All Awards

Fellows’ Early Career Award

The Fellows’ Early Career Award honors a current member of the Rhetoric Society of America who has established an innovative and robust research record within eight years of having earned the Ph.D. degree.


In consultation with the RSA President and no later than December of the year prior to the award date, the Awards Steering Committee (ASC) Chair identifies four RSA members to serve on the Fellows’ Early Career Award selection committee as follows:

  • A chair and full voting member who is not an RSA Fellow, selected from the membership of the Awards Steering Committee.
  • Two RSA Fellows, selected to reflect as fully as possible the diversity of rhetorical studies, particularly with regard to identity categories.
  • One ad-hoc member drawn from the general RSA membership, selected to ensure that the committee as a whole reflects as fully as possible the diversity of rhetorical studies in terms of rank, institution, field, and identity categories.


To be eligible for the Fellows’ Early Career Award, a person must…

  • Be a member of the Rhetoric Society of America
  • Have received their doctoral degree no longer than eight years prior to the date of the award


Nominations are reviewed by the Fellows’ Early Career Award selection committee, a sub-committee of the Awards Steering Committee, which recommends winners to the Board for final approval.

In reviewing nominees for the Fellows’ Early Career Award, the selection committee considers:

  • The extent and scope of the nominee’s scholarly research.
  • The nominee’s potential to contribute significantly to the field of rhetorical studies by extending, synthesizing, correcting, and/or redirecting previous scholarship.
  • The innovative or boundary-expanding nature of the nominee’s scholarship.
  • The nominee’s contribution to the Society’s IDEA and/or social justice values through the focus, content, citational choices, and/or framing of their scholarship.

Deadline for nominations: January 31, 2024

Ratified by the RSA Board of Directors May 2004. Amended October 29, 2021


Each nomination must include:

  • A completed nomination form (either the nominee or a nominator may submit the form); self-nominations are encouraged.
  • A brief 300-500-word scholarly statement from the nominee about the trajectory of the applicant’s research.
  • A letter of nomination that includes the following:
    • A brief (~25 word) introductory statement of the nominee’s major accomplishments that justify the nomination.
    • A description of the nominee’s major research contribution and why it is considered leading edge. Relevant scholarly achievement is understood broadly as including not only books, articles and chapters, but also editorial work, public scholarship, and scholarship of teaching; such work may appear in either traditional printed form or in digital or other media. 
    • Ways in which this nominee’s potential and current work have been recognized as especially promising.
    • Influence on rhetorical education through publications, teaching activities, outreach, mentoring, etc.
  • The nominee’s current curriculum vitae.
  • A copy of one chapter or article that best represents the quality and direction of the nominee’s scholarship.


Please contact the society’s Awards Committee with any outstanding questions about the nomination, submission, or selection processes.

Award Recipients

Jo V. Hsu

2023 Award

University of Texas at Austin

Lamiyah Bahrainwala

2022 Award

Southwestern University

Shui-Yin Sharon Yam

2021 Award

University of Kentucky

2021 Fellows’ Early Career Award Video

Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher

2020 Award

University of Waterloo


2019 Award

University of Richmond

nathan johnson

2018 Award

University of South Florida

casey boyle

2017 Award

University of Texas at Austin

s. scott graham

2023 Award

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee