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Apply for a Fellowship

Application Process

To be considered for a Buchanan Library Fellow position, candidates must be undergraduate students enrolled at Vanderbilt University in good academic standing. Application is through a linked RedCap form on the Fellows' homepage. Required documents include:

  • Curriculum vitae including name, address, email, and telephone
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member

Previously selected Library Fellows may not reapply for a new project.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until filled, at which time the opportunity is closed. Accepted students will receive a formal notice of acceptance. For general information about the Buchanan Library Fellows program, contact

Fall 2021 Fellowships

Understanding the Fine Arts Gallery Collection using Wikidata and AI | Apply Here

This project will introduce the Fellows to Wikidata, the knowledge graph that anyone can edit. We will work to improve and add to the metadata in Wikidata about Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery works using spreadsheet-based software tools that make it easier to add information. We will also explore artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can make our work more efficient. An outcome of the project will be an interactive visualization that will allow Gallery users to explore information about works in the collection. Contact: Steve Baskauf 

Exploring Disinformation in Media and Society   |  Apply Here

From the 2016 presidential election to contemporary conspiracy theories related to the pandemic and politics, much attention has been paid to the role of social media in the rapid spread of disinformation. What exactly is disinformation, though? Is this a new phenomenon, or is it deeply embedded in power structures predating social media? Join this fellowship to explore the role of disinformation in both legacy media and social media, and its effects on society. Through a seminar-style approach, students will follow this    open access curriculum   , connect theory to contemporary news, and create a podcast as their final project. These podcasts will become part of an    ongoing project exploring the intersection of media and society.     
Contact: Andy Wesolek 

The American Presidency: Challenges of the Executive Branch | Apply Here

Are you interested in working with primary resources to explore the role of the American presidency? Buchanan Library Fellows in this fall semester fellowship will curate an exhibition in the lobby of Central Library exploring the opportunities and challenges of the American Executive Branch. Fellows will select books, manuscripts, government publications, university archives and news broadcasts in the Vanderbilt Libraries to uncover historic decisions and dilemmas of the federal government’s executive branch. Working with librarians and faculty, student curators will conduct background research for each of their themes, select objects for exhibit, and write original label copy to describe their case themes and objects in historical context. They will create a WordPress exhibit to amplify the audience for their work and present their findings at an exhibition opening at the end of the fall semester. This fellowship requires a three- to five-hour commitment of your time and agreement to attend weekly classes. Contact: Frank Lester, Teresa Gray, Jason Schultz

Building a University: Vanderbilt’s Second Decade, 1885-1895 | Apply Here

Have you ever wondered about the early years of Vanderbilt University? What were the first yearbooks like, and where did students live on campus? Which sports were first played on campus? Or perhaps you would like to learn about what classes were taught and what students did for fun in those early years? If you would like to know more about how curators interpret historic objects, how to find things in the library, or just know more about the amazing history of the place where you will be spending four years of your life, then apply for this fall 2020 Buchanan Library Fellowship. This semester, four students will examine historically significant university manuscripts and documents in the Special Collections Library and place them in context with the university’s and the nation’s history. Fellows will curate an exhibition about Vanderbilt’s second decade, learn to interpret primary sources and present a report on what they have learned. This fellowship requires a three- to five-hour commitment of your time and an agreement to attend weekly classes and labs. Fellows come away with curatorial skills and experience, how to think critically about primary sources, a deeper knowledge of university history and how library collections and staff inform exhibitions and research. Contact: Kathy SmithTeresa Gray and Mary Anne Caton

Giving Voice to Afro-Hispanic Life and Culture through the Collections of Manuel and Delia Zapata Olivella | Apply Here

Recipients of this Buchanan Library Fellowship will research and curate an online exhibit on a theme relating to Vanderbilt’s Afro-Hispanic Zapata Olivella collections. Manuel Zapata Olivella (1920-2004) was known throughout Latin America as the “Dean of Black Literature” and is considered one of the 20th century’s most important Afro-Hispanic narrators. He was also a noted Colombian anthropologist, folklorist, physician, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. Delia (1926-2001), sister of Manuel, focused on performance arts and preserved African dance traditions and their African heritage of music and dance. She led an African dance troupe throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and Russia. Their work to document and preserve the history and culture of people of African descent in the Americas through oral history, television, radio, and literature is legendary. Vanderbilt’s Special Collections houses their personal papers consisting of manuscripts, correspondence, publications, tapes, interviews, scrapbooks, and photographs. The fellowship requires a five-hour weekly commitment. Knowledge of Spanish is required. Of interest to students in Spanish, history, anthropology, and Latin American Studies. This program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Contact: Paula Covington and Carla Beals

Modalities of Textual Analysis: Exploring British Periodicals | Apply Here

How can you identify and explore patterns across millions of documents? In this fellowship, Buchanan Library Fellows will learn state-of-the-art techniques for text mining at scale. Fellows will join an ongoing research project to analyze constellations of information in ProQuest's British Periodicals Collections. Depending on interest, Fellows will learn to use Databricks, a framework for analyzing datasets on Spark; Rumble, a query engine for exploring semi-structured documents on Spark; and Netsblox, a block-based programming language with robust connections to network-based tools like Stanford’s CoreNLP. After completing the fellowship, Fellows will be able to extract information from big data sets in the humanities, social sciences, or other fields with relative ease and confidence. The fellowship can accommodate up to ten students. Contact: Cliff Anderson, Mark Schoenfield

The Art of Healing | Apply Here

The Art of Healing Exposition is a series of shows and events around the theme of the use of creative expression as part of the healing process. Two fellows will research art and archives in the Vanderbilt Jean & Alexander Heard Library collections that are related to healing and will organize the display of this and other art as part of the overall exposition. Art highlighted in this program will include all forms of creative expression including painting, writing, music, and other creative expression, and will include physical and online displays. Contact: Brandon Hulette

Gateway to Traditional Chinese Monuments: Data Curation and Web Development for Cultural Heritage Preservation 

No Longer Accepting Applicants

This program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Recipients of this Buchanan Library Fellowship will help faculty to develop data for Architectura Sinica, a Chinese architectural history dynamic site archive and architectural thesaurus. Fellows work with A&S faculty and library staff to develop entries on individual sites and/or add visual material for thesaurus of technical terms for Traditional Chinese Architecture. Fellows are acknowledged as co-authors for digital publication of the entries they complete. Pre- or co-requisite of Digital Heritage: Methods and Practice (HART 2815) is required to participate. Contact: Yuh-Fen Benda, Dr. Tracy Miller