UCSC Hellman Fellows

Established at UCSC in 2011, the purpose of the Hellman Fellows Program is to support substantially the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research.  The Hellman Fellows Program has been established at thirteen institutions, nine of which are campuses in the UC system.

The Hellman family has observed that junior faculty are often well-funded when first hired, but challenges arise in 2-3 years when start-up funding is exhausted and before first grants are obtained.  This program is designed to assist promising young faculty at this point in their careers.

The awards are open to support assistant professors in all fields of study at UC Santa Cruz who have shown promise of distinction. Applicants must have served at least six but no more than eleven quarters at the assistant professor rank as of the start of the fellowship award period. The fellowship award period begins on July 1 of the year in which the fellowship is awarded. 

Faculty who plan to come up for tenure in the upcoming academic year should not apply for the award. Faculty awarded the Hellman fellowship who apply for tenure during the year they hold the award are expected to relinquish the award and return all funds. 

Funding will be split roughly equally between assistant professors in the physical and life sciences and engineering, and assistant professors in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The maximum award is $50,000, although most awards are expected to be in the $10,000 to $25,000 range. Proposals should be submitted by individual faculty members.

Awards may be used for any research-related expense, such as research assistants, equipment, materials, conferences, or travel. The award may also be used to pay for up to one summer month of the Fellow’s salary and benefits. The standard award period is one year (July 1-June 30) although extensions are sometimes granted with justification as long as the candidate does not plan to initiate a tenure review during the period of the extension. 

For more information, visit the Hellman Fellows website at: www.hellmanfellows.org

2024 Recipients



Project Title

Josefina Bittar

Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language Use and Change among Paraguayan Immigrants in Spain

Vaggos Chatziafratis

Computer Sciences and Engineering

Theoretical Foundations of Contrastive Machine Learning

Bradley Colquitt

Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology

Theme and Variations: The Development and Evolution of Birdsong at the Molecular Level

Mia Gong


Documenting Linguistic Diversity: Anaphoric Variations in Transeurasian Languages

Hannah Hausman


Improving Problem-solving, Metacognition, and Mindsets Through Self-explanation

Vanessa Jonsson

Applied Mathematics

AI driven T cell immunotherapy target discovery

Rene Espinoza Kissell


School Debt Under Fiscal Surveillance

Carlos Martinez

Latin American & Latino Studies

Examining Asylum Deterrence Policies & Migrant Captivity on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Matthew Schumaker


Traditional Instruments and New Music Technology at the Korean Experimental Music Festival

Xiao Wang

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Exploring Exciton-polaritons in Two-dimensional Transition Metal Dichalcogenides using Wavefunction-based Ab Initio Methods

Arial Zucker


Price Incentives for Resource Conservation: Experimental Evidence from Groundwater Irrigation

Last modified: Apr 03, 2024