen, “The Criticism, Subversion, and praise of Christian Values and Catholicism in More’s Utopia” (Instructor: Johann Sommerville)
  • 2016-17 – Story Sandy, “The Village of Shorewood” (Instructor: Bill Cronon)
  • 2015-16 – Sara King, “Shipmate or Shipwreck? An Analysis of Piratical
    Cooperation in the Late 17th to Early 18th Century Caribbean” (Instructor: Francisco Scarano)
  • 2014-15 – Sedate Kohler, “From Studying Botany to Studying Break-Making” (Instructor: Adam Nelson)
  • 2013-14 – Julia Jacobson, “Initiative or Co-opt: True Advocate or in the Right Place at the Right Time” (Instructor: Sana Aiyar)
  • 2012-13 – Kathryn Lundstorm, “Military Policy and Social Change: DADT and the Consequences of Conservative Timing” (Instructor: John Hall)
  • 2010-11 – Michael Felknor, “A Most Powerful Motive: Jews as an Economic Bloc in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth- Century Europe” (Instructor: David Sorkin)
  • 2009-10 – Molly McCreary, “The Anti-War Movement: A Coalition of Many” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2007-08 – Alec Luhn, “The Moon Hoax: Interpreting Falsehood in the Penny Press” (Journalism major) (Instructor: James Baughman)

David M. McDonald Writing Prize in Russian History and Sports History

The David M. McDonald Writing Prize in Russian History and Sports History awards $500 to the best undergraduate paper written on Russian History or Sports History, assessed by its merits and quality of research and writing, with particular attention to the accessibility of writing. There are no strictures on geographic or temporal breadth, though papers that focus on the histories of Imperial Russia will receive preference. History and non-History majors are eligible to receive this prize.

The prize is the namesake of Professor Emeritus David McDonald, a distinguished and influential member of our department whose years as an educator impacted the lives of many. Professor McDonald co-taught the popular capstone course on baseball and society since WWII with Commissioner Emeritus of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, for many years. A renowned scholar of Russia whose influence extends well beyond the confines of the Department and the discipline of History, this prize hopes to embody the spirit of Professor McDonald’s legacy—the reasons why we study the stories of the past.

Recipients of the David M. McDonald Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Jonah Altmann,The Prevalence and Handling of Domestic Violence in Major League Baseball” (Instructor: James Sweet)

Digital & Public History Prize

Up to two awards of $500 each for the presentation of historical findings in a format other than a scholarly paper, completed for a History or History of Science class at UW-Madison. Recipients must be declared History majors or History certificate students. Winning projects will be displayed on the Department of History website.

Recipients of the Digital & Public History Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Laura Hyde,Eugenics and the Wisconsin Idea” (Instructor: Dana Landress); Evie Sellers,Welcome to Greendale: A New Deal Community” (Instructor: Leslie Bellais)
  • 2022-2023 – Aliza Ramirez, “Make Italy Fertile Again: The Battle for Births Under Mussolini’s Italy” (Instructor: Giuliana Chamedes); Amaya Boman, “’Our freedom is a step towards your freedom’: Black internationalism and the anti-fascist movement in the United States during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939” (Instructor: Giuliana Chamedes)
  • 2021-2022 – Noah Brown, “Half-Hanged and Half-Freed: Manuel de Gerrit de Reus (The Character of Slavery in New Amsterdam, 1625-1664)” (Instructor: Justine Walden); Caeden Smith, “The History of Coins and Metallurgy in China” (Instructor: Anatoly Detwyler)

Farha Tahir Award in African History

The Farha Tahir Award in African History will support an outstanding undergraduate student studying African History. The $1,000 award may be used at the department’s discretion as a writing award, travel award or research award.

Recipients of the Farha Tahir Award in African History:

  • 2023-2024 – Amanda Grant,Lady Corynton Maternity Training School: An Exploration of the First Midwives” (Instructor: Neil Kodesh); Amelie Rosenhagen, “al-Hub & Liefde: A History of 20th-century Forbidden Love in Comparative Perspective” (Instructor: James Sweet)
  • 2022-2023 – Allison Elli, “American Medical Students and Clinical Rotations in Africa” (Instructor: Neil Kodesh); Sam McQueen, “The Matriarch of Islam: Exploring the Life of Hagar Through Religious Texts” (Instructor: Khaled Esseissah)
  • 2021-2022 – Reilly Coon, “Preaching Genocide: An Analysis of the Role of Catholic Priests and Politics in Rwanda” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch); Muhamed Gueye, “The African Diaspora” (Instructor: Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué)

Fred Harvey Harrington Prize | for best senior thesis by a History major

($500) for the best undergraduate thesis by a history major.

Recipients of the Fred Harvey Harrington Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Zhengzai “Charles” Pei, “‘World Drifters’: Institutional Reform, Illicit Enterprise, and Organized Crime in a Post-Socialist Factory Town, 1985 to the Present” (Instructor: Judd Kinzley)
  • 2022-2023 – Jasper Nelson, “From Badman to Revolutionary: The Transformation of the Stagolee Archetype of Resistance in African-American Politics and Culture, 1950-1980” (Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen)
  • 2021-2022 – Julia Derzay, “An Arsenal of Progressivism: How Familial Bonds Made and Broke the La Follette Dynasty (1924-1953)” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2020-2021 – Hayden Kolowrat, “Identity Formation within America’s Colonial Army, the Philippine Scouts” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2019-2020 – Thomas Powers, “Classified Computing: The Impact of World War Two on the Computer” (Instructor: Mary Louise Roberts)
  • 2018-2019 – Sebastian van Bastelaer, “’Paroisses Indociles’ (Unruly Parishes): A Reconsideration of Habitant Loyalties and the Historiography of the American Revolution in Canada, 1774-1776” (Instructor: Gloria Whiting)
  • 2017-2018 – Emma Wathen, “In Sickness and in Health? Wisconsin’s Eugenic Marriage Law, 1913-1981” (Instructor: Karl Shoemaker)
  • 2016-17 – Samuel Gee, “Scientific Salvation: Mystical Experience and the American Psychology of Religion, 1880-1930” (Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen)
  • 2015-16 – John Rizner, “Supermen on the Silver Screen: Nietzschean thought and postwar memory in Stanley Kubrick’s unmade ‘Napoleon’” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan)
  • 2014-15 – Megan Ness, “Children at Work: Childhood Labor in the Ancient Greek World”(Instructor: Claire Taylor)
  • 2012-13 – Anna Chotzen, “Beyond Bounds: Morocco’s Rif War and the Limits of International Law” (Instructor: Al McCoy)
  • 2011-12 – Susan Burns, “Reflecting Tragedy: A Comparison of Public Sites of Memory in Vietnam and the United States” (Instructor: Al McCoy)
  • 2010-11 – Samuel Finesurrey, “Rebuilding American Compliance: The Legacy of American Dominance that Enabled US Support of the 2002 Coup in Venezuela” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy); Jeffrey Eversman, (Honorable Mention), “Germany’s ‘Political Power Faction’: Tirpitz, the Second Navy Law, and the Genesis of an Anti-British Fleet” (Instructor: Jeremi Suri)
  • 2009-10 – Madeleine Dungy, “French Farm Unions and the Political and Ideological Foundations of the Common Agricultural Policy” (Instructor: Laird Boswell)
  • 2008-09 – William Thomson, “The Making of the Writ of Liberty: Habeas Corpus 1200-1628” (Instructor: Johann Sommerville); Staci Duros (Honorable Mention), “Unnatural Parents and Parent-Child Relationships in Ancient Rome” (Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt)
  • 2007-08 – Jesse Zarley, “Settling the Mapuche Question: Concessionary Colonization in Chile, 1900-1912” (Instructor: Florencia Mallon); Honorable Mention for Harrington Prize – Carolyn Arena, “The Hat Act of 1732: The Emergence of American Manufacture in Atlantic Markets” (Instructor: John Sharpless); Justin King, “Partners and Rivals: Political Economy and American Diplomacy, 1969-1974” (Instructor: Jeremi Suri); Alex Leites, “Myth and Restoration in the Axial Age” (Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt)
  • 2006-07 – Isabel Esterman, “Ativisms of Authoritarian Rule: The Persistence of Human Rights Abuse in the Post-Marcos Philippines.” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy); Honorable Mention: Patrick Kelly, “Of Pawns and Players: U.S.-British Politics vis-à-vis Jewish Refugees, 1945-1948.” – (Instructor: Thomas Archdeacon)
  • 2005-06 – Daniel Deacon, “The Art of Law. Artificial Reason and Equity in Seventeenth Century English Legal Theory.” (Instructor: Johann Sommerville); Honorable Mention: Carolyn Averill, “From Remembrance to Conscience: A Study of the Goals of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum” (Instructor: Rudy Koshar); Jason Rozumalski, “Vegetable Politick: Enlightenment and English Rural Life” (Instructor: Jean Lee)

John DeNovo Prize | for papers dealing with the history of United States Foreign Relations

Thanks to funding from alumni, the Department offers two $500 writing prizes for the best papers dealing primarily with the history of United States foreign relations. Although the prizes are intended chiefly for undergraduates, we are open to submissions from both undergraduate and graduate students. At least one of these prizes will be awarded for an undergraduate paper. Professor John A. DeNovo served as Professor of History at UW from 1964 to 1981. His most prominent publication is American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 1900-1939. He participated actively in the formation of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and was one of the first American scholars to specialize in United States relations with the Middle East.

Recipients of the John DeNovo Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Michael Hepfinger, The Gendered Struggle for Racial Dominance Between American Troops in World War II Britain” (Instructor: Mary Lou Roberts); Lihao Yuan, “The Foundation of Becoming a Transpacific Empire: America’s Open-Door Policy in Case of Paul Reinsch from 1899-1919” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)

LGBTQ+ History Prize

($500) for the best undergraduate paper on LGBTQ+ history. Both History and non-History majors/certificate students are eligible to receive the prize.

Recipients of the LGBTQ+ History Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Chloe Foor,Queer Liberation in Anarchist Latin America” (Instructor: Jorell Meléndez-Badillo)
  • 2022-2023 – Maddy Hu, “A Bitten Peach: An Examination of Homosexuality in Qing China” (Instructor: Joe Dennis)
  • 2021-2022 – Nadya Hayasi, “Nowhere to Hide: Sharia Law and its’ Dangerous Effects on Aceh’s LGBTQ+ Community” (Instructor: Tyler Lehrer)

Paul Glad Prize | for history papers that use film or other visual media as primary sources

Thanks to generous funding from an alumnus, the Department of History is pleased to offer two $500 writing prizes for History papers that use popular films or other visual media as primary sources. We are open to submissions from both undergraduate and graduate students. At least one of these prizes will be awarded for an undergraduate paper. Professor Paul W. Glad served as Professor of History at UW from 1966 to 1977. Among his publications is The Trumpet Soundeth: William Jennings Bryan and His Democracy, 1896-1912.

Recipients of the Paul Glad Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Anna Thompson,The Most Important of the Arts: Andrei Tarkovsky and the Soviet Film Industry, from the Thaw to Perestroika” (Instructor: Francine Hirsch)
  • 2022-2023 – Samantha Muenchow, “Weimar’s ‘New Woman’ in Film” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch); Anna Thompson, “Apocalypse Then and Now: Evolution of the War Film, 1949-1979” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2021-2022 – Em Mager, “A Private War: Historical Accuracy and Impacts” (Instructor: Lee Wandel); Tyler Hengst, “Michiel de Ruyter and the Late Dutch Golden Age” (Instructor: Lee Wandel)
  • 2020-2021 – Reem Salah, “Manipulating The Patriarchy: Egyptian Women in the 2011 Revolution” (Instructor: Daniel Stolz)
  • 2019-2020 – Isabella Prenger, “The Un-American West: High Noon, HUAC, and Hollywood in the Cold War” (Instructor: Francine Hirsch)
  • 2018-2019 – Angela Peterson, “Memory: An Exploration of the Legacy of the California Gold Rush” (Instructor: Susan Johnson)

Paul J. Schrag Prize | for best essay in German-Jewish history

($200) for best undergraduate essay in German-Jewish history.

Recipients of the Paul J. Schrag Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Julia Donaldson,Harnessing Emotion to Elicit Change: Artistic Contributions to the Weimar-Era Movement to Decriminalize Abortion” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch)
  • 2022-2023 – Lucille Steffes, “’Perseverance and continue working’: How Inaction and a Lack of Support from the Weimar Republic led to the Creation of Modern Physics” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch)
  • 2021-2022 – Anastasia Bruss, “Defining the Genre: Pro-Jewish Rights Literature on the Eve of the French Revolution” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan)
  • 2020-2021 – Maggie Jay, “Looking Inside the Gray Zone: Hannah Arendt, Primo Levi, and the Moral Complexities of Holocaust Perpetration and Victimhood” (Instructor: Francine Hirsch)
  • 2018-2019 – Samuel Parmentier, “The Partisans: Differences Amongst Jewish and Soviet Otriadsin the Forests of Belarus” (Instructor: Monica Ledesma)
  • 2015-2016 – Joseph Camp, “Despite Hitler: The Political Radicalization of the Weimar Civil Service, 1919 – 1933: (Instructor: Rudy Koshar)
  • 2014-2015 – Shao Deng, “Heideggerian Philosophy and Nazism: From the
    Weimar Republic to the Third Reich” (Instructor: Rudy Koshar)
  • 2012-2013 – Dylan Osborne, “Never forget: Eyewitness Testimony from Auschwitz” (Instructor: Rudy Koshar)
  • 2010-2011 – Ede Bundity, “From Horthy to Rákosi: Political Anti-Semitism in Hungary under Fascism and Communism” (Instructor: David Sorkin)
  • 2009-2010 – Hillary Smith, “Unsung Heroes” (Instructor: Laura Weinstein)
  • 2006-2007 – Patrick Kelly, “The Politics of Tragedy: Anglo-American Foreign Policy and the Jewish Refugee, 1945-1948 – (Instructor: Laird Boswell & Thomas Archdeacon)

William A. Brown Writing Prize for Black History

The William A. Brown Writing Prize for Black History will award $500 to the best undergraduate paper written on Black history, based on the merits and quality of research and writing, with special attention to accessibility of writing. Papers can be diverse in geographic breadth, but the stories told must center on the history of Black lives. To engage students from other disciplines, both History and non-History majors are eligible to receive the prize.

This prize is named after the late Professor Emeritus William A. Brown, the first Black faculty member in our Department of History. A noted scholar of African and Islamic history, a committed advocate of Black Studies, and a trailblazer in his own right for Black Americans on campus, Professor Brown’s legacy embodies the very spirit of this writing prize.

Recipients of the William A. Brown Writing Prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Celeste Deale,‘God was too high and the King too far’: Religious Differences and the Emergence of Intellectual Colonialism on Saint-Domingue” (Instructor: Jorell Meléndez-Badillo)
  • 2022-2023 – Grace Feller, “Cuba: The Antithesis of Haiti, An Analysis of the Cuban Revolution Through the Lens of Haiti” (Instructor: Jorell Meléndez-Badillo)
  • 2021-2022 – Rachel Lynch, “Impacting Inaction: The Role of US Intelligence in Rwanda” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch)
  • 2020-2021 – Claire Embil, “Religion: The Loom Upon Which Etheridge Knight’s Poems Are Woven” (Instructor: Susan Ridgely)

William F. Allen Prize | for historical essays of term-paper size and scope

($200) for historical essays of term-paper size and scope, no more than one of which may be by an undergraduate non-major.

Recipients of the William F. Allen prize:

  • 2023-2024 – Isabella Collazo, The Resilient Taíno: Resistance, Survival, and Cultural Persistence in the Caribbean” (Instructor: Jorell Meléndez-Badillo); Zoë Klett,Radio Silence: the RTLM and the United States” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch); Houye Lyu, The Reshaping of Slavery in 19th Century Xinjiang” (Instructor: Geoffrey Durham)
  • 2022-2023 – Dana Brandt, “Beyond ‘Closing Ranks’: A Nuanced look at the Black Press’s Editorial Coverage During World War I in the Pages of the Chicago Defender” (Instructor: Kathryn McGarr); Andrea Corro, “More Than Meets the Eye: Panama Canal Zone Schools and the Cold War” (Instructor: Walter Stern); Matthew Masonius, “’Down the Drain’: U.S. Navigation of the Chinese Civil War during WWII” (Instructor: Judd Kinzley)
  • 2021-2022 – Chloe Foor, “The Alleged Atheism of Christopher Marlowe” (Instructor: Eric Carlsson); Haley Drost, “The Fabrication of a Traitor: Hu Nim’s Forced Confessions from S-2” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch); Madeline Brauer, “’Blend in Your Character the Patriot and the Christian’: An Examination of Anglican Rhetoric During the Napoleonic Era” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan)
  • 2020-2021 – Lillian Kobs, “Passion, Potions, Prostitution, and Power: Love Magic in Early Modern Italy” (Instructor: Alice Coulter Main); Wenzhe Teng, “Bloodline Theory and the Privilege of Old Red Guards” (Instructor: Judd Kinzley); Jane Genske, “The Delayed Recognition of Sexual Violence as a Crime Against Humanity” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch)
  • 2019-2020 – Rachel Rosen, “Cold War School Textbooks & Curriculums and Children’s Literature” (Instructor: Francine Hirsch); Mark Salamone, “Dutch Mennonite Poor Relief: Genuine Expression or Pressure Valve?” (Instructor: Eric Carlsson); Erica Calvache, “Diet, Desire, and Deadly Consequences: Examining Cuisine as Tool of Colonialism in Early Modern Peru” (Instructor: Pernille Ipsen)
  • 2018-2019 – Griffin Wray, “Prohibition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: A Campus Largely Unaffected” (Instructor: James Sweet); Wen Yi Chan, “Time is a Mirror: Changing Pictures of the Cultural Revolution in Memoirs of Overseas Female Writers” (Instructor: Judd Kinzley); Ana Demendoza-Thomas, “JFK’s Impact on the Civil Rights Movement Through the Lens of the Black Press: the Chicago Defender and the Atlanta Daily World” (Instructor: Kathryn McGarr)
  • 2017-2018 – Hilary Miller, “Raphael Lenkin’s Genesis of ‘Genocide:’ Giving Credence to the Jurist’s Jewish Life and Legacy” (Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia); Sebastian van Bastelaer, “Remember Jenny McCrea: ‘Martyrdom in the American Revolution and National Memory, 1777-1812” (Instructor: John Sharpless)
  • 2016-17 –Salvatore Divita, “A walk in the park: A story of the struggles and strength of immigrants in Swede Hollow” (Instructor:  Bill Cronon); Isaac Mehlhaff, “The Short-Term Success of New Deal Work Relief Programs: An Evaluation of Private Sector Employment, 1929-1940” (Instructor:  John Sharpless); Anna Piecuch, “The Fascination with the Criminal Underworld: The Press and the Gangster in the 1920s” (Instructor:  Daniel Ussishkin)
  • 2015-16 – Calla Buttke, “A Tale of Two Comrades: Cultural Exchange and Relations between North Korea and East Germany”(Instructor: Charles Kim); Anna Piecuch, “Legal actions of the Shanghai Municipal Police against indecency as an effect of public pressure: 1920-1939” (Instructor: Joe Dennis); Claire Steffen, “The White Man’s Burden: British Oppression during the Decolonization of Kenya”(Instructor: Daniel Ussishkin)
  • 2014-15 – Kelsey Burnham, “Poor People’s Corporation Co-operatives: Black Female Empowerment and the Black Power Movement” (Instructor: Will Jones); Luke Cimino, “Alaska: A Journey to the Land of the Midnight Sun” (Instructor: Daegan Miller); Ashley Tiffin, “Top Secret: The United States’ Cover-Up of Japanese Crimes against Humanity” (Instructor: Fran Hirsch)
  • 2013-14 – Megan Ness, “Citizens, Metics, and Nothoi: Social Status in the aftermath of Pericles; citizenship law as seen through Euripides Medea” (Instructor: Claire Taylor); Erin Zess, “Mobilization for the Production of Penicillin” (Instructor: John Hall); Shao Deng, “Mary Magdalene: The Abandoned Apostle” (Instructor: Leonora Neville)
  • 2012-13 – Amanda Benter, “The CPUSA and the NEgro Question in Theory and Practice, as Evidenced by the Writings of James S. Allen” (Instructor: Tony Michels); Dana Peterson, “Spanish Lower Clergy in the Napoleonic Peninsular Campaign: The Real Power behind Guerrilla Warfare” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan); Crescentia Stegner-Freitag, “He Burned Alive, Like Heracles of Long Ago: Noxii as Unwilling Actors” (Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt)
  • 2011-12 – James Duncan, “No Place for Art: The Di Tella and the Auto-Destruction of the Argentine Avant-Garde” (Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng); John McCarthy, “After Gandhi: A Study of Indians in South Africa” (Instructor: Sana Aiyar); Macy Salzberger, “Maria Montessori vs. The United States” (Instructor: Adam Nelson)
  • 2010-11 – Amanda Benter, “Race Relations and Reactions: The Story of the National Conference for New Politics” (Instructor: Camille Guérin-Gonzales); Paul Covaleski, “Analyzing The Hebrew Chronicles of the First Crusade: What They Say, What They Miss, and What They Teach Us”(Instructor: Maureen Mazzaoui); Eric Grant, “Unleashing the Bugs” (Instructor: Nan Enstad)
  • 2009-10 – Megan Bennett, “Democracy Through Education: The United Federation of Teachers and the Civil Rights Movement” (Instructor: William Jones); Kelly Fox, “Tactical and Social Consequences of the Tet Offensive” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy); Ryan Panzer, “How Night Baseball Brightened America During the Great Depression” (Instructor: John Cooper)
  • 2008-09 – Megan Christoph, “Language and Violence: Strategies of the Corsican Autonomy Movement” (Instructor: Laird Boswell); Mary Van Eerden, “The Right to Vote: Women’s Suffrage in Wisconsin, 1909-1919” (Instructor: John Sharpless); Sarah Yungin Reis, “Propaganda Campaigns and Women Workers During the 1940s: Case Study of Allis-Chalmers Workers in Milwaukee” (Instructor: Camille Guérin-Gonzales)
  • 2007-08 – Adam Sitte, “Military Women of the Vietcong” (Instructor: Alfred McCoy); John Vanek, “Augustus and the People of Rome” (Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt); Sarah Reis, “World War II Voluntary Censorship: A Study of Local Wisconsin Newspapers” (Instructor: James Baughman)
  • 2006-07 – Joel Feingold, “Usury in the Early Modern Imagination” (Instructor: Johann Sommerville); Jonathan Manheim, “The Problem Across the Ocean: Interdependency in Boston’s Politics and News Media During the French Revolution” (Instructor: Suzanne Desan); Amanda Fischer, “The Delta Ministry: A New Take on the Civil Rights Movement” (Instructor: William Jones)
  • 2005-06 – Carolyn Averill, “Aggiornamento: New Solutions for a New World. St. Paul’s University Catholic Center and Changes in the Second Vatican Council during the 1960s.” (Instructor: Diane Lindstrom); Tricia Beckmann, “Transforming Greenbush: Urban Renewal in Madison.” (Instructor: Colleen Dunlavy); Kelsey Vidaillet, “Violations of Freedom of the Press in Cuba, 1952-69.” (Instructor: Steve Stern)


One application in the WiSH system, Department of History Undergraduate Scholarships Application, allows students to apply to six of our scholarships at once. By completing that application, students will be considered (if eligible) for all of the following: the Willard L. Huson Scholarship; the Steven A. and Barbara S. Jaffe History Scholarship; the Orson S. Morse History Scholarship; the John Sharpless Scholarship; the Margaret E. Smith-Esther Butt History Scholarship; and the Goldberg Scholarship in History. The other scholarships such as the William K. Fitch Scholarship, the Global Perspectives Scholarship, and the History Internship Scholarship require separate applications in WiSH.

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Global Perspectives Scholarship

Have you applied to study abroad this summer or next fall?  Are you considering applying but concerned about the additional costs of study abroad programs?  The Department of History is pleased to announce the Global Perspectives Scholarship.  This new scholarship hopes to make the study abroad experience possible for History Majors and those pursuing a Certificate in History. The Global Perspectives Scholarship provides students with financial awards starting with $1500 towards short term programs, $3000 towards semester programs, and $4000 towards year-long programs. The scholarship can be used toward the eligible study abroad program of your choice.  To be considered for the scholarship, you must be a History major or pursuing a Certificate in History.  Additional consideration will be given to members of traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education, students with financial need, first generation college students, and students traveling abroad for the first time.

For questions about the Global Perspectives Scholarship, please contact Judy Humphrey ( in International Academic Programs.  Funding for the Global Perspectives Scholarship has been generously provided by the History Department Board of Visitors.

Recipients of the Global Perspectives Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Emily Johnson (Copenhagen DIS, Denmark, Summer 2024): Julia Mastersson (Rome CIEE, Italy, Spring 2024); Sam McQueen (Tokyo Keio Univ Exchange, Japan, Spring 2024); Emily Olmedo (San Jose UW Spanish Language, Costa Rica, Winter 2024); Doruk Sahin (Barcelona IES, Spain, Fall 2024)
  • 2022-2023 – Elizabeth Gediman (Copenhagen DIS, Denmark, Summer 2023); Matthew Masonius (Washington D.C. WiW Intern, Summer 2023); Isabella Prenger (Almaty ACTR Flagship, Kazakhstan, 2023-2024)

William K. Fitch Scholarship

This scholarship provides a $5,000 grant towards tuition. Both out-of-state and in-state students may apply. Applicants will be considered on the basis of a combination of financial need and academic/intellectual merit (financial need will be determined by the Office of Financial Aid). One Fitch Scholarship will be awarded annually.

Preference will be given to History Majors with coursework in U.S. History or who have completed coursework that offers comparative & transnational perspectives on U.S. History. Graduating Seniors are not eligible.

Recipients of the William K. Fitch Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Axell Boomer (Sponsor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen)
  • 2022-2023 – Matthew Masonius (Sponsor: John Hall)
  • 2021-2022 – Robert Hall (Sponsor: Walter Stern)
  • 2020-2021 – Isabella Prenger
  • 2019-2020 – Aaron Kinard
  • 2018-2019 – Emma Hinker
  • 2017-2018 – Cade Campbell
  • 2016-2017 – Isaac Mehlhaff
  • 2015-2016 – Thomas Rademacher
  • 2014-2015 – Khalid Abdl-Haleem
  • 2013-2014 – Steven Hoffman
  • 2012-2013 – Joseph Fitzgibbon
  • 2012-2011 – Meredith Keller
  • 2010-2011 – Emily Lilburn
  • 2009-2010 – Emily Monske

Goldberg Scholarship in History

The Department of History is pleased to offer the Goldberg Scholarship in History. This scholarship provides a $1,000 grant towards tuition. Both in-state and out-of-state students may apply. Applicants will be considered based on financial need (as determined by the Office of Financial Aid). One Goldberg Scholarship will be awarded annually. Graduating seniors are not eligible to apply. Students must be a declared History major in order to apply.

Recipients of The Goldberg Scholarship in History:

  • 2023-2024 – Emily Johnson (Sponsor: Paul Grant)
  • 2022-2023 – Austin Sack (Sponsor: Finn Enke)
  • 2021-2022 – Axell Boomer (Sponsor: Allison Powers Useche)
  • 2020-2021 – Colin Phalen
  • 2019-2020 – Michael DeLeers (Sponsor: Paige Glotzer)

The Willard L. Huson Scholarship

The Willard L. Huson Scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving student majoring in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The successful applicant will receive $250 during the fall semester and $250 in the spring semester. Only freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are eligible for this scholarship.

Recipients of The Willard L. Huson Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Maddie Glerum (Sponsor: Patrick Iber)
  • 2022-2023 – Kylie Hollenstein (Sponsor: Taylor Bailey)
  • 2021-2022 – Sam McQueen
  • 2020-2021 – Nils Peterson (Sponsor: Aaron Rock-Singer)
  • 2019-2020 – Nils Peterson (Sponsor: Aaron Rock-Singer)
  • 2018-2019 – Henry Dern (Sponsor: Megan Stanton)
  • 2017-2018 – Samuel Bertsch (Sponsor: Michael Cullinane)
  • 2016-2017 – Emma Sayner (Sponsor:  Mary Lou Roberts)
  • 2015-2016 – Islam Aly
  • 2014-2015 – Kelly Fisher
  • 2013-2014 – Ryan Gesme
  • 2012-2013 – Gretchen Miron
  • 2011-2012 – Macy Salzberger
  • 2009-2010 – Ryan Panzer
  • 2008-2009 – Irene Berkowitz
  • 2007-2008 – Carolyn Arena
  • 2006-2007 – Joshua Hartman

Steven A. and Barbara S. Jaffe History Scholarship

Beginning in 2016, the Department will award one $2,000 Steven A. and Barbara S. Jaffe Scholarship annually. The award is designed for outstanding History majors who are not Wisconsin residents (for tuition purposes). Students must be U.S. citizens in order to be eligible for this award.

Recipients of the Steven A. and Barbara S. Jaffe History Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Je-In Woo (Sponsor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng)
  • 2022-2023 – Axell Boomer (Sponsor: Kevin Goffard)
  • 2021-2022 – Danielle Lennon (Sponsor: Michael Cullinane)
  • 2020-2021 – Danielle Lennon (Sponsor: Daniel Stolz)
  • 2019-2020 – Rachel Rosen (Sponsor: Francine Hirsch)
  • 2018-2019 – Rena Yehuda Newman (Sponsor: Anne Hansen)
  • 2017-2018 – Rena Yehuda Newman (Sponsor: Walter Stern)
  • 2016-17 – Lezhi Wang (Sponsor: Joe Dennis)
  • 2015-16 – Natalie Tupper (Sponsor: David McDonald)

The Orson S. Morse History Scholarship

The $1,000 Orson S. Morse History Scholarship is given annually to an outstanding History major. Mr. Morse received his degree in History from the College of Letters & Science in 1932 and established this bequest to support undergraduate history education.

Recipients of The Orson S. Morse History Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Zoe Kukla (Sponsor: James Barnes)
  • 2022-2023 – Chloe Foor (Sponsor: Marcella Hayes)
  • 2021-2022 – Emilie Springsteen (Sponsor: Jim Stauffer)
  • 2020-2021 – Aaron Kinard (Sponsor: Walter Stern)
  • 2019-2020 – Daniel Schaefer
  • 2018-2019 – Hilary Miller (Sponsor: Sarah Thal)
  • 2017-2018 – Emma Hinker (Sponsor: Gloria Whiting)
  • 2016-2017 – Mark Salamone (Sponsor:  Florence Bernault)
  • 2015-2016 – Joseph Camp (Sponsor: Kathryn Ciancia)
  • 2014-2015 – Edward Knudsen (Sponsor: Al McCoy)
  • 2013-2014 – Gretchen Miron (Sponsor: Mark Kleijwegt)
  • 2012-2013 – Ryan Gesme
  • 2011-2012 – Kirsten Moran (Sponsor: Christy Clark-Pujara)
  • 2010-2011 – Ryan Panzer (Sponsor: Rudy Koshar)
  • 2009-2010 – John Layde (Sponsor: Johann Sommerville)
  • 2008-2009 – Tenzin Tsetan (Sponsor: Suzanne Desan)
  • 2007-2008 – Madeleine Dungy ($1,000 award) (Sponsor: Laird Boswell)
  • 2006-2007 – Liana Prescott

John Sharpless Scholarship

The John Sharpless Scholarship is made possible thanks to the generosity of Joshua and Jill Tarnow and the John Sharpless Scholarship Fund. Josh Tarnow earned his B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990. He has had a successful career in finance and serves on the Board of Visitors for the History Department. Josh and his wife Jill wish to honor Professor Emeritus John Sharpless through this undergraduate scholarship gift. After 43 years of teaching, John Sharpless retired in 2018. He had an immeasurable effect on his students’ education and lives.

The John Sharpless Scholarship shall be awarded to a University of Wisconsin undergraduate student majoring in History. Preference will be given to students with financial need.

Recipients of the John Sharpless Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Ethan Isselman (Sponsor: Leslie Bellais)
  • 2022-2023 – Ashton Jenks (Sponsor: Hannah Bailey)
  • 2021-2022 – Melina Mueller (Sponsor: Andrea-Teresa Arenas)
  • 2020-2021 – Jacob Balczewski (Sponsor: Lee Palmer Wandel)

Margaret E. Smith-Esther Butt History Scholarship

The Department awards one $1,500 Margaret E. Smith-Esther Butt History Scholarship annually. The award is designed for outstanding History majors.

Recipients of the Margaret E. Smith-Esther Butt History Scholarship:

  • 2023-2024 – Houye Lyu (Sponsor: Geoffrey Durham)
  • 2022-2023 – Zhengzai “Charles” Pei (Sponsor: Judd Kinzley)
  • 2021-2022 – Nadya Hayasi (Sponsor: Mou Banerjee)
  • 2020-2021 – Hannah Emberts (Sponsor: Eric Carlsson)
  • 2019-2020 – Max Herteen (Sponsor: Gloria Whiting)
  • 2018-2019 – MingcongBai (Sponsor: Judd Kinzley)
  • 2017-2018 – Mitchell Deitz (Sponsor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2016-2017 – Samuel Gee (Sponsor: Eric Carlsson)
  • 2015-2016 – Alexander Brauer (Sponsor: Pablo Gomez)
  • 2014-2015 – Megan Ness (Sponsor: Claire Taylor)
  • 2013-2014 – Laura Luo (Sponsor: John Sharpless)
  • 2012-2013 – Macy Salzberger
  • 2011-2012 – Sarah M. Smith (Sponsor: William Reese)
  • 2010-2011 – Anna Chotzen (Sponsor: Sana Aiyar)
  • 2009-2010 – Arthur Zarate (Sponsor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2008-2009 – Alec Luhn (Sponsor: David McDonald)
  • 2007-2008 – Anna Williams ($1,500 award) (Sponsor: Suzanne Desan); Jesse Zarley ($ 1,000 award) (Sponsor: Florencia Mallon)
  • 2006-2007 – Alexander Leites; Anna Williams

History Internship Scholarship

The Department of History offers undergraduate awards each semester to two students who are participating in an unpaid internship and want to receive academic credit through concurrent enrollment in History 301 – History at Work: Internship Seminar. These awards are designed to offset the cost of enrollment in History 301 and come as a credit towards recipients’ tuition.

All history majors who are participating in an unpaid internship are eligible to apply, though priority will be given to those who are on their first internship and/or do not have other significant work experience. Students must be participating in the internship in the same semester as their enrollment in History 506 or have completed their internship in the summer immediately preceding fall enrollment.

Students applying for the History Internship Scholarship must provide a résumé, internship description and supervisor information, and a short letter articulating need to the Department career advisor, Christina Matta. If you have any questions about this scholarship, please contact Christina.

Research Fellowships

Please submit applications for the Davis/Gerstein Undergraduate Research Award, the Philip Levy Research Award in History, the Alice D. Mortenson Russian History Award, and the Farha Tahir Award in African History online via WiSH. For more information on doing undergraduate research in history or writing a senior thesis, please see Research in History & Senior Thesis.  For guidance on writing a research proposal (or prospectus), please see The Research Proposal Explained.

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Davis / Gerstein Undergraduate Research Award

Thanks to generous funding provided by Susan E. Davis and Miles J. Gerstein, the Department of History will offer the Davis/Gerstein Undergraduate Research Award to a student who proposes to undertake an in-depth research project, such as a senior thesis, under the close supervision of a History Department faculty member. The successful applicant will receive $6,000 to help defray research costs such as supplies, expenses for travel to distant archives, or to pay for living expenses so that they have time to conduct research in the archives and craft their papers. Preference will be given to candidates that demonstrate a strong capability to produce original research based on primary sources found in an archive. Research may take place during the summer or the academic year, and students should reference their timeline for archival visits in their description of the research project. If in some years no undergraduate students are eligible for the award, the Fund may be used to support graduate level research work.

Students applying for the Davis/Gerstein will need to prepare the following materials to submit online via WiSH:

  1. Detailed description of the research project (no more than five double-spaced pages). The description of the project should include a brief budget statement about how funds will be applied.
  2. Letter of recommendation from the faculty mentor who will supervise the proposed research project.
  3. Most up-to-date UW-Madison unofficial transcript. See how to obtain an unofficial transcript here.

Recipients of a Davis/Gerstein Undergraduate Research Award will be required to submit a thank you letter to our donors, as well as provide a copy of their final research paper and a summary of their research process and how the award contributed to their completion of the project.

Recipients of the Davis / Gerstein Undergraduate Research Award:

  • 2023-2024 – Aliza Ramirez, “A City Reimagined: Black Americans’ Visions of Citizenship and Government Aid after the Great Chicago Fire” (Advisor: Allison Powers Useche)
  • 2023-2024 – Gabriel Singer,From McCarthyism to Miller: Sports Labor in the Shadow of the Cold War” (Advisor: James Sweet)
  • 2022-2023 – Rae Kalscheuer, “An International Legal History of the ‘Heroin’ Box: An Exploration of The Opium Wars and War on Drugs” (Advisor: Mou Banerjee)
  • 2021-2022 – Cole Roecker, “Expertise and the Development of Amateur and Professional Ornithology in Wisconsin: 1880-1940” (Advisor: Elizabeth Hennessy)
  • 2020-2021 – Jack Styler, “‘Suburban Warriors:’ Right Wing Paramilitaries in the 1980s” (Advisor: Allison Powers Useche)
  • 2019-2020 – Hayden Kolowrat, “Identity Formation within America’s Colonial Army, the Philippine Scouts” (Advisor: Alfred McCoy)
  • 2018-2019 – Hong Song, “The Fortune and Misfortune of Being Marginalized: Chinese Female Immigrants in Singapore, 1880-1940” (Advisor: Shelly Chan); Victoria Paige, “The Rouged Army: An Examination into how the Soviet Government and Public Pressures Influenced Women Soldiers’ Identities in World War II” (Advisor: Francine Hirsch)
  • 2017-2018 – Alder Levin, “International Eradication Campaigns” (Advisor: Richard Keller); Colton Wickland, “A Comparative Case Study of MIA Status Between WWII and the Vietnam War” (Advisor: Dan Hummel)
  • 2016-17 – Xi Chen, “The Chosen: The U.S. Intervention in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; and the Emergence of Undocumented Immigrants: 1975-2000” (Advisor: Cindy Cheng); Emma Strenski, “Brcko Arbitration: The Evolution of 20th Century American Foreign Policy Towards Post Conflict Resolutions” (Advisor: Kathryn Ciancia)
  • 2015-16 – Samuel Gee, “Desacralizing Psychology: Constructing Disciplines in the Early Psychology of Religion” (Advisor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen); Samuel Hurwitz, “The Unappreciated Women of Négritude” (Advisor: Laird Boswell); Michael Moran, “The Wausau Group: A Study of the Role of Local Economic Elites in Community Development from 1880-1929” (Advisor: John Sharpless)
  • 2014-15 – Andrew Bartsch, “Changes in the Life and Attitude of Non-Elite Natives in Britain During and After the Roman Invasion” (Advisor: Marc Kleijwegt); Riley Sexton, “Guatemalan 1981-1982: Human Rights Violations in a Cold War Context” (Advisor: Florencia Mallon)
  • 2013-14 – Kelsey Mullane, The Individual’s Impact on the Enforcement of Capital Punishment Statutes in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Connecticut (Advisor: Charles Cohen)
  • 2012-13 – Liyao Lu, The U.S. Role in Taiwanese Democratic Transition in the Chiang Chiang-Kou Era (1978 to 1988)
  • 2011-12 – Meghan Knapp, “Seythian Irish Planting Sarmation Poland in Eastern Europe: An Analysis of English Travel Accounts and Authors on Poland, 1604-1772, and the Effect of Irish/Polish Ehnicity” (Advisor: Johann Sommerville); Bryce Luttenegger, “Sovereignty, Europe and the World: The British and their relationship with the rest of Europe” (Advisor: Daniel Ussishkin)
  • 2010-11 – Kathryn Dreps, “The Civil Rights Movement and Place-Memory in Milwaukee” (Advisor: Nan Enstad); James Duncan, “The Di Tella Institute and the Suffocation of the Middle: Popular Culture and Counterculture in Buenos Aires, 1966-1976” ( Advisor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng)
  • 2009-10 – Sean Crocker, “America’s Troubled Use of Air Power in the Irregular Warfare Environment of Vietnam” (Advisor: John Hall); Maura Kudronowicz, “The Goddess Isis and the Appeal of Suffering in the Greco-Roman World” (Advisor: Marc Kleijwegt)
  • 2008-09 – Alex Truong, “Ragtime and the Tin Pan Alley: From Jelly Roll Morton to Al Jolson Mammy” (Advisor: Nan Enstad); Kevin Vrevich, “Federalist Death Nail? A reanalysis of the Demise of the Federalist Party” (Advisor: Jean Lee)
  • 2007-08 – Nick Gonzales, “The Making and Unmaking of Modern Europe: The Rise and fall of Great Powers Through Military Interventions” (Advisor: Jeremi Suri); Staci Duros, “Unnatural Parents: Parent-Child Relationships in the Roman World” (Advisor: Professor Marc Kleijwegt)

Philip Levy Research Award in History

The Department of History is proud to offer the Philip Levy Research Award in History. This award is named in honor of Philip Levy, who held a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (class of ’68), was the owner of Bridge Street Books in Washington DC, and was a member of the History Department’s inaugural Board of Visitors until his passing. This award provides support for undergraduate History majors who are completing a research project (such as a senior thesis or History 600 paper) in collaboration with a faculty supervisor, and need financial support to finish their project. The successful applicant will receive up to $1,000 in support (depending on their budget) that they can use for travel, research expenses and supplies. Applicants will need to submit a budget estimate for the costs of finishing their research which clearly outlines how the money will be used, as well as a 1-2 page research outline that describes the project.

Recipients of the Philip Levy Research Award:

  • 2023-2024 – Amelie Rosenhagen, “al-Hub & Liefde: A History of 20th-century Forbidden Love in Comparative Perspective” (Advisor: James Sweet)
  • 2022-2023 – Zhengzai “Charles” Pei, “World Wanderers: Organized Crime in a Post-Socialist Factory Town” (Advisor: Judd Kinzley)
  • 2021-2022 – Danielle Lennon, “PTSD and its documentation: history of the diagnosis and differences in presentation and treatment between Western cultures and Cambodian refugees” (Advisor: Michael Cullinane)
  • 2020-2021 – Mack Dern, “Shifting the Balance of Power: The War Powers Resolution, Congress, and the American Presidency” (Advisor: Patrick Iber)
  • 2019-2020 – Hayden Kolowrat, “Identity Formation within America’s Colonial Army, the Philippine Scouts” (Advisor: Alfred McCoy)

Alice D. Mortenson Russian History Award

The Department of History is pleased to offer the Alice D. Mortenson Russian History Award. We are grateful to our alumna, Alice Mortenson, for her generous support. The Mortenson scholarships ($3,000) will be awarded to up to three students interested in Russian history. Recipients will have taken at least one course on the history of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union at UW-Madison.

Recipients of the Alice D. Mortenson Research Award:

  • 2023-2024 – Tony Jing
  • 2022-2023 – Isabella Prenger
  • 2021-2022 – Isabella Prenger
  • 2020-2021 – Isabella Prenger
  • 2019-2020 – Victoria Paige
  • 2017-2018 – Sterling Sauter; Antanas Riskus
  • 2016-2017 – Yiqi Yu; Yuka Shiotani; John McGovern
  • 2014-2015 – Aleksander Cianciara
  • 2013-2014 – Devin Hess; Savanna Rutas
  • 2008-2009 – Alec Luhn; Thomas Van Rooy; Katherine Tondrowski; Casey Bischel
  • 2006-2007 – Michael D. Albrecht

Farha Tahir Award in African History

The Farha Tahir Award in African History will support an outstanding undergraduate student studying African History. The $1,000 award may be used at the department’s discretion as a writing award, travel award or research award.

Recipients of the Farha Tahir Award in African History

  • 2023-2024 – Amanda Grant, Lady Corynton Maternity Training School: An Exploration of the First Midwives” (Instructor: Neil Kodesh); Amelie Rosenhagen, “al-Hub & Liefde: A History of 20th-century Forbidden Love in Comparative Perspective” (Instructor: James Sweet)
  • 2022-2023 – Allison Elli, “American Medical Students and Clinical Rotations in Africa” (Instructor: Neil Kodesh); Sam McQueen, “The Matriarch of Islam: Exploring the Life of Hagar Through Religious Texts” (Instructor: Khaled Esseissah)
  • 2021-2022 – Reilly Coon, “Preaching Genocide: An Analysis of the Role of Catholic Priests and Politics in Rwanda” (Instructor: Brandon Bloch); Muhamed Gueye, “The African Diaspora” (Instructor: Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué)

External Scholarships and Awards

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University Scholarships and Prizes

The Letters and Science Undergraduate Scholarships Office is now accepting scholarship applications from sophomore, junior and senior students. Scholarships are awarded upon demonstration of a combination of the following criteria: academic achievement, creative accomplishment, force of character, financial need, diversity of background, and community service. Scholarships awarded at the junior or senior level tend to have an emphasis on academic achievement and merit.

  • We also urge our students to apply for the Wisconsin Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Awards that offer up to $4,000 of support for the student and $1,000 for the faculty sponsor. The deadline for applications is usually early in the spring semester.
  • Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships support undergraduates who work in partnership with a faculty/instructional staff member and a community organization to meet an identified community need. Fellowship recipients earn 3 credits while gaining hands-on experience and receive a stipend of up to $3000 for individuals or $5000 for a group.
  • Returning Adult Student Scholarships: These are scholarships awarded to newly admitted or currently enrolled UW-Madsion degree students. Some scholarships require a significant interruption in study, or have specific age and gender stipulations. Applications are accepted from December 1st to March 1st.
  • Single Parent Scholarships: These scholarships are available to newly admitted or currently enrolled UW-Madison degree students who are single parents; and scholarships provide $1,000-$2,000 in funding support per academic year. Applications are accepted from December 1st to March 1st.
  • Campus-wide Scholarship: The college also offers other awards and prizes that can be used for research in history.
  • Finally, the honors program also offers research and travel grants as well as prizes for honors students.

Other Prizes and Awards

  • The Wisconsin Labor History Society offers the Frank Zeidler Academic Award ($500) for the best undergraduate research paper about Wisconsin labor and working class history. For details and deadlines see Wisconsin Labor History Society
  • The Gilder Lehrman History Scholars Program, based in New York City, is a competitive summer scholarship program for college sophomores and juniors.
  • The annual Iwanter Prize provides an unrestricted $2,000 award to one graduating senior who, through a senior thesis and general academic distinction, demonstrates outstanding humanities-based scholarship of a broad and interdisciplinary nature. The award is made possible by a gift to the UW Foundation by Sidney E. Iwanter, an alumnus of the College of Letters & Science (BA History, 1971). Applications must be received by the Center for the Humanities by 5:00 pm on May 1st. For more information and eligibility requirements, please see the following document: Iwanter Prize for Outstanding Interdisciplinary Scholarship
  • The Institute for Humane Studies is dedicated to helping bright undergraduate students interested in individual liberty to pursue their intellectual interests. Each year, Humane Studies Fellowships of up to $12,000 are awarded to outstanding undergraduate students exploring the principles underlying a free society. Fellowships are open to students who will be enrolled during the academic year. The application and all supporting materials must be submitted online. For more information about this fellowship, please visit Humane Studies Fellowships.

Past Awards

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Kaplan Family Fellowships

Recipients of the Kaplan Family Fellowships in History:

  • 2012-13 – Corina Cheung, “Fog of Invisibility”: Taiwan, South Africa and South African Chinese (Advisor: Judd Kinzley)
  • 2011-12 – Amanda Armstrong, “José Carlos Mariátegui: A study on his influence across time and space in 20th century Latin America” (Advisor: Florencia Mallon)
  • 2010-11 – Jason Pickart, “Differences in British and Mughal Rule over India: 1717-1857” (Advisor: Sana Aiyar)
  • 2009-10 – Catherine Diao, “Management and Regulation of the Dutch East India Company in 17th Century Netherlands” (Advisor: Lee Wandel)
  • 2008-09 – Mark Otto, “Friend or Foe: The Dissemination and Application of Machiavelli in Early Stuart England” (Advisor: Johann Sommerville); Abigael Nachtsheim, “The Lure of Fascism: French Intellectuals, Politicians, and the Rejection of Democracy, 1930-1945” (Advisor: Laird Boswell)
  • 2007-08 – Joshua Hartman, “Evaluating the Ideal: The Roman Influence on Chivalric Ethos” (Advisor: Professor Marc Kleijwegt); Andrew Myszewski, “Responsible Riches: A History of Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States” (Advisor: Colleen Dunlavy)
  • 2006-07 – Isabel Esterman “Atavisms of Authoritarian Rule: A Case of Executive-Legislative Conflict over Human Rights in the Philippines” (Advisor: Professor Alfred McCoy); Thomas Kivi “Montaigne, Descartes, and the Malleable Augustine” (Advisor: Professor Lee Palmer Wandel); Steven Weber “America’s Outcast: Senator Robert M. LaFollette, 1917-1919” (Advisor: Professor John Cooper)
  • 2005-06 – Eli Persky, “Fourth Branch or Rogue Elephant: US Military Contacting After the Cold War.” (Advisor: Prof. John Sharpless); Liana Prescott, “To Create a New Japan: ‘National Essence’ and the Critique of Modernity, 1880-1937.” (Advisor: Louise Young)
  • 2004-05 – Benjamin Dahl, “Help or Hindrance: Violence in the Student Movement of 1960s West Germany.” (Advisor: Rudy Koshar); Shauna Fitzmahan, “The Foundation of a Human Rights Movement: Ukrainian Dissent in the 1960s.” (Advisor: Jeremi Suri)

Mosse Distinguished Research and Service Fellowship

Recipients of the Mosse Distinguished Research and Service Fellowship:

  • 2014-15 – Megan Ness, Danielle Wais
  • 2012-11 – Kathryn Dreps, “Following Their Footsteps: A Walking Tour of Milwaukee’s Civil Rights Movement”; Gina Slesar, “UW-Madison’s 1962 Gay Purge and Early LGBT Activism in Wisconsin”
  • 2009-10 – Yongqing Douglas Yang, “UWisLit: University of Wisconsin Literacy Initiative” (Advisor: Jeremi Suri)
  • 2008-09 – Ned Meerdink “Local Organizations and Development in Humanitarian Crisis Zones: A Case Study of the Uvira Multimedia Center in Uvira/South Kivu, Congo.” (Advisor: Neil Kodesh)
  • 2007-08 – Susan Levy “US-Latin American Solidarity: from Sanctuary to Fair Trade.” (Advisors: Professors Francine Hirsch and Florencia Mallon)

The Exceptional Service Award

Recipients of the Award:

  • 2023-2024 – Chloe Foor, Rae Kalschuer, Zhengzai “Charles” Pei
  • 2018-2019 – John Douglas (Sponsor: Susan Johnson)

“Why Take History” Video Contest

“Why Take History” Contest Winners

2019-2020 Winners

  • Individual submission: Ania Kotecki
  • Team submission: Wenzhe Teng, Xinyi Liu, Hanlin Tao

Academic Excellence Scholarship

Recipients of the Award:

  • 2021-2022 – Danielle Lennon (Sponsor: Michael Cullinane)