Pitch Your Own Immersive Fellowship 2022-2023


This funding opportunity supports immersive fellowships that Ph.D. students devise with 501(c)(3) organizations in the social impact sector, public sector institutions, or industry. To offer students maximum flexibility to integrate immersive fellowships with their individual programs of study and dissertation research, this program supports experiences designed collaboratively between a student and a prospective host organization that cannot pay, or cannot fully pay, graduate interns. These experiences can range from short-term micro-consultancies to multi-month projects. Students are also eligible to apply for funding from this program to support unpaid advertised internships with 501(c)(3)s or public-sector organizations and that run in accordance with the timeline indicated below. Students are discouraged from proposing immersive fellowships that focus on areas covered well by, or most closely related to, existing training, such as teaching in academic or academic-adjacent settings. Students can propose in-person or hybrid immersive fellowships. Immersive fellowships will need to be conducted within University guidance on COVID-19 standards and guidelines and the host organization’s health and safety protocols.


DSAS Humanities Ph.D. students who started their graduate programs no later than fall 2021 and expect to be enrolled in the term(s) for which they seek funding.

International students with full appointments in the Fall and Spring terms are not eligible. Eligible international Ph.D. students should consult with OIS and obtain their Immigration Specialist’s endorsement prior to accepting a Fellowship.

Preference will be given to students in the earlier years of their graduate studies and those who have not previously received funding through Humanities Engage. 

Note: Students who hold DSAS or external fellowships should check their fellowship’s restrictions on additional employment before applying.

We encourage you to contact the Humanities Engage project team with any questions about your eligibility.


Students are eligible to apply for stipends in the amount of $1,000 (minimum commitment: 50 hours), $1,500 (75 hours), or $2,000 (100 hours) per academic year. If funding is received from a prospective host organization, the program will pay for the difference between such outside funding and a maximum of $2,000 (100 hours commitment). Students are eligible to apply for funds toward one project at a time.

Timeline and Expectations

Timeline: Immersive fellowships can start after funds are awarded and stipulated requirements have been completed; immersive fellowships must be started by March 1, 2023 and be completed by May 31, 2023.

Humanities Engage Expectations: Contribute at least one blog post to the project website, no later than two weeks after the immersive fellowship begins; submit a reflective essay (or equivalent, e.g., video) on the experience within two weeks of completing the immersive fellowship. Participate in at least 5 hours of cohort activities. Help co-mentor subsequent cohort.

Identifying and Approaching Organizations

For examples of organizations that have previously hosted students and the types of projects immersive fellows have pursued, please see the Humanities Engage Funding Awardees website. As part of their discussions with prospective host organizations, students should seek co-sponsorship to the maximum amount possible. Students securing partial funding allows us to stretch our resources to enable a larger number to benefit from these opportunities.


Application reviews will start Friday, September 2, 2022. Applications will be reviewed, and stipends awarded, on a rolling basis and as long as resources last.

To pitch your immersive fellowship, please provide the following materials in this order and in a single .pdf to HEngage@pitt.edu:

A. Cover Letter (2 pages max) addressing these key points:

An overview of the project you are proposing. We look for projects that are specific and well-defined. Specify the scope, method, proposed timeline, and intended outcomes. Specify a back-up plan for potentially fully remote implementation should public health contexts require it.
What relevant conversations have you had with your host organization? How do how you plan to bring a humanistic perspective to the host organization and how do you anticipate your project will impact the organization’s mission? How will your host organization supervisor provide mentorship to support you through this project?
How does your project draw on your graduate studies to date, and how would the immersive experience advance your academic and professional goals?
Budget: committed hours of effort; amount of co-sponsorship committed by host organization and/or evidence of discussions; requested Humanities Engage stipend amount.

B. Brief and current CV (2 pages max)

C. Brief letter of support from host organization detailing its commitments (including project summary, role of the Ph.D. student, explanation of how specifically a humanistic prospective will be valuable, supervisory and mentoring arrangements, access to relevant systems and materials, anticipated outcomes). Please specify a co-sponsorship level or why no funding would be provided.

D. Brief letter of support from primary Ph.D. advisor. (Note: This letter can also be sent directly from the faculty member to HEngage@pitt.edu.)

​Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule a consultation with Melissa, Lenos, the Senior Director for Graduate Advising and Engagement for the Humanities (melissalenos@pitt.edu), to discuss the viability of their prospective project. Applicants considering projects with organizations in the Pittsburgh region are requested to contact Dr. Lenos first so that she can help orient them to pre-existing contacts and liaise appropriately.

Projects involving work outside the United States require additional approval. Contact the Humanities Engage project team for more details.

Students are responsible for reporting taxable stipend payments and for remitting any tax due to their local taxing authority.

Students may not accept more than one Humanities Engage fellowship or grant of any type during the fall or spring semester.