University of California, Riverside

California Center for the Native Nations



Graduate Assistance of Areas of National Need (GAANN)


AI Graduation UCR 2016

Graduate Assistance of Areas of National Need (GAANN): Doctoral Opportunities in Native American Studies at UC Riverside

By Clifford E. Trafzer, Distinguished Professor and Rupert Costo Chair

In September 2015, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the University of California, Riverside, a large grant through the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN). The grant of $1.6 Million includes the match from UC Riverside. The grant will support high achieving graduate students conducting doctoral research in a field of American Indian Studies.  Some past GAANN Fellows have been from traditionally underrepresented groups, including tribes from the United States and Mexico.  All GAANN Fellows conduct their primary Ph.D. research in a field offering an academic emphasis in Native American Studies at the University of California, Riverside:  History, Literature, Art History, Ethnic Studies, Music, Dance, and Anthropology.  Students must demonstrate financial need by filling out the FAFSA.  A major objective of the grant will be to train and mentor graduate students for careers in teaching, mentorship, and academic research.

UC Riverside has a strong tradition of Native American Studies.  In 1986, Cahuilla scholar Rupert Costo endowed the first Chair in the world in Native American History.  In 2000, UC Riverside created the California Center for Native Nations, a research center that works closely with Native American Student Programs and Director Joshua Gonzales to serve the needs of indigenous students.  UC Riverside is one of the most diverse undergraduate campuses in the United States. The campus is known for strong student programs and a genuine interest in the education and future of all students.   The faculty and administration of UC Riverside hope the GAANN Grant will attract more talented Native American scholars and develop a larger and more diverse graduate program.

UC Riverside is ideally positioned to recruit and enroll excellent graduate students from diverse backgrounds and comprehensively prepare all students for careers in teaching and research in several fields of Native American Studies. The campus is located between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California, in the heart of Indian Country. Cahuilla, Luiseño, Cupeño, Tongva-Gabrieleño, Serrano, Kumeyaay, Juaneño, Chemehuevi, and many urban Indians live in the inland area of Southern California. Many professors in the field of Native American Studies at UC Riverside encourage students to conduct community-based research with American Indian people from regional communities or urban Indian centers and programs.

For the academic year 2015-2016, the Graduate Division and GAANN Program selected nine current graduate students as GAANN Fellows, including 5 Native Americans. During the American Indian Graduation Dinner in June 2016, two Native American graduate students earned the Ph.D., including John Alvarado and Charles Sepulveda.  The GAANN Program requires all returning students to re-apply every year to be considered for a GAANN Fellowship.  Awards cover tuition, fees, and living expenses, all dependent on need. GAANN Fellows must serve as teaching assistants as part of their educational experience, but the grant is intended to provide students with time to complete the Ph.D. in a timely manner. Most students earn the MA on their academic journey to the Ph.D., but GAANN Fellowships are available only for students on a graduate program leading to the Ph.D.

In order to be considered for a GAANN Fellowship, students must complete the BA and apply to a specific graduate program at the University of California, Riverside, offering the Ph.D. in a Native American field (see above for departments offering research fields).  Potential Fellows must be citizens of the U.S.  Each department selects a new cohort of graduate students and provides awards for successful applicants. Once the student has been admitted to an appropriate graduate program at UC Riverside, they fill out the FAFSA, then apply for a GAANN Fellowship. Students must be prepared to provide the Principal Investigator an abstract of their dissertation research in the field of Native American Studies.  A small committee of Faculty working in fields of Native American Studies selects GAANN Fellows based on academic achievement, research, and need.

For more information about GAANN Fellowships in Native American Studies at UC Riverside, email the Principal Investigator, Clifford Trafzer: clifford.trafzer@ucr.edu.

GAANN FELLOWS, 2016-2017

Amanda Wixon

Daisy Ocampo

Andrew Shaler

Evangelina Lopez

Meranda Roberts

Katherine Gordon

Daniel Stahl-Kovel

Karimah Richardson

American Indian GAANN Fellows Graduating with the Ph.D. in June, 2016

John Alvarado (American Indian Studies Emphasis in Anthropology, American Indian)

Charles Sepulveda (Ethnic Studies, American Indian Emphasis)

Participating Faculty, University of California, Riverside

CLIFFORD TRAFZER, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, HISTORY

REBECCA KUGEL, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, HISTORY

JACUELINE SHEA-MURPHY, DANCE

ALLYSON HEDGE-COKE, CREATIVE WRITING

MICHELLE RAHEJA, LITERATURE

ROBERT PEREZ, ETHNIC STUDIES

JASON WEEKS, ART HISTORY

ANDREW SMITH, MEDIA STUDIES

JONATHAN RITTER, MUSIC

LIZ PRZYBYLSKI, MUSIC

WESLEY LEONARD, ETHNIC STUDIES

GERALD CLARK, ETHNIC STUDIES

JULIET MCMULLAN, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

California Center for the Native Nations

Michelle Raheja
Director, CCNN

Tel: (951) 827-1799
E-mail: michelle.raheja@ucr.edu

Emily M. Rankin
Senior Director, Development

Tel: (951) 827-4365
E-mail: emily.rankin@ucr.edu

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