Please congratulate Max Koenig on being the 2024-2025 Wolff Fellow.

To learn more, read here.

Wolff Fellowship

“A fellowship of this caliber recognizes the contributions L&S students undertake to not only be excellent scholars but also honors the deep commitment to the service of others and advancing humanity.”
Eric Wilcots, Dean of the College of Letters & Science

The Wolff Fellowship

The Wolff Fellows program grants $45,000 to a graduating senior in the College of Letters & Science to support a year of travel, service or study abroad experience, post-graduation.

Candidates for this tremendous opportunity of a lifetime must be Letters & Science seniors intending to graduate in Spring 2024. A committee appointed by Dean Eric Wilcots reviews completed submissions and selects finalists for interviews.

This award considers not only excellent academic performance and related endeavors, but also weighs the student’s commitments and actions to those outside oneself and to the greater community. During the undergraduate career, this  can look like volunteerism, community or public service, leadership, and other endeavors.


Eligible Letters & Science seniors must have a minimum grade point average of a 3.75.

The deadline to apply through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub known as WiSH will be in January 2025 for the 2025-2026 fellowship year.

How to Apply

Wisconsin Scholarship Hub

Login in above and review the application questions in order to build a plan to complete the materials required for submission:

  • Summary Abstract
  • Personal Statement
  • Essay
  • Current Résumé or CV
  • Activity/Travel Budget
  • Student Academic Record
  • Letters of Recommendation (2)

Meet the Benefactors

The Wolff Fellowship program in the College of Letters & Science is the vision of  its creators, Paul M. Wolff and Rhea S. Schwartz.

Paul M. Wolff is a distinguished alumnus of UW-Madison. He earned a Letters & Science degree majoring in history and went on to study law at Harvard University.  He began practicing law in the Washington, D.C. area and curated a distinguished career. Wolff served as an advisor for many organizations including the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Corcoran Art Museum, the Jewish Museum, and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Wolff has a passion for sports and served on the Washington D.C. Sports Commission. He is also a distinguished and talented sculptor.

Rhea S. Schwartz is a graduate of Penn State and Georgetown University Law School. A leader in her community, Ms. Schwartz has worked for the United States Department of Education, the Center for Israeli Studies at American University, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Ms. Schwartz has endowed a similarly groundbreaking fellowship opportunity at Penn State.

Wolff explains, “We believe these students should be rewarded for their achievements and service with the ability to travel, volunteer or complete service work without financial burdens. This will allow them to pursue their passions without limits.”

Meet the 2024 Awardee

Max Koenig is the third awardee of the Wolff Fellowship. He will earn his UW–Madison degree this spring, with a major in psychology and a certificate in African studies. During his time as an undergraduate, Max was a Mercile J. Lee Powers-Knapp scholar, held several volunteer and leadership roles, and conducted research in the Harackiewicz lab.

Following his May 2024 graduation, Max will begin a year-long exploration of the influence of African culture, history and music in communities that were impacted by slavery. He will travel to several Caribbean nations, Colombia, and Brazil.

Education has also always been important to Max. Because of this, he has chosen to volunteer at a Montessori elementary school in Cabarete, Dominican Republic for two-and-a-half-months. He will also volunteer for two months at a school in Barranquilla, Colombia, that focuses on ethno-education (incorporating the traditions, knowledge and beliefs of local ethnic minorities).

To find out more about Max’s Fellowship, read here.

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Meet the 2023 Awardee

Juliet Chang graduated in the spring of 2023 and is the second awardee of the Wolff Fellowship. Juliet excelled, graduating with majors in social welfare, educational studies with certificates in Asian American studies (HMoob emphasis), and global health.

Starting in July 2023, Juliet began her adventure in Paris, France, is now living in French Guiana, and has plans to live in Kitchener, Canada, Vietnam, Thailand, and in Australia. While traveling, Juliet is learning about the Hmong diaspora across the world, visiting different Hmong communities.

“Traveling through the Wolff Fellowship has been an incredible experience because of the freedom that it gives me to focus on what I’m passionate about. That level of independence isn’t something you really get in traditional schooling and while it is difficult at times, I feel like I’ve learned to be flexible and accept the changes that come with independence. I can’t imagine ever being able to do something like this ever again so I’m trying to take advantage of my time abroad.”

– Juliet Chang, 2023 recipient of the Wolff Fellowship

Meet the 2022 Awardee

Claire James graduated in the spring of 2022 and is the first awardee of the Wolff Fellowship. Claire proved her academic acumen graduating with completed majors international studies and economics, earning honors in the liberal arts, with certificates in European studies and French.

Her adventure began in June of 2022 working for a non-profit in Nagasaki, Japan with future  plans to volunteer with organizations in three more countries, ending with travel to South America by way of India and Africa.

“Seeing just a tiny bit of this wonderful world as the 2022-2023 Wolff Fellow was truly the best start to my post-graduate career. I so wish I could thank each and every person who helped me along the way, be it welcoming me into their offices or field spaces and teaching me about the important work they’re doing, inviting me to share a meal in their homes, or even just helping me get off the bus (or train/metro/rickshaw!) at the right stop. I’m so grateful to Paul Wolff and Rhea Schwartz for their generosity and belief in young people’s potential as change makers. I encourage all interested Badgers to apply for what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”

– Claire James, Inaugural recipient of the Wolff Fellowship