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Rathbun Fellowship for Religious Encounter

Academic Year 2018-2019

Fellowship Description

The Office for Religious Life will offer up to 16 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. 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 in the second week of the quarter.
  • 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.
  • 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 multi-faith University Public Worship service at the conclusion of the academic year.
  • The fellows participate in a ritual commitment event at the start of the academic year.
  • 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.

  • Applicant Personal Information (to complete on the online application form)
  • Fellowship Application Information (to complete on the online application form)
  • Letter of Recommendation 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 by the application deadline. We are unable to review applications without a letter of recommendation.
  • Résumé (to upload on the online application form) 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.
  • Personal Statement (to upload on the online application form) The Personal Statement should explain your prior experience with religious and inter-tradition encounter, which religious and existential questions you hope to address with your peers, your interest in dialogue and 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.
  • Personal Interview (indicate availability on the online application form) Individual interviews will be scheduled.

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 Deans, Rev. Dr. Joanne Sanders and Ms. Sughra Ahmed  If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact Rathbun Program Manager, Diane Abundabar at