Loyola University Chicago

Center for Urban Research and Learning

CURL Fellowship Applications

Application Process


Undergraduate Fellowships

The Center for Urban Research and Learning invites undergraduate students who are interested in community engagement and social change issues to apply for an undergraduate fellowship. The fellowship provides a stipend of up to $1,400 per semester. Students are expected to be engaged in CURL activities for ten hours per week.

Applications are accepted two times each year: March 1 for the following fall semester and November 1 for the following spring semester. Most students receive fellowships for two semesters. However fellowships for shorter or longer lengths are possible.

Fellows will:

  • Participate in university : community research projects that address community needs
  • Contribute to various areas of research including development of methodologies, analysis of data, and publishing and presentation of results
  • Collaborate closely with a team of faculty, graduate students and community researchers
  • Learn about Chicago's communities and the efforts of groups and individuals to make their neighborhoods better

This program is open to any undergraduate with sophomore standing or above from any of the undergraduate programs at the university. Those students from the social sciences and humanities are strongly encouraged to apply. Students who qualify for work-study money are also strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Process

Interested students should:

  • Students should go to www.luc.edu/lurop to access the online application. Students will log in to the system with their Loyola ID and password and click on the CURL application to apply.
  • The application includes the following requirements:
    -A one-page essay indicating interest in social change issues as well as a summary of previous community experience and research skills (e.g., Web design, interviewing skills, statistical experience). 
    -A brief resume along with the names of one Loyola faculty member or staff who can provide a reference as needed.  

Application Deadline: While many applications are processed during the regular published LUROP deadlines, since these fellowships are funded through CURL’s endowment and additional research grants that CURL receives on an ongoing basis throughout the calendar year, we invite students to apply at any time during the year.

For more information please contact:

David Van Zytveld, Associate Director
E-mail: dvanzyt@luc.edu


Graduate Fellowships

Center fellowships are intended to facilitate graduate student involvement in collaborative research project with community-based organizations, social service agencies, health care providers, businesses and government in Chicago's city and suburbs. Through their research and teaching projects, fellows are active participants in Loyola University’s efforts to improve the quality of life of all members of the Chicago metropolitan community. Graduate students receiving fellowships will gain experience in collaborative research strategies and community-based research. Center activities can help students develop a foundation for future research, including thesis or dissertation research.

Fellows will participate in Center activities, including work with the Director and Associate Director in developing collaborative university: community research projects, ongoing involvement in a particular research project and involvement in Center seminars and conferences. Fellowships may focus on urban policy research, needs assessment, evaluation research and program development. Strong emphasis is placed on work that addresses community needs and involves the community in the formation of research issues, development of methodologies, analysis of data and writing of results. Research at the Center involves a team approach where the graduate student is called upon to act as a team coordinator. Proficient research skills are necessary; advanced graduate standing is desirable.

There are three fellowship categories:

  • Full-time fellowships, including stipend and tuition awards:
    These are full-time fellowships, providing an academic year stipend of $14,000 and full tuition (up to 21 hours per academic year). Students are expected to be engaged in Center work 20 hours per week during the academic year which includes participation in Friday morning staff meetings and seminars.
  • Fellowships paid on an hourly basis:
    These are fellowship awards paid on an hourly basis up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to full-time in the summer. The hourly rate may vary, but is approximately $15-$19 per hour. In addition to their established hours, students are expected to participate in Friday morning staff meetings and seminars.
  • Volunteer (Unpaid) Fellowships:
    In cases where students are interested in gaining research experience at CURL, but where paid fellowships are not available, we provide a limited number of volunteer fellowships in a given year. Sometimes these are awarded in conjunction with course credit that a student will be receiving for an independent study. CURL expects volunteer fellows to work a minimum of eight hours a week at the Center. Volunteer fellows are often selected for subsequent paid fellowships at CURL.

Students may receive fellowship support for multiple years.

Because the Center is involved in ongoing discussions with organizations and agencies outside the university to identify possible collaborative projects, students are strongly encouraged to talk with Center staff before submitting applications so that we can discuss possible areas of involvement in Center activities. Pre-application inquiries should be directed to David VanZytveld, CURL Associate Director at: dvanzyt@luc.edu. Although we cannot fund all applications received, we will work as much as possible with all students to identify potential community partners and possible support for collaborative projects.

Application Procedures

Applications should include:

  • A resume or CV
  • A statement of career interests
  • A description of any past involvement in community-based work
  • A writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members (one can be from a community-based organization or an outside agency for which you have worked)
  • A letter for support from the department graduate program director or chair

The deadline for applications is November 1 for the Spring Semester and March 1 for the Fall Semester. However, since new fellowship opportunities do emerge on a regular basis, CURL does draw from the existing pool of pending applicants. Therefore, it is advisable to submit an application at any time in the event that you are interested in a fellowship that might become immediately available (outside of the normal application time line).

Applications should be sent to:

Philip Nyden, Director
E-mail: pnyden@luc.edu


David Van Zytveld, Associate Director
E-mail: dvanzyt@luc.edu


Community Member Fellowships

The Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL), with an endowment from the McCormick Tribune Foundation and support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, announces a pilot fellowship program to provide university resources, including financial support, to community leaders and activists to assist them in developing and implementing collaborative projects with the university.

The community fellows will be community leaders—staff, board members or resident volunteers of community-based organizations. The Center recognizes that individuals with extensive experience in addressing community issues possess knowledge invaluable to understanding those issues and developing innovative solutions to problems facing urban communities. By encouraging greater cooperation between community activists and university researchers, we hope to increase our collective capacity to produce positive change for Chicago's low and moderate income neighborhoods.

The purposes of the fellowships are to:

  • Facilitate strong collaborative relationships between community leaders and university faculty and students
  • Develop capacities of community-based organizations
  • Develop innovative solutions to pressing urban issues by bringing together the knowledge of both the university and the community

The Center has every expectation that the fellowships are the first stop in longer term community : university cooperative relationships.

The fellows will be affiliated with the Center working with Loyola faculty and students and/or community development peers on specific topics. They will participate in regular CURL activities involving faculty, students and other community leaders. The focus on the fellows’ activities may vary, depending upon the project goals and available resources, but can include:

  • Participation as a co-researcher in developing or expanding collaborative community : university research action projects that will produce community change
  • Coordination of an exchange of knowledge between the community and university that produces equitable change for low income residents and new understanding within the academic community
  • Analysis of public policy at the local, state or national level that results in new policy positions and advocacy around those position
  • Involvement in teaching (or co-teaching) in the community or at the university and mentoring students or other community activists in a research action project

A goal of each project will be to leave skills and capacities in both the community and the university once the project is completed.

The amount of the fellowships and the time period of fellowship activity may vary from project to project. The fellowships are designed to be flexible and to complement—not supplant—the fellow's regular activity. For example, a fellowship may provide support which will allow a community-based organization to release a staff member from regular activities one day a week for a year to work on a collaborative research project. It could also provide support for a resident volunteer to become involved in a partnership while attending seminars at the university. We expect the average fellowships stipend to be $8000-$10,000 for a calendar year. Time commitments may vary from three-month, full-time commitment to a once-a-week, one-year commitment. In all cases, a minimum commitment of three months is required.

Since the Center's projects evolve through relationships developed with community leaders, current projects reflect both the priorities of the community, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the geographic priorities of the Center as well as the expertise and availability of Loyola faculty and students to participate in collaborative partnerships. Priorities for the fellowships, therefore, will be given to those applicants attached to Center projects that either contribute to the enhancement of existing Loyola/community collaborations or that fall within the context of CURL's metropolitan-wide relationships.

The application process includes:

  • A two-page personal statement outlining past community experience and activities
  • A description of the project/activity to be pursued during the fellowships period, including a time line
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one from the executive director of the sponsoring community-based organization.

Applications will be reviewed by members of the Advisory Board and the staff. Final selection will be made by the staff.

Applications should be sent to:

Philip Nyden, Director
E-mail: pnyden@luc.edu