Fondren Fellows Program

Fondren Fellows

The Fondren Fellows program funds Rice undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research or teaching projects sponsored by Fondren Library that involve skills, collections, spaces, or services related to libraries and archives. For example, projects may involve working with archival collections, developing digital projects, or helping people learn how to find and use information more effectively. Rice faculty members or Fondren staff will serve as the mentors for projects. 

Fondren Fellows receive $17/hour for up to 250 hours of work. Work schedules are typically flexible. Most fellowships begin in the fall of 2021 and will extend into the spring, even summer of 2022.

Fall 2021-Spring 2022 Fondren Fellows

Note: More Fellows will be announced soon

  1. Oral History Interviews and Archival Processing for the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice
    This project will employ two students to conduct interviews for the Task Force, under the guidance of Dr. Alex Byrd and Dr. Caleb McDaniel. The students will also work with WRC staff to finalize consent forms, gather interview elements, create accessible PDFs of polished transcripts, and index interviews for online access.

  2. The Sugar Land 95: Mapping Convict Leasing in Fort Bend County, 1865- 2018: A Continuation of the 2020-2021 Project
    This project will employ a student to continue in the development of a story map on the Sugar Land 95 (95 African American people whose bodies were discovered at the site of a former prison farm) and the Imperial Prison Farm. The fellow will evaluate archival materials across various archives, and use ArcGIS to visualize the social, economic and cultural landscapes of Fort Bend County and the Imperial Prison Farm during the late 19th to mid-twentieth century.

  3. “Mapping the Reservation: Houston’s Red-Light District, 1908-1917”
    This proposal builds on a successful prior Fondren Fellow’s ARCGIS work in 2019-2020. The new scope of work will build the basic interface to visualize real estate data in the Reservation by race over time.

    Fellow: Grace Kneidel
    Mentor: Brian Riedel

  4. Changing the Subject at Fondren Library
    Changing the Subject at Fondren Library is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) project to investigate updating the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) “Illegal aliens” in the Fondren Library catalog.

    Maria Alejandra Mora
    Mentor: Jeanette Sewall

  5. Enhancing the Fondren Fellows Program
    In this meta-project, the Fellow will focus on the Fondren Fellows program itself, examining how to enhance its communications, assessment methods, and support for fellows and mentors. Based on that analysis, the Fellow will develop events, communication templates, guides, and other resources. The Fellow will also write a report synthesizing recommendations.

    Fellow: Sydney Hicks
    Mentor: Lisa Spiro

  6. Making Sense of Government Education Resources
    This project demonstrates how to utilize education statistics, reports, regulations, and other legislative materials and policies from free official U.S. federal and state government and international databases, and related Fondren Library subscribed commercial databases for searching government documents. Education professionals and the scholarly community will be able to efficiently obtain the necessary data for their research, program management, teaching, and decision-making.

    Fellow: Madison Prause
    Mentors: Anna Xiong and Erin Baumgartner

  7. Translational Humanities for Public Health
    Translational Humanities for Public Health is a database that highlights a broad range of humanities-based responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from around the world, and enables scholars and students to explore and visualize the pathways from humanities classrooms and research to applied interventions in response to human health crises. A Fondren Fellow will help to interview researchers from around the world for the website; help design new pathways for exploring the data; and help identify new contacts who can contribute to the project worldwide.

  8. Where Is Texas on the SlaveVoyages Website? Reconstructing the Coastwise Traffic to the Lone Star State in the Nineteenth Century
    This project reconstructs the nineteenth century coastwise slave trade to Texas through a database made from manifests and newspaper sources. These data will be uploaded to the Intra-American Slave Trade Database, on, the world’s premier repository for data on slaving voyages across the Atlantic and within the Americas.

    Fellows: Katelyn Landry, James Myers (project manager), Victoria Zabarte, and Ben Schachter
    Mentors: Daniel B. Domingues da Silva and Molly Morgan

  9. Research by Members of the Racial Geography Project
    This project concerns four investigations being conducted by members of theRacial Geography Project (RGP), an initiative of the Research and Teaching  Working Group of the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice thatinvestigates histories of racism and resistance registered in Rice University’s land, buildings, and monuments.

    Fellows: Adrienne Rooney (project manager), Marc Armeña, Stephen Westich
    Mentor: Fabiola López-Durán


Benefits to Fellows

The Fondren Fellows program offers the following benefits to students:

  • Receive a competitive wage. Fellows will receive $17/ hour for up to 250 hours of work.

  • Create a meaningful research or teaching project in collaboration with experts.

  • Hone research and communication skills.

  • Work flexible hours; most positions involve at least some remote work.    

Applying for a Fellowship

Applicants must be current Rice 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, and the contact information for two references

  • 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.

Students will interview with the prospective mentor and another member of the Fondren Fellows team.

Applications for the Fondren Fellows program will be due by noon on September 8, 2021.

Contact Lisa Spiro at 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 the Fondren Fellows program in any publications or presentations resulting from the fellowship

  • provide feedback on the Fellows program, including by completing a brief survey at the middle and end of the fellowship

2020-2021 Fondren Fellows

  1. Faculty-Student Research Collaboration in Digital History: Adjusting and Expanding Sai Sankeerth   
  2. The Sugar Land 95: Mapping Convict Leasing in Fort Bend County, 1865- 2018: Suzanne Harms   
  3. Centennial of the Vote! 100 Years of Activism: Ev Delafose   
  4. A short history of the Leibniz Society of North America: Zach Schwarze    
  5. Translational Humanities for Public Health: Meghana Nadella    
  6. Women of Rice Omeka Exhibit: Karen Siu    
  7. Teaching and Consulting in R: Maxwell Bender   
  8.  “Who’s Using It?”: Open Educational Resources at Rice: Luna Cortelezzi   
  9. Media Center Film and Video Archive: Baird Campbell and Konstantin Georgiev
  10. Fondren Eco-Rep: Ashley Fitzpatrick


Background Information


Fondren Library gratefully acknowledges the John “Terry” Maltsberger III estate for creating an endowment to support expanding the Fondren Fellows program. Please see Katharine Shilcutt's "Surprise for Fondren Library: $2 million endowment to fund experiential research," Rice News (November 5, 2018).
Between 2016 and 2019, the Fondren Fellows program was 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.
Learn more about the program by reading Jeff Falk's "Fondren Fellows Program showcases students’ research prowess," Rice News (April 17, 2017).

View Past Fondren Fellows