Thomas D. Sayles Research Grant

The Ethics Institute seeks to advance Dartmouth's unique teacher scholar model by providing graduate and undergraduate students funds to work on a research project under the supervision of a Dartmouth faculty advisor. Students develop and present their proposed project to the Ethics Institute as outlined below. Projects may take place either off-campus or in Hanover. Research opportunities are not given academic credit. The Sayles Grant is available to students during all terms.


  • Applicant must be enrolled for at least one term following the research.
  • Applicant must submit a complete application to the Ethics Institute by the deadline.
  • A 3-5 page Final Report must be submitted evaluating the completed research in terms of its value and its impact on the student. Copies of any formal work resulting from the research period will be submitted with the Final Report or when completed.
  • A brief Financial Report must be submitted showing how funds were utilized.
  • The Final Report and Financial Report are due the third week of the term following the research.


Amount of award may vary. Award maximums are set at $2,000 per student for domestic research projects and $2,500 for projects that take place abroad. Grants are awarded on the basis of: the merits of the project and the strength of the proposal, a solid academic background and overall grade point average, and faculty recommendation and/or sponsor support for the project.

Application Information

  1. Review the online application in its entirety. If you have questions, contact the Ethics Institute at 646-1263 or via email.
  2. Decide on a research arrangement that fits your interests and, if off-campus, discuss these arrangements with a sponsor for that agency/ institution/ organization. Select a Dartmouth faculty member who is willing to act as your advisor in designing the research, in providing a sounding board during the research, and in evaluating your work.
  3. On the online application, upload a letter of support from your faculty advisor.
  4. Provide an itemized detailed budget of expenses during the research period. Costs may include:
    • Travel (airfare, bus, subway, automobile (current rate per mile)
    • Rent (hotel accommodations)
    • Supplies & Equipment (e.g. fees for translators, coding interviews, long distance call related to research, rental equipment)

Application Deadline

The sixth week of term preceding term of research.

For Spring Term '20: February 12, 2020

For Summer Term '20: May 7, 2020

For Fall Term '20: August 2, 2020

For Winter Term '21: October 21, 2020

Sample of recent grant recipients' work

Internship and experiential learning which focuses on ongoing Tribal community initiatives focused on developing Indigenous Youth and future environmental leaders by hosting community workshops. I will be partnering with the Intertribal Council of Michigan to continue ecological and ethnographic fieldwork.


Thomas Jefferson thought America's democratic ideal could expand westward as an ethical "empire of liberty;" the paradoxic realities of settler colonialism fueled by a uniquely democratic frontier escaped him. Decades later, Alexis de Tocqueville sees further, toward a kind of research still needed today: inquiry into how the democratic restlessness of American culture interacted with the frontier, and the resulting injustices. Using both field methods (interviews, observations), and theoretical study (archives, other writings), I would expand geographically and historically Tocqueville's insight into this democratic enigma. How is the democratic frontier spirit ethically distinct from other spirits of expansion, such as those that motivated imperial conquests by monarchies? What is the relationship between this democratic frontier culture and the myth of the Wild West, Manifest Destiny, and the ethical record of settlers' encounters with Native Americans and the Western landscape? During a five week immersion in the history, culture, and ethics of American expansion, I will visit historic sites, museums, universities, and archives to analyze these questions. This field project lays the foundation for a political theory thesis in which today's ethical tensions and policy debates in the American West can be better approached through a balanced grasp of their intellectual and historical sources.


Given that immigration is becoming a more divisive topic and that framing is becoming a commonplace tool used to influence public opinion, I use a survey experiment with a component of conjoint analysis to examine Americans' truthful preferences for immigration policies and whether framing of undocumented immigrants. I study how respondents' immigration policy preferences change with the usage of "unauthorized immigrants," "undocumented immigrants," and "illegal aliens." Framing has several relevant questions: does immigration framing incite certain attitudes and behavior among Americans, and is using these frames to achieve a goal ethical, and is using certain terms ethical, given their implications and connotations?


Coding Justice Alito's opinions by argument to determine his most important judicial philosophies. This will consist of reading all of the Justice's opinions and identifying the specific reasoning patterns he most commonly uses.


Conversations among politicians are often heated and passionate, but sometimes they cross the line of civility. While some politicians apologize for their uncivil statements, how much do these apologies matter to the public? Furthermore, do in-group and out-group characteristics, specifically gender of respondent and candidate, moderate how favorably people view candidates after an apology compared to no apology? I hypothesize if the message is uncivil then politician favorability and likeliness to vote for the politician goes down; however, there will be little difference in candidate evaluation between the cases where the politician apologizes and where they do not apologize. Based on previous studies, I expect that if a participant identifies as female, they will judge uncivil messages from female politicians more harshly than uncivil messages from male candidates. To study politician incivility and apologies, I would like to conduct a between-subjects randomized survey experiment of voting age citizens in the United States and Japan. To design the two surveys, I will use Qualtrics. In the United States, I will use MTurk to collect responses; and in Japan, I will use CrowdWorks to collect responses.


My experience this summer conducting independent research in the humanities was instrumental for the development of my academic program at Dartmouth and my aspirations beyond the undergraduate level. I not only learned a great deal about Heideggerian thought and its relationship to National Socialist ideology, but also gained exposure to many topics in the history of continental philosophy and their relevancy in social theory. I consider the work this summer advantageous for my current coursework in phenomenology and existentialism (PHIL 28), as well as in future Government and Philosophy classes for my major; if I were to pursue a thesis program over the next two years, my research this summer will undoubtedly have a large influence on my choice of topic. In addition, I would like to pursue a paper topic more immediately which would integrate the curriculum of a Government seminar with Heidegger's thought.

Using materials borrowed from Sterling Memorial Library in New Haven, I dedicated the first four weeks of the term to mainly biographic or secondary texts focusing on Heidegger's political activity in the early 1930s. Some of the more well-known critical studies, i.e. books by Victor Farías, Hugo Ott, Emmanuel Faye, Tom Rockmore, gave the concise historical groundings my research needed about Heidegger the man and his well-documented activity in service of the Reich. Where many of these initial secondary texts became perplexing, however, was in their discussion of Heidegger the working, developing thinker during the rise of the party. Few biographies or book length studies on Heidegger and National Socialism discuss solely hard, historical evidence of the man's connections to National Socialist institutions and 2 organizers during the productive period of 1929-1945. The fact exists that Heidegger admired the "movement" from its early stages, enthusiastically sharing a copy of Mein Kamf with brother Fritz, served as Rector at Freiburg when the totalitarian Führerprinzip and Gleichschaltung were applied to German academia, and did not outwardly protest in any way the anti-Semitic laws instituted across the Reich (nor did any proper condemnation of the party come after the war). Where scholars disagree—and necessarily interpret Heidegger's pure thought in their historical publications—is the influence of totalitarian and racial doctrines on the philosophical texts, speeches, and courses; the work in this field often attempts to answer the question, what constitutes Heidegger's "private National Socialism" and how should this impact his reading from all scholarly standpoints?

Obtaining a knowledge base of Heidegger's life and political actions therefore led me to the primary texts and lecture courses as my research turned more toward the comprehension and interpretation of Heidegger's undifferentiated and uncompromising hostility to modernity in the ladder half of the summer—that is, the consistent characterization of philosophical National Socialism to be exported from Heidegger's early and late thought, not a racialist doctrine but a commitment to ideology founded in the metaphysics of a historical Gemeinschaft united in language and Boden, a rejection of liberal ideals and the dominance of modern technicity. Those are only general glances at the connections between Heideggerian thought and his readiness to commit to the political storm of the time; my research certainly took a more purely philosophical turn after pursuing "the facts" as I dived into Heidegger texts for the first time and anthologies on topics such as affect, humanism, technological culture, and anti-Semitism in Heidegger (See list of works below). Ultimately, the question of Heidegger and National Socialism is one of Heidegger and meta-ethics, i.e. does the analytic of Dasein ignore questions of normative good, 3 of caring for the Other, of liberty and justice in the public life? These critiques as they relate to Nazism should be an imperative part of any interpretation of Heidegger. As a coda to my project, I reached out to Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Yale Karsten Harries to see if he would have a short meeting with me and discuss some questions on his own contributions in the field and Heidegger's influence on him generally. We met in late August at his home in Hamden, and I listened as he spoke at length on Heidegger's political obsessions, the topics mentioned above, but more broadly the importance of philosophical contemplation today and his own work on the problem of nihilism, the confrontation of the natural scientific worldview with philosophy (more information on Professor Harries can be found here). This was one of the most memorable and valued interactions I've had as a student, and served as an inspiration to continue my exploration of this field beyond the summer.