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Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellowships

The Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellowships offer nine months of professional development at outstanding cultural institutions of Washington, DC, to graduating seniors and recent graduates of Harvard College.

Current and Former Humanities Fellows

The Dumbarton Oaks Humanities Fellowships are a unique and innovative program, offering nine months of professional development at outstanding cultural institutions of Washington, DC, to graduating seniors and recent graduates of Harvard College. The fellowship enables exceptional students to project themselves into careers in the humanities, whether inside or outside the academy, by acquiring skills, broadening their interests, and connecting with influential practitioners and leaders. Dumbarton Oaks hopes that humanities fellows will also benefit by participating in its lively socio-intellectual life.

Recipients of these postgraduate fellowships will reside at Dumbarton Oaks and split their time between the research institute and a collaborating institution in Washington, DC. (Partnering institutions have included the Folger Shakespeare Library, the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.) Following an orientation week at Dumbarton Oaks, fellows join the collaborating institution for four to five months to acquire new skills and work on projects that include curation and exhibit preparation, research and publication, collection development or conservation, marketing and communication, and education and public outreach initiatives. During the second part of the fellowship, fellows return full-time to Dumbarton Oaks to share and apply their knowledge by proposing and implementing a new idea or contributing to an ongoing project.

Humanities fellows are chosen for their outstanding scholarly achievements, broad cultural engagement, desire to gain and use new skills, and potential to contribute to dynamic humanities communities. The fellowships benefit individuals who may not be intent on pursuing another degree immediately after graduating, would like to learn while contributing to the advancement of group projects, and would gain from spending an academic year in Washington, DC. Recipients of the fellowship need not have been concentrators in the humanities, but should have demonstrated a strong and sustained commitment to the humanities through coursework or extracurricular activities. Their ability to communicate to their own peers their vision of what the humanities mean will be given weight in making the award. All Harvard College seniors and Harvard College alumni who have graduated within a year of the fellowship deadline are eligible.

To be considered for the fellowship, applicants should submit the following by February 1, 2019, via Crimson Careers:

  • Résumé
  • Transcript (an unofficial transcript from Registrar’s Office is acceptable)
  • An example of the applicant’s work (a written paper, article, portfolio, or project)
  • A statement of purpose that describes the applicant’s background and interests and explains how a fellowship in the humanities will further her intellectual and professional goals. The applicant should outline what skills she hopes to acquire over the course of the fellowship.
  • Two letters of recommendation to be sent by recommenders to FellowshipPrograms@doaks.org.

Interviews of short-listed candidates will be held in Cambridge in the spring. The fellowship term runs from the beginning of September to the end of May. Fellows will be provided with accommodations on the Dumbarton Oaks campus, complimentary weekday lunch in the Refectory when at Dumbarton Oaks, and access to the library and garden. They will receive a stipend of $23,000 and will be eligible for medical insurance through the Dumbarton Oaks fellows’ plan. Up to six fellowships will be offered.

Current and Former Fellows

2018–2019

Ariana Chaivaranon, National Gallery of Art

Ariana Chaivaranon recently received a BA in visual and environmental studies, with a minor in history of art and architecture from Harvard College. She was the artist’s assistant to Tania Bruguera and a student guide at the Harvard Art Museums. In the summer of 2017, Ariana was the Ayesha Bulchandani Undergraduate Education Intern at the Frick Collection in New York City. At the National Gallery of Art, Ariana is working on a variety of education division activities, including community programs, high school workshops, and the Mini-Multiple-Visit Program for Art Around the Corner. At Dumbarton Oaks, Ariana is working on organizing public programming for current and future exhibitions for the museum.

Julie Estrada, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Julie Estrada graduated from Harvard College in 2018 with a degree in the comparative study of religion, focusing on gender and sexuality in the Christian tradition with interest in medieval mysticism. She wrote her thesis on Hadewijch of Antwerp’s and Bernard of Clairvaux’s ideals for the role of the mystic in the spiritual community. Outside of the classroom, she helped run a feminist group on campus known as the Radcliffe Union of Students and was a tutor at the Harvard College Writing Center. At Smithsonian Folkways Records, Julie is working on an education project to make world music culture more accessible in the classroom, and at Dumbarton Oaks, she is contributing to an exhibit featuring the Ephemera Collection as a window into the Byzantine revival in the early 20th century.

Lindiwe Makgalemele, National Museum of Natural History

Lindiwe Makgalemele graduated from Harvard College with a degree in history and science, and a secondary in French. Her thesis explored the medical and moral management of sex work in colonial Algeria. At the National Museum of Natural History, Lindiwe is working with the Education Department on curricula generation designed to bring forward the work of the museum’s scientists and to make the sciences and science careers accessible to all. At Dumbarton Oaks, Lindiwe is researching and cataloguing Frank Kidner’s photographs of the Dead Cities outside Aleppo, Syria, in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives.

Catherine Polik, The George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum

Catherine Polik graduated from Harvard College in 2018 with a degree in earth and planetary sciences and a research focus in reconstructing past climates. When she wasn’t working in the geological collections at Harvard, she also spent time studying Medieval Latin and Old English. As a Humanities Fellow, Catherine is preparing for an upcoming special exhibition on furnishing textiles from Late Antique Egypt, a joint effort of Dumbarton Oaks and The Textile Museum.

Charles Webb, Folger Shakespeare Library

Charles Webb graduated from Harvard College in 2018 with a degree in classics and computer science, focusing on Ancient Greece and data science. In addition to his academic studies, he became an EMT with CrimsonEMS and played rugby. At the Folger Shakespeare Library, Charles is working with their Digital Media and Publications Department to assist with the development of Miranda, their new digital asset platform. Back at Dumbarton Oaks, he is working with the Byzantine Seals Collection to create a digital map that will be used to visualize the catalogue for exhibition.

2017–2018

Andrés Álvarez Dávila, Folger Shakespeare Library

Andrés Álvarez Dávila concentrated in Romance studies with a focus on French and Spanish Literature and completed significant coursework in the Graduate School of Design and the Classics Department. He spent his fellowship year working on exhibitions at the Folger Shakespeare Library. At Dumbarton Oaks, he worked on the rare book exhibition Seeing Cherries as a part of the Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies.

Erica Eisen, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum

Erica Eisen graduated from Harvard College with a degree in the history of art and architecture, after which she earned an MA in Buddhist art history and conservation from the Courtauld Institute of Art as a Frank Knox Memorial Fellow. Erica’s work as a fellow focused on preparations for an upcoming special exhibition on Byzantine textiles from Egypt, a joint effort of Dumbarton Oaks and The Textile Museum.

Michael Kennedy-Yoon, National Museum of Natural History

Michael Kennedy-Yoon graduated from Harvard College with a degree in visual environmental studies, and a secondary degree in economics. He worked on curricula generation in the paleontology department at the National Museum of Natural History. While at Dumbarton Oaks, he assisted with outreach projects designed to make the institution’s extensive collections available to all.

Adela Kim, National Gallery of Art

Adela Kim received her AB from Harvard College in the history of art and architecture with a secondary in Germanic studies. At the National Gallery of Art, she worked in the department of photography for the exhibition The New Woman Behind the Camera. At Dumbarton Oaks, she helped catalogue Frank Kidner’s photographs of the Dead Cites region outside Aleppo, Syria.

Abby Westover, Folger Shakespeare Library

Abby Westover graduated from Harvard College with a degree in history and literature, focusing on medieval Britain and France. At the Folger Shakespeare Library, Abby worked on exhibitions and conservation efforts. At Dumbarton Oaks, she worked on the Ephemera Collection to create an exhibition focusing on French and Italian garden designs.

Faye Yan Zhang, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Faye Yan Zhang studied English literature and creative writing at Harvard College. She also studied and worked in the visual arts with a focus on sequential art (comics), painting, and documentary. At the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, she worked with ethnomusicology and the Folkways record label. She contributed to the Mapping Cultural Philanthropy project while at Dumbarton Oaks.

Faye received a Fulbright Award in 2018 to work on a project on Chinese healthcare at the University of Manchester.

2016–2017

Priyanka Menon, Folger Shakespeare Library

Priyanka Menon concentrated in mathematics and completed a secondary in history. At the Folger, Menon worked as a research assistant to the Director, Michael Witmore, and investigated the relationship between social justice and the humanities. At Dumbarton Oaks, she worked on the Mapping Cultural Philanthropy project, which documents the history of cultural philanthropy in Washington, DC.

Rebecca Rosen, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum

Rebecca Rosen graduated from Harvard College with a degree in neurobiology. In her work at the Textile Museum, Rosen assisted with exhibition planning and curatorial research. In her time at Dumbarton Oaks, she was a part of digitization projects related to the textiles and coins in the Byzantine Collection and helped with the reinstallation of the museum.

After her fellowship, Rebecca received the 2017 Dufresne Scholar Award Intern at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.

John Wang, National Gallery of Art

John Wang graduated with a concentration in history of art and architecture from Harvard College, where he also worked as a student guide at the Harvard Art Museums. As a Humanities Fellow, Wang worked at the National Gallery of Art, where he was a research assistant in the department of exhibition programs for the exhibitions on Andrea del Verrocchio and Genoa in the Baroque age. At Dumbarton Oaks, he organized the rare book exhibition City Water/City Life as a part of the Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies.

In 2016, John was the first undergraduate to win the Radcliffe Institute’s 2016 Public Art Competition, for his installation design 100+ Years at 73 Brattle.