For Current Fellows

Below is information about accessing your Woodrow Wilson Funds, the Fellow-Mentor relationship, and requirements & expectations for each Fellow.

Accessing Your Funds

When you are ready to begin using your funds,  you will need to submit a budget form for the intended expenses at least two weeks prior to your first expense.

If your lab will be ordering your supplies

Please have the person responsible for placing your orders contact Ami for your budget number. You are responsible for ensuring that backup for all orders is emailed to Ami at least once a month.

For expenses that you will be handling

You will need to obtain a Prepaid Bank of America card. The obtainment and use procedures are:

  1. Have your mentor sign off on your Budget Form and give it to Ami for final review.
  2. Ami will have a prepaid card issued in your name for the total amount of your signed budget. It will arrive within 7-10 days of the request. (Requests are submitted on Tuesdays and Fridays of each week.)
  3. You will register your card online as per directions you will be given with your card. This will create an online account where you (and Ami) can track all of your expenses.
  4. The amount of funds that you requested on your budget form will be transferred onto your card from your WW account.
  5. At the completion of your research, you will scan all of your receipts into one pdf and email them to Ami.
  6. Cards without regular activity are automatically deactivated. You must keep your card active by logging into your account or checking the balance at an ATM at least once a month.
  7. You will turn in your card to Ami at the completion of your project.
  8. In order to add funds to your card, create a new budget form, have your mentor sign off on it, give the form to Ami for final review and Ami will add your requested funds to your card.

You will have to reimburse the program for any unallowable charges made with the card. Your account will be monitored regularly.

Fellow-Mentor Relationship

In being chosen as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Fellows in the program have shown that they are intellectually able to meet the challenges involved in the pursuit of their own research outside of the classroom. With this comes the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with Hopkins’ greatest asset—it’s faculty. This award makes possible all sorts of exciting experiences.

Faculty Mentors work directly with Fellows to help them clarify research questions, structure their projects, and provide guidance and insight to the Fellows as they learn (and sometimes struggle with) the research process. Towards the end of the research process Mentors also assist Fellows in deciding what form their final product will take, clarifying theses, and identifying further questions. Learning through trial and error is an important aspect of the Woodrow Wilson program, and faculty Mentorship offers students a support system while Fellows are experimenting with the research process, learning from their mistakes and gaining confidence through their individual learning experiences.

When a Fellow is selected to join this elite group of researchers, they receive a monetary award in order to pursue their individual research. A completed Mentor form must be submitted to the Program Administrator before a Fellow can access his or her funds. The Fellow then creates a budget for anticipated expenses and submits it to his or her Mentor for approval, then to the Program Administrator for final review.

What is the role of a faculty Mentor?

Accessing Funds:

  • A Mentor’s work with a Woodrow Wilson Fellow involves assisting the Fellow in their learning process about budgeting their funds and involves the proper disbursement of his or her award funds
  • Students must present the details of their anticipated expenses to their Mentor for approval
  • Mentors must make sure a Fellow’s expenses are directly related to his or her independent research
  • Authorization of expenses in writing is required before payment can be arranged for
  • If there are any expenditures that the Mentor believes are not appropriate, it is the Mentor’s role to withhold approval of these expenditures. The Woodrow Wilson Program ultimately relies on the judgment of Mentors as to which expenses are justified and which are not.

Approving Projects:

Mentors have a great deal of discretion in approving or disapproving projects proposed by Woodrow Wilson Fellows. If a Mentor believes the proposed project is not worthy of support, or that the Fellow should first take classes or do background reading before embarking on the project, it is the Mentor’s role to say so. The Woodrow Wilson Program ultimately relies on the judgment of Mentors as to which projects are justified and which are not.

Advice and Counseling:

  • A Fellow’s first source of problem resolution (through the course of his or her research) is their Mentor. Mentors unable to maintain a close and open connection with the Fellow they’re advising should contact the WWP Administrator.
  • A Mentor must agree to meet with their Fellow at least once a semester
  • Maintained communication about whereabouts (both of the Mentor and Fellow) during intersession, summer, sabbaticals, and research trips is key as most Fellows concentrate on their research during Intersession and over the summer
  • A Mentor is asked to give careful guidance and support in context of Fellow’s relative inexperience as a researcher

IRB Participation:

  • If a Fellow is conducting research with human subjects, IRB approval may be required. A Mentor must serve as the Principal Investigator on the IRB application. Information about the Homewood IRB can be found at
How do I find a Mentor?

People to talk to:

  • Resource Services Librarians can recommend specific faculty members involved in your area of interest
  • Ami and Dean David: Meet with Ami or Dean David for advice on a topic or Mentor search—they know the topics others Fellows have pursued and the faculty who have served as Mentors in the past
  • Professors that you’ve taken courses with in an area related to your research interests: If any course you are taking provides possible inspiration for your research research, take advantage of your relationship with the professor and talk to him/her during office hours about your interests and how to develop them
  • The Woodrow Wilson Fellow you were paired with through the program’s Peer Mentoring
  • An older Fellow (especially one that you know has similar interests): Do not hesitate to approach an older Fellow for advice. He/she may know a great deal about your area of interest and/or about the faculty in that area

Where to go to read about professors’ reseach interests and area of expertise if you don’t know these professors through a class:

  • Read the course descriptions in the course catalogue—see if any courses specifically or generally align with your research interests and contact the professors who teach these courses
  • Faculty pages on department websites: look up the research interests of the faculty in the department(s) that interests you the most. Every department has its own web site. Much of the information on those websites can be more detailed than what you find in the Hopkins catalogue.
Contacting potential Mentors

The Office of Academic Advising has some good advice about this on their website. Contact a professor by email, asking for an informational interview about your interest. Do not write in the same casual manner that you would use when writing to a friend. Email to strangers (especially faculty) should always err on the side of formality. Use the same format and language that you would if you were writing an actual letter. Being too informal with a professor who does not know you can put off the professor before the two of you even meet. A sample letter of introduction to a potential Mentor can be found on the website.

What to do once you have a Mentor

Accessing Funds:

  1. Meet with your Mentor to discuss your planned expenses.
  1. Based on the discussion above, create a budget for your expenses. This budget could be short term (to cover plans during Spring Break), mid length (to cover plans during a full semester or the summer), or for an extended period of time (to cover plans for a full year or more). The size and coverage of the budget depend on you and your Mentor; these aspects of your budget are based on the requirements of your particular research plans.
  1. Get the budget signed by your Mentor (before you bring it to the Administrator). Add a brief description of your project, including any necessary clarification of how your expenses fit into your research plans. Approval by the Woodrow Wilson Program is dependent on this information.
  1. Turn this signed budget in to the WWP Administrator. It is very important that you leave a paper trail of your financial plans. I cannot emphasize this enough, for two reasons. One, it allows you to get to your funds even if your Mentor is on sabbatical, on vacation, or just away for a few days. Two, a paper trail is key if and when there is an audit. Your accounts can and will be audited just as easily as any other account at Hopkins.
  1. Get a journal, and use it to record your finances as well as your research notes. Get in the habit of writing down any Woodrow Wilson expense when you incur it, especially if you cannot get a receipt for it. Just as research notes written in your journal can be a very helpful reference at a later date, so too can a record of your expenses. Save your original receipts.
  1. Any purchase that costs $500 or more (not including transportation) needs particular approval by the Woodrow Wilson Program. In other words, if you are planning to purchase equipment or take a summer course somewhere, and hope to use your WW funds to pay for these, you must see the Administrator – before you finalize your budget, before you get your Mentor’s approval, and before you commit the funds to these expenses. If you fail to do this you may have to pay for the expense out of your own personal resources.

Meeting to discuss your research process:

Establish the nature of your relationship and exchanges—talk about what you anticipate needing guidance on (e.g. how to narrow your topic, how to structure the timeline of your research, what your final product might look like.) If you’re feeling lost, come up with a couple of specific questions with which to begin the conversation and write them down so you can reference them while you’re articulating why you’re struggling. Ask your Mentor for some reading suggestions so you can begin to widen your knowledge base. Discuss how frequently you’d both like to make contact. Would they prefer to meet in person or correspond through email exchanges and phone calls? This would be a good time to set up a standing schedule if that’s how the two of you decide to structure your meetings.

Can I have only one Mentor and must I keep this same Mentor throughout my three/four years in the Fellowship?

Many Fellows will work on more than one research topic before they graduate. Although they may not work on more than one project at a time, there may come a time when the Fellow changes research topics. If that happens he or she may change Mentors, and even departments. Mentors: Please be aware that this is in no way a reflection of your work with that Fellow. He or she is simply proceeding on to the next topic of research.

Requirements & Expectations

To stay in the Program and be a successful participant, you must:

  1. Have a Mentor and be engaged in a research project by April 15th of your sophomore year. If you enter the summer after sophomore year without a Mentor, you risk losing your Fellowship.
  2. Maintain a 3.0 Cumulative GPA, and maintain the minimum amount of credits each semester. If your GPA falls below a 3.0, or you do not maintain the minimum amount of credits, you forfeit access to your funds. If this happens for three semesters in a row, you will be removed form the WWP with the right to appeal.
  3. Maintain your major in an Arts & Sciences department (even if your research is not); If you are a double major, your primary major must be in the School of Arts & Sciences.
  4. Attend all meetings posted on attached calendar. You must notify the office by email in advance if you cannot make a meeting and explain your conflict.
  5. Prepare a 2-3 page essay at the start of each fall semester discussing your research activities to date (this does not pertain to New Fellows their first year in the WWP).
  6. All Fellows must meet individually at least once a semester with the Administrator. Also, all Fellows must meet with the Administrator to get budget approval before any expenses are incurred. Such “budget meetings” can be combined with the required once a semester meeting.
  7. When you have completed a research project (whether you do one or twenty), you must turn in a Final Product on your research, including at least a written synopsis and a bibliography, to the Administrator. See the Administrator for further clarification.
  8. Publicly present your research at the Senior Poster Session spring semester of your senior year.
  9. Attend every Poster Session.
  10. If for any reason you have to leave the University (take a leave of absence or transfer, for instance), you must meet with the Administrator to discuss your situation.

The Director and the Administrator of the Program reserve the right to remove a Fellow from the WWP if they judge that the Fellow has not been making satisfactory progress.

Download a PDF version of the WW Program Requirements and Expectations