IHAWKe Diversity Fellows Program

The IHAWKe Diversity Fellows Program seeks minority graduate students in the School of Engineering (SoE) to provide leadership and develop opportunities for the graduate community in the school, with a focus on diversity. Fellows work with staff at the school level to identify and support the academic and professional development needs, provide resources, mentorship opportunities, and specialized programming for graduate students across the school. Additional efforts will be made to sustain leadership funding awards and build a strong and supportive graduate community.

Eligibility Requirements

This Fellowship opportunity is available to all students admitted and enrolled in a graduate program in engineering who identify as a minority student (see definitions below). Fellows should have strong leadership and communication skills, and possess a desire to support fellow students and the school in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students must make good academic progress and have approval from their advisor to participate in this fellowship opportunity within their graduate program.

Definitions of Minority

  1. IHAWKe Groups: Indigenous (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander), Hispanic or Latina, African American or Black, Asian American and Women in STEM and computer science fields at KU engineering
  2. First-generation college student
  3. Met or overcame challenging experiences on path to graduate education, including but are not limited to:
    • Individuals with a disability
    • Being of a gender or orientation identity historically underrepresented (LGBTQI+)
    • Veteran status
    • Single parent or primary caregiver
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Holding DACA status

Expectations & Responsibilities

Fellows will be expected to serve one year terms and may reapply for the fellowship each year. A $1,000 fellowship award will be provided for the first year in the program, and $1,500 for each additional year of service as an IHAWKe Fellow.

Fellows can expect to work 2-5 hours each month including occasional evening and weekend events. Other responsibilities include:

  • Attend monthly lunch meetings throughout the academic year (while classes are in session).
  • Facilitate and plan a minimum of 1 professional development event each semester focused on diversity (partnering with student organizations or university offices).
  • Attend on-campus recruitment events if available (e.g. open house networking, panels, tours or one-to-one meetings with prospective graduate students) as a representative of KU and the Schools of Engineering (school apparel provided).
  • Provide mentorship to undergraduate student groups and researchers to promote graduate study in engineering.
  • Build a STEM service or outreach partnership or project with a local community organization throughout the year.

We encourage IHAWKe Fellows to seek out and promote diversity related news and research articles and events through social media within the school and Fellows are also responsible for administering SoE Diversity Awards to underrepresented students in the School of Engineering annually (funding provided by the Hickman & Lohrenz Endowment Accounts).


Prospective Fellows are required to complete a short application which includes, profile information, short essay questions, a statement of purpose, and advisor’s letter of recommendation. Applications open and are posted on the DEI Scholarships page in Spring. Based upon the completed application, students will be selected for a personal interview. Interviews for selected candidates will be conducted and we hope to have the selection process complete by the end of the spring semester.