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The non-partisan Zietlow Initiative aims to increase North Carolinians’ literacy of humanistic disciplines, democratic processes, and civic life. This competitive, paid opportunity is the chance for 6 UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduates in any college or major to pursue research and community engagement around a contemporary social or political topic of their choosing. 

What does it look like? 

Fall semester 2024 we’ll build a foundation for success. We will:

  • Develop a knowledge base on your research topic  
  • Explore humanistic methodologies such as oral history and archival research 
  • Examine local examples of public humanities projects, both on and off campus  
  • Build relationships in the forms of : coaching from Zietlow Fellowship graduate student lead; peer-to-peer engagement, and deep mentorship from your UNC faculty mentor  
  • Participate in weekly cohort meetings focused on collective learning opportunities 
  • Communicate through various media such as social media, public speaking, writing, art, theater, etc.  


In spring 2025, we make moves. We will:

  • Learn about local government and statewide legislation 
  • Finish background research on your topic  
  • Participate in community engagement and outreach  
  • Design and execute final public humanities project  
  • Participate in a public showcase with UNC friends and local leaders 


Applications for the 2024-2025 cohort are now closed.

Please check back in spring 2025 for the 2025-2026 application. 

For the 2023-2024 year, CPH recruited its inaugural class of Zietlow Fellows, 8 undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who are ready to deepen their understandings of the humanities, research, and community engagement. Learn more about them below! 





Make Reels, Earn $$$! 

The application for the summer 2024 Democracygram Challenge is live! 

This season’s theme is “Civic Responsibility.” Teams will attend a virtual, one-day training on May 22, then have through July 31 to design engaging content, shoot it, and track its spread.    

If you’re selected to participate, you’ll get paid, but if you win, you’ll get more money!    

Apply by midnight on May 1, 2024!

Questions? Check out the Q&A or reach out to Kylie Seltzer at 


On October 6, 2023, 3 teams of students gathered to launch the inaugural Democracygram Challenge. During the session, experts in journalism, communications, and law coached them about the intricacies of communicating on social media and how to encourage civic engagement. Over the course of the next three weeks, teams submitted at least 2 Instagram Reels per week on the theme of “Voice.”

Check out the fall 2023 teams’ posts!

Congratulations to our winning team: Kayla, Ria, and Benny! 


And thank you to all the teams for sharing your creativity with us!