Newkirk Fellowship

What Is the Newkirk Fellowship?

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 the financial and benefits support as described on the Graduate Research Fellow page. The student's progress will be reviewed on a yearly basis, with an eye to scientific achievement as well as continued academic suitability, until completion of the Ph.D. degree (usually 2-3 years).

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The student must be enrolled full time in a university graduate program having common interest with HAO research goals. Eligible candidates must have already passed their comprehensive exams. They may be but do not have to be already working at HAO as a Graduate Research Fellow.

Newkirk Fellowships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, scientific potential, and compatibility of the student’s interests with current HAO research pursuits. It is expected that the student’s research will constitute a doctoral dissertation.

How It Works

During the period of thesis work, it is expected that the student will spend at least six months per year in residence at HAO. The cooperating university must accord the HAO supervising scientist membership on the student's thesis committee (preferably as co-chair) and provide the appropriate faculty appointment, as required for this purpose.

HAO 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 the origins of the solar activity cycle through observations and modeling, and instrument development. For further details see

How To Apply

Applications for this program are accepted once a year. The next application deadline is July 1, 2018 for fellowships starting on or after October 1, 2018.

A complete application will include the following:

  • Statement (3–5 pages) from the student student describing their proposed thesis project along with any relevant work experience of which the evaluation committee should be aware.
  • Letters of recommendation from three university faculty members or research supervisors (one of whom must be the HAO scientific staff member) who are familiar with the student's work must accompany the application. Please note that it is the student's responsibility to request that the letters be sent to HAO.
  • Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate courses.


Materials listed above should be sent to:

Caitlyn Quinn
HAO Visitor Committee
High Altitude Observatory, NCAR
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000

Further details may be obtained by sending an e-mail to Caitlyn Quinn ( or Dr. Matthias Rempel (

Links to other NCAR Fellowship Programs

NCAR Advanced Study Program