Pitch Your Own Summer Immersive

This funding 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. 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 or editorial roles in academic or academic-adjacent settings.


DSAS Humanities Ph.D. students with no university academic appointment in summer 2023 (TA/TF/GSA/GSR/other full summer funding) or external fellowship and who expect to be enrolled in fall 2023.

Timeline and Expectations

Immersive fellowships can begin as early as May 1, 2023 and must be completed by August 18, 2023. Students can propose in-person, hybrid, or fully remote 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. Immersive fellowships must involve ca. 200 hours of effort. 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. Providing evidence of discussions or negotiation with organizations (e.g., email correspondence), even if not yielding definitive co-sponsorship, will be looked upon favorably by the selection committee. If a student receives funding from their prospective host organization, the Humanities Engage program will pay for the difference between such outside funding and a maximum of $3,500. There is no guarantee that the requested stipend amount will be awarded. Humanities Engage expectations: Contribute at least one blog post to the project website, no later than two weeks after the immersive begins; submit a reflective essay (or equivalent, e.g., video) on the experience for the project website by August 18, 2023. Participate in fewer than 10 hours of required cohort activities, more details to come. 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.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule a consultation with Dr. Melissa Lenos, 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.


For fullest consideration, please send materials by March 31, 2023 at 5 PM. Applications will be reviewed, and fellowship stipends awarded, on a rolling basis and as long as resources last.

To pitch a summer immersive fellowship, applicants should 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:

  1. 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. Proposals with in-person components require a back-up plan for potentially fully remote implementation.
  2. 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?
  3. How does your project draw on your graduate studies to date, and how would the immersive experience advance your academic and professional goals?
  4. 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 PhD 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.)

Please note the following:

International Ph.D. students will need to consult with OIS and obtain their Immigration Specialist’s endorsement prior to accepting a Fellowship.

Projects involving work outside the United States must be approved by Global Operations.

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 over the summer.