When Mary Jo Read, a geography professor, died in 1998, she made UWM geography students beneficiaries of her estate through an endowment fund that generates more than $50,000 per year. “The fund will help the Geography Department attract some of the best students in the country,” says Read’s longtime friend and colleague Donn Haglund, professor emeritus of geography. Read, a dedicated professor, accomplished photographer, popular speaker, and worldwide traveler, taught at UWM’s Department of Geography from 1940 (when it was the Milwaukee State Teachers College) until 1965 and was its chair from 1958 to 1963. She then taught at Eastern Illinois University and returned to Milwaukee upon her retirement.
The Mary Jo Read (MJR) Geography Fund, with estimated assets of more than $1 million, will benefit the department by providing fellowships and travel grants to students who demonstrate academic excellence in the field.
Specifically, the fund earmarks the following for graduate students:
- Fellowships for Geography graduate students, typically to provide additional financial support to those also holding teaching, project, or research assistantships.
- Travel grants for graduate students to fund research and professional development opportunities.
Mary Jo Read Fellowship
Both new and continuing students are eligible to apply for an MJR fellowship each year, with awards based on each student’s academic record and competitive standing. All continuing graduate students must submit a financial support application form (downloadable from Graduate Handbook and Forms) to be considered for the fellowship for the next academic year. Incoming students are automatically considered for this fellowship if they apply by 1 Dec.
Both new and continuing students should also create a profile on UWM’s Scholarship Portal.
Your profile is an initial one-time setup that will match you with all available scholarships and awards. It is important that you complete the profile both for this opportunity as well as all other opportunities available campus-wide. After the initial setup, students must reactivate and update their profile at minimum once per year between October 15 and May 15 (updating twice per year is recommended).
In addition to the general application, students should also complete the Letters & Science profile which consists of just one item – upload a copy of your most recent transcript.
Mary Jo Read Travel Grant
The Mary Jo Read Travel grant is open to graduate students in the UW-Milwaukee Geography master’s or doctoral programs. The amount awarded to applicants varies from year to year depending on the funds available and student needs.
MJR Travel grants are made to graduate students under two categories:
- Category 1– Travel support for students to present (paper, poster or other) their research findings at a major academic conference, or comparable professional development opportunities;
- Category 2 – Travel support to gain field or laboratory experience to facilitate thesis or dissertation research.
In order to be eligible for Category 1 awards, students must agree to submit a complete expense report after the conference, along with a short (1-page) report that includes the abstract and details of their presentation. Category 1 awards can cover airfare, lodging, meals and incidental expenses, and conference registration. They cannot cover membership fees in professional organizations. Students must follow UW System Travel Policy and abide by UW System allowances for lodging, meals, and incidentals. In order to be eligible for Category 2 awards, students must agree to submit a complete expense report after their research-related travel, along with a 1-page report on what was accomplished.
Calls are made annually by the Department Chair, but students are encouraged to inquire of the Graduate Program Chair whenever needs arise. To apply, submit the following documentation by announced deadlines:
- A brief letter of application (300 to 500 words) listing the category of award you are applying for, describing your academic interests and goals, and explaining how the Mary Jo Read Travel Grant will enhance your professional development (Category 1) or field research (Category 2) experience;
- A specific plan (including a budget) of when and where your travel will occur; and
- Curriculum vitae containing personal information (name, student number, address, phone, email); academic achievements, awards and honors (excluding high school); and current or recent extracurricular activities including volunteer work.