Julius B. Richmond Fellowships

Julius_Richmond.JPGAmong the core goals of the Center on the Developing Child is the creation of a new generation of leaders who are prepared to think differently, work differently, and drive innovation in research, policy, and practice to improve the well-being of vulnerable children. Each year, the Julius B. Richmond Fellowship program brings to the Center a small cohort of doctoral students from across the university to foster their interdisciplinary thinking, build skills in communication and knowledge translation for the non-scientific public, and be part of a community driven by the belief in the power of science—both biological and social—to catalyze fresh thinking about what can be done to reduce disparities in child health and development.

Including the awardees for the 2015–16 academic year, a total of 34 fellows have been named since the program’s inaugural year in 2007–08.


Photo of Julius Richmond: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office

About the Fellowship & Application Requirements

This one-year fellowship provides students with a $10,000 stipend in support of independent research that aligns with the mission of the Center. Award decisions are made in March, and the fellowship begins in September. All Harvard University doctoral students from the biological and social sciences as well as the professional schools are eligible to apply.

During the fellowship, students create a work plan for the year, attend thematic and skill-building workshops, deliver a seminar presentation, and attend Center-sponsored events. Each Richmond Fellow is asked to identify a faculty mentor, whose responsibilities include providing input on the fellowship year work plan, attending the fellow's seminar, and helping to identify an interdisciplinary group of faculty from across the University to provide feedback at the fellow’s seminar presentation that augments the mentor's expertise. In addition, fellows are asked to participate in a set of interdisciplinary conversations related to a current challenge or controversy in the field. There is an expectation that significant progress will be made on the Fellow's research during the year; specific benchmarks will be determined individually with input from the faculty mentor.

Candidates should have excellent academic records and defined research interests related to child health, learning, and behavior. Priority will be given to candidates whose work aligns with the Center's mission, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and offers promising new thinking as to what could be done differently in policy and practice to support the healthy development of children and their families.

Applications for the 2015–16 academic year are now closed.

Frequently Asked Questions >>

2014–2015 Fellows

The following five students are recipients of Richmond Fellowships for the 2014–15 academic year:


Busso.jpegDaniel Busso is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Busso’s research explores how childhood adversity disrupts cognitive, emotional, and neurobiological development, increasing the risk for mental disorders in later life. He is a former secondary school teacher and has worked as an educational consultant in the U.S. and Uganda. Busso holds a B.Sc. in psychology from the University of Bath, an M.Sc. in cognitive and decision sciences from University College London, and an Ed.M. in human development and psychology from Harvard University. His mentor is Center-affiliated faculty member Margaret Sheridan, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and research associate, Department of Developmental Medicine, Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Photo credit: Harvard Graduate School of Education


Feller_Profile_Pic.JPGAvi Feller is a doctoral student studying statistics in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Feller’s research focuses on the intersection of statistics and public policy, especially on methods for answering policy-relevant questions when an ideal randomized evaluation is not available. Currently, he is applying these approaches to better understand the impact of Head Start and other early childhood interventions. Prior to his doctoral studies, Feller served as a special assistant to the White House Office of Management and Budget directors Peter Orszag and, subsequently, Jacob Lew and was a research associate at the non-profit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Feller received an M.S. in applied statistics as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and a B.A. in political science and applied mathematics from Yale University. His mentor is Donald Rubin, the John L. Loeb Professor of Statistics in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.


Gomez3.gifCelia J. Gomez is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Gomez’s project explores how changes in maternal education are related to early childhood development. Her research interests include human development, early childhood care and education, and the general well-being of families with young children. She is particularly interested in studying how interventions and public policy can support and empower children and families from low-income, minority, and under-served populations. Gomez has held a number of graduate research assistantships and teaching positions in both early childhood and higher education. Gomez holds a B.A. in both African-American studies and psychology from Yale University, and an Ed.M. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Gomez’s mentor is former Center-affiliated faculty member Hirokazu Yoshikawa, who is the Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.


Beth Truesdale headshot copy.jpgBeth Truesdale is a doctoral student in sociology in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a doctoral fellow in inequality and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research examines the relationship between science and child and family policy in the United States and Great Britain. She is interested in analyzing system characteristics and processes that create "sweet spots" where evidence matters to policy. Before coming to Harvard, Truesdale worked in London, where she led teams of analysts in creating reports that helped to shape public policy in the United Kingdom. Truesdale holds a B.A. in chemistry and English from St. Olaf College and a M.St. in theology from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Her mentor is Christopher Jencks, the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Zhanlei_Ye_2.jpgZhanlei Ye is a doctoral student in the Program in Neuroscience, Division of Medical Sciences, in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her research explores the cellular mechanisms by which early life experiences shape the neuronal circuits in the mouse prefrontal cortex that control higher-order functions, such as social and cognitive behaviors. Ye is interested in understanding the time window during which the prefrontal circuits are especially sensitive to aversive experiences. Ye received a B.M. in medical sciences from Peking University, China, where she was awarded the May 4th Medal—the highest honor for students, given every two years to four undergraduates. Her mentor is Center-affiliated faculty member Takao Hensch, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University and a professor of neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Photo credit: Qingwei Sun


2015–2016 Fellows

The following four students are recipients of Richmond Fellowships for the 2015–16 academic year:

Kathryn G. Andrews is a doctoral student in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Andrews's research examines how individual, family, and environmental factors impact the risk of adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight. She has held a number of graduate teaching and research assistantships, including working on global projects with the Saving Brains partnership and the World Health Organization. Andrews holds a B.A. in English, modified with Public Health Studies from Dartmouth College, and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her mentor will be Center-affiliated faculty member Gùˆnther Fink, associate professor of international health economics in the Department of Global Health and Economics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Anne E. Berens is a medical student at Harvard Medical School. Berens is interested in developing and implementing tailored assessment tools to measure childhood adversity in low-income countries. She has held a number of global research and advocacy positions covering a wide range of mental and public health issues. Berens received a B.A. in Human Biology with a Global Health concentration from Stanford University, an M.S. in Public Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and an M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health from University College London. Her mentor will be Center-affiliated faculty member Charles A. Nelson III, the Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research at Boston Children's Hospital, professor of pediatrics and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Maleka Donaldson Gramling is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Donaldson Gramling's research focuses on how teachers and students respond to student mistakes made during classroom learning. Her work will build on insights from neuroscience and psychology to illuminate the nuanced social workings of young children's educational environments. Donaldson Gramling has worked as a kindergarten teacher, a curriculum designer, a tutor, and as a management consultant. She holds an A.B. in Biology from Harvard College and Ed.M. degrees in Human Development and Psychology and Learning and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her mentor will be Tina A. Grotzer, associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Jessica Schleider is a doctoral student in Clinical Science in the Department of Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is interested in identifying, improving, and disseminating treatments for anxiety and depression in youth. Her research will test whether a single-session intervention teaching incremental theories of personality can strengthen recovery from social stress and prevent the development of internalizing problems in early adolescents. Schleider has held teaching and mentoring positions, and has conducted psychological research with youth and families in the Greater Boston area. Schleider holds a B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College and an A.M. in Psychology from Harvard University. Her mentor will be Center-affiliated faculty member John R. Weisz, professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Past Fellows

Learn more about the research interests of previous classes of Julius B. Richmond fellows.




About Julius B. Richmond

The Richmond Fellowship is named for Julius B. Richmond, M.D., who, until his death in 2008, was the John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy Emeritus at Harvard Medical School. As a pioneer in public health and early childhood development, Dr. Richmond was the first director of Head Start in the Johnson administration and served as U.S. Surgeon General in the Carter administration, where he was an instrumental public health campaigner against the tobacco industry. Dr. Richmond cherished the fact that the Fellowship was established in his name, and the Center is committed to supporting an annual cohort of promising young scholars as an ongoing testament to honor his enduring legacy.

Read the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health obituary for Dr. Richmond >>