Newkirk Fellowship


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The Newkirk Fellowship is named in honor of Gordon A. Newkirk Jr., astrophysicist, creator of the HAO white-light coronagraph and a former HAO director. Newkirk's balloon observations laid the groundwork for successful spaceborne experiments by the observatory. This fellowship program has supported graduate research at HAO for decades.

The Newkirk Fellowship provides financial support for research visits to HAO allowing for 3–6 months per year in a single visit. The total supported visit length is 9 months, which can be spread out over up to three years. A visit within one year of program acceptance is mandatory and all visits to HAO must occur while the student is enrolled in a graduate program.

HAO provides financial support to Newkirk Fellows for one visit per year, including:

  • Airfare
  • Stipend of $4,000 per month

Additionally, HAO will cover travel expenses for the student's university advisor/mentor to visit HAO (one trip of up to two weeks' duration). The advisor/mentor visit is not mandatory, but is highly recommended and has to occur while the student is present at HAO. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and current travel restrictions, HAO will support virtual collaborations as needed.


The applicant must be enrolled full time in a university graduate program with a common interest in HAO research goals. Eligible candidates are not required to have already passed their comprehensive exams—Newkirk Fellowships are based on academic excellence, scientific potential, and compatibility of the student’s interests with current HAO research pursuits—HAO Science.


HAO Newkirk Fellows will work with guidance from HAO scientists and engineers on projects related to their thesis, qualifying exams, or other research projects. During this time Newkirk Fellows will have access to state-of-the-art observational and computational facilities in their thesis work. These include the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC), as well as local Unix workstations, data archives, and libraries at HAO/NCAR. HAO Newkirk Fellows are encouraged to participate in a wide range of active research ventures, including study of the Earth’s ionosphere, thermosphere, and magnetosphere, observations and simulations of coronal mass ejections, spectro-polarimetric observations and interpretation using HAO instrumentation and data inversion tools, probing solar magnetism through observations and modeling, and instrument development. For further details see HAO Science.


Applications for this program are accepted once a year. 

The application period is December 1, 2023–March 1, 2024.

A complete application will include the following items:

  1. Cover letter describing your motivation for applying and your interest in collaborating with HAO. Discuss the timeline for meeting research goals, scheduling visits to HAO, and your Ph.D. conferral.
  2. Research statement (up to 3 pages) describing your proposed research project, along with any relevant work experience that would interest the evaluation committee. It is strongly recommended, but not mandatory, that the applicant reaches out to prospective HAO research mentors before submitting their application.
  3. Curriculum vitae
  4. Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate courses. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  5. Letters of recommendation from two university faculty members or research supervisors who are familiar with the student's work must accompany the application.

To apply, the applicant should email items 1 through 4 to during the application period.

Letters of recommendation (item 5) should be sent directly from the faculty member or supervisor to and should not pass through the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant to request the letters of recommendation from referees.

Further details may be obtained by sending an e-mail to