Jane Kahn '77 Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Undergraduate students are invited to submit proposals for the Jane Kahn '77 Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This fellowship awards up to 2 undergraduates a $5,000 stipend for summer semester research examining current and emerging issues in criminal justice reform and the rights of individuals with mental illness, disability, and socio-psychological factors frequently associated with incarceration.

The priority deadline to apply for 2022 summer funding will be March 2, 2022. See the list of 2021 recipients.

This fellowship honors the memory of Jane Kahn, a 1977 graduate of Brandeis University who dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of individuals incarcerated in California prison system. Jane, along with her husband Michael Bien ’77, spent almost two decades litigating a class action civil rights lawsuit on behalf of mentally ill inmates in California. That case, Coleman v. Schwarzenegger, argued that the treatment of mentally ill inmates in California prisons was constitutionally deficient due to extreme overcrowding and inhumane treatment. After prevailing in the lower court, the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court, which affirmed the decision and ordered the State of California to reduce its prison population by 30,000.

Jane and Michael were honored at Brandeis in 2011, and provided the Joshua A. Guberman Lecture entitled "Representing Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness Trapped in a Nightmare: The California Prison Overcrowding Case." It is in the spirit of this work, and Jane’s dedication to her clients, that this fellowship was established.


Undergraduates in good academic standing are eligible. Students who will graduate in December 2022 or later or eligible to apply for summer funding. For summer research students are required to fill out an I-9 in order to receive the stipend. International Students are encouraged to review the steps for beginning on-campus employment found on the International Students and Scholars Office website. Please contact Kathleen McMahan with any questions related to I-9 eligibility or the I-9 process.

How to Apply

Proposals should include the following information:

A URCC committee that includes Faculty in the Legal Studies Program will evaluate submissions and select up to two successful candidates. The awardees will be announced in April 2022.

Questions? Contact Margaret Lynch, Director of Undergraduate-Faculty Research Partnerships