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Fellowships + Opportunities

Undergraduate Digital Scholarship Fellowship

The Center for Digital Scholarship invites applications for the 2023-24 Undergraduate Digital Scholarship Fellowship. Up to six fellows will be selected to participate in a mentorship program in support of digitally-focused independent research and creative projects. We invite proposals of projects at any stage of development as long as there is a clear plan of development. Students from underrepresented communities are especially encouraged to apply.

Applications NOW OPEN until November 29, 2023, at 5pm

The fellowship includes

  • Mentorship by a Digital Scholarship Librarian to support overall project development
  • Training and support for skill-building with specific digital methods and tools (e.g. mapping, audio/video, 3D design) as needed in order to advance the project
  • Opportunity to present work at the year-end Digital Scholarship Symposium
  • A $500 award to support the development or public presentation of their work

Fellows commit to

  • Make meaningful progress on their project during the time of the fellowship
  • Meet with their digital scholarship mentor once every two weeks throughout Winter and Spring Quarters
  • Attend monthly fellowship cohort meetings (if scheduling allows)
  • Present their project at the Digital Scholarship Symposium (if scheduling allows)

What you'll need to apply

  • A project title
  • A brief project description that includes goals for the project
  • Digital skill/s you plan to use in the project (view all digital methods we support)
  • Relevant experience you have related to the project
  • How you anticipate utilizing the $500 award
  • A faculty sponsor—someone who will provide guidance on the content area of your project. It is your responsibility to contact your sponsor and ask that they fill out the faculty sponsor form. We recommend sharing the "For faculty sponsors" information below with them when you request their support as well as a description of your project. IMPORTANT: Your application cannot be considered without a faculty sponsor.

NOTE: When you click to apply, you'll be taken to Handshake (UCSC's job's portal). You'll start the application process there, but you'll provide the above information about your project through a Google Form that is linked there on Handshake.

Questions about the fellowship or about the application process? Not sure if your project is a good fit for the fellowship?

Apply now

Applications NOW OPEN until November 29, 2023, at 5pm

Past Fellows

In previous years, we have hosted fellows from a variety of disciplines including History, Anthropology, Art, and Astronomy.  Projects have included creating digital collections of academic materials, examining instagram influencer culture and clothing, developing a visualization of the universe, researching local housing inequalities, creating a multimedia display of the intricacies of death and memory in Okinawa, and exploring the expression of the LGBTQ+ historical community through clothes.  2020 is the first year we did an online recorded presentation, and we are excited to have our fist project to display here!  As we continue the program, we hope to continue having additional projects to showcase on our website.

Academic Year 2020/2021

A photograph of the Behistun inscription

Image Credit: Hara1603 - This file has been extracted from another file: Bisotun Iran Relief Achamenid Period.JPG,Public Domain

New Tricks for Old Persian

Leighton Smith (he/him)
UCSC, Undergraduate, Literature/Classics
Digital Scholarship Undergraduate Fellow

For those who study Persian history and Persian languages, the Behistun Inscription has a unique, irreplaceable importance. As the longest attestation of both Old Persian and the ideology of the Achaemenid Empire, this monument to Darius I provides glimpses into everything from the fine details of the grammar and syntax of an obscure language to the grandiose rhetoric of a burgeoning empire. Nonetheless, the accessibility of this inscription has remained out of step with its paramount importance for studying the Achaemenid Empire and the world in which it existed. This presentation, “New Tricks for Old Persian,” will demonstrate the “new tricks” from Digital Humanities which can render the Behistun Inscription easier to access and read for new students of Old Persian. In the process of presenting the bells and whistles of my website, I also hope to demonstrate how this model of digitization could be generalizable to other marginal languages for the sake of curious undergraduates and researchers in adjacent fields. Finally, I will take time to acknowledge the deficiency of this website in reproducing an artificial division of monument and inscription and then imagine how a more robust digitization project could integrate both the Behistun monument and the Behistun inscriptions.

Academic Year 2019/2020

Crowded crosswalk in Tokyo

Urban Development & Sprawl in Tokyo

Felix Vazquez
Environmental Studies, Oakes

Urban Development & Sprawl in Tokyo is my senior thesis project done in completing my degree in Environmental Studies. It is a passion project designed to understand the elements that make up the street networks that serve as a city's skeleton. This study explores Tokyo street networks at a variety of scales through the use of Geographic Information Systems and Google Earth VR Street View.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the fellowship for?

The current call will begin in Fall Quarter 2023. The Fellowship will last the duration of the Academic Year ending in Spring 2024. Decisions will be made in November, at which point we'll reach out to begin working with this year's fellows.

What does "meaningful progress" on a project mean?

We work with you to establish goals for the fellowship, including a minimum viable version of your project. We do not necessarily expect you to have a "finished product" by the end of the two quarters. Very often, fellows conclude the fellowship with their projects still as works in progress (e.g. phase 1 and 2 mostly complete with plans for what subsequent phases might look like). Applying yourself to this somewhat open-ended process is what we mean by "meaningful progress."

Does the project I propose have to be based on something I am already working on in a class, or can it simply be a topic I am interested in researching which relates to my degree?

We don't require that your research project be related to any class you are currently taking, in part because we believe that there is often a benefit in being able to pursue research projects that are important to you. Our goal is to support those types of projects. If you want to have associated class credit, we encourage you to work with your faculty sponsor to set up an independent study, as we can't offer credit through the library, but that is not a requirement for the fellowship.

How often will I be expected to meet with my Digital Scholarship Librarian?

We have found that it's most successful if you meet with your Digital Scholarship mentor every other week, but will work with the schedules of each fellow to make sure that their mentorship needs for the project are met in a timely manner.  We also try to set up a meeting once a month with all of our fellows so that you can get peer feedback and we can offer shared training (such as for digital project management).  The timing and frequency of these meetings are based on our fellows' availability.

How much time will the fellowship take up?

Outside of the meetings as described above, the time you would need to dedicate to the project will depend on the scope of your specific project.  Early on in your fellowship, your digital scholarship mentor will have a discussion with you about how to scope your project to meet your goals.  Our goal is for you to have a completed deliverable that meets the goal of your proposed project.  Past examples of deliverables include a set of data that accompanies a paper, a pilot project to test out a new digital methodology, a fully developed plan for a larger project, a completed online display, and a program developed to display data in a specific way.  In some cases, the deliverable at the end of the project changes from the originally proposed project to better meet the goals.

What makes a good project description?

Your project description should be clear and concise with the intended project activities you would like to pursue during the fellowship program. Please describe the different aspects of your project, a tentative schedule, potential tools, and digital methods that you foresee will meet your project's needs, and how those digital tools will relate to the academic goals of your project. We are looking to see if you can demonstrate an understanding of the scholarship of your projected field and activities that support the academic goals of your discipline and how these are relevant to your project's scope and design.

How should I approach budgeting the financial award?

You can find a sample budget here which highlights the basics of what we are looking for. It does not need to be a finalized budget, and we are happy to be flexible with your budget plans during your fellowship tenure.

Why do I need a faculty sponsor?

We request that you have a faculty sponsor who can provide advice and guidance for the academic field your work is related to.  Our Digital Scholarship Librarians have digital scholarship methodology background in a variety of fields, but we are not experts in all academic fields. Our request of faculty sponsor is that they make themselves available to provide guidance based on the academic field you are engaging with for your project. We also request that your faculty sponsor meets with both you and us once at the beginning of the fellowship so that we can all have the same understanding of the goals of the project. 

Can my faculty sponsor be an instructor/lecturer, or does it have to be my academic advisor?

Your sponsor can be a tenure faculty member, an instructor, or a lecturer. Still, it is essential to remember that instructors and lecturers are not compensated for this level of student engagement while tenure faculty are expected to support students beyond the classroom. If an instructor or a lecturer agrees to be a sponsor, they are doing this on their own time and are not contractually obligated to support students in this way. Please understand this when reaching out to potential sponsor.

Can I get independent credit for my project?

The library is unable to offer credit, but we're happy to work with any UCSC faculty member to support an independent study class that they lead.  We can provide additional readings and structured activities around digital scholarship methodologies that meet their needs. 

What does the Digital Scholarship Research Symposium presentation consist of?

The Digital Scholarship Research Symposium occurs at the end of the Spring Quarter, usually in the last week of May.  We are currently finishing the planning stage and will have a date soon. At the event, presenters have the opportunity to present their project on a screen in the Digital Scholarship Symposium, use Digital Scholarship equipment to present their project, or present a talk at our VizWall.

What is the review process?

Your application will be reviewed by Digital Scholarship Librarians Daniel Story, Steph Layton, and Kristy Golubiewski-Davis. In reviewing the applications, we look for the following information:

  • Does the project have some aspect of digital scholarship methodologies that our librarians have the skills to support?
    • For this question, we try to pair two students to each librarian so that we can provide the best support.   
  • Does the academic nature of the project match the support the faculty sponsor can provide?
    • Because we support a wide range of projects, we look to the statement by your faculty sponsor to confirm that the academic portion of your project is sound.  We are also looking for a content match between the faculty sponsor and the project to ensure that if the student has questions related to the subject matter of the project, there is support available.
  • What type of experience does the student have related to their project?
    • For our purposes, we are looking at this information to best determine what types of professional development or project development work would best support our cohort as a whole.  While it is sometimes helpful to have some experience in the subject matter or digital method(s) involved, it is not necessary to have a deep experience in either.  For the subject matter, a strong faculty statement will go a long way.  For digital method experience, we don't expect you to have any particular background, but knowing what experience you have helps us shape our mentoring to meet you where you are at with your learning.
  • Is the project feasible?
    • Usually, this is a question of scope.  In some cases, we encourage students to re-scope their project to be smaller and more likely to be completed within 2 quarters.  In other cases, a project may require access to resources that we can't provide and that there is no indication in the proposal will be provided elsewhere.  If a project seems like the scope is too large and can't be scaled down, or requires access to unobtainable resources, we are less likely to move the project forward.

A strong application includes an academic question that the applicant wants question or explore using a digital methodology that we support.  The proposal narrative will link the two together and explain how the applicant sees the value of that linkage.  In some cases, the project changes as these methods are explored, and it is ok for an applicant to have an idea that goes in a different direction as you learn more.