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Fellowships + Opportunities

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Undergraduate Digital Research Fellowship

The Undergraduate Digital Research Fellowship is a program for undergraduate students looking to build independent digital research projects. Students are introduced to Digital Scholarship methods and learn digital skills that allow them to build original digital projects.

Learn Digital Scholarship Methods and Tools

This fellowship is an opportunity for up to six undergraduate students to engage with the Digital Humanities—learning digital tools, methodologies, and community practices in order to build a research project of their own design. During the fellowship students meet every other week for hands-on workshops and meetings with DH practitioners. Topics covered can include digital project management, text analysis, visualization, 3D design, digital mapping, and audio and video editing.

The following quarter is dedicated to building individual projects. Participants receive individual mentorship and training to build a project that reflects their own research interests. Where appropriate, we encourage digital projects to be public-facing. At the end of the Spring Quarter, students will present their projects at the Digital Research Symposium.

Mentorship and Cohort Experience

Each fellow will be paired with a Digital Scholarship Librarian who will help think through the integration of technology and research based on the skill sets involved.  Students are required to apply with a faculty mentor who can help advise on the field specialty.  We encourage students to work with their mentor on setting up an independent study for the project and are happy to discuss how we can support that with the student and faculty mentor.

Through group meetings, the fellow will learn as part of a cohort and receive feedback from their peers.

Financial Award

Fellows will be provided with $500 to support their project.  Please contact if you have questions about the mechanisms available for dispersing the financial award.

- Applications are closed-

Learn about our fellows for the 2020-2021 cohort.

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 mentor?

We request that you have a faculty mentor 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 mentors 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 mentor 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 mentor be an instructor/lecturer, or does it have to be my academic advisor?

Your mentor 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 mentor, 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 mentors.

Does the research project proposal I submit have to be based on something I am already working on in a class or if it can just 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 mentor 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 2021. The Fellowship will last the duration of the Academic Year ending in Spring 2022. Decisions will be made In November, at which point we'll reach out to begin working with this year's fellows.

What is a proposal narrative?

The proposal narrative 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.


What should I include in the project budget?

You can find a sample budget here which will highlight the basics of what we are requesting. It does not need to be 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 mentor 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 should I put in my CV?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is similar to a resume, but it's not limited only to work experience.  For this type of application, it would be appropriate to list courses that you've taken, projects you've worked on, or volunteer opportunities that you've engaged with that relate to the project you want to work on.  When reviewing your application, we use the CV in conjunction with your faculty mentor's statement to help us understand what background you bring to the project.  


What is the review process?

Your application will be reviewed by our three Digital Scholarship Librarians - Daniel Story, Joshua Tuthill, 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 mentor can provide?
    • Because we support a wide range of projects, we look to the statement by your faculty mentor to confirm that the academic portion of your project is sound.  We are also looking for a content match between the faculty mentor 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.