Academic Fellowships

About Academic Fellowships

Elizabeth Rotolo speaks to a student in her office

The primary goal of Academic Fellowships at Brandeis is to support students’ academic growth and development.

The process of applying for a competitive fellowship or research opportunity can help students clarify goals and set in motion a plan to achieve them. Students also often report that applying for a fellowship had unexpected benefits, including closer relationships with their faculty mentor, strengthened writing skills, and a clearer sense of purpose.

Mission Statement

Aligned with the core Brandeis mission to prioritize social justice, we strive to provide students with opportunities to explore their values, engage in self-reflection, and put forward their most compelling applications in campus, national, and international competitions. We believe all personal narratives and lived experiences are valuable, and work to provide an equitable advising program that honors the experience, identity, and goals of each individual applicant. 

What We Do

Before starting an application, the advisor’s job is to help you determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for a particular award; each applicant’s job is to determine if a particular award feels like a match. Once you decide to apply, our job is to help you put forth the most compelling application possible. While the Academic Fellowships Team cannot change the eligibility criteria as stated by any particular funding organization, we can support you in determining if you meet the criteria, and help you think through how best to frame your experiences and goals in a way that is consistent with the funding organization’s stated mission. 

More specifically, our office is responsible for:

  • Advising undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent alumni on a range of fellowship opportunities.
  • Managing the campus endorsement process for national awards including: Fulbright, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, Churchill, Truman, Udall, Boren, Beinecke, and Gaither Jr. Fellows. These awards require a University nomination, and our office coordinates the process to ensure all students are adequately supported by the institution.
  • Supporting students through all steps of the application process, including initial exploration, application review, obtaining letters of recommendation, preparing for interviews, and navigating final decisions.
  • Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion work in fellowship advising and continuously re-visiting our Anti-Racism plan and goals to best support all students. We review our materials annually to update our language as needed, check for accessibility, and remove barriers as we continue to learn and improve our practices.
  • Overseeing the application and selection process for the Giumette Academic Achievement Award.
  • Encouraging and facilitating applicant connections with relevant campus partners (ex. Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations, Hiatt Career Center, Academic Departments) to pursue funding, mentorship, and career exploration.
  • Participating in the National Association of Fellowship Advisors, where we collaborate with peers, network with foundation representatives, and participate in regional and national conferences and international study tours. We also adhere to their professional code of ethics

Diversity Statement

We believe in the following:

  • Transparency: We work to make processes, eligibility criteria, and resources as clear and transparent as possible.
  • Substantive Feedback: We believe feedback and revisions are an integral part of growth and development. We provide each student with clear, compassionate, constructive feedback with the intention of providing opportunities for reflection.
  • Inclusive Excellence: We believe all personal narratives and lived experiences are valuable. We support all prospective applicants, regardless of identity, academic discipline, GPA, citizenship status, or previous experiences.
  • The Importance of Identity: Personal reflection, particularly on identity, is a key part of the application process, and students should have tools available to support them in that reflection. Whether designing a research study, planning to participate in a program abroad, or applying to graduate school, it is important that applicants can safely explore how their experiences and biases can impact their research designs, experiences abroad, and participation in the classroom. These reflections will lead to stronger applications in addition to supporting the Brandeis founding ethos of reverence for learning, engaging in critical analysis, a commitment to justice, and a dedication to using one's gifts to help repair the world.
  • Staff Commitment to DEI Efforts: The Academic Fellowships Team continually reflects on white supremacy culture within the field of fellowship advising. We actively seek new and challenging professional development opportunities related to anti-Racism work, increasing accessibility, and reflection on how our identities shape our individual advising practices.