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Rathbun Fellowship for Religious Encounter

Academic Year 2019-2020

Fellowship Description

The Office for Religious Life will offer fellowships to engage students in sustained, meaningful religious encounter with one another. They must be committed to brave, empathetic and respectful exploration of difference. The fellows will be selected based on their experience and interest in religious, spiritual, and humanist traditions. It is not expected that participants be adherents, scholars or experts in a tradition; rather the fellows will be selected based on their experience and interest in engaging in dialogue concerning religious, spiritual, and humanist concerns.  This fellowship requires a full academic year commitment, and fellows must arrive on time and stay for the duration of our weekly meetings

The fellows:

  • The fellows meet once a week for six weeks/quarter throughout the academic year, beginning Wednesday, October 16.
  • The fellows attend each session on time and remain through the conclusion.
  • The fellows participate in a retreat at the beginning of the academic year. This year the retreat will be on Sunday, October 13.
  • The fellows make two external group contributions to the wider Stanford community - one in the Winter Quarter, and one in the Spring Quarter. (Past contributions have included mounting a “Sacred Stanford pilgrimage”, organizing an interfaith celebration, creating a gratitude board staged in several places around campus, moderating and participating in a multi-faith panel for Admit Weekend, staging an “Open Mic” night.) 
  • The fellows participate in a ritual commitment event in the Fall Quarter.
  • The fellows participate in a multi-faith University Public Worship service in the Spring Quarter.
  • The fellows each receive a stipend of $500 per academic year, paid in two installments, depending upon full participation in the program throughout the year.

The Rathbun Fellowship for Religious Encounter is open to Stanford undergraduate or graduate students from any academic discipline.  Students must have full-time status and be on campus for the entire academic year.  The fellowship is intended for students who demonstrate a genuine desire to explore religion and wisdom traditions in their lives and a willingness to listen to and learn from those with different backgrounds. The traditions that have been represented in the fellowship include but are not limited to:

  • Atheist/Humanist/Agnostic
  • Bahá’i
  • Buddhist
  • Roman Catholic Christian
  • Evangelical Protestant Christian
  • Liberal Protestant Christian
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Mormon
  • Muslim
  • Sikh
  • Spiritual or Religious Seeker

Application Requirements

The checklist below outlines the requirements for the online application. Please read it carefully before starting the online form and uploading your documents.
Deadline: Wednesday, October 2, 11:59 pm

The following should be completed on the online form (click below)

  1. Applicant Personal Information
  2. Fellowship Application Information
  3. Résumé:  Your résumé should provide a clear and concise outline of your education (including minors, specializations, or focus areas), work history, volunteer or public service experience, academic awards, honors, and fellowships received. It should not exceed one page and be in PDF format.
  4. Personal Statement: The Personal Statement should address:
    • Your prior experience with religious and inter-tradition encounter
    • Religious and existential questions you hope to address with your peers
    • Your interest in dialogue
    • Your experience with those different from yourself
    • Brevity and clarity are important in this section. It should be double-spaced, in 12-point font, not exceed 1500 words and be in PDF format.
  5. A Letter of Recommendation submitted by email to Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann at and Sughra Ahemd at by Wednesday, October 2 11:59 p.m.
    • A letter of recommendation should be from someone who knows you well in an academic context, a religious or spiritual context, or a work or service context (e.g. a previous internship, work, or service supervisor).  The recommender should not be a fellow student. The letter can be written on the recommender’s letterhead and should address your commitment and engagement with others, as well as your interest in religious or spiritual dialogue across difference.
    • The letter should be addressed to the “Fellowship for Religious Encounter Selection Committee.” Your recommender must submit the letter by email (scan and attach as a PDF) to the Office for Religious Life at Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann at and Sughra Ahemd at by the application deadline. We are unable to review applications without a letter of recommendation.
  6. A Personal Interview to be scheduled online

Please submit all materials online by clicking the "Click Here To Apply!" button below.

If you have questions regarding the fellowship please contact: Senior Associate Dean for Religious Life, Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann and Associate Dean Ms. Sughra Ahmed  If you have any issues with the application submission process, please contact Diane Abundabar at