About the Fellowship

The faces of the 2016 fellows

What is it?

The Karel Fellowship In Public Interest Communications is a unique, hands-on, experiential summer program that inspires undergraduate students to consider professional opportunities and possibilities in the field of Public Interest Communications. This Fellowship is especially focused on translating personal passion for a more just world into communication skills that elicit social change. Fellows—either first-generation or minority college students—gain hands-on experience through working on social justice issues, under the guidance of a communications mentor at leading local, national and international nonprofits in the Greater Washington, DC area.

Who is eligible?

Undergraduate Communications, Journalism, Political Science, Public Policy or Social Policy majors, or any student who is considering a career in Public Interest Communications. Minority students are encouraged to apply and priority will be placed on first-generation rising junior and senior college students.

How do I apply?

The Karel Fellowship will not be selecting fellows for the 2017 summer. The pause will give us time to implement these changes while orienting new staff and advisors. We look forward to re-launching the Fellowship with an application deadline in December 2017 and selection of fellows for the summer of 2018.

Post-fellowship expectations

Fellows may be required to attend the frank conference at the University of Florida during the winter following their summer fellowship. Held at the University of Florida, frank is a new national conference of public interest communicators from across the social change spectrum—education, health, human rights, environmental protection, civil rights and others. This gathering affords the Karel Fellows an opportunity to have their voices heard on a national stage of their future peers from all across the country.

Mentors and faculty sponsors will be invited as well. All travel, lodging and food expenses for the fellows will be covered.

It is also the responsibility of all fellows to remain in contact with the Karel Fellowship coordinator and class ambassador, according to the agreed upon check-in times. Fellows are also expected to update their contact information with either the class ambassador or Karel Fellowship coordinator.

Stipend, flights and Housing

Each fellow will receive a total stipend of $4,000 (less taxes) to cover housing, travel expenses and living expenses during the fellowship. All travel, lodging and food expenses for the frank national conference will be covered by the Frank Karel Fellowship.


Please contact the Karel Fellowship for information about housing.

Support for the Fellowships comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Burness, Spitfire Strategies, Fenton, Brodeur Partners, the Moriah Fund, the Viola Fund and Betsy Karel.

The Karel Fellowship is fiscally sponsored by the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers.