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Frequent Asked Questions

Applicant FAQs

Are you interested in applying to be a Fellow in the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Civic Engagement? We have put together some of the most frequently asked questions about the Fellowship process and experience. We hope the answers are helpful to you.

If you have additional questions, please email the Fellowship team at PFPInclusion@umb.edu

No, you are not eligible. The age limit is a guideline provided by the US Department of State and applies to all Professional Fellows Programs. It is not negotiable.

Yes. We strongly encourage people with disabilities to apply. If you need an alternative format (e.g., Braille, electronic, large print) of the application form, please contact PFPInclusion@umb.edu

Your disability status and accommodation needs will not impact the evaluation of your application. If you are selected for this program, we will use this information to provide assistance, if needed. You do not have to disclose your disability to request an accessibility accommodation.

Yes. The Fellowship opportunity is open to all applicants with and without disabilities.

There are no specific degree requirements for this Fellowship opportunity.

No. You do not need to have an international passport when you apply. However, if you become a semi-finalist and do not have an international passport, we will encourage you to apply for an international passport at that time. We will reimburse you for passport application fees. If you become a semi-finalist, please ensure your international passport is valid for 6 months beyond the end date of your travel to the US.

The Fellowship application is a 2-step process:

  • Step 1: You need to submit an application (online is preferred) along with 2 letters of recommendation. A panel of program staff and US and African disability professionals will review and evaluate your materials.
  • Step 2: If you are selected as a semi-finalist, you will participate in a 30-minute individual interview conducted by a panel of US and African experts in disability and civic engagement.

Applicants who successfully pass the interview stage will be selected to participate in the Fellowship Program.

You must submit 2 letters of recommendation with your application.

One letter of recommendation must be from your employer (or professional colleague, if self-employed). The other letter of recommendation must be from a person whom you have interacted with professionally, such as a professional colleague or business client.

Please do not submit transcripts, resumes, or any other documents. Please only submit two letters of recommendation.

Yes. We accept handwritten letters, but they must be legible.

Yes. You can submit a letter of recommendation in a language other than English, but you must include an English translation of the letter.

No. Once you submit your application you can no longer edit it.

No. The application closed on March 31, 2022. You may apply again to a Professional Fellows Program in the future.

We evaluate English proficiency based on the quality of the application (particularly, the responses to the essay questions) and your English speaking and listening skills exhibited during the semi-finalist interview.

If you are Deaf and your primary language is American, Kenyan, Tanzanian, Ugandan, or Ethiopian Sign Language, we will provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation or cover the cost for arranging interpretation in any of the other sign languages.

A panel of program staff and professionals working in the disability field in the US and in Africa will review and score all eligible applications. We will score applications based on a set of Evaluation Criteria. Applicants with the highest scores will be selected for semi-finalist interviews.

There will be 9 to 10 Fellows per Fellowship exchange, totaling approximately 19 Fellows for the entire Fellowship Program.

The distribution of Fellows will depend on the quality of applications from each country. We aim to have all four countries equally represented among the available Fellowship slots.

Fellows will participate in one of two exchanges.

  • Fall (September 30, 2022 – November 3, 2022) plus travel time
    (Ethiopian calendar:  Meskerem 20, 2015  –  Tikimit 24, 2015, plus travel)
  • Spring (May 5, 2023 – June 8, 2023) plus travel time
    (Ethiopian calendar:   Miyaziya 27, 2015 –  Sene 1, 2015, plus travel)

Note that Fellowship start and end dates may be subject to change.

The Fellowship training will be in-person in the US, unless otherwise specified. If COVID-19 or related travel restrictions occur, we will conduct the program virtually.

The core of the program is an individual Fellowship with a university-based research and education center for disabilities or similar host organization in the US. The Fellowship will address a key policy or practice issue related to disability and civic engagement in the Fellow’s country or local community. The Fellowship training will include weekly leadership seminars, mentorship, and community service.

For more information, please refer to the Key Program Activities.

As a Fellow, you will receive funding and support for:

  • Passport application fees (if applicable)
  • Visa expenses
  • Round-trip travel between home country and the US
  • Fellowship-related travel within the US
  • Accident and health insurance for the duration of the Fellowship in the US
  • Living accommodations in the US
  • Living allowance to cover costs of meals, housing, and incidental expenses
  • Cultural allowance to spend on books and attending cultural events
  • Disability-related arrangements, if needed

We encourage applicants to propose projects that are in line with the inclusive civic engagement work they are currently doing within their organizations. This will allow Fellows to leverage resources available within this space and sustain their follow-on projects without additional funding.

Yes. The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) requires all university personnel, students, and visitors to have received two COVID-19 vaccinations and a booster vaccine (if eligible). As the implementer of the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Civic Engagement, UMass Boston requires all Professional Fellows to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the US-Fellowship Program. Vaccines have to be approved either by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO).

For more information, please refer to UMass Boston’s COVID-19 Policies.

Yes, you must be vaccinated. Vaccines must be approved either by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO). If that is not possible, please reach out to PFPInclusion@umb.edu.

If COVID-19 or related travel restrictions occur, we will conduct the program virtually.

No. The age limit is a guideline provided by the US Department of State and applies to all Professional Fellows Programs. It is not negotiable.

You must be between 25 and 40 years of age at the time of participation in the Fellowship Program. Please contact PFPInclusion@umb.edu for further guidance.

Yes. We strongly encourage people with disabilities, including individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, to apply.

Yes, PFP alumni are eligible to apply. However, we will give preference to finalists who have not participated in a PFP Program. This applies to both part participants / alumni of in-person and virtual PFP Programs.

Yes, self-employed individuals are eligible to apply.

Yes, members of clergy are eligible.

Mid-career professionals refer to individuals who have two or more years of professional experience working in the disability field or on issues related to disability inclusion.

This program targets mid-career professional individuals, not organizations.

While we do not require proof of professional experience, we hope that the letters of recommendation that applicants submit as part of their application speak to their relevant professional experience.

No, your proposed project must relate to disability and civic engagement.

Fellows are required to implement their follow-on project within six months after completing their US-based Fellowship training and returning to their respective home country.

Please send a message to PFPInclusion@umb.edu and briefly explain the issue.

Candidate interviews will be held virtually. We will provide disability-related accommodations for the interview process upon request.

Yes. We provide disability-related accommodations upon request for the application and interview process.

If you need an alternative format (e.g., Braille, electronic, large print) of the application form, please contact PFPInclusion@umb.edu.

Your disability status and accommodation needs will not impact the evaluation of your application. If you are selected for this program, we will use this information to provide assistance, if needed. You do not need to disclose your disability to request an accessibility accommodation.

If you are selected into this program, we will work with you to arrange accommodations (if needed) to support your travel to and from the US as well as during your stay in the US.

If you are selected into this program, we will work with you to arrange disability-related accommodations (if needed) to support your travel to and from the US as well as during your stay in the US.

Yes. If you are selected into this program, we will work with you to arrange disability-related accommodations (if needed) to support your travel to and from the US as well as during your stay in the US.

If you are selected into this program, we will work with you to arrange disability-related accommodations (if needed) to support your travel to and from the US as well as during your stay in the US. This includes sign language interpretation, personal care assistance, and other types of supports.

No, this Fellowship is for individuals only.

Yes. If you are selected into this program, we will assist you with applying for a J-1 Visa to travel to the US for the Fellowship Program.

The Fellowship Program does not fund Fellows’ follow-on project.

We encourage applicants to propose projects that are in line with the inclusive civic engagement work they are currently doing within their organizations. This will allow Fellows to leverage resources available within this space and sustain their follow-on projects without additional funding.

The Fellowship Program does not fund Fellows’ follow-on projects.

We encourage applicants to propose projects that are in line with the inclusive civic engagement work they are currently doing within their organizations. This will allow Fellows to leverage resources available within this space and sustain their follow-on projects without additional funding.

You do not need to be vaccinated to apply for the Fellowship. However, if you are selected into this program, you must get fully vaccinated prior to the start of the US-Fellowship Program. Vaccines must be approved either by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO).

As the implementer of the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Civic Engagement, UMass Boston requires all Fellows to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of the US-Fellowship Program. Vaccines must be approved either by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO).

For more information, please refer to UMass Boston’s COVID-19 Policies.

As of 12 January 2022, WHO has approved the following COVID-19 vaccines:

  • AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer/BionTech
  • Sinopharm
  • Sinovac
  • COVAXIN
  • Covovax
  • Nuvaxovid

Source: WHO website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/covid-19-vaccines/advice