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Travel Fund and Departmental Scholarships

A group of people stand in front of a research poster at a conference.

Explore additional funding opportunities for graduate students at Virginia Tech's Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, including scholarships and travel awards for scientific conferences and professional development.

Scholarships and Awards

HNFE offers the following awards and scholarships to outstanding applicants. Unless noted, apply through Scholarship Central.

Louis M. Briel Scholarship

Open to undergraduate and graduate students, this general scholarship criteria is financial need, academic achievement, and good character demonstrated by community service.

Note: Only FAFSA eligible students may apply; the determination of financial need will be confirmed by the CALS Office of Academic Programs.

Margaret C. Hepler Summer Research Fellowships

HNFE's Graduate Program Director, Rodney Gaines, will notify students how to apply each fall with notifications by early winter.

The fellowships provide excellent graduate students with financial support to work on their research project over the summer months. The number of awards and the stipend amount varies, but awardees will receive approximately $3,000.

Any HNFE graduate student who is actively working towards completion of a M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation project is eligible. Priority will be given to students who have not previously been awarded this fellowship.

Note: Students may not concurrently hold both a Hepler Fellowship and a GA for the summer. Students who have completed the collection of data for their degree and are in the phase of analyzing data or writing their thesis/dissertation are not eligible.

This annual grant, awarded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, funds research proposals based on the Academy's Research Agenda for Dietetics. The deadline is February 10th each year. To find the application, select the black "+" button next to Research Grants. Contact Elisha Reichling at 312-899-4768 for more information or assistance.

Michael Houston Memorial Scholarship

This award is given annually in memory of Michael Houston, professor emeritus and former HNFE department head. It supports the research pursuits of a GTA who demonstrates a passion for teaching and an excitement for learning.

P. Howard Massey Food and Nutrition Award

Howard Massey had a distinguished 36-year teaching career at Virginia Tech that included service as associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, director of Agronomic and Plant Sciences, director of International Development, and chair of the University Committee on International Programs. He valued interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving that addressed evolving issues related to food and nutrition in the U.S. and abroad.

The award will provide scholarship(s), or may be used for student travel for attending national or international meetings that include training, presenting, or professional exchange, including studying abroad. The award is available to HNFE undergraduate and graduate students.

Peacock-Harper Culinary History Friends Scholarships

Awarded and administered by the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Friends Committee (posted on Scholarship Central), these scholarships honor Janet Cameron and Jean Allen Phillips, who were visionaries, exemplary teachers, passionate about health and nutrition, and dedicated to the success of their students. Applicants must be a graduate student in good standing with the university. Research and interests may include human nutrition and foods, culinary history, food culture, household equipment, kitchen design, social history, ethnic traditions, gender studies, or related topics. 

S.J. Ritchey Endowed Scholarship

Administered through the Center for Gerontology, this scholarship is awarded annually to students enrolled in the Gerontology Graduate Certificate with preference given to certificate students whose research is related to older adult health, nutrition, or physical activity. Applications are available in early spring semester and are usually due in March. For more information, contact Cynthia Booth, 540-231-7657,

Sebolt Fitness/Wellness Research Award

Given in memory of Don Sebolt, this award recognizes undergraduate or graduate student research related to the health benefits of physical activity/exercise and/or physiological aspects of exercise related to athletic performance or improved human health.  Preference will be given to students who plan a career in exercise science; a health profession such as athletic training, physical therapy, or health coach; or teaching physical fitness in secondary or higher education.

HNFE Travel Fund

HNFE supports graduate student travel to scientific conferences and professional development opportunities through an awards process. Applications are accepted throughout the year for students attending either scientific meetings/conferences or professional development opportunities. Students may submit a request for funding one time during the academic year. Funds are awarded and amounts vary depending on whether the student is attending and/or presenting at a conference or meeting.

Who should apply

Master's and doctoral level HNFE students who will be:

  • presenting a paper or poster at a scientific conference or professional development meeting/expo
  • attending a scientific conference or professional development meeting/expo (examples include the American College of Sports Medicine and Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo)

Students not academically enrolled in HNFE are not eligible to apply for this award.

Important dates and deadlines

Travel fund application: (student and advisor): one week after conference submission and / or conference registration

Funding and award reimbursement form: one week after notice of award

TEM approval: one week after travel

How and When to Apply

All students should apply prior to traveling.

Fill out the HNFE Travel Fund Application for Students by the appropriate deadline.

Have your advisor fill out the HNFE Travel Fund Survey for Advisors by the appropriate deadline.

Submit a Travel Fund Reimbursement Form to Curtis Cox with estimated expenses PRIOR to travel, and after travel, submit a revised form with actual costs and receipts.

Policies and Procedures

  1. All travel fund applications should be submitted within one week of submitting a conference abstract.
  2. Students receiving the travel award will be reimbursed for costs up to the amount of $500 if presenting at a conference, or $250 if attending a conference. No reimbursement will be provided above the award amount. Complete the Travel Fund Reimbursement Form as requested and submit to Curtis Cox.
  3. Students may request funding one time during the academic year.
  4. Meal reimbursements may only be granted if an individual is traveling overnight. All meal or food purchases will be reimbursed per diem; therefore, you do not need to keep food receipts.
  5. Please note: Notice of travel award and funding approval must be granted prior to travel. All travel applications must be approved before travel; retroactive applications will not be accepted.
  6. Notice of award approval will be sent one month after application submission, and further instructions and details will be included in your award email. Failure to follow provided instructions will result in loss of award.