Division of Biology and Medicine
Biology Undergraduate Education

Maria L. Caleel ’87 Memorial Undergraduate Biology Research Fellowship

Caleel Fellowships are funded research opportunities for undergraduates studying in Brown’s Biology Program. 

Fellowships offer awardees a competitive stipend, plus additional funds for project related expenses and opportunities. Applications are open to seniors and rising seniors in any of the Program in Biology concentrations who intend to pursue a summer research experience that will become the framework for an honors thesis. Students must be mentored by a faculty member appointed in one of the academic departments in the Program in Biology: Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology; Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry; Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Neuroscience, or Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

Maria L. Caleel graduated from Brown University in 1987. Approximately one year later, she passed tragically while studying for a career in veterinary equine medicine at the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine. She was an accomplished equestrian and was working towards becoming an equine surgeon. At that time, Maria was ranked at the top of her first-year class.

Submission Site: UFunds


$4,500 summer stipend

A research stipend will be provided - (this can be used over the course of the fellowship summer through last semester)

Department Summer Earnings Waiver (DSEW) awards for students who qualify

Fellowship Restrictions:

For 2024 - Caleel Fellowships will fund full-time commitments over at least a 10-week period during the summer between a student’s junior and senior years (Class of ‘25), or the summer prior to a December completion (Class of ‘24.5). 

These awards may not be combined with other funding from Brown, such as Voss Fellowships, SPRINT/UTRAs, Royce, LINK or Internship awards. 

Students must file an I9 with Brown HR in order to be able to receive a summer stipend.

For the 2024 application cycle, undergraduates who are currently enrolled in spring 2024 and who will be enrolled in fall 2024 semester are eligible to apply. This includes all students regardless of citizenship and current location of study. Students may not be on a leave of absence from Brown either in the semester they are applying nor in the period when they would receive the funding, and graduating seniors and graduate students are not eligible to apply. Please note that students enrolled in study abroad during the spring term can apply and should contact Michelle_Leiber@brown.edu directly if they are unable to access the application form in UFunds.


Before the start of finals week in the last semester fellows will complete an electronic survey and request for information that includes: a copy of the final thesis and thesis presentation, any additional scholarly outputs (i.e. conference presentations, publications, etc.), photos taken during the fellowship that showcase the work in progress or at presentations, a 1 page final reflection on the value of the experience, future contact information, etc). Fellows may be contacted after graduation for long term tracking to better understand the impact of the Caleel Fellowship experience.

Application Due Date: Monday, February 19, 2024 at 5pm EST

Applications submitted via UFunds must include the following:

  • A maximum two page letter written collaboratively by both the student applicant and mentor. This must be signed by both the student and mentor.
  • From the student: What are your personal and professional goals and aspirations in the short and long term and how will this opportunity help you achieve them?
  • From the student and mentor: A description of the question or hypothesis, approach / methods and potential implications of the planned research. Here we are looking for evidence that you will be prepared to make the most of the summer fellowship by having a feasible plan at the outset.
  • From the student: A description of the experiences you’ve had that you believe prepared you to conduct this work. This might include courses, paid or volunteer work, or any opportunity you feel positions you for success. It can also include experiences you will have this semester that will help to prepare you for summer and your senior thesis.
  • From the student and mentor: An agreed upon mentoring plan stating your commitment to work together in a productive and supportive mentored relationship throughout the extent of the project. Include here the length of the summer fellowship position (number of weeks) and estimated number of hours per week that you expect to work with this individual over the summer. Include how often you will meet with one another throughout the summer (i.e. weekly is recommended) and note any other individuals in the lab who might serve in a supplementary mentoring role.
  • From the student: A list of other funding sources you’ve applied for or plan to apply for in order to finance this position.
  • From the student and mentor: Anything more you want the committee to know that is relevant to your application.

2024 Caleel Recipient

Student Project Title Research Mentor
Sophie Marcus-Wade Using comparative genomics to map metacyclogenesis pathways in Trypanosoma cruzi Christopher de Graffenried

2023 Caleel Recipients

Student Project Title Research Mentor
Madeleine Florida A DNA Metabarcoding Analysis of Sloth Diets and Microbiomes in La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica Tyler Kartzinel
Neal Yin Investigation of Amphicarpy as Potential Bet-hedging Strategy in American Hog-peanut Daniel M Weinreich

2022 Caleel Recipients

Student Project Title
Talia Fernandez Understanding the Role of Acute Stress and CRF Exposure on Developing Sensory Circuits in Xenopus laevis Tadpoles
Devin Juros The Role of MEGF10 in Repair of Neuromuscular Synapses
Rebecca Ward-Diorio Indirect effects of the COVID-19 quarantine on reef fish behavior and diversity in the Galapagos Islands