Mertz Library Humanities

Research and Internship Opportunities

The Humanities Institute of The New York Botanical Garden offers various research opportunities and internships for students and visiting scholars focused on the field of Food Humanities. These include:

  • Two full-time, residential Research Fellowships for Ph.D. students and recent post-docs
  • A paid Mellon Summer Internship in Oral Histories for graduate students
  • Several paid summer internships under the Urban Foodways Internship Program for local college students from the Bronx
  • And a Visiting Scholarship Program in Food Humanities for established researchers

Students and scholars are invited to conduct their own research involving interdisciplinary approaches to Food Studies, with special focus on the multi-cultural communities in the Bronx. For their research, candidates have access to the important collections at NYBG, including the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the Archives, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the Edible Academy and the Garden’s Living Collections.

Now Seeking Applicants

  1. The Humanities Institute is offering an important internship opportunity in its Bronx Foodways Oral Histories Project, a multi-year effort to collect and record personal food narratives from a wide and diverse network of Bronx community gardeners and urban farmers. Their stories and cultural traditions around growing and preparing food will be archived and made accessible to the local community and the wider public.

    Internship Opportunity: To coordinate the Bronx Foodways Oral Histories Project, the Humanities Institute is pleased to offer a Mellon Summer Internship for a currently-enrolled graduate student with basic knowledge of Oral History, its methodologies and Oral History Best Practices.

    Job Description:

    The successful candidate will be a graduate student with some practical experience in Oral History methodologies and a basic understanding of or interest in Food Studies and community.

    Under the supervision of the Director and Program Manager of the Humanities Institute, the Mellon Summer Intern will work with NYBG staff and the Bronx Green-Up team to produce, conduct and video record one-on-one oral history interviews outdoors, at community gardens and urban farms. The interviews and all their components (audio, transcriptions, photos) will be edited and curated by the Mellon Summer Intern and shared publicly on an accessible community archive. Elements from collections in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library may be used for additional historical context.

    The candidate should have demonstrated experience with community-based projects involving communities from diverse cultural backgrounds. Strong interpersonal skills will come into play in recruiting subjects for interviews and dealing with potentially sensitive cultural information. The required background in oral history methodologies may include coursework, or a degree in food studies, anthropology, or sociology.

    Eligibility: Graduate students who at the time of application are actively enrolled in a masters or doctoral program and have some oral histories experience. Students from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Period of Internship: Four to five months (480 hours total). This summer internship runs in the period from mid-May to mid-October, 2023, and can be planned to fit the candidate’s individual scheduling needs, in consultation with the Director of the Humanities Institute.

    Stipend: $11,000 (eleven thousand US dollars)

    How to apply:

    The application must be submitted electronically by March 10, 2023, to:

    Humanities Institute Secured FileShare

    Applications should include: 

    • Cover Letter outlining your interest in this Oral History internship position
    • Curriculum vitae of education, professional experience.
    • Copy of Graduate transcripts (electronic copies will be accepted).
    • A letter of recommendation (optional) to be sent by the recommenders directly to


    The deadline for all job application materials is March 10, 2023, 6 p.m. (EST)

    Any questions related to the position should be directed to

    NYBG is committed to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible work environment and further recognizes that diversity in the workforce fosters excellence in its mission of advocating for the plants of the world. Leveraging the strong foundation of existing policies and practices, NYBG will advance inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility through a number of institutional initiatives. Its aspiration is to continue to cultivate a workforce and institution that is as diverse as the communities it serves and the audiences it engages.

    NYBG is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

    NYBG does not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, and veteran or disability status. Underrepresented communities, Black, Indigenous, persons of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Now Closed

  1. Applications are now closed.

    The Humanities Institute at the New York Botanical Garden is pleased to offer a full-time residential Mellon Research Fellowship in the field of Food Humanities during the academic year 2023–24 for Pre- and Post-Doctoral students. Candidates are invited to submit a proposal for independent research in topics related to the Food Humanities with special focus on the multi-cultural communities in and around the Bronx, New York, including but not limited to, histories of food and urban agriculture, food justice and food security in the Bronx, Indigenous food traditions, and history of community gardens and urban farms.

    Recipients will have access to the collections of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, and living collections of the New York Botanical Garden’s 250-acre landscape, situated in the Bronx, in addition to important libraries and research centers in New York City.

    The Humanities Institute is committed to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible academic environment and further recognizes that diversity in our fellowship student body fosters excellence in programmatic and research initiatives.

    The Fellowship participants supports, through actions and conduct, the Humanities Institute Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) initiatives and helps to build and maintain an inclusive organization culture throughout the program.

    Eligibility: Current Ph.D. candidates and recent post-doctoral researchers (no more than 5 years since graduation date at time of application), who are U.S. citizens or international scholars currently authorized to work in the U.S. Students from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Tenure of Fellowship: Nine months (September 11, 2023 to June 11, 2024). Deferral of this Research Fellowship is not permitted. Fellowships at NYBG’s Humanities Institute are awards that place great emphasis on the exchange of ideas among fellows and the spirit of community within the larger institution. Fellows are expected to devote themselves fully to their research, and not take any other research or teaching responsibilities during their tenure. They are requested to give a presentation about their work, and fully participate in the Humanities Institute’s seminar programs and activities.

    Fellowship award:

    $50,000 (fifty thousand US dollars)

    How to apply:

    The application, to be written in English, must be submitted electronically to the form below by November 15, 2022.

    Applications should include:

    • The Fellowship Application Form (see below)
    • Project proposal, consisting of a 2–3 page (max. 1000 words) statement that provides an overview of the project you plan to research with a tentative schedule of work to be accomplished, an explanation of its significance in the field, and manner in which it will contribute to new scholarship in the Food Humanities.
    • Personal Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion while at NYBG.
    • Complete curriculum vitae of education, professional experience, awards, and publications.
    • Copy of Graduate transcripts (unofficial electronic copies will be accepted), uploaded to the form.
    • Three Letters of recommendation (PDF), submitted directly from the recommender here: Humanities Institute Secured Fileshare

    The Deadline for all application material, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, is November 15, 2022, 6 pm (EST). Late applications will not be accepted. Awards will be announced in January 2023.

    Housing: Fellows are responsible for their own housing arrangements; suggestions are provided.

    Health Insurance: A comprehensive Health Benefit package (coverage begins 6 weeks after arrival) is offered in addition to the fellowship stipend.

    Any questions related to the Mellon Fellowship should be directed to

  2. Applications are now closed.

    A nine-month fellowship for photographers whose work focuses on gardens or landscapes. The grant is awarded annually to an established or emerging photographer whose work demonstrates excellence and a creative approach to the art of landscape photography.

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