A few spots remain open for the 2021-2022 Fellows Program! Email us at fellows@slbrownfoundation.org for an application.

What is the Fellows Program?

The Upper House Fellows Program offers graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison a unique community for intellectual and spiritual formation. The program helps students grow in theological understanding, connect their faith to their academic studies and sense of vocation, and prepare for lives of leadership and service.

Over the academic year, fellows from different Christian traditions and fields of study meet every other week for a meal and a guided conversation. As we build community, we draw on scripture and a variety of Christian voices to explore how the gospel sheds light on our identity as humans and gives shape to our callings in the world.

The Fellows Program is rooted in a historic and ecumenical understanding of the Christian tradition that aligns with Upper House’s Statement of Faith. Fellows, program leaders, and readings bridge boundaries across denominational, ethnic, racial, and social lines. We welcome applications from students of all Christian traditions and backgrounds.

What to Expect

We meet from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on every other Monday through the academic year. After a time of gathering prayer, we socialize over a meal together and then break into separate tracks of 8-12 students each for instructor-led learning and discussion. We are excited to offer three tracks in 2021-22.

Called to Flourish

Who are we as human beings? Do our lives have transcendent purpose? How can we know and live out our callings right now? In this track we will explore the questions of Christian identity and vocation, asking what it means that God made humans in his image to thrive as his coworkers and to be agents of love, grace, and shalom in the world. Drawing on scripture, writings from a range of authors, and interactions with occasional guest speakers, we will go on to ask what the call to follow Jesus means for our academic studies and career aspirations. How do our talents, passions, education, and opportunities give shape to our life direction? And how can living in light of God’s renewing work fuel our endeavors? This track is for any undergraduate or graduate student eager to dive into these big questions.

This track is led by Eric Carlsson and Rebecca Cooks.

Science, Technology & Faith

Do science and Christian faith conflict? How can scientific and technological knowledge be used ethically? What might it mean to pursue science or technology as a vocation? In this track we will learn from both scientists and theologians who have contemplated these questions. During the fall semester we will discuss science and technology as a calling, explore different ways in which science and faith can interact, and delve into topics including creation and evolution, genetics and human nature, and God’s role in nature. During the spring semester we will focus on ethical questions and implications of science and technology. Specific topics will be tailored to the interests of the fellows and may include themes such as bioethics, artificial intelligence, environment and climate science, and science literacy. This track is for any student interested in these issues, whether or not you are working in a STEM field.

This track is led by Rachel Hutchinson.

Reading the Bible as a Story

The Bible comprises many books, penned by many authors; they are written in a variety of genres, address a variety of issues, and tell stories from different places and times. However, below the surface of this glorious diversity lies a single story. This story is about the main character, God, and his tireless efforts to establish his reign on earth in order to restore the world from rebellion, corruption, and death. Learning to read the Bible so that we can see this story is critical to our formation as followers of Jesus Christ. Understanding this grand narrative reveals to us God’s character, his mission for the world, and our role in this mission. In our sessions, we will explore in detail this great story and learn how it all fits together. Fellows will read selections from the Bible as well as the work of contemporary scholars.

This track is led by Charles Yu.

The Fellows Program Leadership Team

Each cohort is taught by experienced instructors with a passion for mentoring graduate and undergraduate students at UW-Madison. Meet our team.

Meet the Fellows

Meet some of our current Fellows and read what they are saying about the program.


Fall 2021: Meet at Upper House every other Monday, 6:00-8:00 p.m., September 13 through December 6. In addition we will hold an all-day retreat on Saturday, September 18.

Spring 2022: Meet at Upper House every other Monday, 6:00-8:00 p.m., January 24 through April 18. In addition we will hold an all-day retreat on Saturday, April 9.


Questions? Please email us at fellows@slbrownfoundation.org.