The Septima Clark Oakes Faculty Fellows Award

photo of Septima Poinsette Clark, educator and organizer
Septima Poinsette Clark,
educator and organizer, 1898-1987.

The Septima Clark Oakes Faculty Fellows Award builds on the mission of Oakes College and its commitment tosocial and political change. Oakes College has always centered the intellectual and activist contributions of scholar-activists of color who have been systematically excluded from universities, and who have long-understood the political stakes of critical, community-centered teaching and research to build a more socially-just world. 

In honor of this legacy, this award is named after Septima Poinsette Clark, an educator and organizer who understood that literacy was deeply connected to political, social, and economic struggles for liberation, particularly for the Black community. Clark was born in Charleston, South Carolina and 1898 to parents who had survived plantation, and over the course of her life struggled for the rights of Black educators to teach in public schools, organized with the NAACP, and went on to become the director of workshops at the Highlander Folk School, where she where she developed the Citizenship School curriculum (SNNC Digital).

This award provides a scholarship in the amount of $1,500 to support an Oakes student who will provide research support for a community-engaged research project, under the direction of an Oakes Faculty Fellow. Oakes Faculty Fellows will receive a $500 research award for their mentorship role. While the overall vision, scope, or impact of the project should be community-engaged, the undergraduate researcher’s role may include a range of research-related and/or community-engagement activities. 

We are particularly interested in supporting projects that reflect the community-engagement and social justice missions of Oakes College and the Oakes CARA Program, and provide meaningful community-engaged research mentorship opportunities for undergraduate students. Faculty are encouraged to work with students from communities who have been systematically excluded from higher education, including students of color, first-generation students, undocumented students, among others. Students must be affiliated with Oakes College. This is an inclusive scholarship and students with or without DACA are also eligible. We also encourage faculty to utilize this award to develop and build community-engaged partnerships and projects that are in their early-stages. The college can support faculty to identify an Oakes student as their mentee/awardee. 

Three awards will be named per academic year, one per quarter. Funds can be utilized to support undergraduates for the entire academic year. All projects and research assignments should comply with campus COVID-19 health and safety policies.

Apply to Be a Faculty Mentor

  • Eligibility: Current Oakes Faculty Fellows are eligible to apply. Lecturers may be eligible to apply if the proposed project is tied to an existing community-engaged class or an existing course equivalency.
  • Deadline: Rolling. 
  • How to Apply: Fill out this google form to apply.
  • If you have any questions, email

Apply to Be a Student Mentee

  • Eligibility: All Oakes-affiliated students are eligible to apply. 
  • Deadlines: This application process is rolling. We will contact students to match mentees with faculty mentors as projects are selected.
  • Note: If you are already connected to a faculty mentor, and they have included your name in their faculty application, you do not need to apply to be a student mentee. This application is only for students who are not already connected to faculty mentors. 
  • How to Apply: Fill out this google form to be considered as a mentee
  • If you have any questions, please email