Funding Opportunities

CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship

CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship

CALS is pleased to announce its annual summer graduate fellow competition. The CALS summer graduate fellow will receive a stipend equivalent to a summer teaching release and a $1000 research budget for travel and research-related expenses, enabling the fellow to devote the summer session to working on his/her dissertation.

Applications are due by February 12The following eligibility requirements apply:

  1. for purposes of this award, a doctoral student who has successfully passed comprehensive exams, constituted a dissertation committee, and won approval of a dissertation prospectus focused on an American literature and/or culture topic from any time period is eligible to apply;
  2. students who have previously won a Humanities Institute semester-long or summer residency or a Center for Early Modern Studies Junior Scholar fellowship are eligible to apply; moreover, the summer fellowship does not affect a student’s eligibility for the standard dissertation semester fellowship in the Liberal Arts; finally, receiving a CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship does not preclude a student from applying for a CALS Dissertation Support Award or vice-versa–accepting one award will not render an applicant ineligible for the other at any time.  
  3. students planning to defend/graduate in the summer of the current year are not eligible to apply;
  4. students may not teach or hold full-time employment during the funded summer session;
  5. students on federal aid should be advised that their federal package might be affected by the stipend money.

How to Apply

Applications must include the following:

  1. Cover letter with applicant’s name, contact information, project title, and expected date of defense and graduation;
  2. Prospectus (no more than 4 double spaced pages, 12 pt. font) describing the project, explaining its wider significance, a timetable for completion, and specific research plans during the period of the award;
  3. Curriculum Vitae;
  4. A confidential letter of recommendation from the chair of the student’s dissertation committee.

Applications should be sent as a single file pdf document to CALS Interim Director Christian Haines; the confidential letter of recommendation should be sent separately by the faculty adviser to Professor Haines.

Applications will be evaluated by several members of the CALS Advisory Board. The award winner will be announced on or around the first week of March.

Spring Lectures and Acknowledgments

The fellow is required to give a presentation, open to the liberal arts community, based on material written during the period of the summer fellowship during the following school year. Also, appropriate acknowledgement of the Center’s support must be given in the dissertation, publications, and all other activities related to the summer fellowship project.

Smith Headshot

Justin Smith, a past CALS Graduate Research Assistant and recipient of CALS travel funding, has accepted a position at Randolph-Macon College, where he will serve as an Assistant Professor of English and Black Studies. Congratulations, Justin, on this fantastic job market success!

Evans Headshot

Sabrina Evans, winner of the 2022 CALS Summer Graduate Fellowship, has accepted a faculty position at Howard University, where she will serve as an Assistant Professor of English specializing in African American Literature. Howard is home to the Moorland Spingarn Research Center, whose archives are central to Sabrina's research. Congratulations, Sabrina, on this outstanding job market success!

Glew Headshot

Liana Glew, former CALS Dissertation Fellow and CALS Graduate Research Assistant, has accepted the role of Prison Education Program Manager with the Penn State College of Education's Restorative Justice Initiative. The RJI eliminates barriers to educational access and civic engagement for those who are currently and formerly incarcerated; since its founding in 2015, the initiative has worked with and provided resources to over 200 incarcerated individuals. In her new role, Liana will work to recruit and train additional instructors as part of the RJI's Higher Education in Prison program. Congratulations, Liana, on your job-market success—an important reminder of the range of meaningful, impactful work one can do with an English doctorate!

nathaniel windon

Nathaniel Windon, a former CALS Dissertation Fellow, has accepted a tenure-track position beginning in Fall 2022 at Xavier University, where he will serve as Assistant Professor of English (specializing in pre-1900 American literature). Nate earned his PhD in 2018 under the direction of Christopher Castiglia. In addition to serving as a CALS Dissertation Fellow, Nate was also awarded a CALS Graduate Research/Training Award to support  research for his dissertation, now his first book project, entitled Superannuation: The Making of Old Age in Nineteenth-Century America. Congratulations to Nate, and to Christopher, for this job-market success!


Leland Tabares has accepted a tenure-track position beginning in Fall 2022 at Colorado College, where he will serve as Assistant Professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. Leland earned his PhD in 2018 under the direction of Tina Chen. While completing his dissertation--now his first book project entitled Professionalizing Asian America: Race and Labor in the Twenty-First Century--Leland earned funding support from CALS in the form of a CALS Graduate Research/Training Award. Congratulations to Leland, and to Tina, for this job-market triumph!


Akash Belsare has accepted a tenure-track job beginning in Fall 2022 at University of Illinois—Springfield, where he will serve as Assistant Professor of English. Akash earned his PhD at Penn State in 2021 and he completed his dissertation--Humanimal Narratives: Genre and Animality in Contemporary Ethnic Literatures--under the direction of Tina Chen while being supported by a CALS Dissertation Support Award. Congratulations to Akash, and to Tina, for this outstanding success on the job market!


Transatlantic Modernism and the US Lecture TourRobert Volpicelli, a PSU Alumnus and CALS Dissertation Fellow -- who now serves as Assistant Professor of English at Randolph-Macon College (VA) -- recently published his first book, Transatlantic Modernism and the US Lecture Tour, with Oxford University Press. Deriving from his dissertation project, Transatlantic Modernism is the first comprehensive study of modernist authors on the US lecture tour, a widespread phenomenon that accounted for many Americans' first encounter with international modernism. Attending to these encounters, the volume reroutes our understanding of modernism away from the magazines and other mass media that have so far characterized its circulation and toward the unique form of cultural distribution that coalesced around the tour. Congratulations, Robert!

Justin Mellette

Justin MelletteJustin Mellette, Visiting Lecturer of English at Northeastern University and a former recipient of a CALS Travel Grant, has published Peculiar Whiteness: Racial Anxiety and Poor Whites in Southern Literature, 1900-1965 (University Press of Mississippi, 2021). Peculiar Whiteness engages key issues in contemporary critical race studies, whiteness studies, and Southern studies through discussions of authors including Charles Chesnutt, Thomas Dixon, Sutton Griggs, Erskine Caldwell, Lillian Smith, William Faulkner, and Flannery O’Connor. Congratulations to Justin!