What is a Wilson Fellow?


HINT: It involves being chosen to receive $10,000!

Every year, students enter Hopkins with a certain intellectual curiosity and the desire to chase it. They are encouraged to follow their passions, to dig deeper and discover more. The Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship helps them do just that. (Did you know?…The 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, began his graduate studies at Hopkins in 1883.)

Wilson himself

The program provides eligible students in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences with up to $10,000 to develop a research project of their own design. Wilson fellows receive a stipend over four years to spend on research costs, which may include travel, equipment, and use of archives or laboratories. Fellowship recipients work with a faculty mentor to help them select a topic, create an action plan, and pursue their research project.

The availability of professors as a resource and their genuine desire to help is truly invaluable, and unmatched anywhere else. This program is also unique in that not only does it award research grants to undergraduates, but students receive notice prior to even arriving on campus and can jump right in as soon as they enter as freshmen.

This is an amazing opportunity for hands-on, real-world experience that most undergraduates at other universities have to wait until their junior year internship for.

Perhaps the best part about a Wilson Fellowship is that the topic can be ANYTHING.

Want proof? One student studied the relationship between Baltimore City and their beloved football team, the Baltimore Ravens. Wanting to capture the special bond between sports teams and the people who love them, she interviewed Ravens top executives and coaches as well as local media members. She also went to every single game (including their winning Super Bowl game!) to strike up conversations with fans, documenting their experiences.

“I was lucky that the Ravens went all the way that year, but at the same time it makes sense that it happened. I studied what I’m passionate about and interested in and any research mentor at Hopkins will tell you ‘study what’s important to you, good things will come.'”

Ray Lewis in the parade at the Inner Harbor after the Ravens won the Super Bowl

Other projects include travels to London to study the Olympic Games (keep reading to learn more), topics like the reception and interpretation of The Great Gatsby in America and abroad, and cultural impact on the Tour de France.

Tess Thomas – Senior (Class of 2014) – History major
“I think I would have ended up at Hopkins even if I hadn’t been offered the Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship, but it certainly made my decision an easy one. Who could pass up the allure of $10,000 to be spent on any project of your choosing? Additionally, the fact that this fellowship is not limited to student studying the natural sciences confirmed for me the university’s commitment to the humanities.  I couldn’t believe that as an intended history major I had been offered this amazing opportunity. I am planning to use my funding to study the effects of the 2012 Olympics on British nationalism. My research is taking me to London—a trip that is completely covered by the Wilson Fellowship. The WWP has allowed me to combine two life-long dreams of mine: studying abroad and attending an Olympic Games.”

Below you’ll find other research topics; click on the titles to read more.

The 25th Street Station—I investigated the 25th Street Station Project, a multimillion-dollar development on 25th and Howard Street in Baltimore…

More Than Just A Game—Studies the power of the sport of football as beyond its universal scope as just an idle pastime; it highlights the role the sport plays in the social and economic development of whole communities around the world…

His Soul Is Marching On: 20th Century Appropriations of Abolitionist John—John Brown is one of the most divisive figures in American history. Historians simply cannot agree on his legacy. Was he a madman, martyr, or perhaps something different entirely? Using my Woodrow Wilson funding…

Indigenous Medicine and Health After Oil Development in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest: A case study of the Secoya—The purpose of my research was to characterize the cultural transition from traditional medicine to Western medicine in the context of…

If you are a current undergraduate applicant, you don’t want to let this opportunity pass you by.

The application deadline is approaching on February 17 for both Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants. Click here to learn more and apply—you could be the next Wilson Fellow!

6 thoughts on “What is a Wilson Fellow?

  1. Will we be notified via email or mail? Is the release date April 1st? Also, are all applicants notified or only the applicants selected as a fellow? Thanks.

  2. Wilson winners will be notified the day of RD decision release–tomorrow, March 28 on their decision release site. Only those selected as a Wilson Fellow will be notified.

  3. I have recently applied, and was directed to this website by my regional admissions counselor. It has been very insightful! I must say, the Wilson Fellowship seems like a great opportunity. I already have research ideas that I have pursued in high school, and I want to continue them in college. I can’t wait!

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