Bodek Prize for Research on Interracial and Interfaith Relations

The Urban Studies Program, through funding from “The Gordon Bodek Program in Urban Studies for Enhancing Dialogue, Inquiry, and Public Sensitivity about Interracial and Interfaith Relations,” seeks to encourage outstanding undergraduate research on issues related to this topic.  The Gordon Bodek Prize will be awarded annually to a student in any of the undergraduate departments and schools at Penn for the best paper addressing issues of interracial and interfaith relations.

The Gordon Bodek Prize is intended to enhance the undergraduate curriculum by encouraging faculty to highlight issues related to increasingly complex multi-ethnic and racially diverse urban and metropolitan settings.  The prize also is intended to encourage students to study and write about intergroup tensions and to draw out the implications for their resolution.  Winning papers will address the topic particularly as it applies to the concerns of urban studies, including such factors as public policy, housing, the economy, and metropolitan spatial and demographic trends.  The winners of the prize receive a monetary award of $500.

The Bodek Prize is administered by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and awards are determined each April on a competitive basis. Seniors graduating in the Spring semester from any undergraduate school are eligible. Applicants must be in good standing in the University of Pennsylvania community. There will be one awardee annually.

Student projects will be evaluated by a faculty committee designated by CURF, with assistance by Urban Studies, on the basis of the project’s contribution to the issues that the Bodek prize highlights, as well as its quality and originality. Projects need not have been funded by undergraduate research grants in order to qualify for the Gordon Bodek Prize.

Research projects submitted for recognition must be supported by a letter from the Penn faculty member who supervised the research project. Projects may be in any discipline or may have an interdisciplinary scope. Applications from academic departments and individual faculty members are encouraged. Students may self-nominate, but applications will not be considered complete until all materials (including the Faculty Nomination Letter) are received. Students should submit the Project Abstract, the completed Project, and a digital copy of their Penn transcript through CURF’s Common Research Award form. The Faculty Nomination Letter from the faculty member who supervised the project should be requested through CURF's Recommendation Request Form.

To be considered for the Bodek Prize, students should follow this application procedure:

Prepare a Project Abstract in a word processing program, without any formatting. The Project Abstract should not exceed 750 words (roughly three double-spaced typewritten pages) and should contain the following information:

  • Project Description intelligible to an educated non-specialist
  • Description of Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Conclusions and Implications
  • List any grants received to support this project


Create a single .pdf containing:

  • the completed Project
  • electronic copy of your Penn transcript
  • You must submit the project and your transcript together as a single file in .pdf format. No other format will be accepted.To create a copy of your Penn transcript, go to Penn InTouch and print your transcript to pdf. (If you don’t have Adobe installed on your computer, download the free installer or use a Penn computer that has Adobe installed.) Print and save each document as a pdf, then use Adobe to create a single pdf file as indicated above by navigating to Adobe’s “File -> Create -> Combine Files into a Single PDF” features.

    Applications should be submitted via the Common Research Award form.
Past Recipients of the Prize
  • Hannah Fagin (HIST'17): "A Long, Hot Summer: The 1964 Columbia Avenue Race Riot and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia"

  • Madeleine Wattenbarger (UBRS'16): "Race, Religion and Social Capital in West Philadelphia

  • Danielle Kerker (HIST'15): "The Implacable Surge of History"