Applications Due for Rostker Dissertation Research Fund

Applications for the 2023 Bernard D. and Louis C. Rostker IVMF Dissertation Research Fund are open through September 30th. Doctoral candidates at Syracuse University who are doing dissertation research pertaining to veterans, or military family-related topics, are encouraged to apply. The fund is open to Ph.D. candidates from all schools and colleges and can be used for travel expenses, software, equipment and conferences, as well as fieldwork and data gathering.

Last year, five students received a total of $50,000 in funding through the Rostker Fund. Their doctoral research ranged in topic from women veteran’s health and employment to understanding how prior military experience impacts law enforcement officers who are veterans.

One of the 2022 Rostker Scholars, Mariah Brennan, works at the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) in the research and evaluation division. Her research contributed to the most recent Military Families Lifetime Survey (MFLS), a bi-annual research publication that focuses on the current hardships and situations military families face.


Bernard Rostker G’66, G’70 (right) speaks in the K.G. Tan Auditorium during “The All Volunteer Force at 50: Higher Education and America’s Volunteer Military” summit at the National Veterans Resource Center.

“As a student, I have received incredible support from the IVMF including mentorship, valuable research experience and generous funding from the Rostker Dissertation Fellowship. Working with colleagues on the annual MFLS has been such a positive experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to hone my research skills by working on impactful military and veteran research,” says Brennan, who worked extensively with Blue Star Families, one of the IVMF’s partners in delivering insightful research and data analysis on topics pertaining to veterans and their families.



“Each year is different, keeping things fresh and exciting. The MFLS is an opportunity to inform policy and practice, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I look forward to continuing my worked with the IVMF and making progress on my dissertation,” she says.

The funding for the program is provided entirely through the generosity of Bernard Rostker G’66, G’70 and his wife, Louise Rostker G’68, both of whom pursued their advanced degrees at Syracuse University amidst myriad setbacks as military-connected students. Bernard earned a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in economics, while Louise earned a master’s degree in social work.

Bernard, a U.S. Army Veteran, was recently honored by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at the second annual Maxwell Awards of Excellence in Washington, D.C., where he was presented the Spirit of Public Service Award. Earlier in the month, he was a guest speaker during “The All-Volunteer Force at 50: Higher Education and America’s Volunteer Military” summit.

During the summit, the 2022 Rostker Scholars had the opportunity to present their work to the Rostkers and show the impact of their research so far. Rachel Linsner, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, spoke about her dissertation examining the relationships between military spouse employment status, attitudes toward the military, individual well-being and family functioning.

“I am very grateful to the Rostkers and I am making progress on my dissertation because of their generosity and this program,” says Linsner. “The scholars had the opportunity to meet with the Rostkers and present our work to them. It was a delight to hear their feedback and learn from their expertise.”




Syracuse University Ph.D. candidates interested in applying must submit a completed application, including one reference letter, by midnight (EST) on September 30th, 2023. Applicants can anticipate receiving notification later in the year at the end of August. Potential applicants who have questions may contact