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Student Fellowships

"Often in academia intellectual inquiry is compartmentalized so much that two people in different disciplines asking the same question might not understand each other. The Kahn transcends that. It is very exciting to bring your work, research and ideas to the table and attack it with scholars from other disciplines. You really get all the angles and fresh perspectives when by working collaboratively between disciplines."

—Annie Parker '08
Sustainable Houses, Homes and Communities (2007-2008


Each year, at the beginning of the Spring semester, the Director of the Institute invites members of the sophomore and junior classes to apply for student fellowships for the long-term projects the Kahn Institute will support during the next academic year.

Student Fellows participate in a Kahn Institute project

What Is Involved in a Kahn Institute Long-Term Project?

Each year, the Kahn Institute supports one or two long-term projects that include both Faculty and Student Fellows who work on individual research projects centering around a common theme. Projects are proposed and organized by one or two faculty members who establish its theme, select its Fellows from among the applicants, and guide its progress throughout the semester or academic year.

Each week through the project, the Faculty and Student Fellows of a project attend a colloquium meeting at which they develop their research and discuss one another’s work-in-progress. In addition to these discussions, colloquium Fellows invite outside scholars to participate in colloquium discussions and to present public events (e.g., lectures, performances, symposia, conferences) that share the project's work with the academic community and the general public. Each weekly colloquium session also includes a shared meal that continues the social and intellectual interaction of the group. These weekly meetings, meals, and special events form the core of the group's work.

Kahn Student Fellows are appointed for the entire project, and are required, along with Faculty Fellows, to participate in all of the weekly research colloquia and meals and to attend the various special events organized by the project’s Fellows. Student Fellows are paid a stipend for their participation (see below).

Three Student Fellows at the Kahn Institute

What Are the Long-Term Projects for 2015-2016?

The Kahn Institute's long-term projects for the 2015-2016 academic year will be:

When Are the Weekly Sessions for 2015-2016?

The weekly colloquium meetings for the 2015-2016 projects will take place on the following schedule:

  • Memory: Form, Function, and Fallibility:
       Academic Year 2015-16 (meeting Tuesdays, Noon-3 p.m. for fall term only; spring meeting time to be announced)

  • Play:
       Spring 2016, Meeting time Tuesdays, Noon-3 p.m.

Student Fellows must be able to arrange their schedules so they can attend the colloquium meeting and meal every week when classes are in session throughout the project.

Who Can Apply to Become a Kahn Institute Student Fellow?

Students who are sophomores and juniors during the 2014-2015 academic year and who will be on campus as juniors or seniors during the 2015-2016 academic year are eligible to apply for Student Fellowships this year.

How Can I Apply for a Student Fellowship?

If you are interested in applying to become a Student Fellow in either of these two projects you should:

  • Read the project descriptions carefully

  • Plan to attend the informational meeting for the project of your choice. The informational meetings will be held at the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute on the 3rd Level of Neilson Library (South) and will take place on the following dates:

      Memory: Form, Function, and Fallibility:
      Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 5-6 p.m.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015,  5-6 p.m.

  • If you still have questions, contact the faculty organizers (i.e., Organizing Fellows) of the project.

  • Submit an application via email to the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute. Your complete application, including your transcript should arrive at the Kahn Institute no later than Friday, March 6, 2015. Your application should be emailed to and should include:

A paragraph or two explaining why you are interested in joining the project and examples of the questions you would like to explore.

Your resume, including optimum mail and emaill addresses, which will be used to contact you with further information.

A list of three Smith College faculty members with whom you have taken courses in the past two years.

A copy of your transcript. Please request your transcript using BannerWeb. Transcripts should be addressed to: Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, Neilson Library and should arrive at the Kahn Institute no later than Friday, March 6, 2015.

What Is the Application Deadline?

The deadline for Student Fellowship applications for 2015-2016 projects is Friday, March 6, 2015.

What Happens After I Submit My Application?

After the application deadline, the Director of the Kahn Institute, the Organizing Fellows, and the Faculty Fellows participating in the project will review all student applications and will work collaboratively to select the finalists for the Student Fellowships. Finalists will be invited to attend a brief interview in support of their application.

Student Fellows for 2015-2016 projects will be announced by the end of March.

How Do New Student Fellows Prepare to Participate in a Kahn Project?

Kahn Student Fellowships require a real commitment to scholarship, and that means developing a research question closely related to the theme of the long-term project and spending the fellowship doing actual research on that question.

Kahn Student Fellows participate along with Faculty Fellows attending the weekly research colloquium meetings, meals, and special events throughout the project. Students will be expected to participate in all of the Institute functions associated with their project (including the weekly research colloquium and the weekly meal that immediately precedes or follows it, as well as presentations by visiting scholars and any symposia or other events that may be planned by project Fellows). Kahn Student Fellows are paid a stipend for their participation (see below).

We recognize that most students will not have had much previous experience defining a research topic or doing original research, so we have put in place a research orientation program for Student Fellows. Participation in the orientation program is a critical part of a Student Fellowship; all Student Fellows will be expected to participate in orientation activities in the spring of 2015 and to return to campus a few days early in the fall to attend an orientation workshop that takes place before classes resume.

A schedule of student training sessions will be published here by mid-March.

Do Student Fellows Get Paid?

Yes. To make it possible for you to have the time to engage in your research, Kahn Student Fellows are provided with a stipend over the course of the summer before their project begins. In addition, they are paid bi-weekly throughout the project (following the student payroll schedule).

If you are accepted as a Student Fellow and you are currently receiving financial aid, the fellowship stipend must be integrated into your total aid package. If you already have a campus job, please contact Valerie Shumacher, Student Employment Coordinator, or one of the directors in Student Financial Services as soon as possible after your acceptance to discuss what arrangements you will need to make in order to be able to accept your Kahn Fellowship.

Wellness & Disease Fellows


Student Spotlight

Click here to read an interview with Lori Harris '11, a Student Fellow in the 2009-2010 project Wellness & Disease, who shares her experiences as a scholar and researcher in a Kahn Project.


Faculty Fellowships

Student Fellowships

Visiting, Senior & Postdoctoral

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