Fellowship Programs

Call for Second Annual Chipstone-CDMC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

This summer the Center for Design and Material Culture will again be offering an undergraduate research fellowship in collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation. The fellowships are for students studying in each of our three pillars: The Study of Textiles, Design Thinking, and Material Culture. Selected students will receive financial support of up to $2,000 to conduct independent research with a CDMC-affiliated mentor and have the opportunity to present their work in a CDMC research symposium in August.  All UW—Madison undergraduate students who study in one of the CDMC’s three pillars are eligible to apply.

To apply, please submit a document with the following information to cdmc@sohe.wisc.edu.

The deadline is Friday, April 16.

  1. Name, school, major, graduation year
  2. Your selected faculty mentor, who may be contacted as a reference
  3. A brief description (under 500 words) of the proposed research project
  4. A brief description of the outcomes or deliverables. What do you hope to accomplish?
  5. A rough budget and timeline (you may include your time, travel expenses, and research expenses)

Students will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. The feasibility of the project
  2. The project’s connection to CDMD pillars and goals
  3. The support and recommendation of the faculty mentor

Selected students will commit to regular check-ins with their mentors and CDMC staff. They will present their work in a symposium in August and may be asked to participate in summer workshop events.

Interested students should reach out to CDMC Operations Manager, Laura Sims Peck (laura.peck@wisc.edu) with any questions.

Meet our Summer 2020 Undergraduate Fellows

Circular Chinese textile

Zhaojie Zhong

Degree Pursuing: BA Art History and English
Department: Department of Art History, Department of English, College of Letters & Science
Advisor: Yuhang Li, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History

“The research for my fellowship focuses on the development and study of less explored items within the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Building off of research conducted by graduate students, I concentrate on Premodern Chinese embroidered materials, including quotidian, theatrical, and ceremonial textiles used to adorn furniture and architectural spaces, and popular apparel and accessories. By the completion of the CDMC Textile Fellowship, not only will these items obtain a richer background and be fleshed out in terms of their motifs and techniques, but they will also be made even more accessible to all.”


Noah Mapes headshot

Noah Mapes

Degree Pursuing: BA Art History, Certificate in Material Culture
Department: Department of Art History, College of Letters & Science
Advisor: Ann Smart Martin, Professor in the Department of Art History

“A Colonial Merchant: The Ledger of William Ramsay asks the question: “what can a 250-year-old merchant’s ledger tell us about consumers, their purchases, and their communities?” During my fellowship with the Center for Design and Material Culture, I will join Dr. Ann Smart Martin and her team of student researchers to continue the work completed by Dr. Martin for the exhibition American Enterprise, which opened in 2015 at the Smithsonian Museum of History. This research will explore the social, commercial, and economic influence of the Ramsay-Dixon store on colonial Alexandria, Virginia during the mid-18th century. Ramsay’s ledger, housed at the Smithsonian archives, reflects a global consumer market made tangible in the Ramsay-Dixon store. As this project enters a new phase, I will provide important research and instructions for producing customer profiles; thus, leading a human-centered approach to the study of this ledger and the objects described.”


Nadia Tahir headshot

Nadia Tahir

Degree Pursuing: BS Interior Architecture
Department: Design Studies Department, School of Human Ecology
Advisor: Michelle Kwasny, Director of Masters of Science in Design + Innovation

“My fellowship with the Center for Design and Material Culture will focus on designing an online training module for UW-Madison students to learn the basics of design thinking in a convenient, condensed, and friendly way. This will begin by reviewing the previously published online training used in other programs across the country. While other training is a good starting point for learning design thinking, some of it is highly focused on getting innovation and engineering activities started on campus, a problem UW-Madison does not face (our campus is plentiful in innovation and engineering resources). The module resulting from my project will seek to combine the best of the available design thinking resources and experiences to create a training program that is better tailored to the specific needs of our campus student community.”