Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology Dissertation Award

Deadline: November 1


Purpose:  The Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology (FRP) sponsors a competition for dissertation research funding. The purpose of the FRP Dissertation Award is to assist doctoral students in Psychology with research costs to promote research in the field of Rehabilitation Psychology. 

**NEW** This year the Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology (FRP) plans to award the first Leonard Diller Dissertation Award in Neurorehabilitation. At the request of the Diller family, FRP is creating the Leonard Diller Fund that will support this award. Dr. Diller is widely credited with being a founder of American neurorehabilitation. He was a leader among clinicians who did not accept the belief that impairments following acquired brain injuries were permanent and irremediable. A dissertation deserving of this award will reflect the principles of neurorehabilitation as advanced by Dr. Diller. More information about this award and the Diller fund will be forthcoming.

Funding Level:  FRP will provide $1,000-$4,000 per award; an additional travel stipend of $500 will be given to each recipient to support his or her travel to a Division 22/ABRP mid-year meeting to present the dissertation research. The funding level of successful applications will be based on the merit of applications and available funds. 


  1. Applicants must be graduate students of psychology in good standing with their university at an accredited program located in the United States or Canada. Applicants must be enrolled full-time or working on their dissertation research for an equivalent of full-time enrollment regardless of actual registration status.

  2. Applicants must be student affiliates or associate members of the American Psychological Association. Students who are not affiliates must apply for affiliation when submitting materials for the Dissertation Research Award. The APA Student Affiliate membership form is available online. It can be submitted on the internet or printed and mailed to APA. If you apply for membership at the time you submit your award application, please print and send an electronic copy of the membership confirmation page receipt with your award application.

  3. Applicants must have had their dissertation proposals approved by their dissertation committees prior to application.

  4. Each psychology department (i.e., not individual programs within a department) may endorse no more than two (2) students per year for the FRP Dissertation Award. If more than two students from a department wish to apply for these funds, the department must perform an initial screening and forward only two applications.

  5. The dissertation research must be in an area of psychological research relevant to Rehabilitation Psychology and/or Disability. If you are unsure of whether your topic meets this criterion, please contact the FRP Research Funding Liaison, Dr. Dawn Ehde for guidance. For a definition of Rehabilitation Psychology, see this page.

  6. A student in a graduate department other than psychology is eligible to apply for the award only if she/he demonstrates that she/he is writing a psychological science dissertation relevant to Rehabilitation Psychology and that her/his graduate course of study has been primarily psychological in nature. In order to be eligible to apply for the award, the student in graduate departments other than psychology must justify this eligibility for the award by providing the FRP with the following materials:

    (a) dissertation title and brief abstract;

    (b) transcript of graduate coursework (unofficial copies are fine); and

    (c) a brief written explanation of how these materials show that the graduate course of study has been primarily psychological in nature. This request for award eligibility may be submitted either separately from the application or at the time of application submission.

How to Apply

1. All application materials must be in electronic format (PDF or MS Word preferred). Please submit your application materials (described in this section) in one email to Dr. Dawn Ehde on or before October 15.  Please use a font of 10 points or greater, and 1-inch margins. Materials can be single or double spaced.

Please include each of the following:
a. An application form that is typed or neatly printed, signed by the applicant and approved by the chair or head of the department (as described on the form).

b. 1-page maximum typed cover letter describing your research interests and experience, as well as your career plans.

c. Three-page maximum summary of the dissertation research, including project background and rationale, an explanation of research design (methods, procedure, analysis plan, etc.), and other important aspects of the project. Please include a section describing how this project relates to and advances the field of Rehabilitation Psychology. One additional page listing references may be included (citations should be included in the text).  

Please Note: Figures and/or tables may be included only if they can be incorporated into the 3 page research summary. The research summary must not exceed the 3 page limit including any figures or tables.

d. One-page maximum brief explanation of proposed use of funds (i.e., budget). The award must be used to support expenses that are directly related to the dissertation research (e.g., computer time, animal care, equipment, participant fees, and incentives); it may not be used for tuition, travel, consultant fees, or personal expenses. Be sure to justify all expenses. If additional funds already exist for the project, please indicate this and justify the need for the additional funds. If the budget for the project exceeds the amount available from the award, you should describe the source of the additional funds.

e. Two-page maximum Curriculum Vitae including scientific publications, presentations, research and teaching experience (the Curriculum Vitae may contain only highlights and does not need to be a complete version).

f. Two-page maximum letter of recommendation from your academic advisor or professor. 

Please Note: The maximum length of the recommendation letter is two (2) pages. Please communicate to the faculty member who will write your recommendation letter the importance of adhering to this maximum page limit. In addition, please do not submit more than one letter of recommendation; only one will be forwarded for review. 

2. All application materials must arrive via e-mail attachments in one single e-mail on or before October 15 to the FRP Research Funding Liaison, Dr. Dawn Ehde.

You will receive an email after the application deadline confirming that your application has been received.

3. Decisions will be based upon the quality of the submitted information and relevance to Rehabilitation Psychology.  A panel of scientists representing the breadth of Rehabilitation Psychology, including members of the Science Committee of Division 22, will make funding recommendations to the FRP.

4. FRP Dissertation Award recipients will be announced in mid-December. All applicants for the awards are notified of funding decisions via e-mail.

5. Any changes to the budget details supplied in the proposed use of funds section of the grant application must be approved in advance by the FRP Research Funding Liaison. Any budget change requests can be e-mailed to the Foundation via Dr. Dawn Ehde.

6. By the end of the award year, each award recipient must submit a one-page final report letter specifying how the funds were used, which must be signed by the chair or head of the department or the student's faculty advisor.  More details will be provided to each award recipient about this final documentation.

Eligible Expenses: The funds may be used for direct research expenses (e.g., computer time, animal care, equipment, participant fees, and incentives), and software; it may not be used for tuition, fees, or personal expenses.

Award conditions: Recipients will be strongly encouraged to present their study results at a Division 22/ABRP mid-year meeting. Publications and presentations should reflect support by The Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology. The award funds may be dispersed to the student’s university or the student directly.


October 15: Applications due

On or before December 15: Award notification

For questions about eligibility, applications, or awards, contact the FRP Research Funding Liaison, Dr. Dawn Ehde, at

Past recipients

2018-2019 Academic Yea

Dana Bakula

Dana Bakula, MS
Clinical Psychology
Oklahoma State University
Dissertation title: Parent Uncertainty, Self-Care, and Adjustment in the Pediatric Inpatient Rehabilitation Setting
Advisor’s name: Larry Mullins, PhD

Rosie Shrout

Rosie Shrout, MA
Interdisciplinary Social Psychology
University of Nevada, Reno
Dissertation title: Couples and Nonvisible Chronic Illness: An Integrated Model of Dyadic Coping
Advisor: Daniel Weigel, PhD

Jamie Tingey

Jamie Tingey, MS
Clinical Psychology
Seattle Pacific University
Dissertation title: Self-efficacy Trajectories in Newly Diagnosed Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis
Academic Advisor: Jacob Bentley, PhD

Mercedes Zapata

Mercedes Zapata, MA
School Psychology
Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley
Dissertation advisor: Frank C. Worrell, PhD
Title: Personal Disability Identity Measurement: Self-Worth and Personal Meaning

2017-2018 Academic Year

Lakeya McGill

Lakeya McGill, University of Maryland
Dissertation Title: Health-Related Quality of Life in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease: The Role of Illness Intrusiveness and Perceived Control.
Mentor: Shawn Bediako, PhD

2016-2017 Academic Year

Andrea Wojtowicz

Andrea Wojtowicz, Rosalind Franklin University
Dissertation Title: Participation and life satisfaction in individuals with pediatric onset SCI
Mentor: Rachel Neff Greenley, PhD

Jessica Dietch

Jessica Dietch, University of North Texas
Dissertation Title:  Accuracy of three assessments of sleep timing, duration and efficiency compared to a single-channel EEG device
Mentor:  Daniel Taylor, PhD

Kayci L. Vickers

Kayci L. Vickers, Drexel University
Dissertation Title: The impact of compensatory recommendations on consistency in adherence to behavioral regimens after TBI
Mentor: Maria Schultheis, PhD

Samantha DeDios

Samantha DeDios, Illinois Institute of Technology
Dissertation Title:  Cognitive assistive technology use among adults with multiple sclerosis: Application of self-determination theory
Mentor:  Eun-Jeong Lee, PhD


2015-2016 Academic Year

Jilian O'Neill

Jilian O'Neill is a doctoral student in Medical/Clinical Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama.  Her dissertation advisor is Division 22 member Laura E. Dreer, Ph.D. Her project involves examining neuropsychological predictors of returning to school among adolescents with concussion.

Cassie Ross

Cassie Ross is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, San Francisco.  Her dissertation advisors are Megan Carlos, PhD, Jenise Wong, MD, and Ron Valle, PhD.  Her dissertation involves the neuropsychological assessment and phenomenological investigation of cognitive problems in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes.

Natasha S. DePesa

Natasha S. DePesa, is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Central Florida University. Her dissertation concerns the assessment of the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of an interdisciplinary chronic pain group for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  Her dissertation advisor is Dr. Jeffery Cassisi.


2014-2015 Academic Year

Preeti Sunderaraman

Preeti Sunderaraman is a doctoral student at Drexel University. Her dissertation research is focused on financial capacity and neuropsychological performance in acquired brain injury. Her mentor is Division 22 member, Dr. Maria Schultheis.

Victoria Bangieva

Victoria Bangieva is a student at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS).  Her dissertation concerns coping, optimism, and physiological outcomes in cardiac rehabilitation. Her dissertation chair is Dr. Lawrence Perlmuter.

Stephanie Leung

Stephanie Leung, also a student of Dr. Perlmuter and in the clinical psychology program at RFUMS, is conducting a dissertation on intergenerational psychosocial factors and healthcare utilization in cardiac rehabilitation.

2013-2014 Academic Year

Kaitlin Blackstone

Kaitlin Blackstone is from the San Diego State University/University of California San Diego joint doctoral program where her mentors are David Moore, PhD, and Robert Heaton, PhD. Her dissertation will evaluate the efficacy of a brief metacognitive training module for neurocognitive rehabilitation in individuals with executive dysfunction in the context of comorbid methamphetamine dependence and HIV infection.

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is a doctoral student at Wayne State University under the mentorship of Lisa Rapport, PhD, and Robin Hanks, PhD. His dissertation research is focused on neuropsychological predictors of engagement in rehabilitation therapy and functional independence in individuals with acquired brain injury.

2012-2013 Academic Year

Abbey J. Hughes

Abbey J. Hughes is a doctoral student working at Kansas University Medical Center under the direction of Monica Kurylo. Her dissertation is focused on neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neuropsychological markers of multiple sclerosis.

Chelsea Morse

Chelsea Morse is a Drexel University student working under the direction of Maria T. Schultheis, PhD. Her dissertation title is “Using ecologically valid measures of neuropsychological function to predict vocational functioning in persons with multiple sclerosis”.