Julia M. Duckwall Scholarship


The Julia M. Duckwall Professional Development Scholarship program facilitates the professional growth and development of early-career institutional research professionals.

Named in honor of the late Julia M. Duckwall, a prominent member of AIR and the board, the scholarship is awarded in the spirit of her tireless passion for advancing the field of institutional research. Up to three awards may be granted to support significant professional development activities. 

The deadline to apply for this scholarship is 11:59 p.m. ET on January 26, 2024.


Stay up to date on AIR scholarships—check your communication preferences, ensure the "Grants and Scholarships" subcategory opt out box is unchecked, and save your preferences.

Award Options

Recipients may choose from one of two award options:

1. AIR Forum registration, including pre/post-conference education opportunities

  • Prepaid AIR Forum registration
  • Prepaid pre/post-conference educational opportunities (one full-day or two half-day sessions, if available)
  • One hotel night provided in the conference hotel (when held in-person)

2. Registration for one qualifying online AIR course.

Application Criteria

To be considered for the award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a current AIR membership
  • Be currently employed in the IR field
  • Have worked 3-5 years in a campus-based IR/assessment office (full-time or part-time)
  • Have never attended the AIR Forum (if selecting AIR Forum as a scholarship choice) OR have never received an AIR scholarship to fund an AIR educational opportunity (if selecting AIR Forum as a scholarship choice)

Application Process

In addition to verifying personal, demographic, and eligibility information, the following two documents are required for a complete application:

  1. Essay (limit: 750 words) addressing the impact this award is expected to have on your professional development. It should be written for a blind review, which means it should not include information that would personally identify you or your institutional affiliation. The essay should address each of the following prompts:
    • Briefly describe your current work in IR and provide a summary review of your current skills and accomplishments in the field.
    • What outcomes do you anticipate from your participation in your selected professional development experience?
    • Duckwall award recipients are expected to honor Julia Duckwall’s commitment to “give back to the IR field.” How will you assure that others will benefit from your experiences?
  1. Letter of support from your supervisor. The letter should support your application, and it should indicate how the scholarship will meet larger goals. The letter must acknowledge that your participation in your chosen professional development experience will be approved as an "on-the-clock" activity.

Previous Recipients

  • Robert Merchant, Research Analyst, Mid-Plains Community College (2023)
  • Shari Rutherford, Institutional Research Analyst, Harcum College (2020)
  • India Hampton, Research Analyst, Southeast Missouri State University (2019)
  • Brooke Kile, Director, Institutional Research, Marian University (2019)
  • William Warfel, Administrative Planning Specialist, Washington State University (2019)
  • DiYanna Jiles, Data Analyst, Institutional Research, Spelman College (2018)
  • Matthew McGraw, Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (2018)
  • Indira Vadapally, Business Intelligence Coordinator, Institutional Research & Effectiveness, Waukesha County Technical College (2018)
  • Emily Zobel, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, University of Wisconsin – Superior (2017)
  • Megan Ryan, Institutional Research Analyst, Roger Williams University (2017)
  • Jaclyn Butler, Planning and Research Associate, Pennsylvania State University (2017)
  • Marc LoGrasso, Institutional Outcomes Assessment Analyst, Bryant & Stratton College-Amherst (2016)
  • Johnson Mwangi, Statistical Analyst, Strathmore University (2016)
  • Ronald Severtis, Director, Office of Institutional Research, Indiana University-Southeast (2016)
  • Sara Cooper, Information Research Analyst, Jackson State Community College (2015)
  • Lisa Cowan, Data Analyst/Research Associate, Southern Regional Education Board (2015)
  • Jennifer May, Research Analyst, Tufts University (2015)
  • Kristin McKinley, Associate Director of Research Administration, Lawrence University (2014)
  • Elizabeth Owolabi, Director of Institutional Research, Concordia University Chicago (2014)
  • Keri Samson, Director of Institutional Research, Assessment & Planning, University of Dubuque (2014)
  • Rachel Krug, Director of Institutional Research, Franklin Pierce University (2013)
  • Theresa Milton, Director of Institutional Research, Arizona Christian University (2013)
  • Linda Wellborn, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Accreditation Activities, Evangel University (2013)


"There is a lot of excitement and energy in IR [at the Forum], as well as synergy. There are constant opportunities to learn and grow in this field and a large cohort of people who are excited to share that journey with you." —Jaclyn Butler, 2017 Duckwall Scholarship Recipient

“The Forum provides an excellent opportunity for learning, sharing, discovering, networking, inspiring, and celebrating. Attending pre-conference workshops to learn new skills has been beneficial, as this time is already set aside in my schedule for professional development. Most importantly I have learned while the structure, work, and responsibilities of IR offices varies, we all strive to serve our institutions and, more importantly, be a voice for our students." —Kristin McKinley, 2014 Duckwall Scholarship Recipient