Welcome to the Upper House 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 interactive learning. As we build community, we draw on scripture and diverse 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 Christianity that aligns with Upper House’s Statement of Faith. Fellows, program leaders, and readings bridge denominational, ethnic, racial, and social lines. We welcome applications from students of all backgrounds.
Watch our brief video!
2023-24 Community Gatherings and Tracks
We meet from 5:45 to 8:00 PM every other Monday through the academic year. Our gatherings typically begin with socializing over a generous meal provided by Upper House. After a brief time of communal prayer, we break into separate tracks for instructor-led learning and discussion, followed by dessert. (See the 2023-24 schedule.)
We are pleased to offer three tracks in 2023-24, led by experienced instructors with a passion for mentoring graduate and undergraduate students at UW-Madison. Meet the leaders.
The Drama of Scripture, led by Eric Carlsson
The Bible offers a grand drama—a magnificent story about God, humans, and the world. Scripture was composed over many centuries by a host of authors who wrote in a range of genres to address a variety of ancient communities. Yet below this glorious diversity lies a unified narrative that remains as relevant today as ever. This epic story is about God’s tireless efforts to establish his reign on earth in order to restore the world from rebellion, chaos, and death, and to bring wholeness, justice, and peace to all of creation. Learning to read the scriptures so that we can see this amazing narrative is critical to our formation as followers of Jesus Christ. In our sessions we will explore this story so that we can better understand and find our place in God’s redemptive mission in the world.
Living Your Calling, led by Rebecca Cooks and Cam Anderson
What does it mean to be called? And how can we discern and live out our callings right now? In this track we delve into questions of Christian identity, vocation, and work. We consider what it means to be God’s image-bearers and how our primary calling to follow Jesus gives our lives direction and purpose. We go on to ask what all this means for our work, career aspirations, and big life decisions. How should our gifts and passions, our communities and constraints, our opportunities and the world’s needs shape our life choices? And how can living in light of God’s renewing work fuel our endeavors? To explore these questions we will engage with scripture, a diverse range of writings, and occasional guest speakers.
Serving the Common Good, led by Jean Geran and Dan Hummel
As Christians, we are called to participate in God’s creative and redemptive mission in the world. We are each called to do this in our own lives, families, relationships, and churches. But we are also called to service and leadership in organizations, including schools, companies, non-profits, governments, and elsewhere. These organizations can be religious or secular, big or small, morally clear but often morally ambiguous. In other words, God calls us to look beyond our individual vocations and seek to understand our role and God’s purpose for our organizational lives. Are organizations made in the image of God? What is God’s redemptive purpose for organizations and how can we participate in his redemptive work? These are the questions we’ll return to time and again in this track.
Graduate students, undergraduate students, and even recent graduates—all representing a range of fields and interests—share about their experience in the Upper House Fellows Program.
Read Fellows’ testimonials here.
Apply or Inquire
Applications open March 24, 2023.
The Upper House Fellows Program is open to current graduate and undergraduate students at UW-Madison. We also consider applications from those who have graduated within the past three years.
Priority application deadline: May 15
Regular application deadline: August 15
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you apply by the priority deadline and are accepted to the program, we will guarantee a spot in your first-choice track. For later applications, while we will make an effort to honor your track choices, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis as spots remain available.
Questions? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org