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GJE Fellowship Embraces New Chapter

von der Heydens fuel growth of program after successful first year

The Duke Global Justice and Equity Fellowship (GJE Fellows), established last year, will be renamed the von der Heyden Global Fellows, thanks to the support of Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden. The program, which provides support to doctoral students nearing dissertation completion, has proven to be a valuable resource for interdisciplinary learning and professional development.

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A married man and a woman dressed in professional attire standing next to each other
Duke Trustee Emeritus Karl von der Heyden ’62 and his wife, Mary Ellen P’87 (Photo courtesy of Duke Global Health Institute)

Representing diverse fields and world regions, the GJE Fellows, have shown the value of a cohort experience that enables collaboration across disciplines. Their inaugural conference, focusing on community-engaged research, showcased how the fellows’ work seeks to bring academic research to the wider world. 

“It was a learning curve to figure out what we could do as a cohort and how we could make an impact,” said Kerilyn Schewel, Faculty Director for the vdH Global Fellows, reflecting on the first year. “What surprised me was that we could do that as an interdisciplinary group. People came from such different backgrounds and yet we were able to really have what felt like a coherent conversation with others around questions of justice and equity.”

Elizabeth Brown, a fellow from the inaugural cohort, highlighted the program’s impact. “It was becoming part of the family at the John Hope Franklin Center and all the amazing faculty and staff. Meeting and making those connections and learning about the programs and the intellectual dialogue that was happening constantly at the center. I really valued that and felt so welcomed by everyone.”

The renaming of the program signifies a new chapter, expanding its reach and impact. “The von der Heydens are dedicated to global impact and interdisciplinary work, as seen by their commitment not only to supporting this fellowship but across all of Duke. We are thrilled to have their support as we look to the future of this fellowship and what it will allow the graduate students to accomplish in their remaining time at Duke,” said Julie Maxwell, Program Manager of the vdH Global Fellows.

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A logo reading 'Duke von Der Heyden Global Fellows' with a colorful globe sitting above the words
The new von der Heyden Global Fellows logo

The von der Heyden Global Fellows program will continue to emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration, and it promises a unique blend of global collaboration and on-campus mentorship. This will provide the incoming cohort of fellows with invaluable opportunities for growth and exposure. “Some of those conversations [with last year’s cohort] were some of the best where we were helping each other work through chapters, or think about a particular writing style, or how to just bring the dissertation to completion,” Schewel added.

Looking forward, the von der Heyden Global Fellows program promises to continue its legacy of fostering intellectual exchange, promoting innovative research and elevating global voices on Duke's campus.