Graduate School

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Graduate Assistantships Application Procedures

Each semester, the Graduate School anticipates offering Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantships to provide one semester of support to PhD candidates. These assistantships are available through the generosity of the Portage Health Foundation. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD talent in health-oriented research areas. Applicants should be a catalyst for promoting and improving the overall health of Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, and Ontonagon communities through one of the following:

  • health research and technology development
  • health education or preventive and wellness initiatives
  • rural healthcare access, informatics, and assessment of care

View Past Recipients


Students are eligible if all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Must be a PhD student participating in health-related research that is aligned with the PHF’s mission.
  2. Must be eligible for or in candidacy at the time of application.
  3. Must be 2 years after starting the graduate program at the time of application.
  4. Must not be a prior recipient of a PHF Graduate Assistantship.

Priority will be given to students originally from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, or Ontonagon counties. Non-resident students and international students are encouraged to apply if their health research is applicable to health needs and job shortages of our local community (obesity research, rural health, medical informatics, drug delivery and lab testing, physical therapy, etc.). Preference will also be given to applicants who will complete their degree during the funding period.

Application Procedure

  • Nominations for PHF Graduate Assistantships will be accepted each fall semester, spring semester, and summer session, for funding in the next semester, pending availability of funds.
  • Nominations for summer 2020 PHF Graduate Assistantships will be accepted beginning January 20, 2020. Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. on March 3, 2020 in the Graduate School.
  • A graduate program may nominate as many students as are eligible.


Applicants will prepare an application package that consists of the following items:

  1. A complete application form. The form was created in Microsoft Word, and will work best in Word on a PC or Mac.
  2. A letter of support from the advisor and/or co-advisor.*
    The letter should:
    1. provide concrete information indicating what portion of the research and writing has been completed,
    2. describe the financial need of the candidate,
    3. describe the scholarly contribution of the student to published articles, and
    4. describe the significance of the research and impact to local community so that a panel of faculty and Portage Health Foundation board members can understand the impact and significance of the research.
  3. A letter from the department chair, college dean, or PI outlining the 1:1 match for requested funds. Tuition support from the department or another funding source can be applied towards the match. This information can be included in the advisor's support letter only if the advisor is providing the matching funds.

*If the advisor and/or co-advisor prefer to maintain confidentiality, this letter may be sent directly to Dr. Debra Charlesworth ( A PDF via email is preferred.

The application package should be e-mailed to Dr. Debra Charlesworth ( as a single, static, PDF file. Please do not send a PDF portfolio.


The applications will be evaluated by a panel of faculty representing each of Michigan Tech's Colleges. Applications will be evaluated on:

  1. The impact and significance of the health research on our local community.
  2. The candidate's contributions to health partnerships/education/mentoring in our local communities.
  3. The applicant's need for financial support.

Priority will be given to applicants originally from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, or Ontonagon counties and that intend to complete their degree during the funding period.


All applicants will be notified of the panel's decision within three weeks after the application’s due date.


Recipients will be asked to:

  • Write a thank-you note to the sponsor of the Portage Health Foundation.
  • Attend and participate in relevant Michigan Tech/community health forums and presentations.
  • Acknowledge PHF support in resulting research publications and presentations.
  • Provide a personal photo to the University that helps us introduce the recipient to the Portage Health Foundation Board.
    • By providing this photo, the recipient allows the University to share it with the PHF Board, include it in print publications (including newspapers), and share it on social media.

 Past Recipients