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The Kenan Galapagos Fellows Program supports the training and research of UNC graduate students around climate change and ecosystem health in one of the world’s most iconic settings.

A researcher operates a tall piece of equipment, which includes a computer, heavy cables, and a satellite, in an open field.

Working with their faculty mentors and local Galapagos high school and college students, fellows will be able to conduct cutting-edge research in the field and use these new approaches to become the next generation of leaders by tackling grand challenges such as climate change, clean oceans, biodiversity, and human health and community resilience. The research generated by fellows and their faculty mentors will inform science and policy locally in Galapagos, in North Carolina, and globally, and the access to STEM education provided to local students will empower them to protect the Galapagos and other vulnerable ecosystems for the long term.

Fellows will receive training, mentorship experience, and career development through provided research and training opportunities at UNC and in the Galapagos, travel funding to the Galapagos
for field-based research and to conferences to support research dissemination, and a stipend and
tuition to support their graduate training.

Program Requirements 

Fellows are expected to work with their mentor to develop a research project that addresses a key research theme in the Galapagos Islands. The ideal project would include participation from the faculty mentor and local high school and/or university students in Galapagos and would lead to publications and presentations in the fellow’s scientific disciplines. Fellows are expected to conduct summer research in Galapagos and also devote 10-15 hours per week to their research during the academic year.  

Application Process, Eligibility, and Stipend/Benefits 

We are currently accepting applications for predoctoral fellowships for the 2024-2025 academic year. We welcome applications from UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Students from any academic program are eligible to apply. Selected fellows will be supported by funding from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.  

Fellows receive a monthly stipend, in-state tuition, travel and research support, mandatory fees and insurance premiums, access to office space, equipment use, and support services from the Center for Galapagos Studies and the Galapagos Science Center. All fellows are appointed for a 12-month period and must reapply to the program each year. 

Applications are open until May 3. Click here to apply. 

Please have your faculty advisor send a letter of recommendation directly to Amanda Thompson (, interim Director of the Center for Galapagos Studies. 

Collage, left to right: Savannah Ryburn holds up six test tubes filled with sand-like material in front of her face; Savannah Ryburn stands on a dock, holding her field notebook.A graduate student researcher, wearing a lab coat and gloves, handles a test sample in the lab.