Eugene R. Cummings Senior Thesis Prize in LGBT Studies

Harvard Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality will award $1000 to the best senior thesis on a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender Studies topic from any department or program at Harvard. The thesis should focus on LGBT subject matter, rather than touching on LGBT issues tangentially. Theses may be submitted by a faculty member or by an undergraduate; there is no formal nomination process.

PDF versions of the thesis and of the readers’ comments should be emailed to the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at by Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. Please use "Cummings Prize submission" as the subject of the email. If readers’ comments are not available by the deadline, students are responsible for asking their concentration’s Director of Studies or Head Tutor to email with the date the readings will be available. To expedite distribution of the award, the email should include the following information: the entrant's name and Harvard ID number, telephone number, mailing address, and e-mail. The prize will be awarded at the Women, Gender, and Sexuality end-of-year reception.

Eugene R. Cummings, the son of an Irish immigrant schoolteacher from Fall River, Massachusetts, was a gay student at the Harvard Dental School who ended his life on June 11, 1920, just days short of receiving his degree, after being interrogated and informed that he would be expelled by the “Secret Court” that purged gay men from Harvard in 1920. The prize was established to ensure that his name and experiences will not be forgotten and that future generations will have opportunities for self-expression that were denied to Mr. Cummings. It is made possible by gift of The Open Gate, a private charitable foundation established by the Harvard Gender & Sexuality Caucus.

Previous Winners

2021-2022 Aspen Halle Buck, Mother(s)hood: Queer Family Making Via Assisted Reproductive Technologies During the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, 1970-1990
2020-2021 Sofia Tong, The Queer Good Place: Reading Henry James Through Asexuality
2019-2020 Sai Shanthanand Rajagopal, Capturing Authenticity in Indian Transmasculine Identity: Design of a Novel Penile Prosthesis
2016-2017 Gregory Andrew Briker, The Right to be Heard: ONE Magazine, Obscenity Law, and the Battle over Homosexual Speech
2015-2016 Gabrielle Elisabeth Milner, Predictors of Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening in Sexual Minority Women
2014-2015 Reina Gattuso, Lesbian Against the Law: Indian Lesbian Activism and Film, 1987-2014
2013-2014 Will Simmons, Jimmy DeSana: On the Edge of Postmodernism
2012-2013 Lucia Marie Carver, On Being "Lesbian": Kakefuda Hiroko’s "‘Rezubian’ de aru, to iu koto," Translated and In Context
2011-2012 Jia Hui Lee, Modernity on Trial: Sodomy and Nation in Malaysia
2010-2011 Natalia Maria Renta, Plaintiffs' Role in Reinventing Legal Arguments for Same-Sex Marriage
2009-2010 Martha Annabel Wasserman, ACT UP New York: Art, Activism and the AIDS Crisis, 1987-1993
2008-2009 Ana Huang, On the Surface: Conceptualizing Gender and Subjectivity in Chinese Lesbian Culture
2007-2008 Sarah Kate Howard, “Keepin' it Real," Queering the Real: Queer Hip Hop and the Performance of Authenticity

Jane C. Grant Prizes

These prizes are funded with part of the income from gifts given by Jane C. Grant and her husband, William B. Harris. Jane C. Grant was a women's rights advocate from the 1920s until her death in 1972. She also co-founded The New Yorker and was a reporter for the New York Times. Having begun work at the Times in a clerical capacity, she became the paper's first woman general assignment reporter and in the mid-1930s traveled to Europe, the Balkans, the Far East, and Russia as a foreign correspondent. Her increasingly visible literary profile earned her a place among the literary elite of the Algonquin Hotel "Round Table." During the 1960s, Grant wrote Ross, the New Yorker, and Me, donating royalties from the book to the Harvard-Radcliffe Fund for the Study of Women, which she established with Doris Stevens. The original purpose of that fund was to finance and support the study of women in all cultures and periods of history.

The Jane C. Grant Senior Prize is given to the graduating senior with the best overall academic performance in WGS. The prize will be awarded at the Women, Gender, and Sexuality end-of-year reception.

Previous Winners

2021-2022 K.E. Stawasz
2020-2021 Nazeli Hagen
2019-2020 Jordan Villegas
2018-2019 Montita Sowapark
2017-2018 Asia Taylor Stewart
2016-2017 Eriko Kay
2015-2016 Kirin Gupta
2014-2015 Susannah Savage
2013-2014 Amanda Villani
2012-2013 Bradley Lynn Craig
2011-2012 Eva Gillis Buck
2010-2011 Christian Garland
2009-2010 Nadia Gaber
2008-2009 Ellora Derenoncourt
2007-2008 Katy Rebecca Mahraj 
2007-2008 Genevieve Bonadies

The Jane C. Grant Junior Essay Prize is given to the best essay written in the WGS Junior Tutorial. No submissions are required for this award; all eligible papers will be considered without application.

Previous Winners

2021-2022 Josie Abugov, “Navigating the Shoal: Explorations in Blackness, Gender, and Land through Critical Fabulation”