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David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering

Xerox Engineering Research Fellows Applicants Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.s)

1. Should I be addressing more than one research program in my essay?  Should I be listing more than one choice?

You do not have to address more than one program. You can choose the one that interests you most. As for mentors, we would like for students to list more than one option because it helps with the pairing process. But, if you are already working with someone then please make that known in your essay, we consider that a ‘positive’.


2. Regarding my recommendation choices:  I may decide to apply for a research project that my professor is running, but I was also considering asking that professor for a recommendation.  Is that allowed?

Yes, we will take a recommendation from someone that you are currently working with or considering working with.


3. Once the application is handed in, what is the process for picking the fellows?  Do the professors have a say in who becomes their fellow?

Concerning the selection process: once the applications are handed in, we screen them in our office, separate them based on program and interests, and then send them to the professors in each of the respective program departments. So, if you have specifically mentioned someone that you would like to work with and they are on our list then they will have the opportunity to select you.


4. The application states that I need two letters of recommendations from ‘professors’. I have worked closely with a Post-doctorate Fellow in the lab and this person could speak strongly to my dedication in the lab, as well as, my potential to be successful as a Xerox Engineering Research Fellow (XERF). Could I replace one of my letters from a professor with a letter from this person or, possibly, offer a letter from this person in addition to the two that I will have from professors?

We ask for letters from professors because we want students to begin to reach out to faculty members. We believe that having a strong ‘network’ is important to overall success in life, even beyond the XERF program. However, if you feel that a person can write you a strong, positive letter speaking to your potential then you are welcome to include a letter from them. However, this person MUST have earned a doctorate already and at least one of your letters MUST be from a professor. You can, also, add a letter from this individual in addition to the two that you will have submitted from professors.

5. The email advertising the event states that the letters of recommendation should be ‘sealed and signed’ suggesting that the letters should be mailed but the online application states that they should emailed. Which is the correct method for submitting recommendation letters?

We apologize for the confusion. The ‘sealed and signed’ letters are a carry over from last year’s application process and, as such, is NOT the preferred method for this year. Please follow the instructions on the online application and have the letters submitted via email to Chris Grant ( Please be sure that your recommenders know to state your name clearly in the letter.

6. Is there more information about the housing that is available?

Students are housed on campus in one of the dormitories and we pay the housing fees.

7. Would it be possible to work during the summer while being a Xerox Engineering Research Fellow?

We do not allow students to be employed during the course of the summer program. We also do not allow students to take summer courses. We ask for a commitment of time that amounts to a 40-hour work week (including lab time and classes for GRE preparation).