About the Fellowships
The Klarman Fellowships in the College of Arts & Sciences provide postdoctoral opportunities to early-career scholars of outstanding talent, initiative and promise. Among the most selective of its kind in the country, the program offers independence from constraints of particular grants, enabling the recipients to devote themselves to frontline, innovative research without being tied to specific outcomes or teaching responsibilities.
Recipients may conduct research in any discipline in the College: natural, quantitative, and social sciences, humanistic inquiry, the creative arts, and emerging fields that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Fellows are selected from a global pool of applicants based on their research accomplishments, potential for future contributions, and alignment of scholarly interests with those of their proposed faculty mentors in Arts & Sciences. The candidates will also be assessed on how their work can benefit from and contribute to the momentum in strategic research areas in the College.
“Klarman Fellowships offer a tremendous boon to the next generation of scholars, thanks to the elevated levels of creative freedom, financial support, cross-disciplinary stimuli and professional uplift they provide.”
~Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences
Klarman Fellowships are made possible by Seth Klarman, a 1979 graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Beth Schultz Klarman. Seth Klarman is CEO of the Boston-based Baupost Group, LLC, and Beth Klarman is president of The Klarman Family Foundation.
Klarman Fellowships are awarded to emerging researchers of exceptional promise in any of the disciplines in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University. Competitive applications will demonstrate the candidate’s capacity for original thought, combined with intellectual rigor and discipline to investigate their ideas in meaningful ways. A tenure-track or tenured faculty member holding a current, primary appointment in the College of Arts & Sciences must agree to serve as the faculty host for the candidate, as confirmed by a host faculty letter at the time of application. The faculty host agrees to mentor and support the candidate throughout the entire fellowship period. Applicants may also have a Cornell faculty co-host. The co-host must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member at Cornell University and may be appointed in any Cornell school or college.
Note that a particular faculty member can write host letters for a maximum of two applicants in a given application cycle. It is the applicant’s responsibility to identify and communicate with potential hosts well ahead of the application deadline. Additionally, each applicant should arrange for letters of recommendation to be submitted by three references, one of whom must normally be the applicant’s primary doctoral advisor.
Awardees must have earned the doctoral degree within two years of beginning the Klarman Fellowship (i.e., for 2023 recipients, no earlier than 1 May 2021). Candidates with more than two years of postdoctoral experience, and those who received their PhD from Cornell or have held any position at Cornell for more than six months at the time of application are not eligible. Candidates who received an undergraduate or master's degree from Cornell are, however, welcome to apply. Awardees may not simultaneously hold any other paid or unpaid position during the term of the appointment. Prior to the start of the fellowship, candidates will be asked to provide proof that their doctoral degree has been conferred.
Jacob Anbinder, a doctoral student in history at Harvard University. His research investigates the historical roots of a pressing modern-day question: How did America’s ostensibly most progressive cities become unaffordable for many Americans? During his Klarman Fellowship, he will make key additions to the manuscript of his book, tentatively titled “Cities of Amber,” which explores the housing politics of prosperous metro areas and their role in making the modern Democratic Party. He will work with faculty host Lawrence Glickman, the Stephen and Evalyn Milman Professor in American Studies (A&S).
Alexandra Brown, a doctoral student in chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research project focuses on biocatalysis, which offers opportunities for the development of useful selective reactions for synthesizing industrially important molecules – in particular for harnessing new radical reactions. Working with the lab of her faculty host Todd Hyster, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology (A&S), she will expand methods for photochemical radical generation in flavoenzymes to include oxidative radical generation.
Neil Cholli, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. His research looks into the mechanismsof social mobility and how it can be improved among low-income populations through social policy. During the Klarman fellowship, he will examine social policy reforms in 1990s Denmark to study the long-run impacts of a two-generation approach that simultaneously invested in job training and high-quality daycare. His faculty host is Lawrence Blume, Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in economics (A&S).
Erin Cikanek, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Michigan. She investigates how emotions are critical to politics in the United States. During her Klarman Fellowship, she will expand her current research into the emotional cues Americans receive from prime-time news, particularly how media impacts the acceptance of political violence. Her faculty host is Peter Enns, professor in the Department of Government (A&S) and the Brooks School of Public Policy and Robert S. Harrison Director of the Cornell Center for Social Sciences.
Hongyuan Li, a doctoral student in physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He studies interacting electrons, developing experimental tools to explore the nature of these complex, delicate interactions. With the lab of faculty co-hosts Kin Fai Mak and Jie Shan, Li will develop a new multi-energy photonic probe tool for studying interaction election in 2D van der Waals materials.
Shiqi Lin, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. She studies China as a critical site for theorizing how media cultures participate in shifting modes of globalization. Her book project examines how cultural producers have taken up literature, film and digital media to document the era since 2008 – a time when the rise of China has coincided with global economic, social and political crises. Her faculty co-hosts are Arnika Fuhrmann, professor of Asian studies (A&S), and Nick Admussen, associate professor of Asian studies (A&S).
Rebecca Liu, a doctoral candidate in English Literature at Princeton University. Her research focuses on 19th-century Chinese indentured laborers and the long-term effects of the contracts they were often forced to sign or had signed on their behalf. Her book project, “Contract Spirit,” retells the history of racial capitalism through the figure of the Asian migrant worker and the contract form, uncovering the key role both have played in contemporary social reproduction. Her faculty co-hosts are Juliana Hu Pegues, associate professor of literatures in English (A&S), and Iftikhar Dadi, the John H. Burris Professor of history of art and visual studies (A&S).
Wenbo Tang, who holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. Her research focuses on gaps that exist between artificial intelligence (AI) and neuro cognition, examining why AI, despite great progress in the past decade, still can’t approach the flexibility and adaptability of even simple brains. With faculty co-hosts Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz, the Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences and assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior (A&S), and Azahara Oliva, assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior (A&S), she is building neuro-artificial intelligence through experiments that train AI with computational principles derived from neural responses.
Romina Wainberg, a doctoral candidate in Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University. Her research addresses the still unresolved question of what “writing” is. In her book project, she argues that Latin American novelists posited innovative theories of writing in their fiction, debunking they myth of the author as an “inspired genius” and reconceiving the act of penning as a mediated, embodied, effortful and situated activity. Her faculty host is Edmundo Paz-Soldan, professor of Romance studies (A&S).
Zhihan Wang, a doctoral candidate in mathematics at Princeton University. He is interested in geometric analysis and partial differential equations, especially minimal surfaces, mean curvature flow, harmonic maps and their heat flows. During the Klarman fellowship, he will study which singularity models in various geometric variational problems are unstable and to what extent one can get improved regularity by posing genericity assumptions. His faculty host is Xin Zhou, associate professor of mathematics (A&S).
Alexandra Easley, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering at Texas A&M University. Her research is focused on the development of plastic-based metal-free batteries. During her Klarman fellowship, she will continue to investigate the structure-property relationship for synthetic redox-active macromolecules and their electronic mobility. She will work with faculty host Brett Fors, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology.
Richard Kong, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Imperial College, London. His research project works toward removing nitrates – a persistent environmental pollutant – from waterways. He aims to convert nitrate molecules into environmentally benign dinitrogen molecules using a single homogeneous catalyst. His faculty host is Kyle Lancaster, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology.
Paul Malinowski, a doctoral student in physics at the University of Washington. As a Klarman Fellow, he will use strain to precisely control the properties of atomically thin quantum materials, opening a door to new methods of manipulating quantum matter. His faculty host is Kyle Shen, the James A. Weeks professor of Physical Sciences.
Anil Menon, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Michigan. He will write a book on the political legacy of forced migration, which is on the rise globally due to climate change and conflict. He argues that forced migrants can develop a shared identity grounded in their victimization, which in turn can help mobilize their vote toward parties that champion their grievances. His faculty host is Thomas Pepinsky, the Walter F. LaFeber Professor of government.
Justine Modica, a doctoral student in history at Stanford University. Her research asks how the United States built a waged labor force to replace the traditionally unwaged labor of maternal care. It is the first scholarly study to examine the history of the child care workforce as a whole. Her faculty host is Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, associate professor of history.
Michael Poll, a conductor and guitarist who holds a doctorate in music from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Poll will use practice-based research in rhetoric to explore how instruments (as the language or mouthpiece for music) impact both the experience of music and its creation. Poll will work with Cornell ReSounds to make arrangements of historical works for newly-designed plucked instruments and to commission original compositions. His faculty host is Elizabeth Ogonek, assistant professor of music.
Zhilei Zhao, who holds a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. By studying domesticated parrots, he explores how impaired social learning, which underlies mental diagnoses such as autism and social anxiety, is implemented in the brain. His faculty host is Jesse Goldberg, associate professor of neurobiology and behavior.
Toni Alimi, a Ph.D. candidate in Religion at Princeton. His book project, “Slaves of God,” based on his dissertation, studies Augustine’s justification of slavery, explains its centrality to Augustine’s ethics and politics, and shows how this understanding of slavery continues to shape our world. As a Klarman Fellow, Alimi will continue his work on premodern conceptions of slavery and their transmission to modernity, working with faculty host Charles Brittain, the Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy.
Christian Gaetz, a Ph.D. candidate in The Department of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests center on the mathematical field of algebraic combinatorics and its connections outside of mathematics to computer science and physics, and within mathematics to algebraic geometry and representation theory. At Cornell, he will continue developing a new approach, based on the theory of Coxeter groups, to several combinatorial problems. He will work with faculty host Karola Mészáros, associate professor of mathematics.
Nancy Lin, a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the University of Chicago. Her research shows how art, urban social life, and the built environment mutually transformed one another at the turn of the 21st century by examining contemporary Chinese art practices that took place in city streets and construction sites. As a Klarman Fellow, she will examine how these art practices intersected with urban social groups such as migrant and middle-class workers. Her faculty host is Iftikhar Dadi, associate professor of the history of art and visual studies.
Richard Nally, a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Stanford University. A theoretical physicist, Nally is interested in developing new connections between string theory and arithmetic geometry, an area of math attracting renewed interest in recent years. In particular, string theory picks out certain geometric objects, called Calabi-Yau varieties, which, Nally and collaborators argue, have interesting arithmetic properties. At Cornell, Nally will continue developing connections between physics and mathematics, working with Liam McAllister, professor of physics.
Anna Shechtman, a Yale University Alumni Fellow with a Ph.D. in English literature and film & media studies (2020) from Yale. Her book project, “The Media Concept: A Genealogy,” details the history of the media concept in the United States and its appropriation and circulation among American culture industries. As a Klarman fellow, Shechtman will work on two cultural histories about the “media” and “data” concepts, respectively, working with Jeremy Braddock, associate professor of English.
Amalia Skilton, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and previously the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Skilton studies how children learn to direct others’ attention: are joint attention behaviors (directing others’ attention by combining gestures and words) learned from adults, or are they innate? At Cornell, Skilton will analyze data she collected in a Ticuna community in Peru, the first comprehensive study of joint attention development in a non-Western setting, to discover whether Ticuna children follow the same developmental path as children living in other social settings, working with Sarah Murray, associate professor of linguistics.
Matthew Zipple, a Ph.D. candidate in biology at Duke University. His research explores how social relationships and behavior influence offspring survival, focusing on primates. At Cornell, he will build and test a model which connects maternal survival and offspring fitness in shaping the evolution of long lives, not just for humans and other primates, but for all animals, working with H. Kern Reeve, professor of neurobiology and behavior, and Michael Sheehan, the Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences.
a Ph.D. candidate in American studies at Harvard University. His dissertation, “Meritocracy in America, 1930-2000,” shows how meritocracy – a society ruled by intelligence and knowledge – became the core tenet of a “New Gilded Age,” with Silicon Valley as its headquarters. He will continue his investigation of meritocracy through American history in collaboration with his faculty host, Aaron Sachs, professor of history.
- Csaba Csaki, professor of physics. Francesco Sgarlata, a Ph.D. candidate in theoretical particle physics at the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy. He does research on applications of effective field theories to particle physics, on cosmology and on black holes. Recently, it has been shown that higher-spin particles are useful probes to study the gravitational dynamics of systems of rotating black holes; Sgarlata wants to inspect this analogy further in order to validate or rule out the possible existence of new particles responsible for new forces affecting black hole dynamics. His faculty host is
- Alex Kocurek, assistant professor of philosophy. James Walsh, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. He does research in logic and analytic philosophy, and his current work concerns axiomatic theories in mathematics. He is also interested in the role of formal languages in theoretical inquiry. His faculty host is
- assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University. Her current research focuses on the governance of artificial intelligence, specifically how governments in developed countries could prepare citizens for the work of the future. Her faculty host is Sarah Kreps, professor of government. Baobao Zhang, is an
Klarman Fellows in the news
Terms of the Fellowship
- Typically, ten Klarman Fellows are appointed each year.
- Klarman Fellows may be appointed for up to three years. Annual reappointment is subject to evaluation of scholarly progress by the faculty host and the College.
- The Klarman Fellowship may not be held concurrently with any other funded fellowship or employment.
- Fellowship start date is negotiable between 1 July and 1 September.
- Candidates are usually notified of selection decisions between mid-December and mid-January. Cornell University also publishes an announcement of awardees once the cycle is complete.
- Klarman Fellows are provided an annual stipend of $75,000, plus Cornell benefits.
In addition to the annual stipend, Klarman Fellows are provided with an annual research fund of $12,000. Up to $2,000 in the first year may be used to help cover moving expenses (not including large non-household items such as automobiles, storage costs, or additional costs for more than one pick-up and/or drop-off location, or personal travel costs).
Publications, presentations, and creative works drawn from research or activities conducted during the Fellow's appointment must acknowledge, verbally and/or in writing, the support of the Klarman Fellowship.
- Limited teaching may be allowed by prior approval as part of the Fellowship, specifically if it supports the professional development of a Klarman Fellow.
- The Klarman Fellowship is a residential program based at Cornell University, and with the exception of limited absences for fieldwork, research trips, conferences, and the like, Klarman Fellows are expected to be in Ithaca during the Fellowship term.
How to Apply
- The application process opens on Monday 15 August 2022.
- All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via the Klarman Fellows portal.
- Letters of recommendation by the applicant’s Cornell faculty host and three additional references must be submitted by Friday 14 October 2022, 11:59 pm EDT. Applicants with a Cornell faculty co-host must also secure a letter of recommendation from the co-host. Applications without letters of recommendations submitted by this deadline will not advance for review (see below for details).
- The full application must be completed, submitted, and received by the final deadline of Friday 14 October 2022, 11:59 pm EDT (see below for details).
- Applicants will be required to provide biographical information, including expected (or actual) date that the PhD degree will be conferred. Note that the PhD degree must be received before beginning the Klarman Fellowship.
- Full CV in PDF format. List accepted publications (with DOI, if applicable). It is acceptable to list submitted publications in review or in revision, but do not list papers in preparation. Please list refereed publications separately from non-refereed publications, conference proceedings, etc. Do not include publication reprints.
- Description of proposed research (maximum 2 pages, single spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, PDF format). The applicant must describe their research clearly, concisely, and free of jargon so that its purpose, significance to advancing the discipline, and methodological rigor can be evaluated by faculty reviewers from diverse disciplines. In addition, the proposal must describe resources necessary to conduct the project and an informed evaluation of resource availability at Cornell.
- Full name and contact information of the Cornell faculty host. The Cornell host must be an active tenured or tenure-track Cornell faculty member whose primary appointment is in the College of Arts & Sciences and who commits to supporting the Fellow throughout their fellowship appointment.
The prospective Cornell faculty host will receive a system-generated email with instructions for uploading their letter. We strongly suggest that applicants inform their Cornell faculty host to check their spam/clutter filters if necessary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify their host’s Cornell email address and to ensure that they upload a letter of recommendation, in PDF format, by Friday 14 October 2022, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without full letters of recommendation submitted by the deadline will not be reviewed.
- Full name and contact information of three references, including the applicant’s doctoral advisor. References should be scholars who are very familiar with the applicant’s research and can speak in detail about their prior working relationship with the applicant, the importance of the proposed research, and the scholarly and professional qualities that enable the applicant to complete the proposed research successfully. References may not be relatives, either direct or through marriage/domestic partnership, of the applicant. Except in rare circumstances, one of the three references should be the applicant’s primary doctoral advisor. For questions about exceptions, please contact KlarmanFellows@cornell.edu.
- References will receive a system-generated email with instructions for uploading their letter. We strongly suggest that applicants notify their references to check their spam/clutter filters if necessary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify their references' email addresses and to ensure that they upload a letter of recommendation, in PDF format, by Friday 14 October 2022, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without full letters of recommendation will not proceed to the second round of review.
- Applicants will receive email verification when each reference submits their letter of recommendation. Note: once all letters of recommendation are submitted, the applicant must log in to the application portal and click "review and submit" by the application deadline of 14 October 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. For this reason, we strongly recommend that applicants request that their references submit letters by 13 October, one day prior to the application deadline. Applications that are not reviewed and submitted will not advance to the review stage.
- Applicants who proceed to the final stage of selection will be invited to participate in an interview via video conference with the selection committee.
- Non-US citizens are welcome to apply.
- Candidates will be notified of selection decisions from mid-December 2022 to mid-January 2023.
|15 August 2022||Application submission opens|
|14 October 2022||Applications (including all letters of reference and faculty host letter) due online|
|early December 2022||Finalists invited for interview (by video conference)|
|mid-December 2022 – mid-January 2023||Successful candidates are notified|
|1 July – 1 September 2023||Klarman Fellows will begin at Cornell|
If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact the Klarman Fellows Office at: KlarmanFellows@cornell.edu.