Mary Jo Read Awards

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 chairwoman from 1958 to 1963. She then taught at Eastern Illinois University and returned to Milwaukee upon her retirement.

The Mary Jo Read Geography Fund, with estimated assets of more than $1 million, will benefit the department by providing scholarships, fellowships, and merit awards 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 experiences.


Both new and continuing students are eligible for these fellowships 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 these awards if they applied by 1 Dec.

Both new and continuing students should also create a profile on UWM’s Scholarship Portal.

Your profile is a one-time set up 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. 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.

Travel Grant

The Mary Jo Read Travel Scholarship competition is open to graduate students in the UW-Milwaukee Geography master’s or doctoral programs.

Awards are made in two categories:

  • Category 1 – Travel support for professional development experiences, such as presentation of a paper at a major academic conference; or
  • Category 2 – Travel support for course-related research field experiences including dissertation field 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. 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 two-page report on what was accomplished, including the associated course. Research-related travel must be connected to specific course work, such as Geog. 654 or 990, that is registered for in an appropriate semester.

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 Scholarship will enhance your professional development (Category 1) or course-related 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.