Brother Mike Hawkins Endowed Fellowship

Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Brother Mike Fellowship was established in 2016 to honor the legacy of Mike Hawkins, who served as a Lead Mentor and manager of informal learning with the Digital Youth Network (DYN), an organization formerly housed within DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM). In this capacity Brother Mike, as he was commonly known, influenced and inspired hundreds of youth to pursue their education further by leveraging their passion and honing in on their creativity.

The Brother Mike Fellowship will be awarded to CDM undergraduate and/or graduate students to support creative work that will be conducted in the spring and summer quarters. Individuals or teams may apply to complete an innovative technology-based service project that will engage Chicago youth. The projects are to be completed before the start of the following fall quarter.

Projects should describe an innovative technology-based service project that will engage Chicago youth. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Innovation and creativity. How unique and novel is the idea?
Feasibility. Is the proposed idea possible given the proposed team, resources needed, timeline of work?
Program alignment: Does the project reflect the goals of supporting creativity and learning of Chicago youth?
Questions about application requirements may be directed to Dr. Denise Nacu ( or Dr. Sheena Erete (

DePaul University aims to celebrate the life of Brother Mike by establishing an endowed fellowship in his name. Brother Mike, who died in 2014 at the age of 38, left a permanent imprint on the YOUmedia Center at Harold Washington Library and was often called its heart and soul. A poet, activist, and an advocate for young people, who mastered digital technologies, Brother Mike brought all those skills to his role as Lead Mentor with DYN for over 10 years. In this role, he served as the main DYN Liaison to the YOUmedia Center, where he coordinated projects and mentored hundreds of youth and was credited with “changing many lives,” inspiring and empowering young people to achieve personal visions for their future. His passion for poetry and music, his ability to connect with youth from different backgrounds and communities, and his vision of fusing together the arts, digital media, and education made him a pioneer in the connected learning movement. Through his many speaking engagements, Brother Mike invited others to share his passion to build “learning experiences that incite creativity and active participation.” It is in this spirit, that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has established a fellowship at DePaul University to support students in following the example of Brother Mike by serving underserved youth, recognizing their talents for digital media and art, and igniting passion for learning.

Grant awardees will be expected to submit a short written piece (about 500 words) summarizing the project including links and/or images that document the project in a format that can be used to share and promote the work as an awardee of the Brother Mike Hawkins Fellowship program.

Project Requirements:
• Name, Student ID, and email address of applicant(s)
• Current resume or portfolio for each applicant
• Project Title
• Abstract ¬- a concise description of the project in non¬-technical terms (250¬-400 words)
• Project purpose, significance, or research question(s) to be addressed
• Designer/Artist’s statement or theoretical foundation of project
• Timeline and work plan which should be thorough, realistic, and feasible
• Name of DePaul faculty member who will to help advise you on the project
• Budget (optional) – Describe any expenses expected to be incurred in the project.

College of Computing and Digital Media