Undergraduate Awards and Fellowships

Information and application forms are available from the Western Michigan University Department of History Advising Office, 4451 Friedmann Hall. The WMU Office of Financial Aid has extensive information on scholarships, grants and awards available to undergraduate students.

History Fellowship Award

Application form
Thanks to generous donations, Western Michigan University’s Department of History will award renewable $1,000 fellowships to newly admitted, full-time freshman students with declared majors in history (Liberal Education Curriculum), Public History, Secondary Education, History, or Social Studies (with history minor option). A minimum 3.5 high school GPA is required at the time of application.  The scholarship is renewable for up to four years provided that the student's cumulative GPA does not drop below 3.5 and they maintain full-time status as majors in the Department of History.

Undergraduate fellows Emeriti Grant program

The History Undergraduate Fellows grant program funds undergraduate history majors and minors who engage in scholarly activities outside the classroom and/or who pursue opportunities that advance their professional goals as historians. Grants ranging from $50-$500 are awarded to further research, encourage internship or volunteer experiences, defray the cost of travel to a scholarly conference, or in support of other scholarly or professional activities in history. Applicants must submit an application form, a resume, transcript, a brief statement describing the project, a proposed budget and a statement of support from a faculty mentor. Applications are due on November 15 for projects taking place in the spring semester, and on April 1 for projects taking place in summer I and II sessions and fall semester. More information.

Peter J. Schmitt Experiential Learning Award

Application

Dr. Peter Schmitt taught for 43 years in the Department of History at WMU and he valued nontraditional learning experiences that explored the natural world, the built environment and human ingenuity. The friends and family of Schmitt created this endowment fund as a legacy to him. Fund grants of up to $500 will support varied learning experiences that enhance awareness, understanding and knowledge of the interconnectedness of history with the arts and the natural world. It would include but not be limited to participating in short courses in art or architectural history, in field biology learning experiences, in workshops in historic preservation or traditional crafts, in retreat experiences that emphasize an understanding of the natural world, or in other activities that promote personal insight into the interrelationships between people and their environments, especially in historical contexts.

Eligibility: All members of the WMU (undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, emeriti, alumni and staff) are eligible to apply to the Peter J. Schmitt Endowment for Experiential Learning. To be eligible for this grant, undergraduate students must have completed at least 30 hours of course work at WMU, and have maintained a GPA of 2.50 or higher. Applications from undergraduate and graduate students will be given preference in two out of a three year grant cycle, but if no suitable student applications are received, funding may go to faculty and staff.

 

Bert Nash Scholarship

Michele C. McLaughlin and her mother, Kathryn N. VanDis, have generously endowed a legacy gift that will supports an undergraduate scholarship named after her maternal grandfather, Bert Nash, which would support one of the History department’s deserving undergraduate Social Studies majors. The Bert Nash Scholarship will provide a student deemed to be a promising teacher $1,000 per year in support to a promising young Social Studies major who might someday engage and excite young people about the value of history.

Byron Burton “Bert” Nash (1879-1959), Michele McLaughlin’s grandfather, was “a tremendous teacher and the wisest person” she ever knew. Although he worked as a stationary engineer in Chicago, at the Kalamazoo state hospital’s steam plant, and as a caretaker for the Bloomingdale cemetery after his retirement, Michele describes Bert as a teacher at heart, someone from whom she learned a great deal. Naming the scholarship after her grandfather will recognize his influence on her life. Bert Nash imparted a love of learning to both Kay and Michele. Kay graduated from Western Michigan College of Education, as WMU was then known, in 1945 with a degree in history. She later worked as an assistant to the president of Kalamazoo College from 1962 to 1988. Her mother’s love of history was also influential in Michele’s decision to dedicate the Bert Nash Scholarship to the History department. Michele’s decision to fund a new social studies scholarship as well as an English education scholarship that has been in place since 2003 is also partly due to her maternal grandmother’s side of the family. Michele noted that she has many teachers in her family.


Michele has been an employee of WMU since 1973, and is also a 1982 graduate of WMU with a B.A. in biomedical sciences and a B.B.A. in business. Since starting at WMU, Michele has worked in accounts payable, the Medieval Institute, the chemistry and English departments, and as associate registrar, from which she retired in 2011. Since then, however, she has been working part-time for both Lee Honors College and WMUK. Perhaps most remarkable about her affiliation with WMU is the fact that Michele has averaged taking at least one course per year since 1982.

One of Michele’s favorite professors at WMU was Howard Mowen, a faculty member in the History department from 1949 to 1982. As she recalled, professor Mowen was not only a scholar but was someone who could make the historical subject matter interesting and engaging. Michele hopes that the Bert Nash Scholarship will provide financial support to a promising young social studies major who might someday similarly engage and excite young people about the value of history. The first scholarship was awarded in spring 2013.

Awards are given via nomination by faculty.

History Internship Scholarship

The History Department Internship Scholarship supports outstanding and deserving history, public history, and secondary education students pursuing an internship in their field of study.  The scholarship is designed to help defray costs and expenses in instances where students are required to temporarily relocate in order to complete an internship.  Applicants must submit a resume, transcript, a brief statement describing the project, a proposed budget, and a statement of support from a faculty mentor.  The deadline for submission is April 1.  The amount for this scholarship is variable.

Smith Burnham Outstanding Intern Award

The purpose of the outstanding intern award is to encourage an environment in which a future teacher is given close, expert supervision.The intern participates in a variety of authentic teaching experiences with at least one, and often several, outstanding teachers at Portage Central High School.  WMU's College of Education's Office of Field Placements works with the History Department in this placement.  The intern teacher also receives letters of recommendation from his/her supervising teachers at PCHS, members of WMU's History Department, and the PCHS principal following the completion of the internship.   More about this award.

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • A letter of interest that describes what you would hope to learn during your internship as well as the skills and interests you would impart.
  • A detailed resume describing your school and relevant work experiences.
  • An unofficial transcript.

The award comes with a stipend of $300.

Margaret MAcmillan Undergraduate Writing Award

application form

The Margaret Macmillan writing award honors undergraduate papers of not more than 4000 words (excluding notes and bibliography). Submissions are unrestricted as to historical subject and will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Mastery of writing skills necessary for effective communication.
  • Appropriate thought in the interpretation and analysis of historical information.
  • Clear, concise expression and nuanced use of language.

    N.B. Only papers prepared for courses taken or completed during the current academic year will be considered. A call for submission announcement is forwarded to students each year; the deadline for submissions is April 1. The recipient of the Margaret Macmillan writing award receives a stipend of $350.

Cheryl Lyon-Jenness Advanced Undergraduate Writing Award

 


The Cheryl Lyon-Jenness Advanced Undergraduate writing award honors student papers exceeding 4,000 words that fall under the broad rubric of research papers. This includes senior theses, historiographical works, material culture or museum related pieces, methodological/theoretical analyses, and critical review essays. Submissions are unrestricted as to historical subject and will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Mastery of writing skills necessary for effective communication.
  • Appropriate thought in the interpretation and analysis of historical information.
  • Clear, concise expression and nuanced use of language. 

N.B. Only papers prepared for for the previous spring, fall, summer, and/or current academic semesters will be considered. The recipient of the Cheryl Lyon-Jenness writing award receives a stipend of $350.

Honors in History

Application Form
History majors may apply for and receive an "Honors in History" designation on their official transcript.  History honors application or pick up a form in the Department of History Advising Office, 4451 Friedmann Hall.  A committee of Department of History faculty will consider all applications for Honors in History.  If you are eligible for the Honors designation, the Department will notify you in writing and instruct the University Registrar to enter the Honors in History designation on your transcript.  If your GPA falls below the required minimum for Honors in History, the designation will be revoked.  Recipients receive a $250 stipend.

history alumni travel award

This award funds undergraduate history majors and minors who engage in scholarly activities outside the classroom and/or who pursue opportunities that advance their professional goals as historians.  Grants are awarded to further research, encourage internship or volunteer experiences, defray the cost of travel to a scholarly conference, or in support of other scholarly or professional activities in history.  The amount for this award is variable.

The Dale p. pattison award

 WMU Graduate and Professor Emeritus Dr. Dale Pattison taught at WMU form 1963-1995.  To honor his memory, Kelly H. Pattison created the Dr. Dale P. Pattison Endowment to support undergraduates in the Department of History.  The program funds undergraduate history majors and minors who engage in scholarly activities outside the classroom and/or who pursue opportunities that advance their professional goals as historians.  Grants are awarded to further research, encourage internship or volunteer experiences, defray the cost of travel to scholarly conferences, or in support of other scholarly or professional activities.  The amount for this award is variable.