Education and Social Justice Summer Research Fellowship

The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs and the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching & Service (CSJ) administer the Education & Social Justice Research Fellowship. In early 2010, the Berkley Center and the CSJ created the Education and Social Justice Project to engage students and build knowledge about the deep connections between global challenges of poverty and education. Only through better access to education will people living in poverty be able to seize opportunities in an increasingly global economy. While policy analysts have documented the widespread failure of governments to meet this imperative, we still know relatively little about successful local efforts led by religious communities to advance sustainable community development and social justice through education.

Undergraduate student research fellows spend three weeks of summer conducting interviews on best practices at the intersection of education and social justice. Local hosts are Jesuit-led institutions doing innovative educational work in support of under-resourced communities. 

During the preceding spring, fellows are supported in their submission of an IRB application, train in interview techniques, and prepare for field-based research in their specific sites through the 1-credit Pass/Fail course, UNXD 230 Education and Social Justice Research Methods. During three weeks of summer fieldwork, fellows conduct between 12-20 interviews and receive a 1-credit tuition scholarship to take UNXD 231 Education and Social Justice Fieldwork. In the fall semester, after completing data collection, fellows take UNXD 232: Digital Scholarship through which they create an engaging online report of their findings. They present their research in a public forum and their final reports are digitally published. The research fellowship funds travel, lodging, meals, and includes a $1,500 award.

Competitive applicants are in strong academic standing and specifically interested in international education research. Adaptability and flexibility are important characteristics, as fellows are typically placed in contexts with simple accommodations. Serious applicants should visit the project webpage to read past fellows’ reports and watch their research presentations.

How to apply in Fall 2020 for the 2021 Fellowship

The link to the Google Form application is open as of Monday, September 28, 2020 and will close on Friday, October 30, 2020.

For a view only Google Doc of the application, click here.

For 2021: Due to the impacts of COVID-19 around the globe and the uncertainty of crossing borders during a pandemic, we are not planning for travel in Summer 2021. Rather we are: a) planning for virtual research partnerships; and b) soliciting proposals from student applicants for in-person research with Jesuit (or other religiously affiliated) partners in the general location of the student’s permanent address. In this case, the field site must be in a Phase 2 or better location and the host partner must be able and willing to engage in in-person research. Applicants can include a short proposal of less than 250 words describing a suggested in-person field site.

Applications are due by 5:00pm EDT on Friday, October 30, 2020. No late applications can be accepted.

Finalist interviews will be held in November 2020; finalists are required to submit a writing sample and a scan of their passport. Applicants must be in good academic standing and enrolled and on campus in the Spring 2021. Applicants can not be studying abroad in Spring 2021 but they can be studying abroad during Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. The 2021 Education and Social Justice Research fellows will be announced in early December 2020. GU-Qatar students are invited to apply. 

Note: While the fieldwork is only three weeks, the research fellowship is one year. Each fellow is expected to contribute a significant portion of the summer to data analysis and writing.

Serious applicants are highly encouraged to attend a Zoom information session on: Monday, October 5 at 4:00pm EDT; Friday, October 16 at 6:00pm EDT; or Tuesday, October 20 at 8:00am EDT. Please contact for the Zoom link.

Current and Past Fellows

Photograph of Rohil Kulkarni

Rohil Kulkarni (SFS’21)

Rohil is a Class of 2021 Hoya, studying Science, Technology, and International Affairs in the School of Foreign Service. As a transfer student from New York University (NYU), Rohil is enjoying the new experiences that come with being a Hoya and is looking forward to further exploring Washington, DC’s vibrant restaurant scene. Over the past two years, Rohil has worked for purpose-driven tech companies, looking to leverage their digital assets to substantively address societal issues. Additionally, Rohil is a Project Manager for Hilltop Consultants, an organization that applies a consulting-focused methodology in working with high impact non-profit clients. In his free time, Rohil enjoys training Muay Thai, reading novels by Indian authors, and cooking new recipes (sometimes successfully).  

Photograph of Amber Stanford

Amber Stanford (C’21)

Amber Stanford is a member of the Class of 2021 in the College, studying government and theology. Although she is originally from Maryland, the Hilltop has quickly become her second home. On campus, Amber mentors first-year students while leading ESCAPE retreats and working as a Resident Assistant in Village C West. She also works as a Research Assistant at the Berkley Center and facilitates dialogues on identity and politics as part of GU Politics’ IdentiTEA series. This year, Amber has been researching the roles of Black women and Black religion in the People’s Temple (Jonestown) through the Figge Undergraduate Research Fellowship. She is fascinated by the ways in which religions and governments interact with power structures in society. In her free time, she enjoys reading, talking about Harry Potter, and bragging about the greatness of Old Bay seasoning. 

Photograph of Gabby Villadolid

Gabby Villadolid (C’21)

A current member of the Georgetown Class of 2021, Gabby Villadolid transferred into the Georgetown College from Loyola Marymount University during her sophomore year to major in Justice and Peace Studies. As the daughter of Filipino immigrants with strong ties to the Philippines, Gabby’s interest in research stems from education as a means for furthering social and economic development in under-resourced communities which began with her time as a 2019 summer intern at the Philippine chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities. In addition to creating and developing a nation-wide public elementary school database for RMDHC’s flagship Read to Learn English and Filipino literacy program, Gabby visited and monitored beneficiary provincial schools during the program’s preliminary pre-testing period. Gabby continues to express her passion for community-building through her current roles as a Catholic Faith Community leader, as a weekly cantor, and a member of Georgetown’s Contemporary Choir.

  • Ryan Covington — Nairobi, Kenya
  • Brian Dillon — Manila, Philippines
  • Cindy Chuck — Santiago, Chile
  • Deven Comen — Mumbai, India
  • Conor Finnegan — Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Shea Houlihan — Gulu, Uganda
  • Charlotte Markson — Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Lisa Frank — La Paz, Bolivia
  • Sarah Baran — Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Annie Dale — Battamban, Cambodia
  • Nicholas DiRago — Lima, Peru
  • Elisabeth Lembo — Krakow, Poland
  • Kendra Layton — Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Adam Barton — Brazil
  • Elizabeth “Hopey” Fink — Ougadougou, Burkina Faso
  • Gianna Maita — Managua, Nicaragua
  • Sabrina Khan — Dakar, Senegal
  • Nico Lake — Guatemala
  • Dana Drecksel — South Korea
  • Mariam Diefallah — Rwanda
  • Sarah Jannarone — Slovenia
  • Khaliyah Legette — Kenya
  • Jonathan Thralll — Jordan
  • Carolyn Vilter — Mexico
  • Mary Breen — Dominican Republic
  • Nicholas Na — Australia
  • Harshita Nadimpalli — Mozambique
  • Anastasia Sendoun — Ukraine
  • Brittany Fried — Zambia
  • Mayeesha Galiba — Italy
  • Grace Koehl — Spain
  • Erin Luck — Columbia
  • Mackenzie Price — Dublin, Ireland
  • Allison (Ally) Ross — Thailand

Past Education and Social Justice Summer Research Fellows