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Fellowships + Opportunities

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Digital Scholarship at UCSC Libraries

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 Now Open!!!-

Learn about our fellows for the 2020-2021 cohort.

Call for Applications

 APPLICATIONS DUE: November 8th, 2021

Up to 6 fellows will be selected to participate in a training and mentorship program meant to launch digitally-focused independent research projects. The fellowship includes:

  • Methodological training which combines critical theory, critical making, and creativity
  • Digital skill-building around text analysis, visualization, 3D Animation, Mapping, 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 mentor. Students from underrepresented communities are especially encouraged to apply.  

Applications should include:

  • Project title and an abstract of no more than 250 words
  • Proposal narrative of no more than 2 pages
  • CV or Resume for each participant (Apply alone or with a group)
  • Prospectus budget
  • Name of a departmental recommender/mentor
  • Recommendation provided by faculty mentor.  Request that your mentor fills out the google form.  We recommend sharing the "For Faculty Mentors" information below with them when you request their support.  It is helpful for faculty mentors if you also share with them your project proposal or have a conversation with them so they can determine if they can properly support you.

Who should apply:

  • Digital content producers including writers, designers, and filmmakers
  • Undergraduates who are interested in developing independent research projects that apply digital tools and methodologies e.g. textual analysis and text mining, GIS and map making, data visualization, and digital storytelling.
  • Undergrads interested in transforming traditional research papers into media-rich or digital projects
  • Thinkers and activists working at the intersection of creativity, criticality, and research

Fellowship Requirements:

  • Applicants should be prepared to commit to at up to four 1–hour workshops during the Winter Quarter and to regular meetings with mentors throughout the Fall, Winter and Spring Quarter
  • 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 the Spring Quarter


For Faculty Mentors:

  • 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 the DSC supports?
  • We request that faculty mentors provide the following support to DSC 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 mentors 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.


Application Proposals are due Monday, November 8th, 2021!

Questions? Contact us at


Apply here

Project Examples

Previous Academic Years:

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 does not need to be your academic advisor. Your mentor can also 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. 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 projects needs and how those digital tools will relate to the academic goals of your project. We are looking to see if you can demonstrate a understanding of 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 a 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.