Office of Internships and Fellowships
Developing 21st Century Leaders
Smithsonian fellows and interns push the limits of scholarship in art, history, culture and science, and share their new knowledge with scholars in their home communities.
During the Smithsonian Campaign, donor support allowed the Smithsonian to strengthen, diversify and develop the breadth of fellowships and internships across the institution. These learning opportunities are investments in developing new intellectual capital for the 21st-century.
During each summer of the campaign period—as well as for many years before the campaign—the Katzenberger Foundation steadfastly supported the Katzenberger Foundation Art History Internship. Annually, this program offers six undergraduate art history internships across the Smithsonian to provide professional development opportunities for high-achieving students who face financial challenges.
The James Smithson Fellowship Program—started through the generosity of past Smithsonian National Board chair Paul Neely—has offered early career scholars an opportunity to gain experience in scholarship and public discourse while at the Smithsonian. Since 2013, the program has supported eight fellows in a diversity of fields, including biology, animal conservation and anthropology.
The Smithsonian is built on knowledge and discovery, with one of the world’s largest collections of art and artifacts. It has nurtured a legacy of distinguished scholars since its founding in 1846. At the heart of our mission is sharing this wealth of intellectual capital and training the next generation of promising young curators, scientists and educators.
Every year, fellows and interns conduct independent study and research projects, using our collections and facilities, under the guidance of Smithsonian advisors. These budding scholars extend the boundaries of inquiry in history, art, culture and science.
We seek scholars prepared to learn and delve into our vast resources. A Smithsonian internship or fellowship can provide a compass to set a career on a path to break new ground and meet the challenges of the 21st century. As importantly, fellows and interns share their practical experience with their peers when they return to their home communities.
We are poised to increase our knowledge as never before. The Smithsonian has a research staff ready to mentor talented young experts. We have fellowship and internship programs across our 19 museums and nine research centers.
Through the Smithsonian Campaign, we seek to expand the number of young scholars and further our reach. Your gifts to the campaign are investments in the future of our shared intellectual and cultural assets.
- Eric WoodardDirector, Office of Fellowships and Internships
Investing in Young Scholars: Internships
The Smithsonian offers nearly 2,000 internships every year, unmatched in scope. Young scholars from across the country intern in a wide array of disciplines, from public administration and art conservation to insect biodiversity and environmental science. There are opportunities in history, art, science, culture and education.
Interns at the National Zoo work side-by-side with animal keepers, caring and helping feed zoo animals. Farther afield, a student with the Natural History Museum may create a short documentary for the Arctic Study Center in Alaska.
One of our funding priorities is to augment programming that will enrich Smithsonian internships. Through the campaign, we will create more seminars, workshops and programs to provide a complete breadth of experience.
While our interns come from communities around the country, many are unaware of the opportunities at the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian Campaign will help change that. With campaign gifts, we will increase our outreach to attract a more diverse group of applicants.
Building an Endowment
Each year, the Smithsonian mentors thousands of interns. Many internships include stipends; however, some do not. Without financial support, aspiring scholars may not be able to take advantage of what is offered at the Smithsonian.
Through the campaign, we will create an endowment to increase the number of stipends, helping defray living costs for students and expanding the number of internships Smithsonian-wide.
Pushing the Boundaries of Inquiry: Fellowships
Every year, the Smithsonian hosts nearly 800 fellows. Their work has broken new ground. As a fellow, Carlos Jaramillo discovered the fossils of the world’s largest snake, the Titanoboa. By investigating better methods to preserve different types of wood, Pete McElhinney helped find ways to protect Native American artifacts. Gareth Morgan helped discover underground channels that may hold water on Mars. And Joanna Christodoulou, through neuroimaging, advanced our understanding of how the brain works and how we learn.
One of our campaign priorities is to enrich workshops and mentoring programs associated with fellowships to ensure that the Smithsonian will continue to attract leaders in their fields.
Another priority is to expand our outreach to attract applicants from across every demographic. A diverse corps of fellows today will foster a diverse corps of researchers tomorrow. Investments in the Smithsonian Campaign will allow us to reach new scholars in underserved areas.
Creating an Endowment
Research and discovery takes time and investment. Many of our fellowships offer stipends and we would like to provide more resources to our fellows during their tenure at the Smithsonian. One of our priorities is to endow a stipend fund. Gifts through the campaign will ensure talented young scholars continue to pursue their passions with groundbreaking research.
Office of Internships and Fellowships
Each gift of $1 million establishes, in perpetuity, a new fellowship that can be tailored to a specific discipline, museum or research center. Each gift of $120,000 establishes, in perpetuity, a new internship that may be tailored to a specific discipline, museum or research center. A fellowship or internship may be named in recognition of the donor, or for another, as specified.
Investments of $500,000 provide funds for the Smithsonian to increase its outreach, ensuring information about fellowship and internship opportunities reaches the broadest audience.
Mentoring Interns and Fellows
We seek $200,000 to develop and maintain special programming to support both Smithsonian fellows and interns.
Gifts Spell Opportunity for Promising Scholars
As a journalist and publisher, Paul Neely digs into the ins and outs of each issue. He’s fascinated by history and the connection between public policy and scholarly research. His first campaign gift established the James Smithson Fellowship Program, which offers a post-doctoral scholar the opportunity to study how policies and laws shape the sciences, humanities and arts. A more recent one sets up fellowships at the National Museum of American History. “I have focused on fellowships because scholars are at the heart of what we do here. As their careers develop, these fellows will be the leaders of the future,” Neely says.