Skip to content

Floyd O'Neil Fellowship

Floyd O'Neil

The American West Center at the University of Utah is pleased to offer two graduate student fellowships for research on the American West during the 2022-2023 academic year. The fellowships honor the late Professor Floyd A. O'Neil (1927 - 2018), Director Emeritus of the Center and Professor Emeritus of History.

O'Neil fellowships provide up to $2,000 to pursue research on an aspect of the American West, including the region’s history, politics, environment, society, culture, literature, geography, or peoples. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to submit applications. All applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Utah and remain so throughout the period of the fellowship.

Students are required to complete a research paper within the academic year. This paper may also be used as a seminar paper, thesis chapter, journal article, etc. A copy of the paper must be given to the American West Center, and the student is required to acknowledge the American West Center’s support in that paper, and all subsequent research and publications that might result. The recipient will also give a presentation on their research in Spring 2023. Upon request the recipient may be provided office space at the Center and may receive individual guidance from the Center's faculty and staff.

Hannah Smay receives 2018-19 Floyd O'Neil fellowship

Hannah SmayThe American West Center awarded Hannah Smay, Environmental Humanities master’s student, one of the two Floyd O’Neil Fellowships for 2018-19. This fellowship, in honor of the late professor Floyd A. O’Neil, is awarded to a student doing research in the American West. Ms. Smay’s research focuses on “The Seismic West.” The fellowship provides $2000 to Ms. Smay to use in her study of earthquakes in the West. She was selected for this opportunity using the following criteria: scholarly potential of the applicant herself, scholarly significance of the project, clear research approach and plan, knowledge of source materials related to the proposal, and the project’s focus on the American West.

Ms. Smay’s work seeks to reimagine the Anthropocene to include the increased risk of seismic disasters caused by precarious placements of cities and facilities in the seismically active West. Her project draws on traditional and scientific knowledge of earthquakes and looks at historical explainations of earthquake-related catastrophe. With her undergraduate roots in Portland, Oregon where “the big one” could potentially wipe out the Pacific Northwest plus her current enrollment in University of Utah which like much of Salt Lake City sits on a fault line, the potential for earthquake disaster is never far from Ms. Smay’s mind. Because of where she lives and studies, her ambition and curiosity, she is exceptionally passionate about the work she is doing.

As a Floyd O’Neil Fellow, Ms. Smay can seek guidance and additional research support from the American West Center. In recognition of this support, she will present her research findings at the American West Center in Spring ‘19.

How to Apply

Deadline: May 31, 2022

To apply, submit the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A research proposal, including a budget outlining how the research funds will be spent (up to four pages)
  • One letter of recommendation from an academic source
  • Current transcript
  • CV

Recipients will be selected on the following criteria:

  • The applicant demonstrates scholarly potential
  • The scholarly significance of the project
  • The applicant demonstrates knowledge of source materials related to the proposal
  • The applicant clearly states her/his research question
  • The American West is a central focus of the research project

Application materials should be submitted to Michelle Judd at or mailing address: Michelle Judd, University of Utah, American West Center, 1995 de Trobriand St., FD618C, Salt Lake City, UT  84113 by May 31st, 2022. If you have any questions, you can email Michelle or call her at 801-581-7611.


Last Updated: 4/26/22