In 1995, then National Park Service Director and Mrs. Kennedy and the National Park Foundation established the Edwin C. Bearss Fellowship to support graduate education in American history and American studies. This Fellowship has been created to honor the career achievements of Edwin C. Bearss, National Park Service historian from 1955 until 1995, and Chief Historian from 1981 until 1994. The Fellowship is open to all National Park Service employees with at least three years of service who are engaged in historical research, management, and education.

The Edwin C. Bearss Fellowship has been created as a part of the National Park Service’s Advanced Studies Program. This Program, 1) assures NPS personnel that while going to graduate school through this program, they will remain in pay status; 2) encourages the private sector to create fellowships, knowing that the NPS fully supports graduate studies; 3) recognizes that each private sector fellowship has its own selection process; 4) encourages parks’ friends organizations to create fellowships for NPS employees; and 5) creates opportunities for parks, through partnerships with universities, to locate qualified people to conduct research in the park and/or fill NPS positions while the employees are in graduate school.

The Advanced Studies Program was a primary goal of the Education Initiative Symposium convened by Deputy Director Galvin in 1997. One of the action goals to evolve from that gathering charged NPS leadership to: Create an environment that encourages employees to pursue advanced studies to remain current in their field. This intellectual investment in our employees will ensure that NPS educational programs and services will continue to evolve and that our employees will better understand the intellectual underpinnings of the material they present to the public.  

All National Park Service employees who meet the criteria for the Edwin C. Bearss Fellowships are encouraged to apply. 

2018 Awardee

Noel Lopez

Noel Lopez