Imagine Fellowship

If you had $5,000 to design a learning experience for yourself anywhere in the world, what would you do?

Here are examples of how students like you have stretched their world, given this opportunity:

Mythology research in Reykjavik, Iceland. An internship with the Minnesota National Organization of Women. Master classes with professional musicians. A Performing Arts Abroad program in Ghana. National Parks and sustainable agriculture research in the western United States. Culinary training in Dublin. Ireland. Tracing the effects of Bubonic Plague on Western Europe. An internship in equine therapy in Tralee, Ireland.

An Imagine Fellowship is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Who should apply?

The Imagine Fellowship is designed for students who:

  • have specific interests and passions, especially if they fall outside the student’s intended major or are challenging to pursue in a traditional academic setting.
  • are independent and intentional enough to plan and execute an educational experience.
  • are motivated to learn beyond campus (and potentially abroad).

Application Requirements

Submit the following, either as a PDF attachment or as a shared document:

  • A 400-500 word essay on one of the following prompts:
    • How might you use the $5,000 Imagine Fellowship in a way that would enable you to serve others while pursuing an activity of particular interest to you?
    • Relate an experience you have had that demonstrates your creativity and independence.
  • A one-page résumé.
  • When submitting these documents, the files should be titled, “Last Name, First Name – Essay, ” and “Last Name, First Name – Resume,” respectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. The essay is to display your creativity, passion, and capabilities. You don’t need to include specifics like budget or timeline, either. What we want to know is that you’re interested in something and you are pursuing it.

As the fellowship is intended for you to go beyond learning in Luther’s classrooms, it cannot be used for any Luther programs.

While the Imagine Fellowship is not executed until a student’s junior or senior year, the application is only open to incoming first year students and by invitation.

No. Many students choose to travel abroad, but you have total freedom over the location you choose, whether that’s across the world or in own backyard.

Madelyn O'Brien, She/Her, '24

Madelyn’s Imagine Fellowship enabled her to pursue an internship in hippotherapy, which uses horses as a “live treatment tool”, in Ireland. At the Tralee Equestrian Center, Madeline spent four weeks assisting with horse care and pony camps, as well as leading equine therapy as a coach observed her therapeutic practices. She set up her internship through World Endeavors, which helped her secure housing and make connections, letting her focus on her goals. Madeline believes her confidence grew as she planned her trip and traveled on her own, especially after some short trips she took with her dad after arriving.

At Luther, Madelyn studies biology with a psychology minor; after graduation, she will attend Creighton University to pursue a doctorate in occupational therapy.

Madelyn’s advice to Imagine Fellowship applicants: “Don’t be afraid to change your plan. I wasn’t super-optimistic about my fellowship for a period, thinking I was stuck in something I wasn’t passionate about anymore. Once I changed my plan and talked to the right professors, I asked the right questions, my opportunities expanded, and I felt excited about my fellowship again.”

Thomas Woodford, He/Him, '23

Thomas embarked on a two-month road trip exploring sustainable agriculture in the American West. His time on the road was filled with camping, service, national parks, organic farming, and research. The free rein Thomas enjoyed on his trip allowed him to align every detail with his interests, and it gave him hands-on experience with planning and budgeting. In his words, “Spreadsheets are an absolute must!” Thomas truly believes that an Imagine Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that cannot be replicated through coursework, classes, or internships alone.

At Luther, Thomas majored in environmental studies and is now a research assistant in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Thomas’s advice to Imagine Fellowship applicants: “Reach out to former Imagine Fellows, including alumni! We are a great resources for planning and executing these unique experiences and will be there to help you at any point in your journey.”

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