What Is the Purpose Of The Niemi Center's Fellowship Program?

Through The Niemi Center, paid fellowships have been created to provide undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to be involved in impactful and world-changing research. The fellowship program was designed to develop principled-leaders to drive positive change and growth in the global economy by working with the George W. Bush Institute, SMU Faculty, Centers, and Institutes.

What Does It Mean To Be A Research Fellow?

  • Receive funding to work on an impactful, “real-world” research project during the academic year (10-20 hours per week).
  • Develop research skills in organizational settings by understanding how to conduct research:  identify the problem, understand what data to collect, collect data, analyze and interpret data, and present data coherently and effectively.
  • Lead with integrity through difficult and pressure-filled challenges.
  • Meet as a group throughout the year and network with academic and business leaders.
  • Present final research to Niemi Center staff, SMU Cox Dean, SMU faculty, and Bush Institute representatives.

What Are Some Potential Research Fellowships?

The George W. Bush Institute Research Fellowships

The George W. Bush Presidential Center engages communities in the United States and around the world by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The Niemi Center works with The Bush Institute to develop student research projects in all six of their major initiatives.

  • Economic Growth - Focuses on advocating free market policies to strengthen economic integration between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in North America.
  • Education Reform - Work to increase student achievement and quality schools for every child through efforts focused on accountability, principal leadership, and middle schools’ transformation.
  • Global Health - Spotlights critical issues, brings organizations, businesses, and government agencies together, and works to make existing health systems function efficiently.
  • Human Freedom – Works with freedom advocates to provide research on networking, education, and other opportunities in order to support the spread of freedom throughout the world.
  • Military Service Initiative - Honors the service and sacrifice of post-9/11 veterans and military families by bridging the civilian-military divide and fostering a successful transition and reintegration from military service to civilian life. This includes the Invisible Wounds of War.
  • Women’s Initiative - Designed to enhance the leadership skills of women around the world with an initial focus on women in the Middle East and North Africa. The First Ladies Initiative, a subset of the Women’s Initiative, engages and supports First Ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance education, good health and economic opportunity for women and children worldwide.

SMU Research Fellowships

The Niemi Center works with SMU Faculty, Centers, and Institutes to develop impactful student research projects to advance ongoing research.

What Do Our Fellows Have To Say?

Hear from a former research fellow, Matt Berkau, about his research project with the Military Service Initiative at The Bush Institute and how it impacted his life.

Christopher Lu: Bush Institute Military Service Initiative (MSI)

Christopher Lu, Niemi FellowI have had the opportunity to take part in MSI’s wellness initiative, through which we are addressing the Invisible Wounds of War. I have been helping the MSI team to develop two documents: a fact sheet on post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and a Call to Action to foster opportunities for everyone to recognize the issues facing injured warriors, connect them to care, and deliver high quality care. Both of these were used to inform attendees and viewers of the Invictus Games Symposium on May 8, 2016.

Taking part in the Niemi Fellowship has been very interesting and challenging. I have enjoyed every day that I’ve been able to say that I get to go to work at the Bush Institute.





Meghann Bridgeman: Bush Institute Women’s Initiative

I had the opportunity to evaluate the efficacy of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program, which works to educate and empower women in the Middle East and North Africa. My work was rich and meaningful, ultimately exposing me to the many challenges that the Bush Institute faces when taking on such ambitious international work.

The fellowship culminated in a presentation of the things I had discovered in my data analysis that led to the discussion of possible tactics and solutions moving forward. It was wonderful to take part in that discussion and have exposure to the expertise of the Bush Institute staff members around the table.







What Is The Application Process?

Most fellowships start at the beginning of each semester; however, fellowship positions are posted as they come available and may start mid-semester. Typically, first year graduate students must wait until their second semester to apply for the fellowships. Undergraduates must wait until their Sophomore year to apply. You must be enrolled as a student to be eligible for the positions.

Apply Now


Please email your completed application and resume to niemicenter@smu.edu. Your information will be considered for the fellowships you are interested in and where you meet the minimum qualifications.

For further information, please contact the Niemi Center at 214-768-4125 or niemicenter@smu.edu.

**** Do NOT contact the Bush Institute directly. In order to be considered,
applications MUST be sent to the Niemi Center. ***