Knapp Fellowship Application Process

The Knapp Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Service-Learning supports one or more projects each year, up to $10,000. Selection of Knapp Fellows is at the discretion of the Provost, who reviews recommendations made by a committee of Nashman Center staff and Nashman Affiliate Faculty.  

To be considered, students submit a written proposal for review. Finalists prepare proposal presentations and respond to questions from the review panel of faculty and staff. The Nashman Center provides coaching and support to students during the application process. Students are also encouraged to strengthen their proposals through consultation with faculty advisors and local community organizations/members.  

Awardees must work with the support and guidance of a faculty member on their research and action projects.

Once chosen, fellows work throughout the project with a faculty advisor who guides research on the issue, implementation of the proposal, ongoing reports, and assessments, and a final work of scholarship. 

Fellowship Requirements
The Knapp Fellowship program integrates scholarly work in the student’s discipline with the thoughtful design and implementation of an entrepreneurial service project. Fellowship projects are conducted over the course of an academic year (beginning in summer or fall to no later than June 30th of the following year). These projects are substantial, and rely on Fellows having prior experience working with their community partner and/or the social issue. Fellows sign a work-plan and time agreement upon acceptance of their award. In order to receive final payment, the work of scholarship must be submitted and approved. Submission of periodic reports, as well as receipts and invoices from expenses related to the project is required.

Component 1: Academic Scholarship At the time of application, applicants must have established a partnership with a faculty member who will serve as the academic advisor to the project and a community partner organization where the service-learning project will be implemented. At the completion of the Fellowship, the Fellow will submit a 3000-word (8 pages) or equivalent work of scholarship (e.g. multimedia piece, presentation, or performance) examining the issue(s) the project is designed to address and the outcomes of the project. This work of scholarship must be submitted within the duration of this project’s agreed upon timeline.

Component 2: Entrepreneurial Service Project The service project must be related to the academic work above and must implement an innovative solution to a critical problem. The academic work may, for example, be a program evaluation, an exploration of the issue, or a plan to scale up the program. Fellows will also be required to submit periodic project updates and assessment to the Nashman Center, which may be published on the Center’s website and in other media.

Apllicant and Eligibility Selection
GW undergraduate or graduate students are eligible, and must be enrolled at GW for the full academic year in which they would be a Fellow. Eligible proposals may include partnerships with non-profit or government organizations (federal, state, or local).

Selection for the Knapp Fellowship is a multi-stage process. Applicants submit an initial written proposal for review. Applicants may be selected to advance to a second round of review, which requires a 10-minute presentation of their project for a review panel. Detailed instructions for the presentation are issued upon notice that applicants are being considered for the second review.

Criteria for Selection
• Quality of proposed project (should constitute a substantial, feasible, and innovative contribution to the issue being addressed or program being enhanced)
• Evidence that the proposed project addresses a critical need or socioeconomic disparity and involves participation from relevant community partner organizations or community leaders
• Knowledge base, through study and experience, needed to address social issues or programs identified in the proposal
• Evidence of ability to oversee a large-scale project and complete a scholarly work of substance and quality


The proposal deadline is May 24th each year. Apply online!

The online application steps include:

• Enter basic information

• Proposer information: your name, GWID, contact information, year and field of study. If proposing as a team, enter one team member as your primary contact and provide the names and information of other team members in the proposal description.
• Information on the faculty member who would advise the fellowship project: name, department, and contact information.
• The name of the community partner you propose to work with.
• A project title and summary (no more than 100 words)

• Upload as a PDF, the three-part proposal description outlined below. This description should address the selection criteria above.
• Upload any additional documents, combined into a single PDF, e.g. letters of support from faculty advisor(s) or community partners, or any relevant research materials or evidence of the community need.

Successful Proposals 

The Knapp Fellowship criteria are closely tied to the core values of Community Engaged Scholarship. Briefly, this work should involve all of the following: 

  • Conducting scholarly work. The project should clearly involve academic work in the students’ field/major. Depending on one’s discipline, this could mean research, creative work, cultural analysis, or product design. 
  • Addressing a real community need. The project must have beneficial results for a local community, as well as the public benefit that arises from quality scholarship.  
  • Collaborating with the community. The local community organizations or community members who would be affected by the project should be consulted in the early stages of planning, so their knowledge and experience can inform the design of the project. 
  • Disseminating what was learned. Definitional to scholarly work is that what was learned is shared. In Community Engaged Scholarship, these findings should be shared with the local community involved in the project, as well as academic or public audiences.

The Document Proposal

PART I: Project Description (no more than 1,000 words)

Provide address the following questions/prompts (we recommend using the headings provided):

Overview: What is the project you propose? What issues will it address? What is the goal and how would you achieve it?
Community Engagement: Describe the community and community partner you will work with. What are the intended outcomes of the project for them? How have community members described the problem/need? How will they be involved in planning, decision-making, and implementation moving forward?
Significance: Why is this project important?
Innovation: How is this project an innovative, entrepreneurial approach?
Sustainability: How will the project continue beyond your one fellowship year? Alternatively, how will the outcomes of your project impact the community beyond your one fellowship year?
Scholarship: What scholarly activity will the project involve? How will the scholarly activity support, inform, or be informed by your service project?
Evaluation: How will you evaluate and report the outcomes of your project? PART II: Project Timeline Describe your estimated work plan for the year of fellowship Goal Task/Progress Measurement Estimated Deadlines PART III: Key Participants Provide short biographies of key members on your team, including yourself/yourselves, faculty advisor(s) and community partners. Biographies should address relevant education/training, previous experience, and future academic/ professional goals (approximately 100 words each).


PART II: Project Timeline

Describe your estimated work plan for the year of fellowship

Goal Task/Progress Measurement Estimated Deadlines

PART III: Key Participants

Provide short biographies of key members on your team, including yourself/yourselves, faculty advisor(s) and community partners. Biographies should address relevant education/training, previous experience, and future academic/ professional goals (approximately 100 words each).

PART IV: Budget Outline and Narrative (1-2 pages)

• Submit an itemized budget (this can be tentative), using the template below as a guide.
• Submit a budget narrative that describes how you intend to use this funding and why it is necessary for you to accomplish the goals of your project. Indicate other funding sources if any that you have secured or expect to have to complete the project.
• Please limit your funding requests to no more than $10,000.
• Funding cannot be allocated to the Fellow as a stipend/wage, but it can cover any costs the Fellow incurs in implementing the project.
• Funding may be used to assist with conducting research and an action project for an independent study course, however, the award funds cannot be applied toward tuition.


Item Amount Description


Apply for the Knapp Fellowship