Skip to main content

SciTech and Human Rights FutureGen Scholars

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition applauds the inaugural SciTech and Human Rights FutureGen Scholars, Hamza Woodson (Carroll Community College) and Margaret Sanders (University of Connecticut)! More information about Hamza and Margaret's projects will be shared in the coming months.

2021-22 FutureGen Scholars' Projects

Human Rights and Cultural Heritage in Ethiopia – Hamza Woodson

Recalling the Past to Shape the Future – Margaret Sanders

 

About the Initiative

Each year, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition invites applications from undergraduate and graduate students to become SciTech and Human Rights FutureGen Scholars. This initiative aims to support students who present a well-defined goal and innovative plan of action for addressing the intersection of SciTech and Human Rights on their campus or in their community.

FutureGen Scholars will work with a volunteer mentor (a Coalition organizational representative or individual affiliated member) who can provide guidance to help the project meet its goals and assist with the Scholar’s professional development. Up to three students will receive a $5,000 stipend to support their pursuit of the activities in their project, through the generosity of the AAAS - Andrew M. Sessler Fund for Science, Education and Human Rights and a number of individual donors, including Art Kendall and Jeffrey H. Toney.

Looking to apply for the 2022-23 cycle? Consult our list of Frequently Asked Questions and our recorded webinar on the initiative:

Read below for more information about the FutureGen Scholars initiative and how to apply.
 

What kinds of student projects is the Coalition looking for?

The Coalition seeks creative ideas from students that leverage the connections between science, technology and human rights on their campus, in their local community, or in a community in which they already have connections. Potential projects could include, for example:

  • Organizing campus events, such as panel discussions or film screenings, on addressing systemic discrimination in STEM
  • Developing an oral history project or exhibit on the stories of displaced or refugee scholars in their community
  • Forming a student group to advocate for specific policy changes to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the sciences
  • Organizing a project that helps a community apply scientific methods and/or evidence for documentation of their human rights concerns    

These are just a few general examples of the types of projects that would qualify. If you have questions, please email Theresa Harris at tharris@aaas.org.
 

How will FutureGen Scholars be selected?

Proposals will be reviewed by experts in science, technology and human rights involved in the Coalition’s activities. Based on their recommendations, the FutureGen Scholars will be selected by the Coalition’s Steering Committee.

Proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of original thought and creativity in addressing scientific and human rights challenges.
  2. Impact and feasibility. Does the project seem realistic and achievable? Has the applicant fully considered all of the factors needed for the project to succeed? Is the project likely to make a real difference?
  3. Clear human rights objectives. What are the project’s human rights goals? Is it clear how the project addresses campus and/or community needs?
  4. The effective use of science and technology to achieve the project’s goals. For example, is there a clear scientific component to the project and/or methodology that is fully explained?
  5. If the project is intended to support local communities, has the applicant identified an active leadership role for those communities in the project?
  6. The applicant’s leadership skills.  
  7. Letters of recommendation.

Financial support provided to the Scholar(s) will facilitate the activities associated with the pursuit of their defined goal.
 

Who is eligible?

FutureGen Scholars will be chosen based on a competitive application process among undergraduate and graduate students. The program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students who will be enrolled full- or part-time during the 2022-2023 academic year at an accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education in the United States, seeking an undergraduate (two- or four-year) or graduate degree. Students may be enrolled in any discipline; students enrolled in life science, physical science, social science, health, engineering, mathematics and science and technology studies programs are especially encouraged to participate.
 

How do I apply?

Applications are typically due in mid-June. A link to the application form will be shared here in the spring of 2022.

Applications must include:

  • Applicant information: Contact details and resume or CV.
  • Applicant leadership: Examples of the applicant’s leadership skills that illustrate the applicant’s ability to lead the proposed project to completion (1500 characters).
  • Project proposal: Description of the project that addresses the first five review criteria described above. The description should include the human rights concerns the project will address; how science and/or technology will be used to achieve the project goals; the expected activities and outcomes; how they will measure success; the role of affected persons or communities in the project; and the role of the academic institution in the project (5000 characters).
  • Project budget: Detailed description of all project expenses.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least one of which expresses willingness to serve as a faculty advisor for the project.

All information and documents must be submitted through the online form. If you have any technical issues with the form, please contact Theresa Harris at tharris@aaas.org.
 

Background

Since the Coalition’s launch in 2009, student participation has been a Coalition priority. Coalition meetings, projects, and other activities provide opportunities for students to engage with researchers and practitioners at the intersection of science and human rights and make connections to advance their future careers. This initiative will deepen these connections and help students build their knowledge and skills by working on a campus or community-focused project with the guidance of a volunteer mentor.

Students have a hunger to find purpose in the science they learn, to connect their academic pursuits to real-life challenges in their communities and around the world, and to find fulfillment in the application of their technical skills and knowledge to those challenges. For these reasons, the Coalition – through its meetings, activities, and competitions – has attracted sustained interest among young scientists and engaged numerous students who have furthered the mission of the network. According to many students, however, barriers exist to continued and greater engagement in the Coalition. Costs of travel to Coalition meetings can be prohibitive. In addition, students are increasingly looking for ways to take action on pressing issues in their home communities, from addressing climate change to promoting indigenous peoples’ rights to ensuring access to safe drinking water. The SciTech and Human Rights FutureGen Scholars project aims to:

  1. Help STEM students strengthen and act upon their interests in human rights during a formative time in their career development;
  2. Cultivate leaders in the scientific community who see value in connecting STEM with human rights;
  3. Facilitate engagement of students in SciTech and Human Rights activities; and
  4. Help bring knowledge and understanding of the intersections of science, technology and human rights to campuses and local communities.  

 

How is the FutureGen Scholars program supported?

The $5,000 stipends to FutureGen Scholars are made possible through the generosity of donors to the AAAS - Andrew M. Sessler Fund for Science, Education, and Human Rights. We are also grateful for the support of a number of individuals, including Art Kendall and Jeffrey H. Toney, for this initiative.
 

Timeline

The below timeline outlines the process for the 2021-22 program.

2021

May:

  • May 13: Call for proposals opens.

June:

  • June 16: Applications due.

July:

  • By July 31: FutureGen recipient(s) notified by Coaltition Secretariat.

August:

  • Connect Scholars with their volunteer mentors.

September:

  • September 1: Student projects begin. More detailed guidance documents will be provided to the FutureGen recipient(s) by this date.

October:

  • October 21-22: Recipient(s) attend the virtual Science, Technology and Human Rights Conference and share a brief progress report on their project.

2022

January:

  • By January 31: Scholars and mentors submit a brief mid-project report to the Coalition Secretariat, with an update on how the project is proceeding, any unexpected challenges encountered, and ways the Coalition could be more helpful.

April-May:

  • By May 31: Students finish their projects and submit a final report, which will include an assessment of progress toward goals, reflections on what they learned, and ways to improve the program for future Scholars. Mentors will also submit a similar report.