Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship


2014-2015 Competition Deadline: February 28, 2014 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time


The Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship is a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program that provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in up to three countries on a globally significant social or environmental topic. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.

The wide variety of new digital media tools and platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for people from all disciplines and backgrounds to share observations and personal narratives with global audiences online. These storytelling tools are powerful resources as we seek to expand our knowledge of pressing transnational issues and build ties across cultures.

Through the Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, Fulbrighters will undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue, comparing and contrasting how that issue is experienced across borders. Utilizing a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media, Fellows will tell their stories, or the stories of those they meet, publishing their work on National Geographic media platforms with the support of National Geographic’s editorial team.

In addition to receiving Fulbright benefits (for travel, stipend, health, etc.), Fellows will receive instruction in digital storytelling techniques, including effective blog writing, video production, and photography, by National Geographic staff prior to their departure. Fellows will be paired with one or more National Geographic editors for continued training, editorial direction and mentoring throughout their Fulbright grant period. Fellows will provide material for a blog on the National Geographic website on a frequent and ongoing basis throughout their grant term, and will have the opportunity to develop additional content for use by National Geographic and the Department of State.

For the Fellowship’s inaugural year of 2014, applications will be accepted for the following themes: Biodiversity, Cities, Climate Change, Cultures, Energy, Food, Oceans, and Water.

 

Eligible Countries

Applications will be accepted for Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowships in any country to which there is an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Click here to see which countries are eligible.

Fields and Qualifications of Applicants

Candidates from all fields are encouraged to apply.

Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated experience and talent in digital storytelling. Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the Fulbright award.

2014-15 Fellowship Themes

For the 2014-15 academic year, applications will be accepted for projects focused on one or more of the following themes:

  1. Biodiversity
  2. Cities
  3. Climate Change
  4. Cultures
  5. Energy
  6. Food
  7. Oceans
  8. Water
Digital Storytelling* Methods

During the Fellowship, Fellows will be engaged in digital storytelling in various forms, which may include but are not limited to text, photography, graphic illustration, and video. Their stories will be disseminated digitally through National Geographic Society and Department of State platforms and associated social networking sites.

Fellows will be required to provide content for a National Geographic blog that will include but is not limited to text, photography, and video. National Geographic will provide training for participants and National Geographic editors will mentor and support Fellows as they produce digital stories throughout their grant period.

*Digital storytelling describes the practice of using digital tools to tell a story. Stories may combine text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media.

Details

Applications will be accepted for any country where there is an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program for Academic and Arts fields. Click here for eligible countries.

Candidates from all fields are encouraged to apply.

Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated experience and talent in digital storytelling (including but not limited to: text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media). Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the program.

For the 2014-15 academic year, applications will be accepted for projects on any one or more of the following themes: Biodiversity, Cities, Climate Change, Cultures, Energy, Food, Oceans, and Water.

Proposals must provide a detailed project overview within one or multiple approved themes, a description of methods of digital storytelling that will be used, and a detailed timeline that clearly describes activities (for applicants who are applying for travel to more than one country, activities in each country should be clearly described). The project description should be clear and concise. The proposed project should be creative yet feasible. Applicants should describe how they intend to share and promote their Fulbright experience and stories with audiences, both American and global, during and after their Fulbright year abroad.

In addition to the proposal, the components of the Fulbright - National Geographic application are:
  • Personal Statement
  • Foreign Language Skills
  • References
  • Affiliation
  • Transcripts
  • Resume and Publications
  • Supplementary Material
Application Information

See top of page for deadline details.

All application materials, including academic transcripts and letters of reference must be submitted in the Embark Online Application and Reference System by this date. Hard copy submissions will not be accepted.

Please review the instructions thoroughly before beginning the Embark online application as the application components are distinct from the general application. Because of grant start dates, Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows are not eligible for Critical language Enhancement Awards.

Please carefully review the Fulbright - National Geographic Application Components, Application Tips, the Application Checklist, and Frequently Asked Questions sections, as the requirements differ from those of the traditional Fulbright grant.

Download the Fulbright - National Geographic Fact Sheet (PDF) and Fulbright - National Geographic PowerPoint (PDF) for more information.

Fulbright - National Geographic applicants with questions should email us.

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

What is the Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship?

The Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship is a new component of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program that will support up to five Fellowships for one academic year of travel and multi-media storytelling on globally significant social or environmental topics. Fellows will focus their stories on one of the program’s eight themes. Digital stories produced by Fulbright - National Geographic Fellows will be published across National Geographic and Department of State content platforms with the support of National Geographic’s editorial team.

What is digital storytelling?
Digital storytelling describes the practice of using digital tools to tell a story. Stories may combine text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations and/or social media. Applications should include ideas for imaginative use of digital tools to produce and distribute stories.
Who is eligible to apply? Who is the ideal candidate?

U.S. citizens of all ages and from all backgrounds are eligible to apply. Applicants may come from a broad range of fields. Candidates must have completed at least an undergraduate degree by the commencement of the program but may not hold a Ph.D. at the time application. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated talent for storytelling (including but not limited to publications in print, online or multimedia platforms) and an academic or professional background relevant to their proposed project.

What are the eligible themes for the 2014 application cycle?

For the 2014 application cycle, eligible themes include: Biodiversity, Cities, Climate Change, Cultures, Energy, Food, Oceans, and Water.

Are there definitions of the eligible themes? Since they are so broad, how do I know what is included or if my application will be eligible?

Biodiversity, Cities, Climate Change, Cultures, Energy, Food, Oceans, and Water are themes of global importance and are routinely reported on by National Geographic. Applicants are encouraged to interpret theses themes and describe how their chosen topic or project relates to one or more of them through their application Statement of Purpose.

May I submit an application on more than one of the eligible themes?

Applicants may submit only one project proposal. Project proposal must be submitted under one main theme or a combination of eligible themes. Discussion of additional themes will not be evaluated as an advantage or disadvantage to the project.

Who is ineligible?
Non- U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not eligible. Please refer to the Eligibility/Ineligibility section for more specific requirements. Additionally, U.S. citizens who applied in October 2013 for a traditional 2014-2015 study, research or teaching assistant Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant are also not eligible.
Will applications for projects in the U.S. be accepted?
No. According to the Fulbright-Hays Act, U.S. citizens and nationals cannot study in the United States through the Fulbright Program. Applications from U.S. citizens will only be accepted for projects outside the U.S. and its territories.
Are Fulbright-National Geographic applicants eligible for Critical language Enhancement Awards?
No. The timing, length and multi-country nature of Fulbright-National Geographic grants do not allow sufficient lead time for participation in the Critical Language Enhancement Award Program.
How long will the Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship last?

Consistent with other components of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Fellowships will be awarded for a nine-month academic year, beginning in the Fall and finishing in the late Spring or early Summer.

How many countries can I apply to travel to while on this Fellowship?

Applicants may submit proposals for grants to one, two, or three foreign countries. Applicants may not submit proposals for more than three countries.

If I apply for multiple countries, is there a minimum or maximum time that I am required to spend in each one?

For the nine month program, you must spend a minimum of three consecutive months in a country. Therefore, if proposing a multiple-country grant, you may split your time in one of the the following ways:
1 country – 9 months
2 countries – 3 months or more must be spent in each country
3 countries – 3 months must be spent in each country.

Are there any countries that I cannot apply to travel to?

Yes. Applications will be accepted for any country where there is an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Click here for eligible countries. Applications will not be accepted for travel, for any length of time during the Fellowship, to countries where there is not an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Will my work be published by National Geographic?

Fellows will be instructed in digital storytelling techniques, including effective news story/blog writing, video production, and photography, by National Geographic staff prior to their departure and will be paired with one or more National Geographic editors for continued training, editorial direction and mentorship throughout their Fulbright grant period. Fellows will be required to provide material for a blog on the National Geographic website, on a frequent and ongoing basis throughout their grant term. National Geographic will determine how the submitted material is used on its platforms. In addition, Fellows will have the opportunity to develop further content for use by National Geographic and the Department of State.

Will I be permitted to publish in other media outlets while on my Fellowship?

National Geographic will retain the “Right of First Refusal” on all materials produced by Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows during the period of the award. Fellows will be required to first propose all stories to National Geographic, including those outside of the topic area of the Fellowship. If National Geographic declines to publish a story, Fellows may request approval to propose stories to other media outlets.

Are there language requirements for this fellowship?

While foreign language skills are not strictly required for the Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, the ability to communicate effectively is critical to success in any country to which Fellows will travel on this program. In some countries and for some subjects, language skills are necessary to function effectively and successfully complete a project. Applicants with relevant language skills may receive preference in the application review process. Project feasibility assessment will be based, in part, upon applicant language capabilities.

Who funds this Fellowship and what level of financial and in-kind support will be provided?
Funding for this Fellowship is provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, through the cooperating partner organization implementing the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Institute of International Education (IIE). All fellows will receive standard Fulbright Program benefits, including funds for travel, a living stipend, and health benefits as well as a modest professional stipend. Living stipends will be calculated based on host-country cost-of-living indices. In addition, Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows will be paired with National Geographic editors who will offer training, mentoring, and guidance. Fellows will receive instruction in digital storytelling techniques, including effective blog writing, video production, and photography, by National Geographic editorial staff prior to their departure. Over the course of the grant, Fellows will engage with National Geographic editors and other mentors on story assignments and submissions.
What does the application process consist of?

All applicants for the Fulbright - National Geographic Fellowship are required to submit an application to the Institute of International Education. Finalists may be invited to participate in an interview.

When will decisions on awards be finalized and announced for this Fellowship?

Finalists will be notified in late May or early June 2014. We expect that Fellows will participate in a pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC, in late July or early August 2014 and depart for their overseas programs in Fall 2014.

Why did the U.S. Department of State and National Geographic create this program?

The Department and National Geographic created this award in recognition of the growing importance of digital storytelling and their organizations’ related goals for international exploration and understanding. This new award will give U.S. Fulbrighters a unique opportunity to examine pressing global issues and share insights with a broader public around the world.

How is the Institute of International Education (IIE) involved with this Fellowship?

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the U.S. State Department’s implementing partner for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. IIE will publish the application materials and receive all applications for this Fellowship, administer the selection process in partnership with the U.S. State Department and the National Geographic Society, and provide planning and administrative support to Fellows before and throughout the duration of their fellowship.

I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

FPA

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U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.