Fondren Fellows Program - Nov 16 Deadline

Fondren Fellows

Fondren Fellows Program

The Fondren Fellows program funds Rice undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research projects sponsored by Fondren Library that will benefit the library and the scholarly community. For example, projects may involve working with archival collections, developing digital projects, or making recommendations for library spaces or services based on analyzing data. A Fondren staff member will serve as a mentor for each project.

Graduate student projects will be designed at an appropriate level of complexity and responsibility, and there may be opportunities for graduate students to help mentor undergraduate fellows.

Learn more about the program by reading Jeff Falk's "Fondren Fellows Program showcases students’ research prowess," Rice News (April 17, 2017).


The Fondren Fellows program offers the following benefits to students:

  • Receive a competitive wage. Fellows will receive $15/ hour, with a cap of $3000 per fellowship.

  • Create a meaningful research project in collaboration with professionals

  • Hone research and communication skills

  • Work flexible hours

Applying for a Fellowship

Applicants must be current graduate or undergraduate students in good academic standing at the time of the fellowship. To apply, submit the following to

  • a resume or CV that includes your name, email address, telephone number and expected graduation date.

  • a cover letter. The cover letter should specify which project(s) you would like to participate in, what qualifications you bring to the project(s), and what you would like to get out of the fellowship.

  • an unofficial transcript.

  • a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

Students will be expected to interview with the prospective mentor and the Fondren Fellows coordinator. Work study students are encouraged to apply.

The next Fondren Fellows opportunity will be announced by the fall of 2018. 

Contact with any questions.


Once selected, Fondren Fellows are expected to:

  • submit a research plan

  • participate in regular meetings with their mentor(s) and, as appropriate, with other Fellows

  • provide reports on their progress in meeting the project goals

  • present their project at a public forum, such as the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) or a Fondren Town Hall Meeting

  • acknowledge Fondren Library in any publications or presentations resulting from the fellowship

The Fondren Fellows program is funded through the generous support of Trish Brice. It is inspired by a similar program at Vanderbilt, as well as by student research programs at Rice’s Center for Civic Leadership and Rice’s Humanities Research Center.

2018 Fondren Fellows

  • Jane Evans, "Harvey Memories Project"

  • Jennifer Lee, "Developing a Marketing Plan for Library Publishing Services"

  • Mengjia Liu, "Motion Tracking Small Organisms"

  • Brook Lu, "Evaluating Engineering Databases: A Pilot Project"

2017 Fondren Fellows

Nathanael Assefa

Undergraduate chemical engineering and mathematics major: “Promoting Archival Collections via Wikipedia”    

Eslam El-Shahat

Graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology: “Developing a Plan for Research Data Management Graduate Training” 

Edward Valentin

Graduate student in history: “Mapping Civil War Narratives” (continuation of 2016 project)    

Corinne Wilkinson

Undergraduate history and policy studies major: “Jesse H. Jones Exhibit”

Zihua (Pearly) Ye

Undergraduate psychology major: “Conducting A Faculty-centered Information Needs and Resource Assessment”

2016 Fondren Fellows

To learn more about the Fondren Fellows' work, please see the Fondren Fellows collection in the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive.


Graduate student in Anthropology
Mentor: Shannon Kipphut-Smith

This project aims to understand more about how tenure-stream faculty at Rice think about and act on their author rights in connection with their published work. Many faculty want to make their scholarly and professional output more accessible, whether by uploading it to Rice’s institutional depository or by posting it to an academic social network. However, faculty members may not always have a clear understanding of how and where they are permitted to share their work under the terms of the author agreements they have signed. This project uses interviews and document analysis to piece together the values, beliefs, and actually existing practices of faculty members, using participants’ most recent publication as a case study. The results will be used to improve the resources and services that Fondren offers to faculty, and they also stand to fill a gap in the scholarly communication research literature. Fondren Fellows Showcase “Author Rights” by Marcel LaFlamme


Graduate student in Anthropology
Mentor: Lisa Spiro

Data management has become a more pressing issue for researchers lately, as funding agencies are increasingly requiring researchers to present rationalized data management plans and to ensure access to their research data well after the completion of their funded research. However, institutional support for research data management is still a relatively new field, without established best practices. This project uses interviews with Rice faculty and data librarians at peer institutions to develop insight into the research data management environment at Rice, and develop comprehensive recommendations for how Fondren might best support ongoing efforts to develop policies and infrastructure to support research data management by both faculty and student researchers. It suggests that the existing Rice Digital Scholarship Archive could be profitably used to facilitate sharing and archiving of research data, and identifies a number of key areas where Fondren might assist departments in educating researchers about the importance and technical aspects of rationalized research data management


Sophomore, Will Rice College
Mentor: Sue Garrison and Melinda Flannery

During the Fall 2016 semester, Fondren Library will be reviewing alternative seating arrangements for possible student use. This can include bike desks, under desk ellipticals, treadmill desks and more! Alternative desks can improve students’ cognitive function while studying and keep them active. With increasing research showing the dangers of extended sitting, alternative seating arrangements at Fondren can improve student health and grades.  Student input is essential to this project to ensure Rice University students will positively benefit from this possible change. Fondren Fellows Showcase “FitDesks” by Neha Potlapalli


Graduate student in History
Mentors: Amanda Focke and Rebecca Russell

We designed our project, entitled “Mapping Civil War Narratives,” to make the Woodson Research Center’s rich Civil War-related collections more accessible to researchers. I will use ArcGIS to map where people wrote these documents and what locations they discussed in these documents. This interactive “bird’s-eye view” map will give these collections a new dynamism. Researchers will be able to see the multiple geographies of these collections and the interactions between them. A researcher, for example, could follow the particular route of a soldier in the Army of the Potomac, trace the exchange of letters between Confederate officers and Richmond, or use filters to see where men and women discussed race, politics, violence, or disease. This semester, I will focus first on mapping soldiers’ letters to their families in order to build a framework and methodology for the future expansion of this project to all of the Woodson’s Civil War-related collections. Additionally, I will use Esri Story Maps to highlight one particular collection in order to further show the interpretive possibilities of the Woodson’s collections.