Newkirk Fellowship

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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 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
  • Living allowance of $2,000 per month to support meals and lodging
  • Stipend of $2,000 per month. 

Additionally, HAO will cover one trip of up to two weeks for the student's university advisor/mentor to visit HAO. The advisor/mentor visit is not mandatory, but is highly recommended and has to occur while the student is present at HAO. 


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

How It Works

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

How To Apply

Applications for this program are accepted once a year. Applications for fellowships starting in 2020 will be accepted between December 3, 2019 and February 14, 2020.

A complete application will include the following:

  1. Research statement (up to 3 pages) from the student describing their proposed research project along with any relevant work experience of which the evaluation committee should be aware of. It is strongly recommended, but not mandatory, that the students reach out to prospective HAO research mentors prior to submitting their application. The research statement should include a section discussing the timeline for meeting research goals, scheduling visits to HAO, and Ph.D. conferral.
  2. Curriculum vita
  3. Letters of recommendation from two university faculty members or research supervisors who are familiar with the student's work must accompany the application. Please note it is the applicant's responsibility to coordinate with referees to request that the letters be sent to HAO. Referees should email letters of recommendation directly to with the subject line "2020 Newkirk Fellowship letter of recommendation for [Last name, First name]". The letters should not pass through the applicant and they will be received by HAO separately from the other parts of the application.
  4. Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate courses. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

Materials listed above should be sent by e-mail to:
Caitlyn Quinn Erdesz
HAO Visitor Committee
High Altitude Observatory, NCAR

Links to other NCAR Fellowship Programs

NCAR Advanced Study Program