Merit Award for Current Doctoral Students

Deadlines: April 8. (In the event that a deadline falls upon a weekend or a university holiday, that deadline will move to the first workday following the posted date.)

Award Amount: $1,500.

Directions: Department chairs submit application materials electronically in digital form to the WiSE program office at wiseprog@usc.edu.

The Merit Award for Current Doctoral Students is offered to current Ph.D. students at USC who demonstrate exceptional work in their field. Two candidates will be chosen from the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and two from the Viterbi School of Engineering. Candidates are nominated by the faculty. Each one-year WiSE Fellowship carries a stipend of $1,500. To be eligible for the Merit Awards students must plan to be enrolled full-time for both the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters, be in at least their fourth year of study or passed their qualifying exams, and be funded by a 50%-time research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship during that period. Expected date of graduation should not be earlier than the spring semester.

Purpose:

The purpose of the WiSE Merit Award is to provide advanced doctoral students with an opportunity to be recognized for their achievements. Surveys have shown that the attrition rate of female doctoral students is significantly higher than that of male doctoral students. The WiSE Program hopes this fellowship will provide support and motivation to students on an academic trajectory who demonstrate dedication to increasing the representation of women in science and engineering.

Selection Criteria:
The WiSE Committee will evaluate the excellence of the candidate’s research, the trajectory of improvement, and any other personal/professional attributes that demonstrate how the Merit Award may encourage the candidate to pursue a career in science and engineering.

Goal: The primary goal of the WiSE Merit Award for Current Doctoral Students is to encourage outstanding doctoral students at USC to pursue careers in science and engineering, thereby increasing the representation of women in these fields. The WiSE Program awards up to four WiSE Merit Awards (two in USC Dornsife and two in the Viterbi School of Engineering) each year to recognize exceptional research. Each WiSE Merit Award carries a one-year stipend of $1,500, during which time the student must be full-time, in residence at USC. This award is not to be used in lieu of any other funding.

Eligibility: Two Awards may be given to Ph.D. students in USC Dornsife and two in the Viterbi School of Engineering. In order to be eligible for a WiSE Merit Award, the students must be enrolled full-time in the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters, be in at least their fourth year of study or passed their qualifying exams, and be funded by a 50%-time research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship during that period. Expected date of graduation should not be earlier than the Spring semester. The student must be nominated by their faculty advisor based on the quality of their doctoral research. Any faculty member (research or tenure track) with Ph.D. supervision privileges is eligible to nominate a student. Research faculty without these privileges may also nominate students together with a tenure-track member in an advisory role. Nominations by faculty should be sent to their department chair.

Nomination Process: Each WiSE-eligible department may nominate candidates based on the size of the department or section’s PhD Program, as follows:

  • departments/sections with 1-75 students: max of 1 nomination
  • departments/sections with 76-175 students: max of 2 nominations
  • departments/sections with > 175 students: max of 3 nominations

ranked in order by emailing electronic nomination materials to the WiSE Program office wiseprog@usc.edu. The following information must be submitted for each nominee:

  • A letter of application. Please download the following application form, PhD Merit Award Application Form, fill it out and email it to wiseprog@usc.edu.
  • A letter of recommendation from the research advisor which estimates the expected date of defense of the dissertation, details the exceptional work of the student, and explains how the WiSE Merit Award will serve to increase the representation of women in science and engineering.
  • A written one-page statement by the candidate, describing their current research accomplishments and estimating their expected date of completion.
  • The candidate’s current CV listing accomplishments and publications
  • A brief cover letter of nomination by the department chair ranking the candidates and explaining how the candidates achievements are compared to those of other students in the department.

2017-2018

  • Laura Zinke, USC Dornsife, Marine and Environmental Biology
  • Katie Ardill, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences
  • Daeun Kim, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering
  • Sahar Bakhshian, Viterbi SoE, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

2016-2017

  • Ying-Chu Chen, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Sarah Hu, USC Dornsife, Marine and Environmental Biology
  • Angelica Cobo, Viterbi SoE, Biomedical Engineering
  • Elaine Short, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Barbara Ratschbacher, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences (Honorable Mention)

2015-2016

  • Paulina Pindedo-Gonzalez, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences
  • Yamani Jangir, USC Dornsife, Physics and Astronomy
  • Thanh Nguyen, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Theodora Chaspari, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering

2014-2015

  • Ana Carolinas Dantas Machado, USC Dornsife, Molecular and Computational Biology
  • Jennifer Shitanishi, USC Dornsife, Physics and Astronomy
  • Saptaparna Das, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Anastasia Kadina, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Sylvia Dee, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences
  • Fei Fang, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Xin Fang, Viterbi SoE, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Nastaran Bassam Zadeh, Viterbi SoE, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Katelyn Swift-Spong, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Xue Lin, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering
  • Hyeran Jeon, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering
  • Elham Hemmat Abiri, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering

2013-2014

  • Yadira Ibarra, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences
  • Laura Loyola, USC Dornsife, Biological Sciences
  • Chiara Mazzasette, USC Dornsife, Biological Sciences
  • Erika Lippoldt, USC Dornsife, Biological Sciences
  • Meghan Gupta, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Irene Vidyanti, Viterbi SoE, Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Angela Lee, Viterbi SoE, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
  • Sadaf Soleymani, Viterbi SoE, Biomedical Engineering
  • Yarong Liu, Viterbi SoE, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

2012-2013

  • Jessica Harel, USC Dornsife, Biological Sciences
  • Beate Burkhart, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Angeliki Metallinou, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering
  • Winnie Kam, Viterbi SoE, Civil and Environmental Engineering

2011-2012

  • Shannon Howell, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Daisy Mak, USC Dornsife, Physics
  • Ozgun Bursalioglu Yilmaz, (declined) Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering – Systems
  • Neelaski Hudda, Viterbi SoE, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Yi Gai, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering – Systems

2010-2011

  • Whitney Behr, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences
  • Mihaela Ignatova, USC Dornsife, Mathematics
  • Sara Abedi, Viterbi SoE, Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Joyita Dutta, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering – Systems

2009-2010

  • Anna Popova, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Neta Wechsler, USC Dornsife, Earth Sciences
  • Rosa HoMan Chan, Viterbi SoE, Biomedical Engineering
  • Jessi Hao Chen, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering – Electrophysics

2008-2009

  • Larryn Peterson, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Laura Barge, USC Dornsife, Earth Science
  • Jo-Anne Ting, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Hsu-Lei Lee, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering

2007-2008

  • Andrea Jedwab, USC Dornsife, Mathematics
  • Frances Cooper, USC Dornsife, Earth Science
  • Sameera Poduri, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Zhihong (Iris) Shen, Viterbi SoE, Industrial & Sytems Engineering

2006-2007

  • Catherine Powers, USC Dornsife, Earth Science
  • Shamila Gunatilleke, USC Dornsife, Chemistry
  • Vidhyua Navalpakkam, Viterbi SoE, Computer Science
  • Ling Zhuo, Viterbi SoE, Electrical Engineering