*Applications are open for the 2021-2022 cycle*

Deadline: April 1, 2022

“This summer, I had the life-changing opportunity to travel to the remarkable country of Vietnam thanks to the Experiential Learning Fellowship in the Anthropology Department. I am incredibly excited to present my experiences in Vietnam for my senior capstone!”

-Tara Phuongnhi Tran

Photo of Tara Phuonghi Tran in Long An, Southern Vietnam

Above photograph: Tara Phuongnhi Tran was the recipient of a Jonathan F. Plimpton Experiential Learning Fellowship in Anthropology. Her primary research focus was to study the business of small scale rural farms in Long An, a province in Southern Vietnam. Tara studied how these small farms work economically, from free roaming cows that were pretty much domesticated, countless flocks of geese that you could see for miles, and everything in between. Through the fellowship, she was able to develop a deeper understanding of the economics of farming in rural Vietnam from a quantitative perspective, as well as truly immersing herself in the culture there, where she learned so much about the lives of the people that worked on the farms from a more qualitative lens.

ELFA 2021-2022

Experiential Learning Fellowships in Anthropology* provide Anthropology undergraduate majors with the opportunity to have a meaningful experience in another culture, with the specific goal of enhancing understanding of cultural, economic, political and social diversity. The 2021-2022 competition is open to projects that work internationally or domestically.

Award: The maximum award is $5,000. Two awards will be made in 2021-2022.

Student Eligibility: The ELFA is open to students who meet these criteria:

  • Anthropology majors
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • At least sophomore status
  • Have completed a minimum of 12 credits in anthropology, including ANTH 102 (Being Human: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology)
  • Must be able to complete the project prior to graduation

Project Eligibility: The ELFA is designed to support student projects that relate to business activities, broadly defined. Preference will be given to international projects but domestic projects are eligible. Examples of past projects supported with ELFA funds can be found here. Examples of types of projects that may be supported include:

  • Senior Capstone projects
  • Experiences or projects conducted in conjunction with Study Abroad
  • Honors projects

The following projects may not be supported by these funds:

  • Field schools
  • Conferences
  • Internship programs in Cleveland

Application Procedure:

  • Students must have an Anthropology faculty sponsor. Students are strongly encouraged to work with their faculty sponsor well in advance of the application deadline to provide sufficient time to develop the project plans.
    • If the project involves research with human subjects, students should work with their faculty sponsor to obtain approval from the CWRU Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB approval and approval from the relevant authorities in the country or local institution where you plan to do research is not required for initial application but is required before funds will be released.
  • Complete the application here. A complete application includes the following:
    • Completed cover sheet, establishing eligibility
    • An introduction in which you provide a brief background for your project, including its anthropological relevance, and a clear statement of your primary thesis/goal
    • A detailed description of your proposed methods, including a description of how you will obtain a sample
    • A detailed budget
    • One letter of recommendation describing the qualifications of the applicant and the feasibility of the proposal. This letter of recommendation will normally be written by the faculty sponsor but it may be written by anyone with appropriate expertise to evaluate the project. This letter should be submitted to: Erin Shelton at exs550@case.edu.

Application Deadline: All applications must be received by April 1, 2022.

Review Process: Applications will be reviewed by the Anthropology Department faculty. Applicants will be notified of the decision within 2 weeks of the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Terms of Awards: Students who receive an ELFA are subject to the following expectations:

  • Students working internationally must register with the CWRU Study Abroad office prior to travel
  • Acquire all necessary approvals for travel and project activities, including human subjects approval
  • Provide receipts for travel expenditures to the CWRU Department Assistant within 60 days of returning to campus
  • Submit a final report to the Department of Anthropology no later than the last day of the semester following completion of the project


COVID caveats: Planning for international work and travel is currently contingent on COVID restrictions. Please work with your faculty sponsor and the Office of Education Abroad to monitor these restrictions. 

* The Experiential Learning Fellowship in Anthropology is possible through the generous support of Mr. Jonathan Plimpton, a 1970 graduate of the Department of Anthropology of Western Reserve College.