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Release: June 1, 1999

UI graduate student wins $1,500 Women's Studies Dissertation Grant

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kristin J. Brandser, a University of Iowa graduate student, has won a $1,500 Women's Studies Dissertation Grant from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Brandser, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the UI, was one of only 15 graduate students chosen from among more than 200 applicants nationwide to win the award. Her dissertation is tentatively titled, "In Contempt: Women, Law and the Victorian Novel."

Brandser, a Des Moines native and the daughter of Kenneth and June Kalsem, 680 44th St., Des Moines, earned her undergraduate degree at the UI in 1984 and then attended the University of Chicago Law School, of which she is a 1987 graduate.

The Foundation's Women's Studies Dissertation Grants program was the first in the country to encourage scholarship about women and is still the only national source of support in the field for graduate students who are completing their doctoral studies.

"Women's studies as a field has changed," said Judith L. Pinch, the program's director. "In early competitions, dissertation topics tended to be about writers and historical figures who happened to be women. Now there is much more interest in interdisciplinary work that examines such subjects as women's authorship, the domestic lives of women, the connections between race and gender, and international affairs."

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in education since 1945 through the identification of critical needs and the development of effective national programs to address them. Its programs include fellowships for graduate study, professional development for teachers, educational opportunities for women and minorities, relating the academy to society, and national service.