Spaulding-Smith Fellows

The Spaulding-Smith Fellowship is awarded to outstanding doctoral students from historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Named for two UMass Amherst alumni — Major Franklin Spaulding (the first African American to receive a doctorate) and Elizabeth Hight Smith (the first woman to receive a graduate degree) — this fellowship provides financial support during the first and final year of graduate school. Awardees receive a $25,000 fellowship, tuition waiver and health benefits for each fellowship year.  Incoming students seeking admission to UMass Amherst doctoral programs are nominated by their Graduate Program Director or Admission Chair. Awardees are selected by the Graduate School.

Fellows are included in a variety of programs, including informal, monthly mentoring dinners, professional development workshops, and other events designed to facilitate a cohesive community of young scholars. They are part of a vibrant and supportive community of graduate students, faculty and staff who are all committed to graduate student success here at UMass Amherst. Currently, there are over 110 students in the Spaulding-Smith Fellowship Program.

Eligibility is limited to students entering PhD programs in STEM fields.  Please note that students cannot simultaneously receive a Spaulding-Smith fellowship and the Research Enhancement and Leadership (REAL) fellowship.

Program Guidelines as a Spaulding-Smith Fellow:

  • Maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student in your program and make satisfactory progress towards your degree.
  • Serve as a peer mentor for incoming fellows in your discipline/field after your first year.
  • Participate in community, mentoring and professional development programs hosted by the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Engagement throughout the academic year.

Spaulding-Smith Fellows are eligible (but not guaranteed) to earn one Graduate Fellows Travel Grant (up to $500) per academic year

Mariela Garcia Arredondo

This fellowship has provided me with the financial support that a regular teaching assistant would provide but also allowed me to invest more of my time in outreach and community work which I find extremely fulfilling and has aided me in the beginning to balance my time as a student and budding researcher. It also connected me with a number of people who come from similar backgrounds allowing me to feel like I belong in a higher education community.

Mariela Garcia Arredondo (PhD student, Environmental Conservation)


Please contact the Office of Inclusion & Engagement.


Interested in nominating a prospective student for the Spaulding-Smith Fellowship?