Chautauqua Fellows

Chautauqua Lake

The Chautauqua Fellowship enables undergraduate students to attend a week of immersive summer programming at the Chautauqua Institution in the countryside of southwestern New York. Upon returning to ASU, fellows serve on a student advisory committee and draw on their experience to devise similar public programing tailored to the ASU community.

What is the Chautauqua Institution? 

The Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit, 750-acre community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state. Approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during the nine-week season, and during the summer season there are over 100,000 scheduled public events.

The Institution is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through programming that explores the important religious, social, and political issues of our times; stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues; and promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance, and teaching of the arts.

What is the summer experience like? 

The Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics hosts fellows at the Chautauqua Institution for one week of programming, and the fellowship covers travel, lodging, gate pass, and per diem while at the Institution. Fellows share a rented cottage that is minutes away from dozens of daily lectures, classes, and performances—or some lakeside recreation. 

Fellows are expected to attend the daily morning lecture on the week's theme, and come together for dinner every evening. Scroll down to see what our 2019 cohort of Chautauqua Fellows thought of their time at the Institution.

What is expected of me on the student advisory committee once I return?

As experts on the Chautauqua experience, our fellows help brainstorm topics, presenters, and activities that transform the best of their experience for inclusive public audiences. Students meet regularly throughout the semester to offer their opinions and share their knowledge.

What our 2019 Chautauqua Fellows Thought:

Mona Abu-Galal

Mona Abu-Galal 

Public Health, College of Health Solution

"The Chautauqua Institution truly allows for an immersive experience of music, art, education, and religion. Speeches given in both the Amphitheater and Hall of Philosophy felt a little like live TedTalks with professionals from across the country showcasing and educating eager to learn intellectuals. As a big fan of  arts, I really enjoyed walking through the galleries, after my many stops at the delicious farmers market. I never imagined that I would be able to sit through ballet or opera performances, but I found myself mesmerized by the talented young dancers and experienced musicians, actors, and vocalists. It felt like stepping into a whole other world that has been preserved by the charm and history of the people. In the words of the Chautauquan people, 'it’s a summer camp for adults.'"

Cyrus Commissariat

Cyrus Commissariat

Political Science, History, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"Every morning began with a brisk walk around Lake Chautauqua, which was followed by a home cooked breakfast overlooking the lake. One of the four pillars of the institution is faith, and every morning there are services for the three Abrahamic religions as well as some programming from other faiths. From there I went to the daily headline lecturer which changed everyday and never failed to impress. It was the final lecturer, Dr. Joshua Bennett, a professor and poet from Dartmouth who touched my spirt. His poetry centered around race, justice, inequality and the power of the spoken word and by the end of his reading he had myself and another student on the trip in tears. The trip inspired me to review my own deeply held religious convictions and to be more thoughtful and introspective in my own life. This special experience is one that I will cherish and revisit."

Nicole Hinshaw

Nicole Hinshaw

Communication, Political Science, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"My week at the Chautauqua Institution was equal parts peaceful and stimulating. After mornings spent enjoying a cup of tea on a porch overlooking the idyllic upstate New York landscape, I was off to take advantage of the myriad of opportunities available to me as a Chautauqua Fellow. Every day brought new, intellectually stimulating experiences, from lectures on the importance of storytelling, to religious ceremonies celebrating a wide range of faiths, to musical performances. The week’s theme, “Life of the Spoken Word,” perfectly aligned with my academic interest in human communication and gave rise to programming that explored how humans can utilize various mediums - including religious sermons, lectures, podcasts, music, and poetry - to connect with one another. It was only fitting that our cohort would conclude each day by engaging in discussions of our own over home-cooked meals. Interacting with the other fellows and Lincoln Center faculty marked one of my favorite parts of the fellowship. Together, we worked to process whatever interesting, disturbing, or thought-provoking conversations and events we’d experienced each day, as well as shared more personal stories that gave insights into our identities and beliefs, and how they’d been challenged and/or reinforced over the course of the week. I’m incredibly grateful to have participated in this unique and historic institution."

Catherine Morenzoni

Catherine Morenzoni

Sociology, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"Chautauqua is a place like no other. The entirety of the institution is set up to encourage engagement and learning, and not just in an academic sense. The freedom that the members of the group were granted allowed for such a unique experience made up of intellectually stimulating conversations, late night laughs, and peaceful reflections on the beautiful lake right behind our hotel. The overarching topic for our week was engaging with the idea of 'the life of the spoken word.' The main lectures everyday spoke to this theme in different ways, leading to a dynamic, comprehensive idea of what spoken word looks like in our world today. One of the lectures that stood out to me the most was by a researcher who studies language learning in low income communities, particularly those communities that also consist of a large African American demographic. This researcher found that among the innumerable injustices facing these communities, the one she found exceptionally concerning was the lack of resources for the young children of the community for language development. I think this lecture stuck with me because it was a culmination of so many of my interests; linguistics, child development, social construction of communities, and education, all tied up in one riveting claim that we need to do more to look out for the young members of our country."

Suhey Ortega

Suhey Ortega

Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

"The week spent at Chautauqua Institution was an amazing and interesting experience. The institution offered daily programs that filled the intellectual mind through educational programming, promoted recreation of the body and movement, as well as fill the soul with unique surroundings with vast history, people, and community. Every night was filled with a performance that left me inspired. My favorite part was the art gallery and exhibits that offered a variety of art from students and fellows around the world. Being part of a diverse cohort of ASU students in this fellowship made the experience that more fun; we were in a new location with new people in a strange place but bonded over that as well as meaningful discussions throughout the day during dinner. My experience at Chautauqua is one to remember!"

Asha Ramakumar

Asha Ramakumar

Business (Global Politics), W.P. Carey School of Business

"One of the best parts, though I wouldn’t have anticipated, were the religious experience. Since I grew Hindu, I often felt left out of a huge cultural experience since I was completely unfamiliar with anything remotely related to the Bible. However, what I loved so much about Chautauqua was that I felt included. I especially enjoyed Rev. Otis Moss III’s ecumenical worship every morning. He used the Bible to talk about the #MeToo movement, environmental justice, immigration, and so much more. I not only felt welcome during these services but I was able to see the similarities to my own religious practice. One of the girls who was part of APYA, and who is Muslim, said during the Jum’ah prayer that she feels like these services add to her own religious experiences and I couldn’t agree more. I would encourage any future Chautauqua Fellow to grapple with the uncomfortable and go to as many religious programs as possible! Another of my favorite parts of Chautauqua is all the music programming. I had been to the symphony a few times before, but this was on another level. When we watched the “Nutcracker in July,” I absolutely transcended. It was especially neat to see all these young people performing at such a high level! I would not really be able to afford opera or ballet tickets on my own, so I definitely took advantage of those experiences. It was very cool how they also blended classical music with folk music as well and had quite a wide-range of musical performers. All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful experience that challenged me but also made me appreciate art, literature, and discussion in a new way!"