Open Quantum Initiative Undergraduate Fellowship

Program Description 

The Open Quantum Initiative (OQI) Undergraduate Fellowship provides undergraduate students from minoritized communities with research experiences working in quantum science laboratories and research groups.

Through the Fellowship, students expand their understanding of quantum information science and engineering (QISE), connect with leaders in academia and industry, and increase awareness of quantum career opportunities. With the support of Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) member and partner institutions this fellowship helps to establish diversity, equity, and inclusion as priorities central to the development of the quantum ecosystem. The summer experience is aimed at developing students' research literacy skills and exposure to the wide diversity of physics subfields (including experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches) in:

  • Quantum Optics/Information Science
  • Quantum Computing
  • Quantum Communication
  • Quantum Sensing

Students participating in the program spend summers working in person with research groups on challenging QISE projects. Fellows will be given on-campus housing at their institution, a stipend of $6,000, and travel to/from the program. Research experiences occur across the CQE community including: University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Ohio State University.  Dates of the fellowship depend on the institution each Fellow is placed at:

  1. The Ohio State University: May 22 – July 28, 2023
  2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: May 30 – August 4, 2023
  3. University of Wisconsin–Madison: May 30 – August 4, 2023
  4. Argonne National Laboratory: May 30 – August 4, 2023
  5. Fermilab: May 30 – August 4, 2023
  6. University of Chicago: June 12 – August 18, 2023


The Open Quantum Initiative is a group of researchers, educators, and leaders among the Chicago Quantum Exchange that champions the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in quantum science.

The OQI Undergraduate Fellowship offers undergraduate students from minoritized communities the opportunity to gain research experiences working in a quantum science laboratory or research group. Priority is given to minoritized applicants, including, though not limited to, students from underrepresented backgrounds, first-generation college students, and those with no prior research experience. Rising sophomores or juniors and those who attend minority-serving institutions, R2 research institutions, or small liberal arts colleges are encouraged to apply.

The Open Quantum Initiative, in partnership with the Chicago Quantum Exchange and CQE member and partner institutions (University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, and The Ohio State University) invites students to apply for the OQI Undergraduate Fellowship.

The Open Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee is comprised of:

  • Chris Anderson, Stanford University
  • David Awschalom, Chicago Quantum Exchange; University of Chicago; Argonne National Laboratory
  • Elizabeth Goldschmidt, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Jay Gupta, The Ohio State University
  • Joseph Heremans, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Mikhail Kats, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Gabriel Perdue, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Kai Shinbrough, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Leah Weiss, University of Chicago

Throughout the summer program, awardees will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Working directly with faculty and senior researchers on challenging and relevant research projects
  • Professional development activities aimed at developing skills in research ethics, science communication, Resume/CV workshops, and professional networking
  • Social activities with other awardees and field trips
  • Virtual cohort meet-ups during the 2023/24 academic year for students to engage in workshops for networking with industry partners; content presentations with subject matter experts, and soft skills training (resume writing, communications, job application tips); and application fee waivers for select events
  • Ongoing mentorship with summer advisors and peers throughout the academic year
  • Stipend of $6,000, on-campus housing, travel to/from the program
  • Students participate in 10-week residential QISE research experiences, which include completion of a research project, regular meetings with graduate student or postdoc mentors, and presentations at a summer research symposium attended by the CQE community.
  • The Fellowship follows a model where students have numerous opportunities to interact with the other members of the cohort during the summer research period and throughout the following academic year.
  • During the academic year following summer research, OQI Fellows regularly meet virtually to continue expanding their understanding of quantum science and career opportunities in the field, grow professional networks with leaders in academia and industry, and engage additional trainings. The OQI aims to provide future research experiences for alumni, as well as opportunities to mentor new OQI Fellows.
  • Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited educational institution located in the United States; recently graduated seniors are not eligible for the program.
  • Students must have completed their freshman year by June 2023 with at least 4 undergraduate college courses of some combination of physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and/or computer science. Interested community college students who have completed one year of studies are highly encouraged to apply to our program.
  • Students must be majoring or intending to major in physics, chemistry, mathematics, electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, quantum science, philosophy, or a QISE related major.
  • Priority is given to minoritized applicants, including, though not limited to, students from underrepresented backgrounds, first-generation college students, and those with no prior research experience. All students interested in QISE are encouraged to apply.
  • As this program is intended to be multi-year, preference will be given to applicants who are rising sophomores or rising juniors, however students of any undergraduate year are encouraged to apply.

A completed application consists of the following:

  • a completed online application, which requires 1 letter of reference
  • a 300-500-word "statement of interest" describing your personal goals and how you believe this fellowship experience could help you achieve those goals
  • an official or unofficial transcript uploaded to the application


Applications for the 2023 cohort are now closed

Meet current and previous fellows


Funding for the Summer 2023 Open Quantum Initiative is provided by: the University of Chicago, Q-NEXT at Argonne National Laboratory, the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, HQAN at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, The Ohio State University, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and UChicago’s Inclusive Innovation in the Sciences Fund.