Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits to a student to apply?

Becoming a Latham Fellow will strengthen future career and/or award applications. Scientists who foster information-sharing and respect between science and the public are essential for the public communication of and engagement with science. Although traditional scientific training does not necessarily prepare scientists to be effective communicators outside of academia, funding agencies and research institutions are increasingly encouraging researchers to extend beyond peer-reviewed publishing and communicate their results directly to the greater public.1 Becoming a Latham Fellow is one way for undergraduate researchers to start this conversation. 

Who can apply?

Freshman, sophomores, or juniors that have completed one semester of an undergraduate research experience (minimum).

How do I apply?

If you’re viewing this, you can find an application web form on this site. Click "Apply" above.

When is the application deadline?

June 1, 2020 (for the 2020-21 academic year)

Do I have to do natural science research to apply?

No. Students interested in communicating science in the public sphere may apply.

How are fellows selected?

Fellow applications will be reviewed by staff of the Latham Science Engagement Initiative. Personal qualities of the applicant, including leadership ability, character, motivation, intellectual independence and likely contribution to the vitality of the program will all be considered. Depending on the applicant pool, interviews may be conducted. 

What is public engagement and why is it important?

Public engagement can be seen as the science-society relationship. Since science is so prevalent in all facets of life, the science-society relationship can be seen as constructive, tension-filled, or everything in between.

Public engagement often uses and builds upon increasing public understanding of science and theory. Through engagement, scientists and the public participate in discussion about the benefits and risks of the science and technology impacting our daily lives. In doing so, questions and tensions can be listened to and addressed. Further, involving a wide-range of interested stakeholders can connect seemingly unrelated viewpoints with far-reaching effect.2

What if I have more questions?

Contact Brinda Shetty, LSEI Assistant Director, at or 319-335-0964.


1. Verbiage from American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),

2. Verbiage from AAAS,