Challenge Grant of $250,000 Supports Powers Graduate Fellowships

A $250,000 challenge grant to support the William C. Powers, Jr. Graduate Fellowship Program has been awarded to the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin.

The privately funded dollar-for-dollar matching grant will add an additional $500,000 to support the recruitment and retention of outstanding graduate students.

The Powers Graduate Fellowships are among the most prestigious fellowships awarded by the Graduate School, providing a financial package totaling $36,000 over a nine-month period. Students who receive one of these fellowships are considered to be among the most academically competitive scholars on the campus.

A $1 million gift from Dr. Steven Ungerleider, a renowned sports psychologist in Oregon, created the Powers Fellows program to support excellence in graduate education across the university in 2009. The original gift was facilitated by Ungerleider through the Foundation for Global Sports Development, an Outreach and Mentorship Educational Fund, where Ungerleider is a trustee. To date, five students have received Powers Fellowships, conducting research in Biomedical Engineering, Kinesiology and Health Education, Anthropology and Mechanical Engineering.

Ungerleider's motivation to create the fellowship was to enhance the university's ability to offer competitive fellowship packages to some of the nation's most sought-after graduate students, supporting the president's goal of becoming the top public research institution in the country. Fellowships will be awarded to students doing research in disciplines that align with the strategic academic priorities outlined by the president and the academic deans.

"This challenge grant comes at a wonderful time," says Victoria Rodríguez, vice provost and dean of graduate studies. "With budgets tightening, we have fewer resources to offer to our graduate students, which may cause some of the best to attend other competitive universities. This additional funding will allow us to make attractive offers so they are able to choose The University of Texas at Austin for their graduate work."

Graduate students work beside senior researchers, doing cutting-edge, original and publishable research while they contribute new ideas and new perspectives.

Read more about the Powers Fellowship Program and challenge grant.