Wilkes University

Bierly Fellowship

The Bierly Fellowship at Wilkes University

Wilkes University seeks candidates for the Bierly Fellowship, created to fund unique experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students eager to perform quality work in their field of study outside of the campus community.

The fellowship may cover a credit or non-credit bearing cooperative education or internship experience, an international or domestic study-away experience or off-campus undergraduate research. 

The Bierly Fellowship is open to full-time undergraduate students in any major. Students may receive the one-time award in their sophomore, junior or senior year, though preference will be given to juniors and seniors.

Awards will range from $500 to $5,000 and can be used to cover transportation, housing or a biweekly stipend for expenses during the fellowship program. The award cannot be issued in cash, nor can it be used for Wilkes tuition or fees.

Successful Fellowship Profile

To be considered for the Bierly Fellowship, the chosen learning experience should develop or enhance the student’s current leadership skills and help build a diverse professional network. The fellowship must be at least four weeks long, though it may last an entire semester. Fellows will live and work at a site where they can network with their peers.

The fellowship award is to benefit one student and cannot be used to fund more than one student, as in the case of a group trip associated with a course.

Fellowship Application Process

To apply for a Bierly Fellowship, students must:

  • Be full-time undergraduate students in good academic and disciplinary standing at Wilkes University
  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time of application.


The application packet needs to include a completed application, the student’s résumé, an official Wilkes transcript, a personal statement of 250 words or less, and letters of recommendation from the student’s academic advisor as well as another Wilkes faculty member.

Bierly Fellows will be chosen in the fall and spring of each year from applications reviewed by the fellowship committee. Completed materials must be submitted to the committee chair, Sharon Castano, director of internships, by Sept. 30 for the spring semester and Feb. 1 for the summer and fall semester. Students will be notified of the committee’s decision within 30 days of the application deadline.

As a Bierly Fellow, students must:

  • Meet all criteria outlined in the fellowship
  • Work with University faculty and staff to identify an experience that aligns with career goals
  • Create a detailed budget for the trip
  • Secure academic advisor approval
  • Provide proof of proper health insurance and travel documentation
  • Submit a follow-up report within one month of the return from the fellowship experience

For more information, contact Sharon Castano at 570-408-2950 or sharon.castano@wilkes.edu.


The Bierly Fellowship, established to make experiential learning opportunities affordable for Wilkes students, honors the late George W. Bierly. A native of Wilkes-Barre, Mr. Bierly graduated from Bucknell University Junior College in 1940, and earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from MIT in 1943. He served the U.S. Army in the European Theater during WWII.

Mr. Bierly was married to the late Betty Kanarr and the couple made their home in Spring Valley, Pa. He served as an instructor, administrative head and Director of Campus at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Community affiliations included the Wilkes- Barre Chamber of Commerce, the United Way and the Westmoreland Club. The successful business and community leader retired in 1980.