Ruggiero-Handelman Field Research Award Guidelines

About Kristin Ruggiero

Dr. Kristin Ruggiero, Professor Emerita, came to UWM to direct the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) in 1999. As an accomplished and trained Historian, Dr. Ruggiero also joined the History Department faculty and served as Associate Director of the Center for International Education. Professor Ruggiero has been a life-long Latin Americanist, engaging in research and teaching on the history and culture of Latin America for nearly fifty years. Her research primarily focused on Argentina, and the historical areas of criminology, gender and medicine. Dr. Ruggiero’s most profound contribution to UWM was through her fifteen years of leadership as Director of the CLACS. As Director, she led the Center’s efforts to promote, develop and support teaching, research, and outreach about the Americas. The Ruggiero-Handelman Award is a testament to her deep commitment to students and Latin American and Caribbean Studies and serves as a legacy for CLACS and future students, who will be able to share her passion for research in the region.

About Howard Handelman 

Dr. Howard Handelman, Professor Emeritus, was a member of the UWM Political Science Department (1970-2006). He served as Chair of that department (1986-89, 2003-2005) and was acting Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (1992-93, 2000). He proudly served as Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies from 1994 to 1999. Teaching a variety of courses in comparative politics, his research focus was Latin America. His published research covers Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, exploring topics that include peasant mobilization and agrarian reform, labor union politics, the military, and national elections. The Ruggiero-Handelman Award expresses his commitment to UWM students’ understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ruggiero-Handelman Award Eligibility:

  • Currently enrolled Masters or Ph.D. graduate student or advanced undergraduate student with junior or senior standing at UWM; open to any field.
  • No citizenship restrictions. (Taxes apply for non-US citizens based on country of origin and US tax treaty status of students’ home country.)

One to two Ruggiero-Handelman Field Research Awards are distributed annually. The amount may vary from year to year but will likely range from $1,000-$1,200.


Awards will fund brief periods (between 2 weeks and 4 months) of field research in Latin America and the Caribbean. Awards are intended mainly for summer field research but timing for field research may be adjusted on a case-by-case basis if necessary. Students from Latin America may apply for funding for research to their home countries if field research is necessary for the completion of their project and essential for their academic study. The advisor’s letter must explain this.

Award funds are intended to support proposed projects only. Any changes of plan with the field research must be approved by the Award Committee.

The award amounts will depend on the budgeted expenses for the research. Priority is given to: 1) International travel expenses; 2) Domestic travel expenses; 3) Living expenses or other related fees.

CLACS encourages all students to apply for external grants to cover their full research expenses. If awarded an external grant, please immediately notify Aimee Orndorf,

Application Procedures:

The deadline is March 15, 2024.

A complete application, done on Academic Works (search for “Ruggiero Handelman”) contains:

  1. An abstract of your research proposal
  2. Proposal Narrative, which should include:
    1. Current state of research on this topic
    2. Feasibility of your proposal (local contacts, timeline, previous experience)
    3. What is the research problem/question you will be studying
    4. What is the significance of the research for your field of study
    5. What is your proposal travel destination and why was it chosen
    6. What is your research plan or methodology
    7. When would your proposed travel take place.
  3. Proposed Budget and Budget Narrative explaining anticipated costs and/or external resources available for your project.
  4. Transcripts: unofficial undergraduate and UWM graduate
  5. Two letters of recommendation, one from your UWM faculty advisor, and one from another faculty member. Once you enter their name and email into your application on Academic Works, they will receive an email with instructions on how to upload their letter of recommendation.

For an excellent guide on how to write proposals, see:
Pzreworski, Adam and Salomon, Frank, On the Art of Writing Proposals (Social Science Research Council, 1995 rev., 1988).

Awards will be announced in April.

Criteria For Evaluation of Applications:

The selection committee will rank applications based on the following criteria:

  1. Scholarly merit and quality of the proposal;
  2. Student’s overall academic record;
  3. Ability to carry out the project;
  4. Demonstrated commitment to undertaking field research in Mexico, Central America, South America and/or the Caribbean.

Approval for Human Subject Research:

Grant recipients whose research involves human subjects must get approval from the Institutional Review Board at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Guidelines on research with human subjects are available at:

Note that human subject research approval can take a month or more. We strongly encourage all applicants to proceed with the Human Subjects approval process at the time of application. For questions, contact the IRB Manager Melissa Spadanuda at:

Host Country Affiliation:

CLACS encourages grantees to establish an affiliation with an appropriate institution in the host country. Such institutions might include universities, research institutes, hospitals, law firms, government agencies, or volunteer organizations.

Reporting for Ruggiero Grantees:

The Ruggiero-Handelman Grantee will submit one report:

  1. Narrative on the grantees’ field research experience (e.g. any unanticipated logistical difficulties, in-country affiliations, deviations from research plan or timeline, other lessons learned, etc.);
  2. Brief statement on actual budget expenditures;
  3. Short reflection on how the field research was integral to the grantee’s research project.

Any questions can be directed to Aimee Orndorf,