In Lee Ann Fujii’s memory: a fund to support junior scholars

To honor the memory of Lee Ann Fujii, a respected scholar of comparative politics and qualitative methods, friends and colleagues of Lee Ann’s are raising funds in order to rename the American Political Science Association’s Minority Fellows Program (MFP) annual travel grants program in her memory. After discussing Lee Ann’s incredible work as a mentor and her commitment to diversifying the discipline of political science, her colleagues decided that taking steps to foster the careers of junior scholars from diverse backgrounds would be one of the best means by which to honor Lee Ann’s legacy. As Lee Ann wrote before she passed away, the barriers to a more diverse discipline are numerous. For many students and junior scholars, financial barriers can be a particular impediment to gaining a foothold in the discipline.

The MFP travel award program is one of the association’s most important means for fostering early career opportunities for scholars from diverse backgrounds. The MFP supports individuals from underrepresented groups applying to doctoral programs in political science or in the early stages of their doctoral education. Currently, the travel grant program provides small grants to approximately 15 MFP Fellows to help them attend the APSA Annual Meeting – a key professionalization activity. The goal is to raise $35,000 in order to expand the program’s granting capacity for five years and rename it in Lee Ann’s honor for the duration of that period. Beginning with the 2019 Annual Meeting, APSA will award the Lee Ann Fujii MFP Travel Grant as a tribute to Dr. Fujii’s commitment to supporting the next generation of scholars and her contributions to the discipline.

In thinking about Lee Ann’s life work, her colleagues decided that working to expand access and opportunity for a new generation of scholars would be a particularly fitting way to honor her memory because, as her former student Lahoma Thomas has written, building a diversified discipline was a key component of Lee Ann’s mentorship. As Ms. Thomas said, “Lee Ann emphasized the importance of building community among like-minded scholars. She recognized that attending conferences was an important space for young racialized scholars to network and meet others with similar methodological practices and epistemological sensibilities. As a strategy to reduce the barriers inhibiting the participation of racialized doctoral students at APSA, this fund honours Lee Ann’s commitment to diversifying the discipline.” Another student of Lee Ann’s, Jessica Soedirgo, concurs: “Lee Ann was both a mentor and a role model. She was a fierce advocate, an exceptional listener, and generous with her time and comments. She helped me find my scholarly voice and modeled through her own work how to stay true to it. I am so deeply grateful to Lee Ann for believing in me and investing in me as a person and as a scholar.”

Detailed information about the program can be found here: Gifts of any amount in the form of cash, appreciated stock, or direct transfers from retirement accounts are accepted from both APSA members and non-members alike.

How to Give:

  • Online: Navigate to, look for the tab marked the Lee Ann Fujii MFP Travel Fund (presently at the bottom of the page), enter the amount you would like to give, click the Donate Now button at the bottom of the page, and follow the prompts.
  • Check: Check donations should have “Lee Ann Fujii MFP Travel Grants” in the memo line and be made out to American Political Science Association and sent to 1527 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036.
  • Stock: Donors interested in giving stock should contact beforehand with the number of shares and stock name. They will then provide the transfer details.

Questions may be addressed to the APSA development team at 202-483-9357 or; Nicholas Rush Smith, assistant professor of political science at the City University of New York – City College, who is helping coordinate efforts (at; or APSA’s Director of Development, Jason Sapia (at

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