OBI Summer Fellowship Goals & Responsibilities

What is the OBI Summer Fellowship?

The OBI summer fellowship is a part-time, paid research experience designed to provide future researchers and community leaders committed to social and racial justice with the skills needed for rigorous social science research through mentorship, training, and hands-on experience with public policy research and community-engaged projects. In addition to working on a research project, fellows attend workshops throughout the summer on Institute frameworks, research methodologies, and contemporary social justice issues led by experts. Over the years, the contributions of Summer Fellows – both during and beyond the fellowship period – have been essential to furthering OBI’s mission and research agenda.

What are the goals and objectives of the summer fellowship program?

The purpose of the fellowship is to prepare and engage with the next generation of researchers and future community leaders who are committed to social and racial justice by providing mentorship and hands-on experience with social science research and engagement with pressing community issues.

What does the summer fellowship program involve? What are fellow’s responsibilities?

Summer fellows will dedicate most of their paid work hours to their individual summer projects. Each fellow will be paired with a lead researcher to work on a predetermined summer-long project for a specific program area. Additionally, prospective fellows are expected to participate in all fellowship activities, including the fellowship orientation, bi-weekly workshops, and regular meetings with the Summer Fellowship Committee. Summer fellows are expected to coordinate meetings as required for their summer projects (such as check-ins with supervisors). Fellows are also expected to deliver a brief final presentation on their fellowship project during the last week of the fellowship.


Timeline, Schedule, & Logistics

What is the timeline of the summer fellowship?  Is the summer fellowship timeline flexible?

The summer fellowship runs from mid-May to mid-August of every year. The upcoming fellowship will run from May 16 to August 16, 2023. The start and end dates of the fellowship are fixed, and all summer fellows are expected to fully participate in the full 14-week program. It is critical for the fellowship experience that the fellows participate in all workshops and programming as a full cohort during the length of the fellowship.

Will the 2023 Summer Fellowship Program be held in-person or remotely?

The 2023 Summer Fellowship will be held remotely for the safety of all staff and fellows. Fellows will work from their home locations for the entirety of the fellowship, and all fellowship meetings and activities will take place online during the Institute’s working hours of 9am to 6pm Pacific Time. Fellows located in the Bay Area will have the option of commuting to the Othering & Belonging Institute office if they so choose, although all workshops and programming will be held remotely.

How flexible is the fellowship work schedule?

Rather than working every weekday, fellows may be permitted to consolidate their 20 working hours per week into 3 or 4 days each week, as long as this arrangement is approved by their supervisor during the first week of the summer fellowship.

Since the fellowship is only 20 hours per week, can I take or audit a summer course at UC Berkeley over the summer?

You may pursue summer classes, additional work, and other opportunities in your free time during the summer, as long as they do not interfere with your fellowship work and schedule. We do not offer fee remission or other assistance in signing up for or auditing courses.


Application Process & Requirements

How do I apply?

The Summer Fellowship Program applications open in early December, 2022. Applications can be submitted through the online submission platform Submittable until Sunday, January 15 at 8pm PST. You can access the application at otheringbelonginginstitute.submittable.com. 

I plan to submit the first five pages of my thesis as a writing sample; do the table of contents and bibliography count toward the 5 page limit?

You may submit excerpts from a longer piece as your writing sample. If you choose to do so, please include a brief note that explains the context of the excerpts (for example, explain that it is two chapters of a research thesis that comprises twelve chapters in all) and provides the full title of the piece, the course title, and the name of the course instructor if applicable. Please note that multi-authored works are not acceptable. A title page, table of contents, bibliography, or works cited page does not count toward the 5 page limit.


Using Submittable

What is Submittable and how do I use it?

Submittable is an online submission platform. All applications are linked to user accounts—if you are new to Submittable, you will need to set up a new account. If you have an existing Submittable account, you must be logged in to start and view your application. 

How do I save my application?

Save your application as you work on it by clicking on the "Save Draft" button located at the end of the application webpage. Submittable will also auto-save your work as you go. Each time an auto-save occurs, a notification will appear on your active application page while you are working. 

How do I return to a draft application? 

To return to a draft application, navigate to the “Submissions” tab at the top of your account profile page and click on "Saved Drafts." Locate the application you would like to return to and click "Continue Working."

How do I submit my application?

Once you have completed your Application, click the "Submit" button at the end of the application webpage. You will receive an email confirmation that your Application has been submitted. Your submitted applications will be listed under the "All Submissions" tab. Click on a submission to see activity, any messages, the submission content, or to add notes. 


Eligibility, Compensation, & Arrangements

Who is eligible to apply for the summer fellowship?

The Summer Fellowship is open to traditional and non-traditional students who are currently enrolled in or have recently completed (within the last two years) an undergraduate, masters, or professional degree program at any university, college, or community college in the United States. Doctoral students who are in the early stages (within their first or second year) of their graduate program are also eligible to apply.

Are undocumented students or students with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status eligible to apply?

Yes, undocumented students and students with DACA are eligible for the fellowship and are encouraged to apply.

Are international students from outside the United States eligible to apply?

Yes, however, non-US international students must secure their own  US work permit prior to the start of the fellowship (by mid-April), per UC Berkeley policy.

Does the Institute help make any arrangements for international students?

No. As the summer fellowship is a paid, part-time position, all international students are responsible for obtaining their own US work permit. The Othering & Belonging Institute does not (and is legally unable to) provide any support or documentation for work permit applications.

What will the compensation be for the summer fellowship? When will fellows get paid?

Fellows will receive compensation for 20 hours of work per week and will be paid via direct deposit on a bi-weekly basis. Each fellow’s hourly compensation rate is based on years of education completed and the University’s fixed pay scale and equity standards. Rates range from $23/hr to $30/hr depending on education level.


Responsibilities and Expectations

What do the fellows’ summer projects involve?

Summer projects will primarily involve independent online research and writing. This may include background research (such as literature reviews, case studies, background memos, etc.), support of ongoing research (such as data analysis or writing support for reports, discussion papers, journal articles, or book chapters), drafting of materials for public education (such as visuals for presentations or publications), and other research tasks as assigned.

Each summer fellow will be matched with one of the following programs based on an alignment between their skills, experience, interests, and each program project's needs:

  1.  Applied Belonging Research: Research, compile and structure findings on practical applications used to advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) initiatives into Belonging initiatives.
  2.  Arts and Cultural Strategy: Research and qualitative interviews with artists and cultural strategy leaders on the role of arts in implementing belonging through co-creation and agency
  3.  Climate Justice: Case study research on climate migration & resilience in the U.S.
  4.  Community Power and Policy Partnerships: Case studies on how communities engage in co-governance over the use of public funds to drive systems change. 
  5.  Democracy & Belonging Forum: Background research on forms of othering across geographies with a focus on Eastern and/or Southeastern Europe.
  6.  Equity Metrics Program: Background research and quantitative/qualitative analysis related to fair housing and social equity (including, but not limited to, segregation, disparate impact, zoning, and access to opportunity).
  7.  Global Justice Program: Update the Shahidi Project’s corporate profiles and research current databases to compare pre-existing data with an application programming interface (API), and integrate new materials into the project’s website.
  8.  Just Public Finance: Background research identifying gaps between rigorous academic and advocate research literature and the needs of grassroots community based organizations related to water access.
  9.  Othering & Belonging Research: Bibliographic research related to othering and belonging, including, but not limited to, studies on group-based marginality and inequality, interventions that promote belonging, historical and sociological research on group violence, and political change related to group dynamics and identity.
  10.  Public Health: Collaborate with OBI public health researchers to conduct research and write a case study/blog post about undoing structural racism in a health institution (e.g. hospital, healthcare system, public health department, or social service).
  11.  Housing Segregation: Research, conduct interviews, prepare memo, and draft articles relating to developments in local housing policy.
  12.  Strategic Communications: Research and production assistance for social media projects related to promoting acts of solidarity and cross-group care, and creative research dissemination on TikTok.
Are fellows always placed with a program of their interest or choosing?

Prospective fellows will be matched by the Summer Fellowship Committee with a program area. The Committee considers each prospective fellow’s preferences during the application review process, but it is not guaranteed that all fellows will be placed with their preferred program.

To help us match you with your interests, please make sure to explore the above links for each program’s webpage and state your research interests in your cover letter, along with the specific Institute programs that you see as aligned with your interests. To have a better idea of what programs and projects previous fellows have worked on, please visit the previous summer fellowship cohorts webpage.

When do applicants get to know what project they will be working on and the supervisor they will be working with?

All applicants selected for the fellowship will be notified of their program placement and supervisor and provided with a general description of their assigned project when the Summer Fellowship Committee extends the initial offer in early April.

Are summer fellows able to interact with Institute staff and researchers? Do summer fellows work with the faculty research clusters?

Each summer fellow will be paired with supervisors  who will supervise their work on a predetermined summer-long project for a specific program area. In addition to engaging with their direct supervisor and the project team, we encourage fellows to reach out to staff and researchers whose work intersects with fellows’ interests, and to build connections. 

Do summer fellows work with the faculty research clusters?

Summer fellows generally do not work with Institute-affiliated faculty or members of the faculty research clusters.