2012 Spark Fellowships - Opportunity for emerging scholars and practitioners

2012 Spark Fellowships - Opportunity for emerging scholars and practitioners
Monday, September 17, 2012 - 12:00am


Spark fellowships provide opportunities for emerging scholars and practitioners from the Greater Pittsburgh region to apply their knowledge to regional learning challenges, thereby enhancing their skills, building the field, and benefiting the local community.

In 2012-2013, up to two fellows will be chosen to receive $15,000 ($10,000 stipend and $5,000 of project support) to research, write, and execute a research project that focuses on remixing youth participation in civic dialogue. Scholars and practitioners focused on fostering participatory youth engagement are encouraged to consider how DML and DIY technologies are transforming the ways in which youth learn, participate in, and advance relevant societal issues.

Applicants should be interested in advancing an understanding of learning, both in and out of schools. All research conducted will contribute to the mission of developing a connected learning community in the Greater Pittsburgh region.

Program Features

The Spark Fellowship Program operates as follows:

  • The fellowship will begin in fall 2012 and conclude in spring 2013.
  • The fellow will work in concert with Spark staff and members of the Kids+Creativity Network.
  • The fellow will be expected to work, predominately, in the Greater Pittsburgh region.
  • The fellow will develop research or projects devoted to the ways in which DML and DIY technologies enhance learning and creativity.
  • Research/projects will be reviewed by Spark staff, as well as other advisors and partners, to provide guidance and to ensure alignment with Spark’s mission.


The Spark Fellowship Program provides the following opportunities:

  • Focused application of research and technical skills to improve learning and creativity for children in the Greater Pittsburgh region.
  • Access to resources of the Kids+Creativity Network, including The Sprout Fund’s Spark program and its partners.
  • Organized, regularly scheduled opportunities for interaction and discussion with other allied researchers/practitioners working in academic settings, schools, and informal learning institutions.
  • Prospect of working with a team of people from Pittsburgh to prepare proposals for conferences, such as the 2013 Digital Media and Learning Conference.


The following eligibility criteria govern the Spark Fellowship Program:

  • Spark encourages applications from individuals working in diverse fields: learning researchers, educators, designers, media producers, technologists, and others.
  • Proposals from regional applicants, those from Western PA, WV, and Eastern OH universities and colleges are encouraged.
  • Applicants should demonstrate an appropriate level of educational attainment, e.g. current master’s or doctoral level work.
  • Applicants should be interested in researching the impact that learning networks, DML tools, and DIY technologies can have on education and youth participation.


Application materials are available for download.

  • Submit your application by sending all required materials via email to apply@sproutfund.org by Monday, September 17, 2012
  • Fellowship work is expected to begin in fall 2012


The following selection criteria will be used to select Spark Fellows:

  • Applicants should propose concepts for potential research projects to be undertaken during the term of the Fellowship. Actual projects to be approved for development will be determined following selection.
  • Spark staff and a panel of experts will review applications based on selection criteria, including but not limited to, the creativity, feasibility, and potential application of the proposed research concept; the extent to which development of the concept would employ new and old media/technology; a well-articulated understanding of the mission of the Kids+Creativity Network; a academic or professional track record; and the extent to which the fellowship would advance professional and personal goals.
  • Phone or Skype interviews for finalists will be held in September 2012 and will be scheduled individually with applicants.
  • Spark will select up to two fellows for 2012. All individuals will be notified of the status of their applications prior to a public announcement.

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