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 University of Wisconsin Foundation by Sidney E. Iwanter, an alumnus of the College of Letters & Science (BA History, 1971).

Application Guidelines

Deadline: June 1, 2019


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.


For additional information email iwanter@humanities.wisc.edu

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


2018 Iwanter Prize
Alexa Machnik (Art History) 
Thesis: Deified Beauty: Yang Guifei’s Cultural Legacy and Manifestation as Kannon in the Sennyu-ji Temple
Advisor: Professor Yuhang Li

2018 Honorable Mention
Emma Strenski (History and International Studies)
Thesis: The Brcko Arbitration: A New Way of Governing Ethnicity in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Advisor: Professor Kathryn Ciancia

2017 Iwanter Prize
Isaiah Stock (Political Science)
Thesis: A Reluctant Game-Changer: Examining Pre-exposure Prophylaxis through Epistemological Pluralism 
Advisor: Professor John Zumbrunnen

2017 Honorable Mention
Samuel Gee (History and Religious Studies)
Thesis: Scientific Salvation: Mystical Experience and the Psychology of Religion in America, 1880-1930 
Advisors: Professor Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen and Dr. Corrie Norman

2016 Iwanter Prize
Margaret McLaughlin (Art History, Classical Humanities)
Thesis: Heroes, Horses, and Heaven: The Mythological Ideology of the Thracian Elite 
Advisor: Professor Nick Cahill

2015 Iwanter Prize 
Alexander Sherman (Mathematics, English)
Thesis: Approximating Characters: The Waves and Fourrier Analysis 
Advisor: Professor Susan Stanford Friedman

2015 Honorable Mention
Chelsea Cornelius (Philosophy, Religious Studies) 
Thesis: Cyberspace as Sacred Space: Mapping Online Feminist-Religious Identity, Community, and Coalition Building 
Advisor: Professor Susan Zaeske 

2015 Honorable Mention
Megan Ness (History) 
Thesis: Children at Work: Childhood Labor in the Ancient Greek World 
Advisor: Professor Claire Taylor

2014 Iwanter Prize
Benjamin Blackman (English)
Thesis: Informing the Human: Patterned Bodies from Romanticism to Postmodernity 
Advisor: Professor Monique Allewaert 

2014 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 
Advisor: Professor Nancy Rose Marshall

2013 Iwanter Prize
Kyrie Eleison H. Caldwell (Art History and Religious Studies)
Thesis: Digital "Fayth" and Ritual "Play": A Study in Religious Participation and Audiovisual Affect in Contemporary Video Games
Advisor: Professor Quitman E. Phillips

2012 Iwanter Prize
Jamie Stark (Political Science)
Thesis: The WikiLeaks Club
Advisor: Professor Lew Friedland

2012 Honorable Mention 
Susan Burns (History)
Thesis: Reflecting Tragedy: A Comparison of Public Sites of Memory in Vietnam and the United States
Advisor: Professor Alfred McCoy

2011 Iwanter Prize: Jeff Eversman (History)

2010 Iwanter Prize: Catherine Victoria Olien (Anthropology)

2009 Iwanter Prize
Molly Eddy (Anthropology)
Thesis: Spirit and Body: Paradox and Ambiguity in Brigidine Devotion

2008 Iwanter Prize
Claire Allen (Anthropology)
Thesis: Feminism in the Slums: Considering Alternatives for Muslim Girls' Education in India
Advisor: Professor Kirin Narayan

2007 Iwanter Prize
Lindsay M. Woodbridge (English)
Thesis: The Fallout of Silent Spring
Advisor: Professor Rob Nixon

2006 Iwanter Prize
Jason Rozumalski (History and Political Science)
Thesis: Vegetable Politick: Enlightenment and English Rural Life
Advisor: Professor Jean Lee

2005 Iwanter Prize: Michael Darnell (Russian)

2004 Iwanter Prize
Kristin Lambert (English)
Thesis: Doubled Vision: Spectation on the Early Modern Stage
Advisor: Professor Henry Turner

2003 Iwanter Prize: Sinan Sirri Kalayoglu (Geography and Political Science)

2002 Iwanter Prize: Jyoti Raghu (English and Religious Studies)

2001 Iwanter Prize: Chris Hemauer (Art History)