Early Graduate Student Researcher Award

These Science Student Council awards recognize outstanding student researchers early in their graduate training.

Deadline: September 15, 2015

Sponsor: APA Science Student Council


The purpose of the Early Graduate Student Researcher Awards program is to recognize students for conducting outstanding research early in their graduate training (i.e., research conducted within the first two years of doctoral study). The award focuses on both the student’s general research experience and specific completed research projects. The research independence of the applicant as well as the novelty and implications of research performed as a graduate student will be used for evaluation purposes. Therefore preference may be given to students who have completed their second year of doctoral studies.

The funds may be used for direct research expenses (e.g., computer time, animal care, equipment, participant fees and incentives), software and/or conference travel; it may not be used for tuition, fees or personal expenses.

Each recipient receives an award of $1,000.

Two articles have been written about past recipients of this award: "Where Are They Now? A Look at APASSC's Past Early Researcher Award Winners" and "Looking back on past Early Graduate Student Researcher award winners: Where are they now?"



Frequently asked questions about the award


To be eligible for this award, at the time of the application deadline the student must meet each of the following requirements:

  1. Be currently enrolled in a doctoral program in psychology at a regionally accredited university located in the United States or Canada. Or, be a student in a graduate department other than psychology who is eligible to apply for the award because her/his graduate course of study is primarily psychological in nature. Students in graduate departments other than psychology who wish to apply for the award should provide APA Science Directorate staff with a transcript of graduate coursework (an unofficial copy is fine) and a brief written explanation of how the graduate course of study has been and will be primarily psychological in nature. These materials may be submitted either separately from the application or at the time of application submission.

  2. Be in the first two years of their doctoral program at the time of the application deadline, OR may be beginning the third year, but may not have completed the first semester/quarter of their third year.  Terminal masters programs completed before entering a doctoral program do not count towards years of doctoral program work. Doctoral programs that require masters degrees en route to the PhD do count towards years of doctoral program work.

  3. Be an APA graduate student affiliate or associate member, or apply for APA affiliation before the award application deadline.

We are unable to accept submissions from advanced graduate students or from students not currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the time of application.

Strong preference will be given to students who demonstrate outstanding research abilities early in their graduate training, and who show a considerable level of independence in conducting their research.

To ensure geographic diversity, only a maximum of one student per department will be selected for an Early Graduate Student Researcher Award per year but departments are not limited in the number of applications for this award that may be submitted each year.

APA Science Student Council members may not apply for the Early Graduate Student Researcher Award.

Up to three awards are given each year, drawn from basic science, applied science and interdisciplinary science areas. 

Women and people from groups that have historically been underrepresented in psychology are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Each application must include each of the following:

1. APA Student Affiliate or Associate Member status

Applicants must be student affiliates of APA to apply for this award. If you are not currently an APA student affiliate or associate member, you may still apply for this award by submitting a student affiliate membership application by the application deadline. Details are available on the membership website. If you are applying as a new graduate student affiliate, please provide a copy of the confirmation that you receive from APA after applying as evidence that you have applied. If you are renewing your APA membership, please complete your renewal on the website before the award application deadline.

2. Application Form

The application form (PDF, 157KB) should be typed or neatly printed, signed by the applicant and emailed as a PDF.

3. Research Statement

Your research statement should be 1,000 words maximum. Citations and references are allowed but not required. In-text citations do count towards the maximum word limit. Reference lists on a separate page will not count towards the word limit. This may be submitted as either a Word document or a PDF. Be sure to use APA format and to include:

  • Information on your past research experience, including a section that highlights at least one project the student has completed recently (within 12 months preceding the date of application). Any discussion of research completed prior to graduate school will be weighed less heavily compared to recent work. Please do not include tables or figures.

  • Information about your current research and why it is important.

  • Future proposed research projects.

  • Please use your research statement to highlight independence of research, novelty of ideas and implications of research, as your research will be evaluated using these criteria.

4. Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae

Your abbreviated curriculum vitae should be two pages maximum. This may be submitted as either a Word document or a PDF.

5. Two Letters of Recommendation

Your letters of recommendation should come from advisors and/or professors from your doctoral program (a maximum of one letter may come from an individual outside of your doctoral program) and should be a maximum of one page each. Please communicate to the faculty members who will write your recommendation letters the importance of adhering to this page limit. These letters should highlight the independence of your graduate work and research, as well as your potential within your field of interest. Please do not submit more than two letters of recommendation. Only two letters will be forwarded for review.

The letter writers must submit the letters directly via email. 

Please be sure to tell your letter writers about the 10MB limit. The student applying for the award is responsible for confirming that the faculty members have emailed their letters before the deadline. This is the student’s responsibility and applications that do not include both letters of recommendation, before the application deadline, will be disqualified. 

Please contact the APA Science Directorate with any questions by email or telephone: (202) 336-6000.

Please keep in mind:

  • Science Directorate staff will examine all applications for eligibility. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

  • Your application materials (described in this section) must be received electronically by the APA Science Directorate on or before Sept. 15, but after June 1. Please email your completed PDF and/or Word files. 

    The files should be attached to one or more emails. 

    Please note: APA's email system blocks files that are 10MB or larger. If you try to send an email including materials with a total that is larger than 10MB, we may not receive your email. We do not receive any indication that blocked emails were sent.

    If the sum of your files is larger than 10MB, we suggest sending each attachment in a separate email. If you have trouble meeting this requirement, please contact the APA Science Directorate for assistance.

  • Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to send confirmations that all materials have been received. Please do not contact the Science Directorate to verify receipt of your application. Instead, we suggest using an automatic receipt function on your email message to verify receipt by the Science Directorate. All applicants for the award will be notified of funding decisions via email by early December. 

  • Be sure to keep a copy of all submitted materials for your records.

  • All submissions must follow APA style, using a font of 10 points or larger, and one-inch margins. All materials may be single or double spaced. 

Past Recipients

Judith E. Fan, Basic Science
Joseph F. Lynch, III, Basic Science
Chadly D. Stern, Basic Science 
PSA article about the winners


Michael Alosco, Applied Science
Katie Chun, Interdisciplinary Science
Jonathan P. Stange, Basic Science
PSA article about the winners


Anne Berry, Basic Science
Diana Tamir, Basic Science
Andy Yap, Interdisciplinary Science
PSA article about the winners


Jenay Beer, Applied Science
Abigail Jenkins, Basic Science
Spike W. S. Lee, Basic Science
PSA article about the winners


Pooja Agarwal, Applied Science
Jackie Chen, Basic Science
Joseph Franklin, Basic Neuroscience
Jon Freeman, Basic Science
Matt Lerner, Applied Science
Eric Pedersen, Applied Science
PSA article about the winners

Note: prior to 2009 this award was referred to as the "Early Researcher Award"


Faith Brozovich, Applied Science
Zhicheng Lin, Basic Science
PSA article about the winners


Joshua Buckholtz, Interdisciplinary Science
Karienn Montgomery, Interdisciplinary Science
Edward Vul, Basic Science
PSA article about the winners


Evan Apfelbaum, Applied Science
Eyitayo Onifade, Applied Science
Alexis Stranahan, Basic Science
Nicholas Turk-Browne, Basic Science
PSA article about the winners


Adam Grant, Applied Science
Kyle Smith, Basic Science
Ryan Bogdan, (Honorable Mention), Basic Science
Eric John David, (Honorable Mention), Basic Science
Jenessa Shapiro, (Honorable Mention), Applied Science
PSA article about the winners


Celia Gonzalez, Basic Science
Julie Milligan, Applied Science