Student Awards

About Our Student Awards

Each year, NWSA in coordination with different NWSA caucuses and publications, offers multiple awards for people who are current members of NWSA. Awardees are announced in the Annual Conference program and are invited to participate in our award recognition event(s) hosted on-site during the conference.

Explore information about our annual Student Awards below!



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NWSA Women of Color Caucus Frontiers Student Essay Award

The National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) in partnership with Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies invites paper submissions for the 2024 NWSA Women of Color Caucus-Frontiers Student Essay Award.

The purpose of this award is to discover, encourage, and promote the intellectual development of emerging scholars who engage in critical theoretical discussions and/or analyses about feminist/womanist issues concerning women and girls of color in the United States and diasporas. 

One (1) annual $500 award is available for a woman of color who is a current graduate student and member of NWSA. The prize-winning essay will automatically be considered for publication in Frontiers. All essays are subject to the Frontiers peer review process. If winning essays are accepted for publication, additional revisions may be required.

Submission Requirements

  • Submissions must be from women of color who are current individual NWSA members and currently enrolled in a graduate or professional program. Recent recipients of a terminal degree (no later than May 2024) are also eligible to apply.

  • Submissions must be original manuscripts, not previously published in whole or in part (whether online or in print) or under consideration for publication or another award.

  • Manuscripts must be word-processed, double-spaced (including endnotes), and should not exceed 12,000 words.

  • The title page should include the applicant's name, address, email address, college or university affiliation, and student status (graduate or eligible post graduate) in the top right corner. No other identification information should appear in the manuscript.

  • Citations should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, with "humanities style" endnotes. Source information is provided only through numbered endnotes. This information is not given in parentheses or in a bibliography.

  • All submissions must be exclusive submissions to Frontiers for the duration of the essay award contest.

  • Submissions must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a mentoring professor. The letter of recommendation should speak to the importance and innovation of the applicant's particular research interventions, and should also address the applicant's skills, accomplishments, and other qualities that make them well suited as a leader in research on women of color. Additionally, the letter of recommendation must address the suitability of the paper for publication in Frontiers.

The NWSA Women of Color Caucus identifies women of color as those persons from African, Asian (including Asian American, Pacific Islander, Arab or Middle East Asian), Latin American, or American Indian (including African Native American or Alaskan Native) descent.

Apply Here!

Trans/Gender Variant Caucus Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize and support the work of scholars working in the emergent field of Trans Studies, broadly conceived. This $200 prize will be awarded to any caucus member whose paper was accepted for the 2024 annual conference and demonstrates potential to advance the field of trans studies. The recipient will be selected by a committee composed of the caucus chairs and two caucus members.

The paper will be selected based on the following criteria: originality of topic; quality of analysis and/or methods; potential to contribute to the field of trans studies; integrative analysis of race, class, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, empire, etc.; and clarity and organization.

Submission Requirements

  • Accepted paper at the 2024 Annual Conference
  • Current 2024 Individual NWSA Membership
  • Member of Trans/Gender-Variant Caucus at time of submission
  • Completed online submission form
  • Paper of no more than 20 pages, double-spaced
  • 1-2 page CV
  • Submissions must be from a trans and/or gender-variant-identifying scholar who is currently enrolled in a graduate or professional program
  • Recent recipients of a terminal degree (no later than January 2025) are also eligible to apply

Apply Here!

NWSA Graduate Scholarship

NWSA will award $1,000 to a student who, in the fall of the year of the award, will be engaged in the research or writing stages of a Master's Thesis or Ph.D. Dissertation in the interdisciplinary field of women's studies. The research project must enhance the NWSA mission. This opportunity is open to current NWSA individual members.

Submission Requirements

  • Hold an active Individual NWSA Membership
  • Completed online form (linked below)
  • PDF of one-page CV
  • Letter of recommendation from Program Director (if your primary department is not Women's Studies, we would suggest asking who you think would write you the strongest letter about your work as it relates to NWSA).

Lesbian Caucus Award

The purpose of the annual NWSA Lesbian Caucus Award is to provide a $500 research award in recognition of a Master’s Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation project in areas of Lesbian, Queer, and LGBT Studies that resonates with the mission of NWSA. The field of the degree is open, but the work should focus on lesbian (defined broadly) lives, identities, or realities and make a contribution to the fields of lesbian and sexuality studies.

Award applications are evaluated on the basis of

  1. Clarity of project description;
  2. Relevance to mission of NWSA, goals of Lesbian Caucus, and field of Women’s and Gender Studies;
  3. Engagement of feminist analytical frameworks/methodologies; and
  4. Potential impact on the fields of lesbian/sexuality studies.

Submission Requirements

  • Hold an active Individual NWSA Membership
  • Completed online form
  • One letter of recommendation, preferably from dissertation or thesis adviser, although DGS letters will be accepted.
  • All scholarship applicants are encouraged to apply for NWSA Conference Registration and Travel Grants if assistance is needed for NWSA conference participation.

Apply Here!

Revolution always unfolds inside an atmosphere of rising expectations.

- June Jordan

Join Our Constituency Groups

Current Members of NWSA can join and participate in constituency groups, which are member-driven spaces focused on facilitating networks of support, exploring scholarly and activist topics, professional standards within subsets of the discipline, and fostering community connections based upon shared socio-political locations. Constituency Groups also invite leadership development for members and support the NWSA vision in strengthening the reach of a WGSS-grounded education.

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Past Recipients

We're incredibly proud of our past Student Awards recipients! Awardees became dynamic faculty members, scholar-artists, innovative professional researchers, and advocates for feminist interventions in a myriad of professions as well as communities.

Past Student Award Winners

Women's Centers Committee Awards

Women's Centers are unarguably transformative sites of change for all members of a campus community. The first postsecondary women's center was founded in 1960 at the University of Minnesota and the legacy of addressing national issues of gender equity and support continues to expand. Our colleagues in campus-based women's centers work tirelessly to "deploy an intersectional lens in their work" and strive to address the historical (and in many ways ongoing) and institutional contexts that challenge the reach of Women's Centers. We are proud to celebrate the achievements of Women's Centers staff and educators through our Annual Awards.

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Explore the 2024 Annual Conference Call for Proposals

NWSA invites proposals that are attentive to the many facets of our multidirectional and multivocal field. We especially welcome those that focus on Waawiiyaataanong and Grace Lee Boggs’ life, work, and legacy, such as dialectical thinking, grassroots activism, the limitations of diversity, global warming, food and housing security, empire dependency, capital flight, and restorative justice.