Helen Fellowship

Part of Fellowships for Higher Education

Helen fellow teaching code to Bridge Up Stem high school students.

The Helen Fellowship is a one-year residency for post-baccalaureate women to devote time immersed in computational scientific research and educational outreach at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. The Helen Fellowship program is part of AMNH’s newest education program, BridgeUP: STEM, which is focused on the intersection of computer science and science.

This residency allows Fellows to conduct research under the guidance of a museum scientist in one of the AMNH’s science divisions, i.e. Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, Paleontology, Anthropology, and the Physical Sciences (including Astrophysics and Earth and Planetary Sciences), as well as the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. Applicants should familiarize themselves with the proposed research projects below, and with the science divisions and researchers associated with these projects. Applicants are advised to choose a project from this list that aligns closely with their interests and experience.

The Fellows are supported to further develop the chosen research project, with the intention of producing a final product that will help launch their careers.  Learn more about current and previous Helen Fellows and their research.

Helen Fellows also spend time in the classroom with high school aged young women (Brown Scholars), from the New York City area, who are instructed in computer programming and computational science concepts in order to answer original scientific questions. Classes include museum hall visits, guest lectures from museum curators and scientists, and group, as well as independent work. Participation in the development of BridgeUP: STEM curricula is also possible. Furthermore, Fellows act as mentors to Brown Scholars who undertake a research internship in their second year of the program. This research project is integral to that of the Helen Fellow, and their research supervisor (museum scientist). This tiered mentorship model introduces students to the scientific enterprise of museum research, and instructs them in the skills required to engage novel scientific inquiry.

The Helen Fellowship is intended for current college seniors and/or recent graduates of a Bachelors or Masters degree and is a full-time commitment for one year beginning in September. This fellowship is non-renewable.

Eligibility Requirements:

Helen Fellowship applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A conferred bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, natural sciences, applied mathematics, computational science, or other relevant majors from an accredited institution, prior to the fellowship start date in September.
  • A U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or a permit to work in the U.S. for the duration of the program, at the time of application.
  • Proficiency in computer programming (Python preferred).
  • Currently living in, or willing to relocate to, the greater New York City area [Note: relocation expenses are not reimbursed].
  • Not undertaking any other employment (full-time or part-time) during the period of the fellowship.
  • Strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.


Fellows will receive an annual salary of $70,000, plus generous benefits.

Research Support:

Funding is available for expenses such as conference travel, workshops, research equipment and supplies, research collaboration, and publication costs.

Important Dates:

November – Application opens

3rd Sunday in January – Application closes [Deadline extended to February 2nd, 2020]

January–March – Application review

Late March – Notification of fellowship award

Mid-April – Deadline for applicant responses to accept fellowship

Early September – Start of Fellowship

Late August – End of Fellowship


Helen Fellowship 2020-2021 Project Descriptions

Download the PDF

Application Materials:

The completed online application must be submitted by 11:59:59 pm EST, February 2nd 2020. The following items are required:

  1. A completed online application form
  2. A two-page curriculum vitae or resume [Note: this document must explicitly state both the programming languages and level of experience you have, e.g. Python (Intermediate), R (beginners)]
  3. All undergraduate and graduate transcripts [Note: while unofficial transcripts are acceptable for application, official documents will be required for hiring of successful applicants].
  4. Two recommendation letters from instructors, research advisors, or other mentors, submitted electronically. Recommenders will be asked to address your potential for novel contributions to research or scientific communication, ability to work in groups, communication skills (both written and oral), maturity level and leadership potential, if applicable, your ability to work with motivated teenagers.
  5. All uploaded documents should be in PDF format.  These documents must follow the naming convention as described in the online application.
  • At least one of the letters should address your teaching and mentoring experience and potential.
  • At least one of the letters should address your achievements and potential as it relates to your specific research project.

Selection criteria:

While there is no one profile of an ideal candidate, we are seeking applicants with a combination of the following qualifications/traits:

  • Outstanding potential for novel research within one of the museum's science divisions
  • Strong academic record
  • Proficiency in computer programming
  • Scientific interests that align with those of the AMNH
  • Previous teaching and/or mentoring experience
  • Dedicated to the promotion of women in STEM 

 Any inquiries should be directed to [email protected]

Past and Present Participants


This program is generously funded by the Helen Gurley Brown Revocable Trust for the American Museum of Natural History’s BridgeUP: STEM initiative.