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UMass Lowell Honors College Student Fellowships: Home

$1,000 Honors College Student Fellowships

The Honors College is now accepting applications for Honors College Student Fellowships for the upcoming FY18 fiscal year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). For each fellowship, an Honors College student will work alongside an honors mentor and receive a $1,000 stipend for 100 hours of research, creativity, or theme-based/author-based reading.

The $1,000 stipend will be deducted from your tuition and fee bill.

To apply for a specific student fellowship, download the appropriate PDF, fill it out, and slide the paper beneath Jim's Office Door (O'Leary 124). Starting in September, Jim's office will move to O'Leary 300.

A student may apply for more than one fellowship. However, it is not likely that a single student will receive more than one fellowship in a given year. We recommend that students submit their application as soon as possible.

Through these student fellowships, the Honors College wishes to cultivate academic relationships that bring undergraduate students and faculty together. Perhaps these fellowships will grow into an Honors Project?

Purpose of the Honors College Student Fellowships

When the Honors College reviews applications for its Student Fellowships it tries to assess if the proposed student fellowship satisfies at least one of the two goals given below.

  • The primary goal of an Honors College Student Fellowship is to foster an Honors Student/Honors Mentor Academic Relationship while the student fellow embraces a single topic for 100 hours. The Honors Mentor should provide regular support and guidance through weekly meetings and email interactions. It is hoped that this joint pursuit of knowledge and scholarship will continue after the fellowship is over and grow into the student's Honors Project or Honors Thesis. When the Honors College reviews a fellowship application, it asks itself: What is the likelihood that this fellowship could turn into a full blown Honors Project or Honors Thesis?
  • An additional goal is to encourage academic breadth. Students often have difficulty seeing beyond their own major. When the Honors College reviews a fellowship application, it asks itself: How does this fellowship academically broaden the student? For example, in the past we have had Engineering majors read Plato. Business majors read Toni Morrison. We would like Sociology and English majors to gain an understanding of the work of Faraday, Lavoisier, or Fourier. We would like Computer Science and Mathematics majors to know of all Beethoven's symphonies or perhaps read a single author closely or better understand the writings of Locke, Thucydides, or Machiavelli. It would be a marvelous experience for an economics major to also read all seven of Aeschylus's plays that have survived from antiquity.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation Fellowships ( more than 1)

The Honors College and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation have partnered to offer UMass Lowell Honors Students fellowship opportunities to gain experience by working on projects that will assist the foundation in fulfilling its mission. Students would be guided by the GLCF staff. Students who receive a fellowship will have $1,000 credited off of their tuition and fee bill and they will be involved in a project for about 100 hours. The Greater Lowell Community Foundation is located in downtown Lowell.

If you are interested, please email and express your interest. 


The Greater Lowell Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization comprised of over 350 funds, currently totaling over $32 million, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life in 20 neighboring cities and towns.

The Community Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students, and is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from its staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $11 million to the Greater Lowell Community since 1999.

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation is seeking students from the University of Massachusetts Lowell Honors College to assist with communications and program related projects.

Communications – The Community Foundation uses Constant Contact for email marketing and has an extensive contact database. Currently, thousands of contacts are unsubscribed. Students could assist in implementing a best practice approach to managing unsubscribes, updating contacts, and creating procedural documentation.

Grant-making Programs – The Community Foundation administers five competitive grant cycles through its CommunityForce web-based software. Honors students could assist with grant-making programs including, working with grant applicants, proposal reviewers, as well as program planning and evaluation.

Scholarship Program – The Community Foundation holds a $4 million endowment and administers the scholarship program for Lowell High School. There are nearly 200 individual scholarship funds. Applicants apply online using CommunityForce. Honors students can assist in evaluating the online program, making program updates, responding to issues with applications, and reviewing requests.

Donor and prospect research - database design, analysis of prospect codes, data cleaning and data ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) into an existing tool (Blackbaud FIMS) or something new like Salesforce.



Joseph M. Vayda Honors College Student Fellowship

The recipient of this fellowship must engage in an honors college project that integrates science/engineering with health science and business perspectives to develop an applied innovative product/solution to solve a problem. Preference will be given to first-generation college students. The fellowship will be named for Joseph M. Vayda, the Donor’s father who inspired him to pursue a career in practical science research through his “what if” visioning.  Joseph Vayda achieved a high school diploma in 1933, was a son of immigrants, a WWII veteran, and a dedicated “single-career” employee of the US Postal Service until his retirement in 1971.

$1,000 Fellowship in Creative Writing

Fellowship in Creative Writing

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”  

E. L. Doctorow

Do you like to write? Do you have an idea for a novel?  The Fellowship in Creative Writing recipient will write regularly, meet with the mentor, and read and reflect on books on writing (partial list below). They will also craft a query letter and chapter synopsis, investigate venues to ‘publish’ their work (podcast, literary journals, traditional publishers), and present a public reading of their work. Through this process, the recipient will gain experience and confidence- both essential for the novice writer.

By the completion of the Fellowship in Creative Writing, the student will have written a 50,000 word minimum novel (any genre is acceptable).

Anne Lamott: Bird by bird

Stephen King: On writing—A memoir of the craft

James Wood: How fiction works

Eudora Welty: On writing

Ellen Gilchrist: The writing life

Christopher Vogler: The writer’s journey—Mythic structure for writers

Dorethea Brande: Becoming a writer

Ernest Hemingway: On writing

Stephen Pressfield: The war of art

This activity will be mentored by Bernadette Stockwell (

UMass Lowell Honors College $1,000 Research/Creativity Student Fellowships

The Honors College will award Research/Creativity Student Fellowships during fiscal year FY18. A recipient of this award will devote 100 hours on either a research project or a creative activity that is guided by a faculty mentor who has expertise in the chosen area. One goal of these fellowships is to encourage honors student - honors mentor academic relationships that may lead to an Honors Thesis or an Honors Project. Honors students from any major are welcome to apply. It is likely that this work would be spread across time, typically between October 2017 and April 2018. It is possible to get started as early as July 1st, but an honors mentor would need to commit to meeting with and guiding the student during July and August.

The Honors Student and the Honors Mentor need to find each other.

American Nobel Laureates in Literature

Seven novels, a short story, poems from two poets, and a play -- to say nothing of Bob Dylan. 


Mentor: Michael Noltemeyer


American Nobel Laureates in Literature

  • Sinclair Lewis: Main Street
  • Eugene O'Neill: Long Day's Journey into Night
  • Pearl S. Buck: The Good Earth
  • William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!
  • Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms
  • John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath
  • Saul Bellow: Henderson the Rain King
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer: "A Crown of Feathers"
  • Czeslaw Milosz: selected poems
  • Joseph Brodsky: selected poems
  • Toni Morrison: Beloved
  • Bob Dylan: selected songs

Robert J. Lechner Honors College Student Fellowship

The Robert J. Lechner Honors College Creativity Fellowship is intended for an Honors College student majoring in one of the following areas: 

  • Art and Design
  • Music
  • Theater Arts
  • Digital Media
  • Creative Writing

Honors Students and Honors Mentors need to find each other. We anticipate awarding one of these during FY18.

Prof. Robert J. Lechner, Ph.D., was a long-time faculty member in UMass Lowell's Computer Science Department. He was one of the nicest and smartest people one could ever meet. He and his colleagues help to build our Computer Science Department from scratch. He and his wife Patricia raised a large family of musicians and artists. We honor Professor Lechner's memory through these Honors College Creative Fellowships. Professor Lechner was a wonderful, very bright, and caring person. What a terrific combination.

Ancient Greek Thought, Literature, and Culture

This Honors College Student Fellowship challenges students to examine fundamental questions of society, art, politics, science, and life itself through the study of Greek literature and culture. Through a selection of texts drawn from the Classical Greek canon and beyond, the fellowship asks students to consider the ways in which Greek literature and culture—often considered, rightly or wrongly, as the origins of our own civilization—emerged as a unique (or not!) voice in the ancient world, and consider how the Greeks understood concepts such as citizenship, family, the state, and broader conceptions of history, science, and civilization. Above all, the project seeks to encourage students to consider their own world through the lens of the familiar, yet strange, worldview of the ancient Greeks.


  •         See application below.
  •         Contact Either Dr. Laura Barefield, English Department or Paul Keen, History Department

Students will create a reading list with the help of a faculty mentor. Authors and topics may include, but are not limited to, the following suggestions:

  • Aeschylus
  • Aristophanes 
  • Aristotle
  • Euripides 
  • Herodotus 
  • Homeric Epic (Iliad and/or Odyssey)
  • Greek Mathematical Writers (e.g. Euclid, Archimedes)
  • Plato 
  • Pythagoras and Pre-Socratic Philosophy (e.g. Pythagoras, Democritus)
  • Greek Medical Writers (e.g. Galen and the Hippocratic Corpus)
  • Greek Lyric Poetry (e.g. Sappho, Archilochus, and Solon)
  • Sophocles
  • Thucydides
  • Polybius
  • Plutarch 
  • Art, Sculpture, Architecture (and other forms of material culture) to be identified and studied in consultation with the faculty mentor

A project focused on Greek science, for example, might read the poetry (yes, poetry) of Democritus, who theorized the atom in the fifth century BC, the scientific texts of Aristotle, and the mathematical texts of Euclid and Archimedes. Students wishing to work with ancient theater and/or myth could examine how different tragedians handled the Theban myths of Oedipus and his ever-exciting family, or the stories of Agamemnon (and his no-less exciting family) while considering modern adaptions and performances of these plays. Or, a project focusing on conceptions of democracy might drawn on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, the comic plays of Aristophanes, Plato’s Crito and the Republic, Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, and Aristotle’s Politics. Similar lists might be drawn up on topics concentrating on law, ethics, science fiction, economy, religion, technology, leadership, and war among other possibilities and permutations.

The project may also, in consultation with the faculty mentor, take on a cross-cultural perspective to draw on ancient texts from around the globe. For instance, a student wishing to study epic literature and expressions of divine power and order might be encouraged to draw on the Upanishads from Vedic literature, Gilgamesh and the Atrahasis (Akkadian texts from ancient Mesopotamia), and the Roman epic, the Aeneid. Students interested in the ways that cultures consider the past might read Herodotus (often described as the “Father of History,” but also the “Father of Lies”) alongside Egyptian, Hittite, and Khmer texts, while reading the Shangshu (an ancient Chinese historical text) and drawing on Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War and Polybius’ account of how the Romans conquered Greece to think about how we think about the past in a cultural context.

The reading can be spread across the entire academic year, including winter and spring breaks. The activity is intended to be deep and slow. The student must obtain a Faculty mentor. 

R. Eugene Mellican Honors College Student Reading Fellowships

The R. Eugene Mellican Honors College Student Reading Fellows are expected to work for 91 hours reading and discussing the following Plato dialogues:  Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Meno, and the Republic. Recipients must be supported by a faculty mentor who is expert in Plato. Engineering and Science students will be given preference, but all majors are welcome to apply. Professor Eugene Mellican was the 3rd ever Director of the UMass Lowell Honors Program. He was part of a small group of faculty who stepped forward when the program was being created. He was one of two initial co-directors of the Honors Program back in 1995. A faculty member in the Philosophy Department, Gene loved to teach ethics to the engineers. We will award at least one Mellican Honors Student Reading Fellowship in FY18.

UMass Lowell Honors College Student-Faculty Choice Reading Fellowships

The Honors College will award one or more Honors College Student-Faculty Reading Fellowships during fiscal year FY18. These awards will remain open until filled. Recipients are expected to work for 91 hours reading and discussing a collection of books/readings that identify a theme or the readings may be from a single author. The student must be reading these books with the regular interaction and guidance of a faculty mentor. The reading can be spread over time. All majors are welcome to apply. As there is a finite amount of money, it is best to apply early. The honors student and the honors mentor need to find each other. Together they will propose a mutually agreed upon collection of readings to the Honors College via the application.

UMass Lowell Honors College Dean's Reading Fellowship

This Fellowship is currently closed. Students have been awarded already.


The Honors College will award one or more Honors College Dean's Reading Fellowships during fiscal FY18. The students will be expected to invest a minimum of 100 hours of time reading material with the interaction with Jim Canning. The students and Jim will meet weekly - likely Friday morning or afternoons. It is anticipated that the student will spread the reading out over time, perhaps from July 1st through June 30th.

For more information:   $1,000 Dean's Reading Fellowships

Who Founded Economics: Kautilya or Adam Smith?

Who founded economics? If you ask westerners, they will mostly proclaim it was Adam Smith when he wrote Wealth of Nations. But, if you ask Dr. Balbir Singh SIhag, he would say it was Kautilya. What a wonderful topic for an Honors Fellowship! Why not study the matter for yourself by closely reading Dr. Sihag's book - Kautilya: The True Founder of Economics and get passionate about reading Smith's Wealth of Nations. Find a mentor to work with on this. Focus for 91 hours. Make a public presentation of your findings. If you want to pursue this topic with a vengeance, the Honors College will buy you a copy of both books.

An ideal topic for an economics major. But, any major can engage. Why not? Breadth and depth. It is a matter of joy and focus. No need to be a senior. You could be walking in the UMass Lowell front door for the first time in September.

The Marina and Larry Whittier Honors College Fellowship


This fellowship is currently closed. Students have already been awarded.

The student who receives the Marina and Larry Whittier Honors College Fellowship will read, view, and discuss materials that explore the role of small government in society. The material to be read is a blend of non-fiction and fiction. The student will read a minimum of 100 hours spread over time. The Honors Fellowship Mentor is Jim Canning. The student would be expected to meet weekly with Jim to discuss and possibly present what they have read. Meetings are likely to be held on Fridays in the Honor Suite (O'Leary 300).

For more information about this fellowship: Marina and Larry Whittier Honors College Student Fellowship

100 Hours of Thomas Hardy - An Honors College Reading Fellowship

Thomas Hardy is a famous Victorian author. This fellowship requires that the recipient read Thomas Hardy books, short stories, and poems for 100 hours spread over a year or less according to the schedule given here. You do not need to read all the material listed for this fellowship, just the first 100 hours of your time. If you take up this challenge, you will be paid to read. How cool is that? Perhaps you are not a reader and you say: "Nah, that is not for me". Might you reconsider? There is a reader inside of you. We encourage you to let it come out.

If you are interested in pursuing this fellowship you need to find a mentor.

How do you apply? Find a mentor who will support your reading and then Jim Canning know.


100 Hours of Shakespeare - The Comedies -- A $1,000 Fellowship

C'mon. Why not? People have told me that undergraduates will not read 12 Shakespeare comedies in one year. I say, "That is Hockey Puck." They say, you might get an English Literature major to jump in.  

I say, "Majors from all across campus will be flocking on board to enrich themselves - after all, they are honors students!"

Might you pick up this challenge? Read and watch them. You can do this. One per month - maybe more. To see what is expected, click here.

How do you apply for this $1,000 Honors College Student Fellowship?

Take a piece of paper. Print your name on it. Print, "Shakespeare Rocks!" on it. Slide the paper beneath Jim Canning's office door: O'Leary 124. You need to register for academic works too ( for Phase 1 funding).

You will need to meet with Jim Canning or his designee once per week. You become the explainer. You become the presenter. You do the talking. 

Might you be the lucky recipient?


Archiving the Save Venice, Inc. Project


Read below. If interested, contact Professor Christopher Carlsmith in our History Department to see if there is a fit.

Project Information:

Project Background

Founded in December 1971 by a small group of professors and curators in the Boston area, Save Venice Inc. (SVI) has restored more than 400 works of art in Venice. Many of these works were damaged by the catastrophic flood in November 1966 that inundated Venice (and Florence) with record high water; other Venetian artwork has been threatened by air and water pollution, increased salinization, propeller wash, and rising sea levels. Led by Professor John McAndrew of Wellesley College and Sydney Freedberg of Harvard University, Save Venice Inc. hosted an array of masked balls, art sales, educational trips, cocktail parties, and other fund-raising events in the USA (and later in Venice) from the 1970s forward. These were complemented by a series of educational lectures, newsletters, and scholarly publications aimed at raising awareness about the perilous state of Venetian buildings and artwork, as well as cutting-edge research and restoration of artwork made of canvas, stone, brick, and marble. Over the past four decades, SVI has raised more than $25 million dollars to preserve the artistic and architectural heritage of Venice. It is the largest and most visible of more than thirty private national committees founded to protect Venetian cultural patrimony.

Project Description

During the past two years (2014-16) I have been engaged in systematically collecting documents and oral histories pertaining to the history of Save Venice Inc. For an organization dedicated to preserving the past, it is ironic that SVI has no formal archive of its own. Donor files, newsletters, and recent financial statements are conserved in the New York headquarters, and technical restoration files have always been kept in the Venice office. I have consulted the papers of John McAndrew and Sydney Freedberg at Wellesley and Harvard, respectively. The bulk of SVI documents, however, were scattered in garages and attics of early SVI members in the Boston area. I have now collected ca. 22 boxes of documents from those early members, as well as more than a dozen oral histories. The documents include correspondence, budgets, publications, invitations, photographs, by-laws, meeting minutes, and other administrative paperwork. Three undergraduate students at UMass Lowell (Noah Thompson, Jacob Strout, Megan Shea) have assisted me in cataloguing those documents and in compiling a comprehensive Finding Aid, as well as digitizing several hundred of the most important documents.

In Fall 2016 I drafted an essay of about 35,000 words that narrates the history of Save Venice Inc. from 1966 to 1986. It examines the individuals, mission, achievements, failures, and organizational structure of SVI, and offers comparisons to similar organizations such as the International Fund for Monuments or Venice-in-Peril. During the Fall I also commenced additional interviews with early officers of SVI, including its original attorney Thomas J. Kelly and its original secretary, Elena Vandervroot. The preliminary draft was reviewed by several historians and museum curators familiar with Venice and with Save Venice Inc., who have enthusiastically offered suggestions for further development.

I plan to write the second half of the history of SVI, covering the period 1986-2016, prior to the organizations’ 50th anniversary in 2020-21. That will entail reading the minutes, newsletters, and other archival material already gathered in the Boston area, as well as additional financial material available at SVI’s headquarters in New York City.  Eventually I hope to obtain outside funding for a short trip to the Venice office of SVI, where some early papers as well as all techincal files, are preserved.


In 1986 SVI Chairman Rollin van Nostrand Hadley wrote a two-page overview of the 1966 flood and the response of Save Venice.[1] In 2005 John Berendt devoted one chapter of his non-fiction work The City of Falling Angels to a description of SVI and the controversy that enveloped its Chairman and the Board in the late 1990s during a tumultuous meeting in Venice.[2]  In 2009 Wellesley College professor Peter Fergusson wrote a six-page history of the organization that was distributed privately to SVI members.[3]  In my view, the organization deserves a more comprehensive institutional history.

Project Tasks

The student and I would work closely together to identify the scope of this project and to create a realistic work schedule for 2017-18, based upon the work completed to date.   Student tasks would likely include the following:

  • Become familiar with Save Venice, Inc. by studying its website and major publications;
  • Assist with collection and summary of oral histories from senior members of Save Venice, Inc in Boston and in New York;
  • Visit the NYC office for 2-3 days to analyze archival materials held there especially Board meeting minutes;
  • Compile lists of individual documents and files produced by Save Venice from 1971-2013 (these files are currently held at UMass Lowell);
  • Review published sources on Save Venice Inc;
  • Identify additional primary sources to be analyzed for the history, mission, structure, and current activities of Save Venice, Inc.;
  • Consult with Prof. Carlsmith re: best approach to writing essays about the history of Save Venice, Inc: i.e., a chronological approach, a thematic history, a collective biography, or some combination of the three methodologies;
  • Assist with outlining, writing, editing, and proofing the manuscript;
  • Assist with selection of images to accompany the manuscript.

Required Skills-

The research assistant chosen for this project must observe the guidelines set forth by the program (i.e., devote TBA hrs/week to the project, respond promptly to emails, complete assignments or required training on time, etc). An important skill for this project is the ability to write clearly and concisely. S/he should be generally familiar with the study of history and (ideally) with historical methodology; an interest in art history or restoration is desirable but not required. The student must be able to keep track of his/her own calendar and to manage overlapping projects simultaneously. Initiative and a willingness to engage with members of Save Venice are necessary. S/he must be proficient with email and MS Word; I will provide necessary training in archival sciences, digital scanning, etc. 

[1] Rollin van N. Hadley, “Venice Celebrates 20 years Since the Flood,” SVI Newsletter (Autumn 1986), 2-3, in SVNY-Newsletters.

[2] John Berendt, The City of Falling Angels (New York: Penguin, 2005), 287-330.

[3] Peter Fergusson, “Save Venice: The First Forty Years” (Boston: Save Venice, Inc., 2009), 1-6. 

The "Starting a Non-Profit or Social Enterprise" $1,000 Honors College Fellowship

Interested in starting a nonprofit or social enterprise? Want to further explore the idea, work it through Dr. Deborah Finch as the mentor, develop a business plan/canvas, and enter the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge in the spring semester, if possible.  This could be an honors project, too.  Reading will be required. Maybe One Day, All Children by Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America. The student should “work” with the DifferenceMaker staff on events and tasks that would help them better understand the process—perhaps for 50 hours total over the semester or year, TBD. This will help the student to have a better idea of what is involved in a start-up organization, and be able to see other examples more closely.

If interested, contact in the Manning School of Business