Support your research or experiential learning with a Carleton-funded fellowship!

15 January 2024
By Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships

Carleton offers several donor-funded fellowships that can be used to undertake research or experiential learning, in the US or abroad, by students ranging from first-years to seniors. Through the generosity of Carleton alumni, Carleton students are awarded fellowships each year to pursue projects they have developed. In this post, I’ll describe some of the ways Carls use fellowships (you can also hear directly from recipients about their experiences) and offer some guidance about getting started. To learn more and apply, visit the Carleton-funded fellowships page!

Many Carls use fellowships to do research or engage in creative or artistic projects that are related to their Comps. For example, a Class of 2022 Linguistics major traveled (using a Chang-Lan Fellowship) to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, China, to look at written, colloquial use of language in restaurant signage and other informal contexts, while a Class of 2022 CAMS major traveled to India (using a Roy Grow Fellowship) to make a film that explores and captures the movement of memories and the identity formation that takes place through them. Many students travel internationally, as these two did, but others do research right here. For example, another Class of 2022 student investigated three very different novels that foreground nearly the same unconventional conception of time for his English Comps (with the support of an Independent Research Fellowship). It’s important to note that there is also a fall application cycle for the Senior Year Comps Fellowship – not everyone knows what they want to do for Comps in advance of our Winter or Spring Term deadlines for the Carleton-funded fellowships described here.

Other Carls use fellowships to explore a topic that they find interesting but that may or may not turn into a Comps project. For example, a Class of 2023 English major (on a Larson International Fellowship) mapped the versions of Dublin created by two different authors, writing a century apart, and a Class of 2023 Political Science major (using a Donelson Fellowship) traveled through the American West using literature, photography, and rock climbing as tools to renegotiate his relationship with US territory.

Still other Carls use fellowships to engage in experiential learning that enriches their education in a variety of ways (both related and unrelated to their majors). For example, a Class of 2023 SoAn major used the Nancy Wilkie Fellowship for Archaeological Field Experience to attend a field school at Castelo de Cuncos in Portugal. A Geology major from the Class of 2022 used the Donelson Fellowship to design a residence inspired by the work of Will Shortz, the editor of the New York Times’ daily crossword puzzle. And a Class of 2022 Computer Science major (on a Roy Grow Fellowship) traveled to India and Australia to immerse in and learn about two very distinctive contexts: the Byron Bay surfing scene and life in a peaceful monastery in Ladakh.

Carls also use fellowships to build on their OCS experiences. For example, two Class of 2023 English majors used the Kelley International Fellowship to extend their time in the UK and explore the world of the Tudor court through the symbolism of its clothing and fashion. And a 2023 History major used the Larson International Fellowship following the Africa and Arabia OCS program to visit bazaars and museums and explore Omani food culture.

Finally, Carls from many different disciplines have used the Hanson Ethics Fellowship to explore a range of topics. For example, a Class of 2023 Philosophy and Economics major examined what sort of moral, financial, and practical obligations we have to those who will come after us; a Class of 2021 Computer Science major investigated whether intelligent AI deserve rights; and a 2022 Political Science major explored normativity and whether a normative ethical naturalism is possible.

If you are interested in applying for a fellowship and want to explore your options, you can consult Five Steps to a Carleton-funded Fellowship Application to get started. You’ll see that most of our fellowships use a common application, although a few of those mentioned above have their own individual applications. This year’s Winter Term (February 6, 2024) and Spring Term (April 16, 2024) deadlines are for fellowships to support projects for summer or Winter Break of 2024.