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Fifty ACM Students Receive Two-Year Fellowships to Explore Academic Careers

Published: June 20, 2016

A paid summer research internship on the campus of a major research university awaits the first cohort of students, drawn from all of the ACM colleges, who have been awarded Graduate School Exploration Fellowships (GSEF).

The awards also provide GSEF fellows with one-on-one faculty mentorship at their home colleges during their junior and senior years and two career development conferences with other GSEF recipients, graduate students, and faculty.

The GSEF program is one of three key components of the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate, a seven-year initiative to address barriers to faculty diversity in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and the arts, especially in the context of liberal arts colleges.

The Fellows Program is a collaboration of the ACM colleges and the research universities in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, which is a consortium of the members of the Big Ten Conference, plus the University of Chicago. The ACM and Big Ten Academic Alliance received a generous $8.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Fellows Program.

GSEF activities are designed to encourage ACM college students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the professoriate to pursue graduate degrees and enter academic careers, particularly as faculty at liberal arts colleges.

The inaugural Fellows Program Summit on August 18-19 in Chicago will be the first GSEF activity for the students, who applied for the fellowships in the spring and were selected by their colleges.

"This summit is the initial cohort’s introduction to the program," said Lilly Lavner, ACM Coordinator and Campus Liaison for the Undergraduate Fellows Program. "It will provide a wonderful chance for the GSEF fellows to network with peers from ACM colleges who may have similar backgrounds and/or academic interests to one another, and to hear from graduate students and faculty about their experiences on the pathway to becoming a professor."

"Next summer, these students will spend about eight to ten weeks on the campuses of Big Ten Academic Alliance members or the University of Chicago for their summer research experiences. They are then expected to give presentations about their work during the annual summit in August, 2017," Lavner said. "This year we’re inviting some graduate students and faculty to give short presentations at the summit as a model for the GSEF fellows."

According to Lavner, most of the collaborating research universities have well-established summer research opportunity programs (SROP) for undergraduates in place on their campuses which GSEF students will participate in along with Big Ten Academic Alliance students selected through a competitive process.

"The established SROPs at the universities have mostly been focused on the STEM fields. They are open to any eligible undergraduate enrolled at a degree-granting college in the US, and students at ACM colleges are welcome to apply for those available spots," said Lavner. "ACM students in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences, though, should apply for GSEF."

The Fellows Program grant will support five undergraduate cohorts totaling 280 GSEF fellows, with up to 20 students drawn from each ACM college. Students apply for GSEF on their home campuses during their sophomore year. See the GSEF webpage for an application guide and list of campus contacts.


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