Champions of the Brain Fellows

Champions of the Brain Fellows

Graduate students play a critical role within the department. Because their work in the lab is vital to research discoveries, a strong graduate program is key to attracting superb faculty.  The advances they make while at MIT greatly enhance the Institute’s reputation as a leader in education and scientific research.

However, as the cost of educating graduate students climbs, federal support for basic science has declined, forcing the department to be cautious in its admissions. We have been careful not to overextend our resources: this year, we admitted about half the typical number of graduate students in order to ensure there would be enough department funds to support them throughout their training.

The Champions of the Brain Fellows was created to recognize the generosity of those friends and alumni who make it possible for BCS graduate students to explore their scientific dreams: to determine the right area of specialization and have the freedom of time to develop new insights and ideas.

Download the Champions brochure (PDF)

become a champion

An Early Champion

When Barrie and Al '51 Zesiger learned that the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences would only be able to admit eleven students due to funding concerns, they pledged one million dollars to endow a fellowship for the department. Now, in order to inaugurate the Champions of the Brain Fellows, Barrie and Al have pledged an additional one million dollars to match new fellowship donations. With this match, Barrie and Al are encouraging others to follow their example.

Becoming a Champion enables our supporters to meet annually with our faculty and graduate students, who are among the best and brightest in the world. Each Champion receives periodic updates from the graduate student he or she is supporting, in addition to an invitation to the annual reception and dinner in celebration of the year’s accomplishments.

  • Fully fund a one-year fellowship: $70,000
  • Support one student each year for five years: $325,000
  • Support one young scientist every year, forever: $1 million

For more information about becoming a Champion, please contact Elizabeth Chadis, Assistant Dean, Development, MIT School of Science at or 617.253.8903

Download the Champions brochure (PDF)

our champions

The department is deeply grateful to the following individuals for supporting our students:

Gerald Burnett
Nancy Garvey
Mark Gorenberg
Nancy and Jeffrey Halis
Jack and Thelma Hilibrand
Alan and Gittel Hilibrand
Lawrence and Deborah Hilibrand
Alan and Sherry Leventhal
Anne and Paul Marcus
William McClelland
Janet and Shelly Razin
Mrs. Hubert Schoemaker
Caroline and Henry Singleton*
Eugene Stark
Barbara Weedon*
Barrie HM and Al ‘51 Zesiger

* deceased