Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Postdoctoral Career Pathways Fellowship

The American Philosophical Society's Library & Museum (APS) in Philadelphia invites applications for a two-year, residential Career Pathways Fellowship for postdoctoral scholars with expertise related to Native American and Indigenous Studies and allied fields who are interested in pursuing professional opportunities at libraries, museums, and cultural organizations. This funding opportunity is part of the Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI), supported by the Mellon Foundation. Fellows will be based at the Library & Museum’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR), which aims to promote greater collaboration among scholars, archives, and Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. 

Fellowship applications are open to scholars in any field and all periods of time, especially applicants with a demonstrated interest in Native American and Indigenous Studies and allied fields. Members of Indigenous communities and applicants who have sustained personal engagement or experience with working collaboratively with Indigenous communities (including as a member of an Indigenous community) are encouraged to apply.

Key criteria for evaluation are the caliber of the project and the articulated goals of professional training in relation to the applicant's career development. The selection committee will also take into consideration the need for the applicant to make use of collections at the APS's Library & Museum and/or other research institutions in the Philadelphia area for their project.

The purpose of this fellowship is fourfold:

  1. to advance a scholarly research project;
  2. to provide scholars with training and experiences that will diversify their professional skillset;
  3. to help expand capacity at institutions in Philadelphia with rich resources in Indigenous history, languages, and culture through mutually beneficial work with a postdoctoral scholar;
  4. to create a more vibrant community for scholars and researchers focused on Native American and Indigenous Studies and allied fields in the Philadelphia-area region.

During the first year of the fellowship, the fellow will be in-residence at the APS, where the majority of their time will be spent on their own research project. They will also gain exposure to museum and archival best practices through shadowing professional staff while also continuing with their own research. In this year, twenty percent of the fellow’s time will be devoted to training and eighty percent of their time will be devoted to their own independent research, ideally using resources at the APS and/or other regional institutions. 

During the second year of the fellowship, the fellow will be embedded in another local institution on a project that could range from processing collections, updating descriptions to make them more accessible to wider audiences, developing programming related to Native American and Indigenous studies and/or collections, or working on an exhibition. During this year eighty percent of the fellow’s time will be devoted to their project-based work at that institution, and twenty percent of their time reserved for their own research.

The fellow will also be expected to participate in the vibrant intellectual community at the Society, including monthly lunches with visiting scholars, daytime workshops and programming with other residential fellows, and evening programs with specialists in a wide range of fields.

A stipend will be awarded to the successful applicant, who will also have desk space at the American Philosophical Society. Terms of the stipend will depend upon the status and needs of the recipient, but will be in the $45-60K range depending on health insurance requirements and other factors. In addition, the Career Pathways fellow will receive $5,000 in travel funds for outside research, fieldwork, and/or travel.

[In addition, the APS's Library & Museum offers one- to three-month, short-term resident fellowships for Ph.D. candidates, holders of the Ph.D., and degreed independent scholars, within any field of study that requires using the collections of the APS’s Library & Museum. For information on the short-term fellowships visit]

Eligibility & Qualifications

  • This fellowship is open to those who are not US citizens or residents, but it does not provide visa sponsorship.
  • Applicants must have completed their doctoral degree by the beginning of the fellowship term. 
  • Scholarly or personal experience with Indigenous topics or issues.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills; experience in writing for different purposes and broad audiences.
  • Desire to work collaboratively.
  • Broad interests, along with the intellectual and conceptual tools necessary for working across disciplines and time periods, and for making creative connections.
  • Flexibility and the capacity to learn quickly.
  • Project-oriented organizational skills.


This two-year Fellowship begins September 1, 2023 and ends August 31, 2025. Compensation is $51,548 a year plus benefits, along with additional funds for research support, travel, and relocation. The Fellowship may not be held concurrently with any other fellowship or grant.

  • 24 month residential fellowship
  • $45-$60,000 annual stipend
  • $5,000 travel/research fund

Applicants will submit the following materials through Interfolio (

  • An introductory cover letter that discusses their academic interests, past work, and career goals
  • A two-page statement describing the following 
    • the specific skills and experiences the applicant hopes to gain through the fellowship and how they support their career goals
    • the contributions they will bring to the APS and the local partner institution
  • A brief prospectus of the proposed research project with special attention made to the specific collections that will be used during the fellowship term (2-3 pages)
  • A short statement, no more than one page, describing the extent of their experience working collaboratively within an Indigenous community, as a member of an Indigenous community, or how the work relates to topics in Native American and Indigenous Studies and allied fields.
  • A writing sample not to exceed 25 double-space pages,
  • C.V.,
  • Two letters of recommendation that address the following questions:
    • Does the applicant have a demonstrated interest in Native American and Indigenous Studies or allied fields?
    • Does the applicant have a demonstrated interest in or experience with working in cultural heritage institutions in contexts not directly related to their scholarly research (i.e. through collections care, cataloging, exhibition planning, programming, or other related activities)?
    • How would this fellowship advance their career goals?
  • For those working on a community-based project, a statement of support from the Indigenous community where the project is based is strongly encouraged.

Deadline March 3, 2023.