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Ph.D. Candidate Küppers Receives NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

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Headshot of Sinja Küppers, a Ph.D. candidate in classical studies, who has received an NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Ph.D. candidate Sinja Küppers has received an NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship from the National Academy of Education (NAEd). 

The NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship is a competitive program which supports students across disciplines whose dissertations highlight a new perspective on education. The fellowship includes $27,500 of dissertation funding, along with meetings among fellows to promote interdisciplinary connections. The meetings include two professional development retreats, the NAEd’s annual meeting and a conference. Fellows will also be mentored by NAEd members and senior scholars in their field. Out of over 350 applicants in 2022, 35 were selected. 

Küppers is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in classical studies. She earned a B.A. in ancient languages and cultures from the University of Cologne and a master of studies in Greek and Latin languages and literature from the University of Oxford.

Her research broadens the social history of the late Roman Empire’s higher education by focusing on the role of marginalized voices. During her Ph.D. program, Küppers has developed digital humanities projects for research and instruction, taught a special topics course on Roman education, and co-founded the first-generation graduate student network Duke F1RSTS. This summer, she is working alongside the Curriculum Development Committee to upgrade the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences curriculum.

Tips for Future Applicants 

"I would recommend students to think outside of the box and look for fellowships that connect researchers from different disciplines who are interested in the same topic. Especially if you want to offer a fresh perspective on a topic in your field, it is worth investigating research questions and methods used in others. If your research fits the mission of the fellowship program, do not hesitate to apply even if you are the first in your field to do so. And if you do not win the fellowship, you still benefit from summarizing what your dissertation brings to the table as you gain a better understanding of the topic and broaden the community that may be interested in your contribution." — Sinja Küppers