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Every year, the Department of Women's and Gender Studies awards a number of prizes to students for excellence in feminist scholarship and practice. Awards are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Information about award eligibility and selection is available below. 

Dorothy McGuigan Prizes for Best Essays on Women

2022 Dorothy McGuigan Prizes for the Best Essays on Women

Each year the Women’s and Gender Studies Department awards prizes for the best undergraduate and graduate essays on women written at the University of Michigan. The prizes honor the memory of Dorothy Gies McGuigan, a distinguished alumna of the University of Michigan who taught in the School of Business Administration and the Residential College.  Dorothy McGuigan was an early supporter of the Women's Studies Program and a founder and member of the editorial board of the University of Michigan Press series on Women and Culture.


Essays or papers written during the calendar year 2021 are eligible for the 2022 competition.  Students must have been enrolled at the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint campuses of the University of Michigan during the term in which they wrote the essay, but the essay does not have to have been written for a class.  The contest is open to all fields; personal stories, fiction and poetry are not eligible, although non-textual essays are welcome. For undergraduates, research papers must be 10-20 pages. Graduate student submissions should be no longer than 10,000 words of text, not including references.  Each author may submit only one entry and the essay must be written in English. Previous McGuigan Prize winners may not apply.

Papers written collaboratively by graduate students (e.g., with their advisor or other research team members) are eligible, on the condition that the student and advisor agree that the paper is largely driven (in conceptualization and composition) by the submitting student.


Essays are evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee for their contribution to our understanding of some aspect of women's lives or roles, as well as for their originality and clarity of presentation.


The paper or essay should be typed and double-spaced, including notes and/or bibliography.  Please submit with two title pages. Include the following on the first title page: essay title, author's name, address, e-mail address, and present U of M status (undergraduate or graduate).   On the second title page please include only the title of the essay. Please include your name only on page one of the document—not on the subsequent page headers. Graduate submissions should include an abstract.  To submit, please e-mail the essay with the two title pages as a single PDF document to


Essays are due by Tuesday, February 8th, 2022.  Winners will be announced in April.


An award of $750 will be presented to each winner.


Dorothy McGuigan’s many works include:  The Dangerous Experiment: 100 Years of Women at the University of Michigan (University of Michigan, 1970); The Hapsburgs (Doubleday, 1966) and Metternich and the Duchess (Doubleday, 1975).  In a citation for Distinguished Service to the University presented in 1975, the U of M Board of Regents noted that Dorothy McGuigan "is held in widespread esteem as a research historian and author and is widely acclaimed on campus as a true leader of women."

Feminist Practice Award for Undergraduates

This annual award recognizes Women’s and Gender Studies or Gender & Health undergraduate majors or minors in LGBTQ Studies, Gender, Race and Nation, Gender and Health, or Social Class and Inequality studies whose work in community service or activism best exemplifies application of feminist thought to practice. The winner will have a strong record of leadership that demonstrates a clear connection to ideas from Women’s and Gender Studies courses. We particularly welcome applications from students whose work has focused on empowering those who are marginalized.

Nominations may be forwarded by eligible students or other members of the University community. Self-nominations are especially welcome. Nominees are asked to submit a narrative of 300–500 words describing their relevant service or activism and its connections to their academic work at the University of Michigan, including specifically their coursework in Women’s Studies. The award carries a certificate and $500 and is conferred on a student or group of students each May.  

The 2022 submission deadline is Tuesday, March 15.  Click here to download the nomination information. 

Previous Feminist Practice Award winners: 

2021 winner: Lunar Doula Collective

2020 winner: Shaima Abdullah

2019 winner: Amani Echols

2018 winners: G Ryan and Jamie Thompson

2017 winner: Lakyrra Magee

2016 winner: Lamees Mekkaoui

2015 winner:  Emma Maniere

2014 winners: Students for Choice. Honorable Mention, Zeinab Khalil.

2013 winner:  Amy Navvab

Inaugural 2012 winner:  What the F Magazine. Honorable Mention, Sarah Kucemba, Annie Sajid.

Robin I. Thevenet Memorial Fellowship for Graduate Certificate Students

The Thevenet Fellowship is in memory of Robin I. Thevenet, a graduate student in the joint program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. Her dissertation concerned Victorian women educators who had written autobiographies describing how they had decided to become teachers and then went on to found schools or colleges. Awarded annually to a maximum of two students in either the Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate Program or the Certificate in LGBTQ Studies, the Thevenet is designed to further research on women by graduate students at the University of Michigan by supporting research-related expenses.

Applicants must be students in good standing and currently enrolled in either the Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate Program or the LGBTQ Studies Certificate Program at the University of Michigan.  

Students must submit:

  • a two-page statement describing your research project (This should include the research issue/topic you are pursuing, a rationale for your project, the methodology for your project, implications of your research, and a budgetary statement on how you plan to use the funding.)
  • a complete and current curriculum vitae
  • the name of your dissertation advisor or Master’s program advisor

Please work closely with your advisor on your statement before submitting it to Women’s and Gender Studies.  The applications will be evaluated by an inter-disciplinary certificate advisory committee.

Application materials are usually due in early March each year.

A monetary award of $1000 will be presented to the winners in April.