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. For each year of fellowship funding, fellows receive a stipend ($30,000 to $38,000 — award amount is College-specific), along with a tuition waiver and health benefits.  Only Graduate Program Director or Admission Chair can nominate incoming students who have been admitted to a UMass Amherst doctoral program. Awardees are selected by the Spaulding-Smith selection committee.

Spaulding-Smith Fellows are included in a variety of programs, including informal, monthly mentoring meals, 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 130 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 Fellows Travel Grant (up to $600) per academic year. Please submit the Travel Report .


Please contact the oie [at] grad [dot] umass [dot] edu (Office of Inclusion & Engagement).

Interested in nominating an admitted student for a Spaulding-Smith Fellowship? Nominate a student for the Spaulding-Smith Fellowship


Sofiya Alhassan

Associate Dean, Office of Inclusion & Engagement

Sofiya Alhassan is the Associate Dean, Office of Inclusion & Engagement at UMass Amherst.

Sofiya Alhassan

Bharat Rathod

Assistant Director, Office of Inclusion & Engagement

Bharat Rathod is the Assistant Director of Inclusion & Engagement at UMass Amherst. 

Bharat Rathod