David M. Howard Memorial Prize

The David M. Howard Memorial Prize in American Politics recognizes outstanding achievement in graduate research in public policy, political behavior, or public opinion in the U.S. broadly understood.

Each year, IGS selects one UC Berkeley Ph.D. student to receive the award, which includes a cash prize of $2000.

Read about past recipients of the Howard Prize here.

Meet the 2021 Recipient

Isabel García Valdivia is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley. She received her B.A. in Chicanx/Latinx Studies and Sociology from Pomona College. Her main research interests include immigration, Latinx sociology, family, race and ethnicity, and sociology of aging and life course.

Based on semi-structured interviews, her dissertation explores the effects of immigration status for elderly Mexican immigrants in the U.S. and return migrants to Mexico. In particular, how they come to understand their immigration status – especially undocumented adults – and its effects on their daily lives as they age including: work, retirement, health, the welfare state, social lives, and overall well-being. She investigates how these experiences differ by immigration status, gender, and across countries. Current research largely focuses on the experiences of young undocumented immigrants (“DREAMers”). Isabel’s work shines a spotlight on men and women at the other end of the age spectrum – immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades, and who are not eligible for Social Security benefits (even if they paid into the system) or Medicare. She asks, How will they navigate the poverty and declining health that often comes with aging? Her work has implications for public policy as well as academic theories of immigration integration and aging.

Isabel’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship, and multiple UC Berkeley centers and institutes (e.g., Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies, Center for Race & Gender, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Institute of Governmental Studies, and the Health Initiative of the Americas). Her work has appeared in Social Problems and Educational Researcher.

Apply for the Howard Prize

We are now accepting applications for the 2022 Howard Prize. Please complete the prize application (here). All materials must be received by 11:59pm on October 16, 2022 for consideration.

Help support the Howard Prize! Make an online gift in memory of David Howard, or send a check payable to the "UC Berkeley Foundation" to:

Howard Prize Fund
c/o Institute of Governmental Studies
109 Moses Hall # 2370 
University of California
Berkeley, CA  94720-2370

All donations to this fund are considered tax deductible charitable contributions under federal law.

Why I Support the Howard Prize

"Dave Howard was a brilliant political strategist but more importantly, he was devoted to honest politics and good policy. He wanted to make politics in California better and a research prize at IGS is a wonderful tribute to a good man."

Darrell Steinberg, President Pro Tem, California State Senate


"Dave Howard was a visionary strategist whose service to California is remembered for his many outstanding accomplishments and his untold friendships across the political spectrum." 

Robert C. Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable