Undergraduate Research

Iwanter Prize

The annual Iwanter Prize provides an unrestricted $2,000 award to one graduating senior who, through a senior thesis and general academic distinction, demonstrates outstanding humanities-based scholarship of a broad and interdisciplinary nature. The award is made possible by a gift to the UW Foundation by Sidney E. Iwanter, an alumnus of the College of Letters & Science (BA History, 1971).

Application Guidelines

Deadline: May 2, 2018


The thesis must be interdisciplinary but need not be interdepartmental. The topic of the winning thesis must reflect a breadth of interests and learning experiences as well as depth in its main area of focus. It should draw from more than one scholarly discipline (for example, history and Italian literature; philosophy and art), but it may do so in a variety of ways. Many students working within the disciplinary conventions of one department are already regularly undertaking interdisciplinary research, and should be considered eligible for the award.


Applications for the Iwanter prize may come directly from students, but must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the thesis advisor. Eligibility is restricted to seniors graduating from the College of Letters & Science, and who are receiving a degree with a major in a humanities discipline. Students graduating in spring or summer may submit advanced draft versions of the thesis.

Application Instructions

Applications should consist of four parts:

  1. A one-page cover letter from the student that includes (a) title and a brief description of the senior thesis (b) a brief overview of the student's interdisciplinary experiences, and (c) current and post-graduation contact information, sent to iwanter@humanities.wisc.edu
  2. A signed letter of recommendation directly from the student's thesis advisor, who must be a faculty member in the Humanities and Arts Division of the College of Letters & Science (either paper copy or and sent electronically to iwanter@humanities.wisc.edu).
  3.  The student's senior thesis (one electronic copy) sent to: iwanter@humanities.wisc.edu
  4.  The student's unofficial transcript (one paper original).

Materials may arrive separately, but all materials must be received by the Center for the Humanities by the deadline. Materials not sent electronically may be hand-delivered or mailed to:

Marrion Ladd
Center for the Humanities
University Club Building, Room 316
432 East Campus Mall Madison, WI 53706


For additional information call (608) 263-3412, or e-mail info@humanities.wisc.edu.

Past winners

2016-17 Iwanter Prize: Isaiah Stock (Political Science) Thesis: A Reluctant Game-Changer: Examining Pre-exposure Prophylaxis through Epistemological Pluralism with Professor John Zumbrunnen advising.

2016-17 Honorable Mention: Samuel Gee (History and Religious Studies) Thesis: Scientific Salvation: Mystical Experience and the Psychology of Religion in America, 1880-1930 with Professor Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen and Dr. Corrie Norman advising.

2015-16 Iwanter Prize: Margaret McLaughlin (Art History, Classical Humanities) Thesis: Heroes, Horses, and Heaven: The Mythological Ideology of the Thracian Elite with Professor Nick Cahill advising.

2014-15 Iwanter Prize:  Alexander Sherman (Mathematics, English) Thesis: Approximating Characters: The Waves and Fourrier Analysis, with Professor Susan Stanford Friedman advising. 2014-15 Honorable Mentions: Chelsea Cornelius (Philosophy, Religious Studies) Thesis: Cyberspace as Sacred Space: Mapping Online Feminist-Religious Identity, Community, and Coalition Building with Professor Susan Zaeske advising. Megan Ness (History) Thesis: Children at Work: Childhood Labor in the Ancient Greek World with Professor Claire Taylor advising.

2013-14 Iwanter Prize: Benjamin Blackman (English) Thesis: Informing the Human: Patterned Bodies from Romanticism to Postmodernity, with Professor Monique Allewaert advising.

2013-14 Honorable Mention: Laura Sevelis, (Art History and Zoology) Thesis: A State of Wonder: Blaschka Marine Invertebrates and the Tension Between Religion and Science, 1863 -1890, with Professor Nancy Rose Marshall advising.

2012-2013 Iwanter Prize: Kyrie Eleison H. Caldwell (Art History and Religious Studies)

2011-2012 Iwanter Prize: Jamie Stark (Political Science) 2011-12 Honorable Mention: Susan Burns (History)

2010-11: Jeff Eversman (History)

2009-10: Catherine Victoria Olien (Anthropology)

2008-09: Molly Eddy (Anthropology)

2007-08: Claire Allen (Anthropology)

2006-07: Lindsay M. Woodbrige (English)

2005-06: Jason Rozumalski (History and Political Science)

2004-05: Michael Darnell (Slavic Languages - Russian major)

2003-04: Kristin Lambert (English)

2002-03: Sinan Sirri Kalayoglu (Geography and Political Science)

2001-02: Jyoti Raghu (English and Religious Studies)

2000-01: Chris Hemauer (Art History)