Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

Each fellowship has a unique set of criteria that in some cases is restricted by district, grade level and subject. Applicants should review the individual requirements for each fellowship prior to applying.

Applicants must complete the full online application, including an essay that details their interest in becoming a Kenan Fellow and desire to build leadership skills through the fellowship. Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation (one required from an administrator and the other from a colleague or other professional contact).

An application is considered complete when both letters of recommendation have been received. All applications are reviewed by a selection committee between January and March. Final candidates are invited for an in-person interview to be conducted in their local area. Interviews are typically scheduled in March.

Each interview is approximately 30 minutes, and the interview team includes Kenan Fellows Program staff, Kenan Fellow alumni, and internship project mentor(s). Interviews are assessed according to a standardized rubric. Data from the interviews is used to determine the final selection for each project.

Selections are made in late April. All applicants are notified of their status by mail in May.  You can view the application and instructions here.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants must be certified to teach in public or charter schools in North Carolina. The program is open to teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels. District, subject areas and grade level requirements are unique to every fellowship.

While there are no minimum years of service requirement to be a Kenan Fellow, the applicant must demonstrate leadership or leadership potential. National Board certification is not a requirement, but it is an example of leadership. Year round teachers may apply. Some projects are more adaptable to a year round schedule.

Fellowship Benefits

The Kenan Fellows Program supports exceptional teachers through tailored professional development, mentoring and internships. Teachers who complete the program say they feel a deeper connection to their community and grow professionally as part of a statewide network of teacher leaders.

  • Receive a $5,000 stipend as part of the fellowship award, and 80 hours of professional development focusing on building leadership capacity; and instructional strategies for integrating data literacy, digital learning and project-based learning
  • Deepen content knowledge through an immersive internship in a local industry or research lab setting
  • Learn about career pathways and STEM skills needed for students to succeed in the local and state workforce
  • Collaborate and connect with other educators, business leaders, and university researchers
  • Earn a digital badge

Fellowship Requirements

  • Remain in the classroom while completing the one-year fellowship
  • Complete of 80 hours of professional development delivered at three residential institutes.
  • Complete an additional 120-hour summer internship with a mentor. This is expected to be a 40-hour per week commitment typically during June and July.
  • Develop and implement relevant educational materials and/or programs based on the internship experience.
  • Submit impact and evaluation surveys throughout the fellowship. Each evaluation survey usually requires about 10 minutes to complete.
  • Write reflections on your experience in a private online forum with other Fellows.
  • Maintain positive, collaborative and enduring relationships with a mentor.
  • Maintain positive, enduring collaborations with other Fellows.
  • Share the resources and products developed during the fellowship with colleagues at the school, district, and state level.

Summer Internship

Kenan Fellows are required to complete a three-week (or at least 120-hours) internship in a local industry or research lab setting. The internship gives them the practical knowledge and application to communicate potential STEM job opportunities, and career-building skills to their students.

A typical summer internship is three weeks, 40 hours per week. Prior to starting the internship, Kenan Fellows and their mentors will arrange a time to discuss logistics such as security, parking and any regulations specific to the mentor’s facility. During the internship, Fellows and mentors begin to see the connections between the workplace and the classroom; and collaborate on ways to transfer what they’ve learned back to the classroom.

Each fellowship is unique and develops depending on the needs and desires of the mentor and the Fellow. Fellows will be asked to maintain contact with their mentor during the school year inviting him or her to their classroom or in some cases bringing students on field trips to their work when it is feasible.

The Mentor

A mentor is a research or industry partner. Each Fellow is paired with at least one mentor who oversees the Fellow’s summer internship, offering insights to their work, experiences in research and if applicable, access to their labs and resources. Mentors provide support throughout the course of the year-long formal fellowship.

Professional Development

Professional development is delivered in a series of residential institutes. Attendance at all institutes is a program requirement. These institutes are designed to facilitate collaboration among the cohort. All of the professional development provided by the Kenan Fellows Program is included as part of the fellowship award.

The content of each institute is designed by Kenan Fellows Program staff, along with faculty of Kenan Fellows alumni. Sessions offered during the institutes is dependent upon trends in education. Recent institutes have focused on: nurturing a culture of positivity in the classroom and school community, Project Based Learning, and Social Emotional Learning strategies and tech tools to enhance the teaching practice.

Final Project

Kenan Fellows are expected to develop and implement a project/product that can be shared with others. This can be a lesson plan or unit, a community engagement plan or a teacher training session. Some products may deviate from the traditional format based on the needs of the mentor. These exceptions are noted during the interview process.

Alumni Network

After completing the formal fellowship year, teachers become part of the Kenan Fellows Network, an elite group of more than 500 educators statewide. As their leadership skills grow, Kenan Fellows lead within their content area teams, their schools, and their districts. Many become empowered to influence and lead educational innovation at state and national levels.

Fellows have the opportunity to create and maintain a professional profile on our website. Fellows are able to upload a current head shot, and share information about degrees, awards, leadership positions, and areas of expertise. Visitors to the site write moderated recommendations under the profiles.

We receive many requests from individuals, school districts and organizations who seek the expertise of the educators in our Kenan Fellows Network. This directory is a great tool to help us connect our Fellows with those opportunities. Visit to view the profiles.