U of T Student Fellowship Award 2021

SofC Connects! A Call for Student Fellowship Applications 2021 

Student Academy header image
The Student Fellowship and Student Academy members collaborate and connect throughout the year in different ways to engage in original, interdisciplinary research and scholarship.



We are thrilled to announce the 2021 School of Cities Student Fellowship Award and Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy! The Student Fellowship provides a forum and unique opportunities for urban-focused interdisciplinary and collaborative learning, mentorship, research, experiential and service-based learning to students at all three campuses and across divisional boundaries.

The School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy is a community and a collective hub for urban-focused interdisciplinary and collaborative learning, critical interventions, civic engagement, engaged research and praxis.

Student Fellowships are open to current University of Toronto students with a strong interest in and passion for city-building and critical urban challenges and who are highly motivated to initiate and lead an innovative, creative and impactful project during the winter term. The duration of the fellowship is six months. 

The Student Fellowship will provide participants with the opportunity to: 

  • Connect with peers by participating in a series of virtual and in-person (when circumstances allow) Fellowship meetings, building skills and understanding in areas such as urban leadership, diversity and inclusion, organizational development, community-based research, and policy processes;
  • Contribute to SofC programming and activities and act as a mentor to one of the Student Academy’s thematic working groups;
  • Receive a stipend of $2,000 to support their pursuit of an independent project that addresses the broad theme of cities;
  • Share their project outcomes at the Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy symposium in June 2021;
  • Join an alumni network of Fellows and Student Academy members;
  • Earn University of Toronto Co-Curricular Record (CCR) (6 competencies).

Each project must include some form of public engagement and can be shared on the School of Cities website and social media channels. This includes, but is not limited to, animating a monthly student-led conversation café, community outreach, civic engagement, working on a policy brief, simulations, writing op-eds, an activation, an art installation, writing a blog, organizing a debate, a podcast etc.

Notification of decisions will be announced in February 2021. 


The program will run from January 2021 to June 2021, with meetings to be scheduled January through May 2021. Meetings will be held in-person and/or virtually at the School of Cities, St. George campus (dates and times to be confirmed).

Fellows are expected to give a public presentation at the Student Academy and Fellows symposium to share their project outcomes and deliverables.  All Student Fellows and Academy members will receive a School of Cities Recognition Award.

Fellows and academy members represent a diverse group of current U of T students, attending one of U of T’s three campuses. Students can be registered in any program of study.

The proposed project/initiative must be focused on the broad theme of cities and related critical urban challenges. 

A total of 12 undergraduate and 12 graduate students will be selected to participate as Fellows.

All applicants will be invited to join the School of Cities Academy, select one thematic academy group aligned with their interest and receive a budgetary award in support of their team project. Fellows and Academy members constitute the School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy.

Prof. Marieme Lo, Associate Director, Education

Contact: education.sofc@utoronto.ca

More information on the Student Fellowship and Academy: https://www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca/education

Q: Can my proposed project be related to current course work or independent study? 
A: Synergy with your program of study is encouraged. You have a creative license to select a self-initiated and original project.
Q: What is the time commitment involved?
A:  Attendance of bi-weekly meetings and symposium is compulsory (this will be virtually, and when conditions allow, we'll meet face to face). The time commitment for an individual project is variable depending on the type of project selected. Virtual meetings will be arranged with Fellows at Scarborough and Mississauga campuses when face to face meetings are not feasible. It’s also expected that Fellows will lend mentorship support and attend meetings of their assigned Student Academy working group. 

Q: What are the timelines for project completion?
A: The Student Fellowship program runs from January 2021 to June 2021. The Student Fellowship meetings will be scheduled between January 2021 to April 2021 on a bi-weekly basis. It is also expected that Fellows will lend mentorship support and attend meetings of their assigned Student Academy working group. Fellows are expected to participate in the Student Academy and Fellows Symposium. Date and time to be confirmed.

Q: What does the selection process look like?
A: Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee led by the Education Associate Director and comprised of representatives from the School of Cities. Successful applicants will be contacted by email before the program start date in January 2021. Fellows will also be required to submit a timeline of project deliverables with a budget within two weeks of accepting their fellowship. 

Q. What flexibility do Fellows have in using the stipend?
A: Each Fellow will be provided with a $2,000 stipend. The stipend can be used to support any costs incurred as part of initiating their proposed project/initiative and for their participation in the Fellowship.

Q. What is the Student Academy? 
A: The School of Cities Student Academy is a tri-campus interdisciplinary academic platform to foster student academic and social engagement and leadership in city-building and urban scholarship. The Student Academy is structured around ten thematic working groups that reflect critical urban challenges based on students' interests and research focus. Up to $3,000 will be allocated to each academy groups to support their projects. Attendance of bi-weekly meetings and symposium is compulsory (this will be virtually, and when conditions allow, we will meet face to face). More information, including projects initiated in 2019, can be found at www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca/education/student-academy. Check out the highlights of the 2020 School of Cities Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy Virtual Research Festival.

Q. What do existing Student Fellows and Academy members have to say about their experience?

Soukayna Remmal

“… having to pitch my project to different types of audiences pushed me to rethink the way I describe and present my work, an essential skill in policy and research.”

- Soukayna Remmal, Global Affairs

Phil Lu smiling“I’ve enjoyed my experience at the SofC. It’s a lovely community of students and faculty who care deeply about urban issues on both local and global scales."

- Phil Lu, Engineering Science, Robotics Engineering Option

Muhammad is a 4th year undergraduate student finishing up a B.S. (Hons) in Economics with double minors in Mathematics and Statistics

“I have had stimulating and fruitful conversations with excellent colleagues that shared parts of their diverse personal and intellectual histories through the ways they look at the world.”

- Muhammad Sajid, Economics, Mathematics and Statistics

Christine Balt

"Listening to other students working in different disciplines and sectors has brought much to bear on my own work. It has pushed me to think about how to make my work readable to audiences outside of my own disciplinary bubble.”

- Christine Balt, OISE

"Students need to be told they are capable of creativity, imagination and rigorous scholarship. The School has been a place for me to experiment with what that work can look like and the ways in which I can take that up across my thinking, ideas and artistic practice.”

- Atif Khan, Geography & Planning, South Asian Studies

“It’s really benefited my growth as a student, activist, and researcher and also has allowed me to greatly connect with individuals from such diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking that I would not have otherwise come across by staying within my academic field (life sciences).”

- Conroy Gomes, Neuroscience and Biology, Physiology


Mischa Young
“I very much enjoyed my experience as a Fellow at the School of Cities. Throughout the semester they facilitated opportunities to discuss and share my research ideas and offered valuable feedback along the way. The weekly meetings were something to look forward to, especially during the difficult and isolating months of the pandemic.”

- Dr. Mischa Young, Geography and Planning

Daniel Tse

"The experience reinvigorated my curiosity and instilled confidence to formulate and pursue an open-ended research project that I’m proud of!"

- Daniel Tse, Master of Engineering in Cities Engineering and Management

Q. Who may I contact with further questions?
A: Prof. Marieme Lo, Associate Director, Education 
School of Cities | education.sofc@utoronto.ca