Access as a Foundational Principle

One of Amherst College's foundational principles is that all students should have access to the opportunities that help them gain the knowledge, skills, and experiences that contribute to success—during college and beyond.  In keeping with this core value, Amherst has assembled a student body that is talented, accomplished, and geographically, racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse.

Amherst's president, Biddy Martin, has said that this “commitment to a student body that reflects the rich diversity of the country, indeed the world” is what drew her to the college.  “I came, as you did, to contribute in some way to making Amherst even better, and to figuring out what it might mean, here as elsewhere, to take full advantage of the diversity you represent,” she told the graduating class in 2013.  An eminent scholar of German studies and leader within higher education, President Martin was a first-generation college student. The Meiklejohn Fellows Program is named for another Amherst president, Alexander Meiklejohn, a scholar, innovative thinker, and educational reformer who led the college between 1912 to 1924. 

About the Amherst College Meiklejohn Fellows Program

The Meiklejohn Fellows Program provides generous resources, opportunities, and support to low-income and/or first-generation students at the college. Throughout their time on campus, the fellows receive special funding and attend programs that contribute to their professional and personal development.  Fostering a sense of belonging is one of the central goals of an Amherst education, and from the time they arrive on campus, the fellows form a community-within-a-community at the college. 

 The Meiklejohn Fellows Program offers the following benefits:

  • Guaranteed financial and professional development support for a summer opportunity (internship, research, or other eligible experience) during fellows' first or second summer at Amherst.  A stipend of up to $4,500 is provided to participants who receive eligible unpaid summer opportunities. 

  • Dedicated advising, programming, and career development support, including assistance finding meaningful summer opportunities, from the Meiklejohn Fellows Program director in Amherst's Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning.

  • Opportunities to build personal, academic, and career networks with other Meiklejohn Fellows, Amherst alumni, and the broader campus community.

Program Requirements

  • Fellows must share their reflections on the experience with other Meiklejohn Fellows and/or the broader campus community.

  • Fellows are required to use their summer funding within first two summers (funding is forfeited if not used).

Program Eligibility

Meiklejohn Fellows are appointed at the beginning of their first year at the college.  Low-income and/or first-generation students who are members of the class of 2022 and members of subsequent classes are eligible for the program.  Transfer students and students who are members of earlier classes are not eligible, but similar opportunities may be available to them through other college programs.  Please direct questions to those listed below.   


Questions about the fellows program should be addressed to Casey Jo Dufresne, program director of the Meiklejohn Fellows Program.  Those with inquiries may also wish to be in touch with Tenzin Kunor, Amherst’s director of diversity and student leadership.


Alexander Meiklejohn sitting at his desk

About Alexander Meiklejohn

Alexander Meiklejohn was an educator, innovator, philosopher, and advocate for liberal social reform and first-amendment freedoms; he served as president of Amherst College from1912 to1924.