Specter Fellowships

Arlen Specter Center for Public Service Research Fellowship Announcement: Home


In 2017-18, the Arlen Specter Center will offer two competitive research fellowships for the purpose of aiding a scholar in the pursuit of study and research in an area supported by the Arlen Specter Collection, such as:

  • Supreme court nominee confirmations
  • LGBTQ rights- See materials from Specter’s time as Philadelphia’s District Attorney
  • Middle East diplomacy
  • Cuban-American relations
  • Scientific/medical research funding- including stem-cell research
  • Criminal justice/hate crimes
  • Clinton impeachment
  • Philadelphia regional developments and initiatives (Constitution Center opening; Naval Base closure)

The fellow will use the Arlen Specter Collection at the University of Pittsburgh and Jefferson University    (East Falls Campus).[1]  The Collection contains Specter’s extensive papers, audiovisuals, photographs and memorabilia documenting his 30-year Senatorial career.  The research must result in a publication which furthers knowledge and understanding of a legislative, historical, or policy issue.  It is expected that at least a portion of the research and publication needs to originate from the Arlen Specter Collection.

Eligible Applicants

The intent of the award is to increase awareness of the late Senator’s work and legacy.

Fellowships may be awarded to a graduate student currently enrolled in an academic program or to a post-graduate scholar who will conduct research on a topic consistent with the legacy of the late Senator.  Scholars of or graduate students studying history, political science, or related fields are encouraged to apply.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Fellows will be awarded a $5,000 taxable fellowship, which will cover all travel and research expenses.  This is a two-semester fellowship.*

Jefferson University faculty and/or graduate students are eligible to apply, if their research is directly tied to the fellowship priority areas.  Course releases do not accompany this fellowship.

To be considered, applicants must have a research plan that makes use of the extensive Specter Collection.  The final deliverable must be a scholarly publication such as a white paper, article, book chapter, book, doctoral dissertation, or master’s thesis based on this research plan.

Application Materials

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Unabridged CV or resume
  • Research plan (3-pages maximum) including the statement of importance to the discipline, the intended audience, and expected outcome, including proposed timing for the research plan, and the anticipated publication format: Master’s thesis, PhD dissertation, journal article, book or book chapter, or white paper.
  • One letter of reference from someone familiar with the applicant’s research plan.
  • Statement of importance of the Specter Archives to the research project
    • Feel free to consult with Specter archivist, Ashley Taylor, for details on the content of the archive:
  • Budget and Budget Narrative describing the research expenses that the fellowship will support.

Submit your complete application as a single pdf to:  spectercenter@philau.edu by October 31, 2017. Awardees will be notified during the first week of December, 2017.

Fellowship requirements: 

In return for accepting the fellowship, the fellow will produce the following deliverables:

  • Completed publication, as described in the application.
    • At minimum, a publication-ready draft must be submitted to the Specter Center Coordinator by January 15, 2019.
    • Recipients must appropriately credit the Specter Research Fellowship in the preface and/or footnotes of all work produced with this funding.
  • Two on-campus presentations:
    • Roxboro House Roundtable session for undergraduate and graduate students on the topic of their fellowship-by April 30, 2018
    • Research presentation at a Specter Center Knowledge Exchange for faculty, staff and students about the research activity- by the end of the Fall, 2018 semester.
  • A copy of the published work for the University’s archives.

Arlen Specter websites: 

Relevant books:

Life among the cannibals: a political career, a Tea Party uprising, and the end of governing as we know it – by Specter, Arlen; Robbins, Charles 2012

Passion for truth: from finding JFK’s single bullet to questioning Anita Hill to impeaching Clinton –  by Specter, Arlen; Robbins, Charles, 2000

Arlen Specter:  An Oral History – by Lockman, Brian; Francine Schertzer, 2017                                                         See: https://pcnstore.com/index.php?id_category=6&controller=category

For further information, contact:

  • Karen Albert, Specter Center Coordinator: phone:    215-951-2847; email: albertk@philau.edu
  • Evan Laine, Specter Center Faculty Director: phone: 609-471-3898; email: lainee@philau.edu

*Half of the award will be paid at the start of research with the remainder awarded upon completion of the fellowship requirements.

[1] The materials may be viewed in Pittsburgh, or shipped to Philadelphia.

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