The Helen Fellowship
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Please read before submitting your application!
The Helen Fellowship is a unique opportunity for women to spend a year immersed in teaching and research at AMNH in New York City. The Fellows will split their time between teaching and a research residency within one of the Museum’s science divisions.
The Helen Fellows contribute to curriculum and teach within BridgeUp: STEM, a computational science program for high-school aged young women and middle-school aged boys and girls from New York City. Each Fellow also conducts independent computational research under the guidance of a museum scientist whose work aligns closely with the Fellow’s interests and experience.
The residency allows the Fellows to conduct authentic research utilizing cutting edge tools of computational science and emerging media in labs across the Museum’s science divisions including Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, Paleontology, Anthropology, and the Physical Sciences (including Astrophysics and Earth and Planetary Sciences). Applicants should familiarize themselves with these departments and their ongoing research initiatives in order to better propose an appropriate research project. The Fellows are supported to generate publications and/or independent projects that will help launch their careers. To learn more about the Helen Fellows and their research, click here.
Previous Fellows have conducted research or developed products in invertebrate zoology, data visualization, astrophysics, exhibitions, biodiversity conservation, ornithology, and herpetology.
The Helen Fellowship is intended for current college seniors (expected graduation by May 2017) and/or recent graduates and is a full-time commitment for one year beginning in the summer of 2017. This fellowship is non-renewable. More information can be found by searching our website and the broader internet for your topic of interest at AMNH. This program is funded by the Helen Gurley Brown Trust for the American Museum of Natural History’s BridgeUp: STEM initiative.
Fellows will receive an annual salary of $70,000 plus generous benefits.
Funding is available for expenses such as conference travel and research equipment and supplies.
Applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on January 20, 2017.
All applicants must submit the following materials:
While there is no one profile of an ideal candidate, we are seeking applicants with a combination of the following qualifications:
Recommenders will be asked to address the following components of your candidacy:
Applications Open: October 14, 2016
Application Deadline: 11:59 PM EST on January 20, 2017
Award Notification: March 15, 2017
Fellowship Begins: Summer 2017
Senior Helen Fellow
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Who can I work with for the research component of the Fellowship?
A: Any curator or senior researcher (director) within a research division at the American Museum of Natural History is a possible Helen Fellow advisor. These prospective advisors should have agreed to advise and mentor the Helen Fellow for the full course of the fellowship, from summer 2017-summer 2018.
Q: Should I reach out to a prospective advisor?
A: It is strongly encouraged, but not required. Reaching out to a prospective advisor can only strengthen an application. Applicants should reach out to the prospective advisor to first determine whether they are willing and able to advise a Helen Fellow for the entire 12 month time period (beginning in the summer of 2017), and then to devise a research project that aligns with the applicant's interests and the ongoing work of the advisor in their lab. Should the researcher have any questions about the nature of the BridgeUp: STEM program or the Helen Fellowship, they can contact the Associate Director of the program, Louise Crowley, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: I have little experience programming. What are the computational prerequisites to apply for this fellowship?
A: Helen Fellows are expected to be proficient in Python (roughly equivalent to a college level introductory course) by the beginning of the fellowship. The fellows will be required to teach introductory programming to high-school students shortly after the fellowship begins. Fellows will also teach SQL, a database querying language, and should be familiar with the language and database design. If your undergraduate experience is different from these languages, e.g. using C++, JAVA etc:, you will be expected to have learned Python and SQL prior to the beginning of the fellowship.
Q: To what extent should the research be computational?
A: The research component of the fellowship should be computational in nature (therefore bridging computer science and natural science), but there are no specific requirements regarding the way that the project incorporates computational research. Please review past Helen Fellows' bios on the flyer posted at the top right of this page for a better idea of what types of research have been conducted under the fellowship.
Q: What is a typical day in the life of a Helen Fellow?
A: A typical workday for a Helen Fellow will include independent research under the guidance of a museum scientist, interacting with other researchers within their own or other research groups to discuss your work and gain perspective on their experiences. Fellows typically devote an hour or two of prep time for class in the afternoon. Helen Fellows serve as TAs to our after school program, which runs twice weekly during the school year in the late afternoon, and typically enrolls 15-20 9th and 10th grade girls from around NYC to learn Python, SQL, and data visualization. Classes include museum hall visits, guest lectures from museum curators and scientists, and group as well as independent work. Helen Fellows also mentor up to six 10th and 11th grade students (twice weekly in the late afternoon/early evening, on different days than the 1st years) who have completed the 1st year of coursework in internship projects to engage with ongoing and cutting-edge research at AMNH.
Q: How do the letters of recommendation work, since one must address teaching/mentoring and one must address research experience?
A: Applicants must personally notify recommenders about which letter they are writing. The application form will not differentiate in the form that is sent directly to recommenders.
Q: What is the portfolio?
A: The portfolio is optional; it is there should an applicant want to upload supplementary documents or projects that they think would boost their application. Some might upload their thesis, either as a working draft or completed manuscript. Others might share their website, publications, or a digital project that they have completed that they want the selection committee to know about.
Q: Can I apply if i have not graduated yet?
A: Helen Fellows must have completed at least a bachelors degree by the Summer of 2017.
Q: Am I overqualified if I have a PhD?
A: We welcome applicants from individuals with a bachelors, masters or doctoral (Ph.D) degree.
Q: What are the responsibilities of a Helen fellow?
A: Helen Fellows will split their time between teaching and mentoring the Brown Scholars and working on individual projects under an AMNH scientist or staff member in their respective fields.
Q: What kind of research do you do at AMNH?
A: We are specifically looking for Helen Fellows that are interested in research in anthropology, physical sciences, invertebrate zoology, paleontology and vertebrate zoology. For more information on our research go to www.amnh.org/our-research.
Q: I am not a US Citizen. Am I still eligible to apply?
A: Yes, non-US citizens are also eligible for the Helen Fellowship.
Q: When is the application deadline?
A: Applications due by 11:59 PM EST January 20, 2017.
Q: Where do I mail my application materials?
A: Please complete your application online. A link to the application will be posted on October 14th. Hard copies will not be accepted. (This includes recommendation letters - please have your recommenders complete their letters via the online application only.)
Q: How do I upload my recommendation letters? I can’t find the link.
A: At the bottom or top of the page, press “Return to Menu.” There, you will see the option to Add or Edit Recommendation Requests.
Q: Is the GRE required?
A: No, the GRE is not required.
Q: When will I be notified about final awards?
A: If you have been selected for an interview, you will be contacted in February. Notifications on final decisions will be sent out by March 15th. If you are selected, you will need to accept or decline the award by March 31st. Candidates who are waitlisted will be notified on a rolling basis.
Q: Can I defer my acceptance?
A: No, you may not defer your acceptance; you are, however, welcome to reapply for the Fellowship in the future.
Q: Does a professor need to nominate me for the Fellowship?
A: No, we appreciate candidates who self-identify their interest in this work.
The Helen Fellowship is generously supported by a grant from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust.