Research Fellowships

Jerry O'Neal research fellow Andrew Spencer stands by river holding monitoring equipment.
Jerry O'Neal National Park Service fellow Andrew Spencer monitors stream water quality in the Clark Fork River at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.

NPS/Jason Smith

Glacier National Park Conservancy—Jerry O'Neal Research Fellowship

2024 Call— Applications due March 26, 2024

Applications are now being accepted for Glacier National Park Conservancy – Jerry O'Neal Research Fellowship. Applicants may request up to $7,500 to support student research projects. Thanks to generous support from donors to the Glacier National Park Conservancy, the Jerry O'Neal NPS Student Fellowship has merged to become the Glacier National Park Conservancy – Jerry O'Neal Research Fellowship.

Eligibility: Graduate students (a student who has been accepted into, but not yet started their grad program may apply only if a support letter from a faculty advisor is provided stating that the student has been accepted into a graduate program under their supervision) or superior upper division undergraduate students (3.5 GPA or above) in fields applicable to understanding and management of Glacier National Park. The fellowship is available to students at universities in the CESU Network.

A man stands in front of a river

The fellowship was originally established in memoriam of Jerry O’Neal, a scientist, poet, and writer. He had a deep love of nature and was an outspoken proponent for the need to have sound science to support resource management decisions. Jerry began his nearly 30 years of public service as an entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service and was the regional toxicologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Atlanta. He joined the National Park Service in 1998 as chief of science and resources management at Mammoth Cave National Park and later served as chief of the resource management program for 64 parks in the Southeast. He served as Glacier National Park’s deputy superintendent from 2002-2004 where he was actively engaged in a range of environmental management projects and was a key park official during the wildfires of 2003.

Jerry grew up in a poor family from the south and was the first in his family to attend college. Education cultivated his commitment to preserving the natural world. In keeping with his model of learning as a way of improving one’s life situation and fostering environmental stewardship, the fellowship aims to provide educational assistance for students seeking to understand natural and cultural resource issues and how these intersect with human values.

Special consideration will be given to proposals that address the following:

1) natural resource issues such as aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology, fire ecology, invasive plants, and climate change
2) cultural resource issues, such as history and architectural studies, cultural landscape reports, ethnographic research and archeology
3) social science that informs resource management about a natural or cultural topic and/or that addresses visitor impacts to park resources

Application Procedure

Applications for 2024 must be submitted electronically by March 26, 2024

All applications must include:

• 2-page resume (with current contact information; name of principal investigator/faculty advisor, program, and institution)

• Copies of all college transcripts

• Project proposal (15 pp. maximum) including statement of need; objectives; study area; methods and relevant literature summary; proposed timeline; relevance to resource conservation in one of the three eligible parks; and anticipated research and educational product(s) (e.g., thesis, publication(s), report to park, presentation to park managers, CD, public lecture)

• Project budget including salary; equipment; supplies; travel; laboratory analyses; and any other budget categories. Include written justification for each budget item and state any other funding sources or matching funds available, if any

• List of cited references

• Additional support requested from park (s), if any (e.g., housing and dates needed, transportation, assistance with equipment or park access)

• Statement(s) of support (email messages ok) from appropriate park personnel addressing the relevance of the research to park management

Applications will be judged on the relevance, technical soundness, and feasibility of the proposed study; qualifications of the student; and clarity and completeness of the application. Proposals may cover a one-time survey or project or a clearly defined portion of an existing research project. Projects may be completed in one or more field season(s). Studies may occur in one or more of the parks’ ecosystems and adjoining lands. Projects must comply with appropriate agency regulations and permits (separately administered from this fellowship). One or more Fellowships in amounts up to $7,500 will be awarded in 2024 subject to funding availability. Students may not receive a second award in a subsequent year for the same project. Students are expected to provide a final project report and copies of any publications as a result of the research. In addition, they will prepare a selection of project photos and a one-page, illustrated project summary, suitable for the general public and an additional educational product to facilitate information transfer beyond the scientific audience (e.g. a presentation to site managers, a public seminar, CD, or non-technical article).

Send application electronically to: In subject line, please include GNPC-O’Neal Research Fellowship along with your last name.

For more information contact:
Lisa Gerloff, Executive Coordinator, RM-CESU,
Tara Carolin, Director, Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center, Glacier National Park, 406-888-7863,

Last updated: February 27, 2024