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Details & FAQs

How do I apply to the Learning Science Exchange fellows program?

The online application is available here

When are applications due for the Learning Science Exchange fellows program?

The application portal will close on February 15, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.  

When does the fellowship start and end?

This is a two-year fellowship. It starts in July 2018 and ends in June 2020.

What attributes are you are looking for in fellows applicants?

LSX Fellows candidates should be experienced enough in their own fields to understand the value of seeking out new opportunities for collaboration and communication of ideas in different sectors.  We are seeking candidates who are well positioned to bring new insights back to their respective fields while also helping to advance interdisciplinary approaches to communicating and applying the science of early learning.  

What are the benefits of becoming an LSX Fellow?

LSX Fellows will have the unique opportunity to learn from deep discussions with each other and with experts in a cross-section of fields while simultaneously exploring exciting issues at the intersections of science, journalism, entertainment, and policy. Over two years, fellows will work on projects that elevate the insights of the learning sciences for new audiences, meet face to face in at least three two-day meetings and conduct one customized site visit. The intent is to learn from other experts, share important lessons with each other about how to communicate with the public, and advance a project related to early childhood development; the fellowship will augment and strengthen those projects with the infusion of ideas from talented people in other sectors. Each fellow will receive a $5000 stipend and all travel costs covered for the retreats and workshops, two of which are international.

Are there any deliverables that fellows must complete?

Yes. Over the course of the two-year program, LSX fellows will be responsible for 1) writing a blog post to be featured on the Jacobs Foundation website, New America’s EdCentral blog, and the International Congress of Infant Studies website,  and 2) presenting a polished LSX talk at the culmination of the fellowship in the summer of 2020. These talks (modified TED Talks) will be part of an LSX Conference that is livestreamed internationally and features top speakers on the issues that the fellows have identified. Finally, 3) the LSX fellows in teams will create an op-ed for a major news outlet about the topic they have studied, crediting the LSX Fellowship.

Is there an age requirement?

No. Because we are seeking applicants who have already had some experience in their respective fields and are eager to explore intersections with other fields, we expect that we will primarily attract applicants who are in the middle of their careers. However, less experienced persons are also encouraged to apply if they feel comfortable enough  to bring new insights back to their respective fields while also helping to advance interdisciplinary approaches to communicating and applying the science of learning.  .

Is this a full-time fellowship?

No. The expectation is that fellows will continue in their current jobs throughout the fellowship time period. The time commitment includes four face-to-face meetings from 2018 to 2020 as well as phone and online meetings, and regular email engagement.

Can applicants from outside the US apply?

Yes. We are accepting and encouraging applicants from North America and Europe. 

What travel is required?

In addition to trips to at least three, two-day meetings, fellows will be funded for one “site visit” to a location that will expose them to the work environment in an area outside their specialization. On their applications, fellows will identify what types of activities they desire to observe, and the organizers and board members will work to identify sites and facilitate these visits. (Potential visits include developmental psychology labs, policymakers’ offices, family health centers, sets of family television shows, etc.)  

Why are you requesting applications from different sectors?

To date, members of these sectors—learning science, journalism, policy, and entertainment—are working on projects with significant implications for the way societies and policymakers support families, children (ages 0-5), and the act of learning. They are either studying, reporting on, creating narratives around, or making policies with the intent to support human development.  Yet, each sector is so isolated from the next. The scientist rarely speaks in terms that are clearly understood by the policy maker, storyteller, or the journalist. The journalist does not take time to understand the context of the science and rarely asks the policy maker about issues relevant to young children. The storyteller (tv script writer, game designer, or other professional in entertainment) works from outdated assumptions or sees the learning sciences as dry or impenetrable, a black box not worth opening up.  As such the influx of information coming from learning science is ripe for misinterpretation or dismissal.  A mutually enriching, reciprocal exchange is sorely needed. It will allow us to create a shared culture about the early years, thereby making the dissemination of information easier as well as more accurate.

What are some examples of what can come from this type of exchange of information and ideas?

Several examples illustrate the power of such an exchange.  In the entertainment industry, there are a few examples already of tv script writers embedding child development information in shows that enjoy enormous reach. In the popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black, for example, writers incorporated a short segment about how important it is to talk to children when one of the fathers came to visit a mother in jail. Through LSX, people who work on movies, television shows, video games, or software would have an opportunity to talk with the scientists conducting the primary research in “hot topic” areas like STEM, language learning, brain science, literacy or the impact of preschool – to name a few.  In turn, scientists would benefit by hearing the questions asked by writers while gaining a better understanding how to weave research into a compelling, evidence-based story.

Similarly, those working in the policy domain are increasingly seeking closer alignment with research.  As policymakers debate the critical role of universal preschool, for example, they might visit laboratories of distinguished scientists who are unveiling important data about early interventions that show real impact. In turn, the scientists would learn much from a better understanding of how policy decisions are made and the degree of evidence that policy leaders find compelling and actionable.

Finally, journalists can learn how to temper claims made from a single study and to understand more about how research with young children is conducted. Scientists can learn from journalists how to better present their findings in digestible ways to appeal to an interested public.

What do you mean when you say, describe a “project under development”?

A project under development is a research study, journalistic story, policy recommendation, or entertainment product that features early childhood development. This is a project that you are already developing in your day-to-day work and that could benefit from ideas and lessons learned from cross-sector colleagues.

You say that three of the 12 fellows will come from the world of early education policy. To whom exactly does that refer?

This includes any education policy professionals who have a desire to improve the systems of education in their localities, states, or at the national level. These might be policymakers (elected officials, state department heads), policy analysts, or leaders in organizations that intend to influence policy in early learning and education.