Kelly Adirondack Center Summer Fellowships

The Kelly Adirondack Center (KAC) funds two eight-week summer fellowships.  The goal of the program is to support students doing scholarly work on the Adirondacks under the guidance of a faculty sponsor.  (A faculty sponsor will be provided for non-Union students.)  Preference will be given to students submitting proposals for work using collections of the Adirondack Research Library (ARL).

The ARL is located at the Kelly Adirondack Center in Niskayuna.  It is one of the largest collection of materials about the Adirondacks outside the Park. The collections are particularly strong in the areas of conservation and environmental movements of the twentieth century.  Fellows will have the unique opportunity to be among the first researchers to utilize the recently processed Paul Schaefer and the John S. Apperson collections. John S. Apperson and Paul Schaefer were two of the most influential conservationists of the twentieth century, and their voluminous papers contain material for many lines of inquiry. A selection of manuscript collections is described on the ARL’s website. Students are encouraged to browse these finding aids and visit the ARL when designing their proposals. Please contact Margie Amodeo at with questions regarding ARL holdings.

In addition to participating in the activities of the Union Summer Research Fellows as a group, the Kelly Adirondack Center Fellows will also participate in a two-day trip to the Adirondacks. KAC Fellows are expected to do most of their work at the Center at 897 St. David’s Lane, Niskayuna. Transportation to and from campus will be provided.

Student receives $3800 stipend which includes $600/8 weeks that can be put towards housing. Please read details on summer housing here.

The range of inquiry supported is broad and ideally interdisciplinary. Potential subject areas might include – but are not limited to – the history of environmental policy, management, or recreation in the region, Adirondack literature, or cartography.

Topic examples:

  • The history of conflict between businesses and environmentalists in the Adirondacks, i.e. logging and milling on Lake George, paper mills in Glens Falls, mining at Tahawas, and damming for hydroelectric power
  • Conflict over development of infrastructure supporting communities, businesses, and recreation within the Forest Preserve including how State and local interests are reflected in public policy
  • Early 20th century connections between General Electric in Schenectady and recreation in the Adirondacks including Apperson, Newkirk, and Flickenger
  • The history of the Adirondacks as a casualty of climate change and a laboratory for understanding and recovery
  • The history of the evolution in understanding the destructive and constructive roles of forest fires in the Adirondacks

Requirements and expectations:

  • Fellows will work full time for 8 weeks, beginning in June 2018. The number of hours and the daily schedule will be determined by your research advisor and the staff of the Kelly Adirondack Center.
  • Fellows will meet regularly – in person – with the faculty sponsor during the summer.
  • Fellows will give a work-in-progress presentation to the larger group of summer fellows in mid-July.
  • KAC Fellows will make a final presentation of their work at the Kelly Adirondack Center in early August.
  • The Fellows will write two short essays/op-ed pieces, in addition to a full length research paper in a format approved by the faculty sponsor. The student’s last paycheck will be withheld until the final paper is submitted.
  • The Fellows will complete the Union Summer Fellows survey about the summer research experience.
  • KAC Fellows will submit information about the project for the Undergraduate Research portion of the Union College website in the format specified by the Director of Undergraduate Research.

Selection Criteria

This is a highly competitive application process. In previous years, we have funded projects from a variety of disciplines. The selection committee will take into account the following when selecting fellowship recipients:

  • Quality of the student proposal and relevance to the Adirondack Research Library’s collections
  • Relevance of the proposed project to the student’s course of study or academic trajectory
  • Level of faculty support for the student and the project as expressed in the letter provided with the application
  • Student class (seniors, juniors, sophomores, then first-years, in order of decreasing priority)
  • Student GPA


Application Materials

Directions for Students:

  1. Find a faculty member who is willing to work with you on a summer research project (N/A for non-Union students).
  2. Read the requirements and expectations above.
  3. Prepare a resume listing: name, address, email, major, GPA, education (including relevant coursework), and other activities relevant to this application. Contact the The Career Center in Becker Hall if you need help with this.
  4. Prepare a Research Proposal of two pages or more in which you include the following information:
  • Overview, with citations, addressing how your proposed project relates to previous work of others.
  • Description of how you will carry out this research, including analysis/interpretation of your work.
  • Goals explaining what you hope to accomplish during the summer project.
    1. Submit a Summer Research Application online.
      1. Your faculty research advisor will be contacted to submit a reference.


Former KAC Fellows


David Olio (Union, 2017)

Sydney Paluch (Union, 2017)



Shannon Holly (RPI, 2014)

Andy Zou (Union, 2017)



Gabe Herrera (Skidmore, 2014)

Jordan Pulling (Union, 2015)



Laura Johnston (Bard, 2014)

Samantha Muratori (Union, 2014)

Elias Springer (Vassar, 2014)


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