Klarman Fellowships

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.

"The Klarman Postdoctoral Fellowships program is exceeding our hopes, sparking collaborative research and advancing Cornell as a center for inquiry by leading scholars and scientists into issues that matter most in today’s world."

-Martha E. Pollack, Cornell University President

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.

Eligibility

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 sponsorship form 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 sponsor 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 2025 recipients, no earlier than 1 May 2023). 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.

Current Fellows

2024 Cohort:

Lili Alderson

Lili Alderson, a doctoral candidate in physics at the University of Bristol. She studies exo-Neptunes – Neptune-sized planets outside of our Solar System. As a Klarman Fellow, Alderson will undertake uniform analysis and modeling of exo-Neptune atmospheres to search for trends across the population. Her research will provide important insights into the processes and compositions at play within a variety of Neptunian atmospheres, forming the first step in interpreting the exo-Neptunes as a class of planets in their own right. Alderson’s faculty host is Nikole Lewis, associate professor of astronomy (A&S).

Lillian Datchev

Lillian Datchev, a doctoral candidate in history at Princeton University. Her research investigates how merchants shaped the intellectual culture of premodern Europe. During her Klarman Fellowship, she will work on her book project, “The Origins of Archaeology,” which reveals how late medieval Italian merchant culture gave rise to early modern antiquarian scholarship. She will work with faculty host Benjamin Anderson, associate professor of history of art and visual studies (A&S) and co-host Eric Rebillard, the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities (A&S).

Katharine Lindquist

Katharine Lindquist, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Emory University. Her book project investigates the political subjectivities of young, middle-class professionals in urban Uganda and their role in the recent wave of social justice movements in the country, based on 24 months of ethnographic research in the capital, Kampala. She will work with faculty host Saida Hodžić, associate professor of anthropology (A&S), on a broader critique of westernized ideals of “progressive” social justice movements through an ethnographic analysis of the experience of Ugandan activists.

Davide Napoli

Davide Napoli, a doctoral candidate in classics at Harvard University. His book project offers a new literary history of classical Greece and a political theory of democratic polarization, which demonstrates that ancient Greek polarization largely avoided the divisive extremes affecting many contemporary polities and provided instead a generative framework for intellectual innovation. His faculty host is Jill Frank, the President White Professor of History and Political Science (A&S).

Nicholas Nelsen

Nicholas Nelsen, a doctoral candidate in applied mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. He researches scientific machine learning (SciML), the application of machine learning to high-dimensional scientific data and physical systems. As a Klarman Fellow, Nelsen will work on a mathematical and statistical theory for SciML. This improved theoretical understanding will lead to new, reliable and highly accurate SciML methods and has potential to scale up quantum chemical calculations and improve numerical weather prediction, among other applications. His faculty co-hosts are Alex Townsend, associate professor of mathematics (A&S), and Yunan Yang, the Goenka Family Assistant Professor in Mathematics (A&S).

Inbal Ravreby

Inbal Ravreby, a doctoral candidate in brain sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Ravreby focuses on social cognitive neuroscience at the behavioral, physiological and neural levels. As a Klarman Fellow, Ravreby will examine subconscious self-other comparisons that are linked to self-other blurring. Within this line of research, she will examine whether people subconsciously compare between the specific typical dynamics of their own facial expressions and others’ facial expressions, and in turn, the similarity influences the degree of liking, familiarity, emotional understanding and memory performance. Her faculty hosts are Vivian Zayas, professor of psychology (A&S) and Adam Anderson, professor of psychology in the College of Human Ecology.

Victor Souza

Victor Souza, a doctoral candidate in pure mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He studies the phenomena of synchronization from the mathematical point of view with the goal of providing rigorous and informed descriptions of the conditions under which spontaneous synchronization occur. As a Klarman Fellow, he will extend previous research on networks of oscillators to realistic scenarios, such as power grids, the internet and social networks. Souza’s faculty host is Steven Strogatz, the Susan and Baron Winokur Distinguished Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Mathematics (A&S), and his co-host is Martin Kassabov, professor of mathematics (A&S).

Eraldo Souza dos Santos,

Eraldo Souza dos Santos, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Panthéon-Sorbonne. A historian of political thought, Souza dos Santos researches how political concepts have come to shape political discourse and political practice, and how political actors have come to contest the meaning of these concepts in turn. During the Klarman fellowship, he will prepare his first book for publication, tentatively titled “Civil Disobedience: A Global American History,” and start research for a new project on the racial underpinnings of contemporary discourses of global populisms and the threats to liberal democracy. His faculty host is Alexander Livingston, associate professor of government (A&S).

Fatima-Ezzahrae Touilila

Fatima-Ezzahrae Touilila, a doctoral candidate in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African studies at Columbia University. Her book project, “Colonizing Islam: Imaginaries of Religion, Race, and Sovereignty in French North Africa,” examines what it meant for France to attempt to rule as a Muslim power in North Africa from the 1900s to the 1920s. Her project centers marginalized North African voices at the core of discourses on colonial subjecthood, race and Islamic belonging. Her faculty host is Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik, assistant professor of history (A&S).

Olga Verlato

Olga Verlato, a doctoral candidate at New York University. Her research offers a new framework to understand how the dominant political-linguistic configuration of our world today – the monolingual nation state – came to be. Focusing on modern Egypt in its wider Mediterranean context and examining sources in multiple languages (Arabic, Italian, French, English and Ottoman-Turkish), Verlato shows that the institutionalization of monolingualism in the modern period was the product of struggles and debates over a plurality of tongues. Her faculty host is Ziad Fahmy, professor of Near Eastern Studies (A&S), and her co-host is Deborah Starr, professor of Near Eastern Studies (A&S).

2023 Cohort:

Jacob Anbinder

Jacob Anbinder (PhD Harvard University) 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. His faculty host is Lawrence Glickman, the Stephen and Evalyn Milman Professor in American Studies (A&S).

Neil Cholli

Neil Cholli (PhD University of Chicago) looks into the mechanisms of 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

Erin Cikanek (PhD University of Michigan) 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

Hongyuan Li (PhD UC Berkeley) 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

Shiqi Lin (PhD UC Irvine) 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).

Wenbo Tang

Wenbo Tang (PhD Brandeis University) 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

Romina Wainberg (PhD Stanford University) 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

Zhihan Wang (PhD Princeton University) 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).

2022 Cohort:

Alexandra Easley

 

Alexandra Easley (PhD Texas A&M University) focuses 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

 

Richard Kong (PhD Imperial College, London) 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 Malinowksi

 

Paul Malinowski (PhD University of Washington) uses 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.

Justine Modica

 

Justine Modica (PhD Stanford University) 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.

 

Zhilei Zhao

 

Zhilei Zhao (PhD Princeton University) explores how impaired social learning, which underlies mental diagnoses such as autism and social anxiety, is implemented in the brain by studying domesticated parrots. His faculty host is Jesse Goldberg, associate professor of neurobiology and behavior.

2021 Cohort:

Toni Alimi

Toni Alimi (PhD Princeton University.) 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

Christian Gaetz (PhD 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

Nancy Lin (PhD 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

Richard Nally (PhD 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

Anna Shechtman (PhD Yale University.) 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

Amalia Skilton (PhD UC Berkeley) a former postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and 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

Matthew Zipple (PhD 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.

Klarman Fellows in the news

Person sitting at a desk with books in the background and graphs on a computer screen
Chris Kitchen By studying prime time news programming and peoples’ reactions to it, Erin Cikanek is finding that Americans gather different emotional information from partisan news programs than they do from traditional outlets.
Person helps a small child knead bread dough
Christian Bowen/ Unsplash

Mothers live longer as child mortality declines

Neurobiology and Behavior
Cornell Chronicle
Wenbo Tang
Chris Kitchen Wenbo Tang studies memory to help develop therapies for memory-related diseases, and also to improve AI systems
Shiqi Lin
Chris Kitchen Shiqi Lin next to a poster in her office depicting 25 years of covers from the Chinese culture magazine Neweekly, which reflect China's social changes during the past quarter century.

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 $80,000, 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

  1. The application portal for the next cycle will open in mid-August 2024.
  2. All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via the Klarman Fellows portal.
  3. Three letters of recommendation and a Cornell faculty host sponsorship form must be submitted by Friday 11 October 2024, 11:59 pm EDT. Applicants with a Cornell faculty co-host must also secure a sponsorship form from the co-host. Applications without these materials submitted by this deadline will not advance for review (see below for details).
  4. The full application must be completed, submitted, and received by the final deadline of Friday 11 October 2024, 11:59 pm EDT.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The prospective Cornell faculty host will receive a system-generated email with instructions for submitting their sponsorship form. 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 complete the sponsorship form by Friday 11 October 2024, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without a Cornell faculty host sponsorship form submitted by the deadline will not be reviewed.

  10. 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. Prospective Cornell faculty hosts or co-hosts should not be one of the three references. 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.
  11. 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 11 October 2024, 11:59 pm EDT. Applications without three letters of recommendation will not be reviewed.
  12. Applicants will receive email verification when each reference submits their letter of recommendation. Note: once all materials are submitted, the applicant must log in to the application portal and click "review and submit" by the application deadline of 11 October 2024 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. For this reason, we strongly recommend that applicants request that their references submit letters one day prior to the application deadline. Applications that are not reviewed and submitted will not advance.
  13. Applicants who proceed to the final stage of selection will be invited to participate in an interview via video conference with the selection committee.
  14. Non-US citizens are welcome to apply.
  15. Candidates will be notified of selection decisions from mid-December 2024 to mid-January 2025.

Process Timetable

mid-August 2024 Application submission opens
11 October 2024 Applications (including all letters of reference and faculty sponsorship form) due online
early December 2024 Finalists invited for interview (by video conference)
mid-December 2024 – mid-January 2025 Successful candidates are notified
1 July – 1 September 2025 Klarman Fellows will begin at Cornell

Contacts

If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact the Klarman Fellows Office at: KlarmanFellows@cornell.edu.