Skip to Main Content

Fellowships + Opportunities

Close up of a sound monitor

Undergraduate Digital Scholarship Fellowship

The Center for Digital Scholarship invites applications for the 2022-23 Undergraduate Digital Scholarship Fellowship. Up to 4 fellows will be selected to participate in a training and mentorship program in support of digitally-focused independent research projects. The fellowship includes:

  • Methodological training combining critical theory, critical making, and creativity
  • Digital skill-building around digital mapping; data analysis and visualization; 3D design, 3D printing, and critical making; etc. as needed in order to enable fellows to build a research project of their unique design
  • Ongoing mentorship to support project development by a Digital Scholarship Librarian
  • A $500 award to support the development or public presentation of their work
  • Presentation experience at the Digital Research Symposium

We invite proposals of research projects at any stage of development as long as a clear research agenda is described and supported by a faculty sponsor. Individuals or groups may apply (see FAQ below for details on group applications). Students from underrepresented communities are especially encouraged to apply.

What you'll need to complete the application

  • A project title
  • Be prepared to briefly describe your project and the goals you have for it
  • Identify specific digital skill/s you plan to use in the project
  • Describe relevant experience you have related to the project
  • Describe how you anticipate utilizing the $500 award
  • The name of a faculty sponsor. Note: It is your responsibility to contact your sponsor and ask that they fill out the faculty sponsor Google 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.

Fellowship requirements

  • Applicants should be prepared to commit to up to four 1–hour workshops during the Winter Quarter and to regular meetings with mentors throughout the Winter and Spring Quarters
  • Applicant should have a general familiarity with web technologies
  • Applicants should be prepared to present at the Digital Research Symposium, typically scheduled at the end of Spring Quarter

For faculty sponsors

  • Please submit your recommendation information through our Google Form.  The form requests a short answer to the following questions:
    • In what way is the student's proposed project is meaningful to their field of study?
    • In what way would the student's proposed project benefit from using the digital scholarship methods we support?
  • We request that faculty sponsors provide the following support to fellows:
    • Be willing to meet with the student to support their questions around the academic theory of their project
    • Meet with the Digital Scholarship Librarian and the student to set expectations for the project
  • We highly encourage you to attend the Digital Scholarship Symposium in the Spring if your schedule allows  
  • In the past, some faculty sponsors have worked with their students to build independent studies. If you are interested in doing that, we can work to create a series of digital scholarship topics and readings that we can cover with the student to help support your work with them.


Not sure if your project is right for the fellowship, or have questions about the application process? Contact us at

Applications now closed.

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

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.

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.

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. 

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.

When is the fellowship for?

The current call will begin in Fall Quarter 2022. The Fellowship will last the duration of the Academic Year ending in Spring 2023. Decisions will be made in November, at which point we'll reach out to begin working with this year's fellows.

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.

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. We request our fellows to present their project during the symposium unless it conflicts with classes or other pre-existing commitments.  When the event is held in person, 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. The 2022 Digital Scholarship Symposium is planned to be an in person event.  Participants will likely have the option between providing a long talk (15-20 minutes with questions) or a shorter talk (5 minutes).  We are still finalizing the format and will communicate that information as soon as possible.

How should I apply as part of a group?

If you are submitting as a group, you can choose to submit your project either as a single application for a single award as a group or submit multiple applications for each member to receive their own individual award.  We recommend option 1 for projects where collaboration is blurred, and option 2 for projects that have distinct roles for each project participant and, as a result, would benefit from additional financial support.

  1. Submit your project as a group application for one award.  You should designate one of your members as the main contact when you list your names under "Name" (please list all names here).  A successful application will result in the project receiving one monetary award to the individual designated to support the project.  Your digital scholarship mentor will work with your group as a whole to provide guidance and mentorship for your project.  This would fill one of our six fellowship positions, even though there are multiple people in the group.
  2. Submit your project as individual applications.  If you are submitting applications individually, each successful application would receive it's own award.  For individual applications related to a group project, a successful application will discuss the unique contributions the applicant will provide to the project.  Depending on the scope of the project, different applicants may be paired with different librarians for more dedicated support on their part of the project in addition to making sure the group as a whole is supported.  The number of fellowship positions this fills would be equivalent to the number of successful applications.

    In this scenario, it is possible that one applicant would be successful, but another may not.  So long as any individual application is accepted into the program, the group as a whole would receive continued support from their digital scholarship mentor. Your application should indicate if the project would not be financially viable in the event that not all applicants were accepted on an individual basis.  For example, if you are submitting as three individuals so that you can purchase a piece of equipment for $1200 that the project is contingent on, that should be explained in your application.

In either case, it is acceptable for the faculty sponsor for the project to submit the form only once in support of the project.  You should request that they list all the names of the individuals working on the project.

What is the review process?

Your application will be reviewed by Digital Scholarship Librarians Daniel Story 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.