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Graduate Community Fellows Program

The Community Fellows program is an opportunity for graduate students to strengthen graduate community and foster a culture that respects and celebrates diversity, inclusion and equity. Community Fellows build leadership, collaboration, and problem solving skills as they develop and implement initiatives that cultivate community.

What does a Graduate Community Fellow do?

  • Design and implement community-building initiatives for graduate students falling under one of the following areas: Race & Social Justice, International Community, Wellness & Health, Family-Friendly, and Master’s Student Community. Students can also propose their own area. (Past examples include LGBTQ Initiatives and Undocumented, First-Generation, Low-Income (U-FLI) Initiatives.)
  • Receive peer feedback, guidance from the Fellows program coordinator and campus partners as they create and implement their initiatives.
  • Provide feedback and assessment on initiatives through mid-year and end-of-year program evaluation.

Initiatives may be speaker events, seminar series, networking events, series of community gatherings, discussion groups, workshops, or student community serving resources. Initiatives may build upon previous Fellows’ initiatives and/or incorporate similar programming or resources to create continuity in community-building and resources from one year to the next. In this case, applicants to the program should address in their applications how they are expanding upon previous initiatives and contributing new elements. See examples of past initiatives and descriptions.

Each initiative should aim to strengthen the graduate student community, to celebrate diversity, promote belonging and inclusion, and connect individuals across disciplines.

In addition, each Fellow receives an award of $2000 for one academic year ($1000 awards are disbursed each semester, Fall and Spring) and Fellows (in either pairs or small groups) receive up to $1500 to fund initiatives in the areas they represent. International students who are Community Fellows should register with FNIS before receiving any payments and should note award amounts are liable for taxes unless there are tax treaty benefits available, which differ according to the student’s home country.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, Community Fellow initiatives for Fall 2020 and potentially also in Spring 2021, will be virtual.

When do the Graduate Community Fellows implement their initiatives?
Early-October through mid-May. Graduate Community Fellows are selected in late September and will have the remainder of the academic year to design and implement their initiatives.

Who Can Apply?
International and domestic, doctoral and master’s students who are registered full time in the current academic year, 2020-21, and are in good academic standing.

Previous Graduate Community Fellows are welcome to apply, though preference will be given to new applicants. Previous fellows should also contact the Community Fellows program coordinator about interest before applying.

Important consideration for prospective applicants: Students interested in applying will be asked to thoughtfully consider how they will balance academic pursuits and personal responsibilities with active engagement as a Community Fellow. Time commitments to the planning, coordination and implementation of initiatives will vary and are determined by the Fellows themselves.

How to Apply
Apply through UFunds. Deadline Sept. 18, 2020.

Find the application to the Graduate Community Fellows Program 2020-21 listed under “Graduate School Distinctive Opportunities” category in UFunds

Students may apply in pairs or individually. Applications are strongest when students apply as pairs (groups of three will also be considered).

  • Where students apply individually, the selection committee will attempt to match applicants based on their areas of interest. While it may be possible to match applications, this is not always possible.
  • Where students apply in pairs (or groups), students should identify the individual with whom they will work. Both applicants must submit applications.

Application components
UFunds application: Students should prepare the following for the UFunds application:

  • PDF of your CV/resume, highlighting relevant experiences.
  • Description of an initiative you would like to implement as a Fellow. Include goals, anticipated outcomes and challenges, and discussion of feasibility. (Please note your initiative may be modified or further refined, if selected as a fellow. In this application, we would still like to gauge your goals, expectations, and your ability to think through any challenges in initiative development and implementation). Initiatives may build upon previous Fellows’ initiatives and/or incorporate similar programming or resources; if this is the case, applicants to the program should address in their applications how they are expanding upon previous initiatives and contributing new elements.
  • Explanation of how your proposed initiative strengthens the graduate student community, celebrates diversity, promotes belonging and inclusion, and connects individuals across disciplines.
  • Description of how you will manage your role as a Fellow with your academic and other pursuits this year.
  • Explanation of how being a Community Fellow will help you meet your professional goals and/or enrich your graduate experience.
  • NEW FOR 2020-2021 application: Plan for how initiatives will work exclusively in a virtual environment due COVID-19 social restrictions.  

Faculty and DGS Support: Students should also request email endorsement messages be sent directly to [email protected], confirming that you are a full-time registered graduate student, in good academic standing. These messages should be provided by:

  • Faculty Advisor (if primary advisor has been assigned/selected)
    AND/OR
  • Director of Graduate Study

First-year graduate students or any graduate student with no primary advisor selected may request a message of support and standing from their director of graduate studies.

Emails from DGS and advisors should be received no later than one week after the application submission deadline. 

Community Fellows selections will be selected based on:

  • commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • demonstrated leadership and organizational experiences, including event planning or organizational experience for departments or student groups and resource development for community purposes, or other relevant experiences
  • understanding of graduate student community interests 
  • experience with student community needs and concerns 
  • feasibility and scope of proposed initiative as well as outline of goals, expected outcomes, approach, and perceived challenges
  • commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

(Students should be aware that if selected, proposed initiatives may be modified and further refined.)

Applications will be evaluated by a selection committee that includes graduate students and representatives of the Graduate School and campus partners.

Application Deadline: September 18, 2020 at 11:45 pm.

Want to learn more? Please join us for an information session on Tuesday, September 8 at 2:00 pm via Zoom (register here). This session will cover the program’s goals, structure, past successes, funding, application process, and timeline.

Questions? Contact Kirk Robinson, Manager of Student Development.