Theater, literature student is Penn State's 2021 Beinecke Scholarship nominee

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Frederick Miller is this year’s Penn State nominee for the Beinecke Scholarship, a highly competitive national scholarship for students who plan to pursue research-based graduate degrees in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Miller, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, is a junior majoring in theatre studies in the College of Arts and Architecture and comparative literature in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Miller has been involved in theater since his first year at Penn State and has served as the production dramaturg for Penn State Centre Stage’s productions of “Caroline, or Change;” “To Kill a Mockingbird;” “A Little Night Music;” and “Angels in America.”

“For these shows, I conduct research on the show and the context in which it appeared in society,” he said. “I contextualize the piece for those working on the production and I provide dramaturgical support to the director and actors in the rehearsal room.”

Miller has also been a project associate on the #HereToo Project, which he described as a performance piece that seeks to amplify voices of youth activists. He and a cohort of interns, with help from the Student Engagement Network, interviewed State College activists. The interviews were then archived and recorded for the #HereToo Podcast.

His academic interests focus primarily on the 20th and 21st century American theater, both in drama and musical theater, as seen through the course he is teaching through Students Teaching Students, titled THEA 497: American Musical Theatre History: From 9/11 to COVID-19.

Frederick Miller is Penn State's Beinecke Scholarship nominee. Credit: ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

“The opportunities I have had as part of my undergraduate experience have profoundly shaped the scholar artist I have become,” Miller said. “I approach my work with a desire to be thorough as well as through an ethical lens. The tools that I have acquired as a result of my coursework and production research have helped me forge a pathway ahead in my career.”

Miller hopes to pursue a master of fine arts in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism, studies that would be bolstered by a Beinecke Scholarship.

About the Beinecke Scholarship

The Beinecke Scholarship Program began in 1971 at the behest of the board of directors at the Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, the three brothers who ran the company starting in the 1920s. Together they expanded the company and set its course to become a Fortune 500 operation by the 1970s.

Each year, the program awards up to 20 scholarships from among the nominees of about 135 colleges and universities, according to the program website. The selection committee weighs applicants’ intellectual ability through academic achievement and seeks college juniors who will be attending a research-focused master’s or doctoral program. Applicants must demonstrate a history of receiving need-based financial aid during their undergraduate studies. Students must also be U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Students receive $4,000 prior to entering graduate school and another $30,000 while attending school. There are no geographic restrictions to the scholarship. The award must be used within five years.

The last Penn State recipient of the scholarship was Chris Brendel, a communication arts and sciences major who earned the award in 2013, and who went on to pursue a doctorate at University of California Santa Barbara. Penn State student Michael Stahl earned the award in 2009. Stahl was a classics and Eastern Mediterranean studies major who went on to the University of Notre Dame for biblical studies.

The University can only nominate one student for the award, so students first have to pass through an internal Penn State selection process facilitated by Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring. Interested students will need to first submit a complete application to URFM at, approximately two months before the national deadline.

Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring is part of Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated January 26, 2021