The Simpson Center’s offices are currently all online. Our staff is available by phone and email. We do our best to respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Simpson Center for the Humanities

Barclay Simpson Scholars in Public

With the support of a generous grant from the PSB Fund—the family foundation of Barclay and Sharon Simpson—and matching funds from the University of Washington Office of the Provost, the Simpson Center for the Humanities invites proposals from doctoral students in the humanities, broadly speaking, to pursue public-facing projects in their areas of study and practice. Collaborative projects are encouraged. Recipients of this fellowship will each receive a stipend of $6,000. 

We welcomed our inaugural cohort in Summer 2021, with new cohorts biannually in the years to follow. Applications for Summer 2022 are due November 5, 2021. Please direct any questions to Rachel Arteaga, Simpson Center Assistant Director, at


UW doctoral students in the humanities, social sciences, and arts divisions of the College of Arts & Sciences who have completed their work at the master’s level and who will receive no other funding during the term of the award.

Background and Description

Summer 2021 will mark the conclusion of the Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics program, made possible by six years of funding generously granted to the Simpson Center by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support public scholarship as an important aspect of doctoral education. A core component of that program, a summer fellowship opportunity for doctoral students to undertake projects of their own design and meet as a group to exchange ideas and challenges, has produced exhilarating work over the years. These students have engaged in imaginative and meaningful public projects ranging from creating a textbook for teaching Spanish in prison higher education programs to mapping poetry sites in Seattle. As one program ends and another begins, we will build institutional continuity by finding ways for graduate students involved in these two fellowship cohorts to meet each other and share their work.

Key to this new program will be the involvement of the University of Washington faculty recipient of the 2021 Barclay Simpson Prize for Scholarship in Public.  The holder of the prize will lead an opening workshop session for the Barclay Simpson Scholars, offering guidance and feedback on student projects.

The three faculty members who have thus far been awarded the Barclay Simpson Prize for Scholarship in Public attest to the rich variety of meaningful public scholarship that is taking place at the University of Washington:

  • 2015: Jim Gregory (History), on the history of the civil rights and labor movements in Seattle
  • 2017: Michelle Habell-Pallán (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies), on Latinx artists’ contributions to American popular music, and
  • 2019: Gillian Harkins (English), on education in prison.

In addition to participating in this mentoring workshop, Barclay Simpson Scholars will be meaningfully connected to a robust network of Simpson Center affiliated publicly-engaged faculty and graduate students from many disciplines across our campus.

Terms of the Award 

The explicit intent of this support is to allow fellows to devote themselves fulltime to their projects during the summer. Fellows must devote a minimum of six weeks to fulltime focused work on their projects, with no competing demands of teaching or other paid work. The fellowship carries an award of $6000, with no benefits or tuition.

Barclay Simpson Scholars will meet together over the summer to share their work. Students will be expected to submit brief project reports at the end of their fellowship terms, which will include reflective self-assessment, a description of progress made toward the goals stated at the outset of the term, and feedback on strengths and challenges from community members and partners to the project. 

Application Materials

  • Proposal (maximum 5 pages double-spaced). Proposals should include:
    • The intellectual ambitions of the project, including guiding research questions and a brief statement about the significance of the work for the area of study and its potential contribution to the public good
    • A description of the public audiences, partners, and/or stakeholders relevant to the project.
    • A project plan, including a timeline describing what will be accomplished during the summer.
  • Letter of support for each student to be submitted directly by the recommenders to The letters should be written by the students’ primary advisors (in most cases, the dissertation advisor).
  • C.V. (3 pages maximum)

The Simpson Center will form an Advisory and Selection Committee to determine funding awards.