CSR Awards Page


Savko Awards for Undergraduates

The Center for the Study of Religion offers two annual awards for the undergraduate study of religion. The fund was established by Maureen “Mo” Savko and Carlotta “Cory” McCowen in honor of their mothers, Anna Marie Savko and Cora Lee Banks.

Undergraduate Research Grant

An undergraduate research grant for $500. Any undergraduate research project relating to the academic study of religion is eligible, including senior theses, honors' theses, or other large projects relating to a religious studies course.

Students should submit:

  • A short, 1-2 page project proposal
  • A brief, 1-page budget
  • A letter of recommendation from an OSU faculty member 

All completed application materials should be compiled and emailed to religion@osu.edu

The application deadline for the 2022-2023 academic year has been EXTENDED to Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

Best Undergraduate Paper

A $500 prize for the best undergraduate paper relating to the academic study of religion. The paper must have been written as part of an OSU course and may be submitted either by a faculty member or by the student directly. Papers may come from either fall or spring semester.

All papers wishing to be adjudicated should be emailed to religion@osu.edu

An announcement of the application deadline for the 2021-2022 academic year will be Monday, May 9, 2022.

Previous Savko Award Recipients:

Undergraduate Research Grant

  • 2019-2020 – Jordan Baggs
  • 2018-2019 – Amanda Dominique
  • 2017-2018 – Chris Newman
  • 2016-2017 – Michelle Sdao

Best Undergraduate Paper

  • 2020-2021 – Rose McCandless
  • 2019-2020 – MacKenzie Wilcox
  • 2018-2019 – Nathan Hensley
  • 2017-2018 – Michelle Sdao
  • 2016-2017 – Dillon Sampson

Robert L. and Phyllis J. Iles Award for Graduate Study of Myth

The Center for the Study of Religion oversees an annual competition to award up to $4000 to an Ohio State graduate student in the Arts and Humanities who is working on myth, broadly conceived.

More specifically, the Robert L. and Phyllis J. Iles Award for Graduate Study of Myth, which is administrated by the CSR, has been established to make an annual award of up to $2000 each spring to a graduate student in the Division of the Arts and Humanities in support of that student’s research on myth. The award shall be supplemented by $1000 from the Division of the Arts and Humanities and by up to $1000 from the student’s home department, for a possible total of up to $4000.

Studies of myth from any culture in any period of human history are eligible for consideration. For the purposes of this award, a “myth” is “a story that is sacred to and shared by a group of people who find important meaning in it, as conveyed through narrative, art or ritual.” Eligible projects include, but are not limited to: the relationship between myths and religious practices, the uses of myth in literary and artistic productions, and the reuse of one culture’s myths by other cultures. Possible approaches include, but are not limited to, the anthropological, the literary, the historical, and the folkloristic, as well as creative approaches that aim to re-present a myth as part of a new artistic product.

Candidates will be selected based on merit, although some preference will be given to proposals that cite specific need for funding for travel or other expenses related to research or to the performance or production of other artistic projects. Preference will be given to candidates whose projects are part of a doctoral dissertation (with exceptions granted for students in departments that offer only a master’s degree).

Application Procedure and Deadline:

Applications should be submitted through the webform linked here and should include the following:

  1. a 1200-word description of the project (with a suitable project title) and how the fellowship would aid it, including a statement of how much work has already been done on the project and how much would be completed during the fellowship period;
  2. a letter of support from the student’s advisor;
  3. a letter from the chair of the student’s department, agreeing to supplement the award by a specified amount of up to $1000;
  4. a curriculum vitae of up to two pages, including publications and presentations.
  5. [OPTIONAL] where appropriate, an explanation of how the funding will be spent (e.g. travel, cost of artistic or research materials, etc.)

Applications for the fellowship must be made in advance of expenditures (there will be no post-facto awards); the funds must be spent within 12 months of the fellowship being awarded. The CSR reserves the right not to award a fellowship in a given year if none of the applications are deemed eligible. Any unused available balance will be reinvested into the principal amount of the Iles Fund.

If selected for the award, the recipient shall submit to the director of CSR a 500-word essay on the state of their research or some other aspect of the way they spent the funding that can be used as a news item on the CSR website or in other CSR materials, and a photo of either the recipient or some aspect of his or her project.

The application deadline for the 2021/2022 Iles Award is Friday, February 18, 2022.

Please contact the Humanities Institute's administrative coordinator Nick Spitulski (spitulski.1@osu.edu) with any questions.

**If you would like to contribute to the Iles Award Fund, please visit our Contributions webpage.**

Previous Iles Award Recipients:

2021: Adéwálé Adénlé (Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy): "Yorùbá: OBJECTifying and MATERIALizing Gods"

2021: Carman Romano (Department of Classics): “'And in Whom Do You Most Delight?'
Poets, Im/mortals, and the Myths of the Homeric Hymns"

2020: Dannu Hütwohl (Department of Classics): "The Birth of Sacrifice: Mediterranean Myths about Gods Engaged in Ritual”

2019: Colleen Kron (Department of Classics): "A Child Initiate at Pelinna? Child Initiation & Individual Eschatology in Bacchic-Dionysiac Mystery Cults"

2018: Marcus Ziemann (Department of Classics): "The Iliad and Gilgamesh Reassessed: The Revelatory Journey Motif"

2017: Caroline Toy (Department of Comparative Studies): “There and Back Again: Materializing Mythic Worlds through Fan Pilgrimages"

2016: Kathryn Caliva (Department of Classics): "Speech Acts and Embedded Narrative Structure in the Getty Hexameters"

2016: Kaustavi Sarkar (Department of Dance): "Embodying Myth: Understanding Odissi Performance Across Forms and Mediums"

2015: Kati Fitzgerald (Department of Comparative Studies): "Performative Mythology: Tibetan Opera in America"

2014: Wenyuan Shao (Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures):  "Origin Narratives: Yi Creation Myths in Guizhou, China"

2013:  Erin Wagner (Department of English):  “Creating the Heretic from the Other: The Use of Religion and Myth in Medieval England”

2012:  Hanne Eisenfeld (Department of Greek and Latin):  “Only Mostly Dead: Immortality and Related States in Pindar’s Victory Odes”

Robert L. Iles (1934-2007) taught high school English in Perrysburg, OH for two years before beginning a career as a free-lance writer and author.  He encouraged his high school students to read, study and enjoy myths. Phyllis J. Iles (1935-2010) was a homemaker and for many years also a volunteer teaching assistant at the elementary level. She encouraged young children's enjoyment of myths. Their daughter, Sarah Iles Johnston, and son-in-law, Fritz Graf, are professors in the Department of Classics, where they both frequently teach graduate and undergraduate courses on ancient myths and religions.

Travel to Risk Designated Locations, Travel Registration and Supplemental International Insurance

Travel to Risk Designated Locations
University supported travel to risk designated locations requires review and may entail restrictions or stipulations. 

Undergraduate students:

  • Ohio State scholarship or grant funding for travel to risk designated countries is restricted to travel on approved education abroad programs listed in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) education abroad search engine or other university managed travel approved by the International Travel Policy Committee (ITPC).
  • Ohio State scholarship or grant funding for individual travel to countries with a specific risk designated region(s) requires review of the proposed itinerary relevant to the excluded regions. Individual undergraduate travel to restricted region(s) is not eligible for funding.

Graduate and professional students:

  • Ohio State scholarship and grant awards for individual travel to risk designated countries requires the submission of a petition and ITPC approval. 
  • Ohio State scholarship or grant funding for individual travel to countries with a specific risk designated region(s) requires review of the proposed itinerary relevant to the excluded regions. Individual travel to restricted region(s) requires the submission of a petition and ITPC approval.
  • The petition process factors academic rationale and an individual safety proposal into consideration. Petitions should be submitted at least 60-days in advance of travel and prior to utilization of university funding.    

For further information on the ITPC risk designated policy or the petition process, please contact international risk management at IRM@osu.edu.

Travel Registration and Insurance Enrollment
Ohio State students using university scholarship or grant funding for individual travel to international locations are required to register their travel. Travel Registration includes completion of emergency response information, access to pre-departure health and safety modules and enrollment in the supplemental international insurance. The insurance includes specific coverage for medical care, medical evacuation, repatriation, and political security and natural disaster evacuation. There is a modest daily rate for the insurance enrollment that students should calculate into budget proposals for funding. Students participating in education abroad programming coordinated through OIA are already registered in the system and automatically enrolled in the supplemental international insurance.