Call for Public Fellows 2020 (CLOSED)


Apply now to be a Public Fellow with the PublicsLab, which seeks to transform doctoral education for the public good and expand the career options for PhDs. Doctoral students in the first three years of doctoral study in the humanities and humanistic social sciences are invited to apply for this two-year fellowship. If you have big ideas for how your graduate training can have an impact in the world, this program may be for you. 

With the support of the PublicsLab and a variety of mentors, both inside and outside the academy, the ten public fellows that are selected will engage in public-facing research, career training and skills acquisition, and internships and projects at a range of organizations and community partners. For current GCFs, fellowship activities will replace teaching and/or WAC service for two years. 

Who is this for?

Students in their first three years of doctoral study in the humanities and humanistic social sciences are eligible to apply. Tuition Fellows and GCFs are both eligible. If you are beyond your third year of study and wish to be considered, please include a note in your application that explains why you believe an exception should be made.

The program is an opportunity to play a leadership role in re-imagining doctoral education to secure the future of the humanities both inside and outside of higher education. It is intended for graduate students who wish to think broadly about their doctoral education; to consider careers both inside and outside the academy; and to reimagine humanistic doctoral education as something undertaken for the public good. The goal of the program is not to preclude students from going on the academic job market; rather, it is to provide students with a greater variety of professional options post-PhD. 

What will I do as a Public Fellow?

The first year of the fellowship will be focused on professional development. Public Fellows will attend seminars that provide introductions and intensive exposure to diverse career fields and industries, and workshops and practicum opportunities that focus on specific skills and training. They will meet as a cohort once a week throughout fall and spring semesters for reflection, discussion, and skill sharing. 

In year two of the fellowship, fellows will pursue internships, projects, and appropriate teaching opportunities. 

What will I gain from being a Public Fellow?

Throughout the program, Public Fellows will receive mentorship from a faculty mentor, as well as the project’s faculty lead and the director of the PublicsLab. The PublicsLab will serve as a second institutional home for the fellows, coordinating activities and providing support and guidance. Public Fellows will complete the fellowship prepared to pursue any number of careers in higher education, business, government, or the nonprofit sector. 

Additionally, Public Fellows will have access to all the benefits of a Graduate Center Fellowship, including NYSHIP.

How do I apply?

To apply, please submit the following through the online application no later than 3 February 2020:

  • A 2-page CV
  • A letter of interest of no more than 1000 words. Successful applicants will articulate not only what they will gain from the program, but also the experiences, skills, and knowledge that they will contribute to the cohort. They will also articulate how their values as scholars and people fit with the program. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their research in light of its public potential, but they are not expected to have a fully formed project.

In addition, we ask for one letter of recommendation, with an optional second:

  • One letter must be written by a Graduate Center faculty member. 
  • The second, optional letter of recommendation may be written by someone outside the GC, such as an undergraduate adviser or a former employer. 

Letters of recommendation should be emailed as PDFs directly to They should be received by 3 February 2020. 

Please direct questions about the fellowship to Dr. Stacy Hartman, director of the PublicsLab, at, or Professor Bianca Williams, Faculty Lead, at

Two informational sessions about the fellowship will be held on Wednesday, 4 December and Thursday, 12 December, both from 4:00-5:00pm in 3317. Please RSVP for one of these sessions.