An endowment fund at the University of Texas was established with our first contribution of $1,100 in 1934. Contributions were made to this fund over a period of years, until the endowment reached sufficient size to support awarding of annual fellowships. Mildred Englert is the branch member whose donation completed the endowment. The Austin Branch has awarded graduate fellowships yearly since 1985 to women who are doctoral candidates at The University of Texas at Austin. Beginning with the 1985-1986 academic year, eighty-four (84) women have received fellowships from our branch, to financially assist them in completing the final year of their doctoral studies.
A complete list of UT Austin Doctoral fellowship recipients is available at
Twenty-six doctoral candidates from a broad range of disciplines at the University of Texas submitted applications for the AAUW fellowships for the 2015-2016 academic year. The scholarship committee consisting of Ruth Rubio, Mary Ellen Scribner, Jean Bissent, Charlotte May and Joyce Pulich reviewed the students’ applications, statements, references and academic credentials. The committee members agreed that the applications were exceptional and the choice was difficult. After careful consideration, they selected five women to receive awards of $2,500 each. These recipients were announced and introduced at our annual May branch meeting as follows:
- Karen Chilstrom , a student in the Slavic/Eurasian Studies Department, is exploring how the geopolitical relationship between Ukraine and Russia affects language policy and the teaching of Russian in the Ukraine. She has been drawn to Ukraine since she first travelled there fourteen years ago. Her greatest achievements to date are serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, advocating tirelessly for her special needs adopted son, and juggling family responsibilities with full-time research and dissertation writing. Following completion of her doctoral degree in May 2016, she hopes to share her love of languages with college students.
- Cornelia Loos, a native of Germany, is a doctoral candidate in the Linguistics Department. Her dissertation research explores the expression of complex events in two sign languages (German and American). Her greatest achievements include a strong publication record, organizing the Texas Linguistic Society conference in 2014 and serving as a literacy volunteer with underprivileged middle school students through Austin Partners in Education. She wants to obtain a teaching and research position at the university level following completion of her degree. She hopes to encourage students from groups underrepresented in higher education to pursue academic careers and to serve as a role model for aspiring female social scientists.
- Megan Pfitzinger, a doctoral student in the School of Nursing, is studying how to improve undergraduate nurses and other health care professionals’ preparation for caring for dying patients (End of Life Nursing Care Education Guidelines). She is on track to complete her degree in May 2016 and wants to obtain a tenure track position at a university where she can teach and do research. Her long-term goal is to become dean of a School of Nursing. Her achievements include having an article on end of life care published in the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing and being selected as a Jonas Scholar, an honor for doctoral students identified as future nursing leaders.
- Carey Pulverman is a clinical psychology doctoral student who plans to defend her dissertation in April 2016. Her research project explains the development of sexual dysfunction among women with a prior history of childhood sexual abuse. She has been working in sexual abuse prevention and education for the past 15 years and currently volunteers as a community educator with Safe Place. Her greatest accomplishments thus far include completing her BA at New York University and her MA at Hunter College. Her professional goal is to combine academic research with clinical practice that uncovers mechanisms that lead to the development of sexual dysfunction among women with a history of abuse. To that end, she hopes to become a university college professor or research scientist.
- Alesha Stewart is a doctoral candidate in the Pharmacy Department who plans to complete her degree in May 2017. The title of her dissertation is “Investigation of Ligand Binding and Processing by Members of the Metallo-B-Lactamase Superfamily: NDM-1 and AidC.” She is a first generation college student raised by a single mother in a rough neighborhood in Louisiana. Her greatest accomplishments lie in her continuous pursuit of education from a residential high school that offered an accelerated curriculum to her enrollment in the doctoral program at the University of Texas. Following graduation she wants to work in Research and Development in the pharmaceutical industry where she can contribute to medicine or therapy that can improve someone’s life.
For information about fellowships and grants available from AAUW National, visit www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/.