Scholarships and Awards


David Jon Vaca Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship

David Jon VacaThe $500 David Jon Vaca Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship in American Studies, which is based on scholastic achievement and financial need, is awarded each semester. The scholarship is named in honor of David Vaca, an outstanding American Studies B.A. and graduate student who was killed in January 1986 when the car he was driving was hit while stopped at a traffic light by a driver fleeing narcotics agents. Generous donations from the Vaca family, American Studies alumni, and faculty have supported this scholarship for many years.

Who may apply: Any American Studies major who has earned 60 units overall, including at least 9 units in American Studies courses, and who has maintained at least a 3.5 GPA in American Studies courses. Previous applicants are eligible to reapply.

Application procedures: The application deadlines are usually in late September and late March. They will be announced at this web site and in classes. In order to apply you need to obtain an application form, which is available in the department office (UH-313). In apition to filling out the form, you are asked to submit a letter explaining why and how you would benefit from the scholarship. Letters should be addressed to the department chair, Leila Zenderland. It is perfectly appropriate to contact faculty members for advice on composing your application letter. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you should seriously consider applying; this scholarship is a distinct honor. And $500 can always come in handy.


The Michael & Lucy Steiner Study Abroad Scholarship provides $750 each year to an American Studies major or minor at California State University Fullerton to help offset the costs of CSUF Study Abroad, Study Away, or other CSUF travel and scholarship programs. Established by the Steiner family, their colleagues, students, friends, and CSUF American Studies alumni, the scholarship honors Mike and Lucy Steiner's commitment to traveling, regionalism, and transnational understandings of America. Upon return, all Steiner scholarship recipients are expected to visit an American Studies class to report on the experience, write a thank-you note for the Steiner Scholarship webpage, or otherwise help encourage students to participate in this opportunity.

To be eligible, students must have earned at least 9 units in American Studies and be accepted into a CSUF travel and study program. To apply, you must fill out the application form PDF File and attach a statement of approximately 500 words describing your financial needs, reasons for studying abroad, and the role of American Studies in your journey. Criteria for selection include financial need, scholarship, and the quality of the statement of purpose. Applications are due to the American Studies Department office in UH 313 by 5:00 PM, April 4. 

Margarete Liebe Sekhon Graduate Scholarship

The Margarete Liebe Sekhon Graduate Scholarship in American Studies provides an annual award of $1,000 to a student accepted for fall semester admission to the Master's Program in American Studies at CSUF. Scholarly merit and financial need are considered in determining the recipient of the award. The cash award is issued directly to the recipient to be used at their own discretion. Recipients must be currently enrolled for fall semester and carrying a minimum of six units of credit toward their graduate study plan.

Eligibility for this scholarship requires an overall grade point average of 3.2 for the last 48 units of undergraduate study AND a minimum grade point average of 3.5 for all upper-division coursework in the field of your declared undergraduate major as well as any upper-division American Studies coursework for non-American Studies undergraduate majors.

Full instructions and an application form are available at this link.PDF File Application deadline is February 1 for each year. If you have any questions, please contact Professor Adam Golub at

Profile of Donor/Honoree: Margarete Liebe Sekhon, long time resident of Fullerton and former CSUF student, was a model of a life lived well: she embraced life in her love of learning and sense of community responsibility.  Margarete spent most of her time helping the less fortunate as a caregiver to both inbound developmentally disabled children and the elderly throughout Orange County.  An avid student of languages, Margarete also was an accomplished artist, having earned a Master's degree in Art with a style marked by bold colors and landscapes, especially trees.  Her wide ranging interests reflect her verve and sense of humor; she was an ecologist, an amateur linguist, a self-styled gourmet cook, a poetess, a mother, and a Boy Scout den mother who made her troop learn how to bake for merit badges.  Indeed, the lessons she taught continue to instruct those who knew her long after her premature death to cancer.  This fellowship is intended both as a respectful memorial to her life's many labors as well as a reminder of the lasting strength of her spirit.

Earl James Weaver Graduate Essay Prize

In the spring of 1993 the American Studies Student Association established the Earl James Weaver Jim WeaverGraduate Paper Prize to honor of the retirement of Earl James Weaver, Professor of American Studies, past Department Chair, and a founder of the Department of American Studies at California State University Fullerton. Jim, shown at right congratulating Paul Stewart, the first winner of the Weaver Prize, passed away in December 2000.

With an original endowment raised from the generous contributions of American Studies students and alumni, the Weaver Prize is an annual $250 cash award for the best paper written by an American Studies graduate student during the preceding year. Papers are judged by a three person panel of American Studies faculty and the winning paper is guaranteed publication inThe American Papers.

Application Procedures: Eligible submissions are papers written by an American Studies graduate student for any CSUF course in the spring, summer, or fall semesters of the preceding year. Both extended essays and research papers are welcome.

If you have a paper to submit, please attach a cover sheet to a clean copy of your paper, identifying your name, the course the paper was written for (and in which semester), and your contact information (phone and email)--then place it in an envelope clearly marked ?Weaver Submission? and deliver it to the department office, UH-313. The deadline each year will be announced via e-mail, in classes, and on the department web site.

Academic Achievement Award

Awarded each year to the graduating senior majoring in American Studies who is judged by the American Studies faculty to show the greatest academic promise. The faculty considers several factors in addition to grade point average; foremost among these other factors are the quality of mind the student has shown in his or her career as an American Studies major. A permanent plaque with the names of all award winners is on display on the 4th floor of University Hall.

Outstanding Reentry Student Award

Begun in 2005 with a very generous donation from an American Studies major who herself had been a reentry student, this award will be given every year to a graduating senior who either began or returned to college at least a decade after high school graduation. Recipients are selected by the department faculty.

Susan Flinkingshelt Student Association Service Award

Awarded each year to the American Studies major or minor judged by the American Studies faculty to have made the greatest contribution during that year to the success of the American Studies Student Association. A permanent plaque with the names of all award winners is on display on the 4th floor of University Hall.

This award is named in memory of Susan Flinkingshelt, an American Studies major who was killed in a tragic accident in November 1992. Susan, who graduated in 1989, was a very active member of the Student Association during her undergraduate years and in spring 1989 received the department's scholarship award, the Vaca Scholarship.