ICIS Founding Generation Summer
Fellowship for Undergraduates

Supporting the next generation of infant studies scholars

A core goal of ICIS is to mentor future leaders of the field of infancy. The Founding Generation Summer Fellowship for Undergraduates aims to develop the next generation of scholars to advance innovative research on infancy and translation of research for the public good.

The field of infant research is critical to understanding human development and the application of research findings to education, health, and policy worldwide. This kind of research and outreach requires the participation of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Unfortunately, that breadth of representation is lacking.

To address the urgent need of broadening the representation of students, ICIS has created paid summer fellowships.  We encourage all interested students to apply, especially those from under-represented and under-resourced backgrounds, as well as any students who are in the first generation of their family to attend college.

The program pairs promising students with researchers from around the world who conduct cutting-edge science. Identified mentors will work with students over an intensive 8-week period. Students receive financial support (up to US$4,000) to enable them to meet with mentors, participate in lab meetings, work with staff, doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows , and build critical skills through hands-on training in research methods. Mentors may also choose to support a portion of the $4000 stipend for the support of a student.  Upon completion of the fellowship, students present their work at a dedicated virtual symposium, and are encouraged to submit their work at the 2026 Congress (they may apply for travel support).

Recognizing the Founding Generation

This initiative builds on prior ICIS programs, recognizes ICIS forebears, and honors the contributions of key figures in the Congress’s establishment.  The brief history of ICIS (below) describes the individuals who inspired the creation of the Founding Generation program.


The Founding Generation Summer Internship Program was established to recognize the contributions of past scholars of infancy studies by supporting the next generation of researchers in infancy. The origins of ICIS, which was known as ISIS (International Society on Infant Studies) from its inception until 2015, can be traced to an informal, interdisciplinary group of 30-50 researchers (the Correspondents on Research on Infants or CRI) that included Psychologists, Pediatricians, Psychiatrists, and Neurologists. CRI members—representing nearly all the major infancy researchers at the time—began to meet in the early 1960s to share their work on infant development. A sub-group of CRIers met monthly in New York and New Jersey, including Marc H. Bornstein, Nathan Fox, Judy Gardner, Bernie Karmel, Michael Lewis, David Lewkowicz, William Fifer, Susan Rose, Holly Ruff, and Gerry Turkewitz. Others who often often visited the group included Joe Fagan, Robert Fantz, Marshall Haith, Bill Kessen, Marian Sigman, and Daniel Stern.

At the time, advances in medicine and increased numbers of premature and sick infants surviving pregnancy and childbirth led to an explosion of infant research. The rapid expansion in infant research highlighted the need to establish an independent venue for CRI members to share their theoretical work and empirical research.

As a result, the first International Conference on Infant Development was organized in Providence, Rhode Island in 1978, under the leadership of Lewis Lipsitt. (Notably, Lewis set the stage for ICIS meetings to have an element of fun mixed in with serious science by inviting a professional yo-yo master to teach researchers how to use a yo-yo!) For several years, the larger ICIS conference followed CRI meetings, being held in whichever city served as the designated CRI site. The local CRI researcher served as program chair and made all arrangements (including signing contracts for hotel “rack rates” and determining the location of the conference dinner). The broad appeal of the ICIS conference ensured its success: registration fees consistently exceeded costs, allowing the congress to consistently meet in the off-years of SRCD.

In addition to hosting the first ICIS conference in Providence, Lewis Lipsitt served as founding editor of Infant Behavior and Development (IBAD), which grew further under the vision of Carolyn Rovee-Collier during her 18-year tenure as editor. Lipsitt and Rovee-Collier also founded and co-edited the series Advances in Infancy Research, to which many original CRIers contributed.

Although ICIS members adopted IBAD as their unofficial journal, by the 1990’s the Society wanted a journal that it could independently control. In response, Esther Thelen (President of ICIS at the time), Rachel Keen (President-elect), Nathan Fox, and Marian Sigman negotiated with the assistance of Attorney Jeff Pasek the new journal Infancy with Lawrence Erlbaum in 2000. Leslie Cohen served as the first editor of ICIS’s flagship journal, followed by Richard Aslin, Martha Ann Bell, John Colombo, and Gavin Bremner as current Editor.

Committee Members

Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, New York University (Chair)

Sandy Waxman, Northwestern University (Co-Chair)

Martha Arterberry, Colby College

Chiara Cantiani, Scientific Institute IRCCS E. Medea

Moira Dillon, New York University

Fran Doyle, Western Sydney University

Ashley Goh, University of Missouri-Columbia

Theano Kokkinaki, University of Crete

Julie Markant, Tulane University

Samuel Putnam, Bowdoin College

Catherine Sandhofer, UCLA

Ensuring the initiative future success

Through philanthropy we reaffirm our commitment to the future of our field. We invite you to ensure the success of the Founding Generation Summer Fellowship and celebrate our community by making a donation, via the Go Fund Me campaign. You may make a donation in recognition of an influential person who shaped your life and career.

Other ways to Donate

If you’d like to find out about other donation mechanisms, please contact the ICIS Secretariat below

In reflecting upon my career and the many intellectual threads that influenced my scholarship, I realized that my primary allegiance has consistently been aligned with ICIS.  It is the biennial meeting I always attend, the focus of my research on human development, and the set of colleagues with whom I unequivocally identify.  It was natural, therefore, when I was able to make a gift to a scientific organization, that I would direct my gift to ICIS.  I hope that others who feel the same way about ICIS as I do will consider adding their support to the Founding Generation Fund so that our discipline remains vibrant and relevant to the next generation of scholars.”  – Anonymous Donor

Visit our Application Page

Celebrating an outstanding 2023 cohort

Thoughts from our Students

Thoughts from our Mentors

I cannot say enough about our student intern, Leah Gano. Leah really owned this project. She reviewed the data, developed a coding scheme, supervised a coding team, analyzed the findings, and submitted the findings for a presentation at the 2024 ICIS Meeting. Moreover, we have continued our research from the summer and I am confident that our collaboration will result in the publication of our findings. Overall, this was a total win-win and I could not be prouder of all that Leah has accomplished and look forward to seeing her continue to succeed as a researcher.

Eric Walle

University of California, Merced

During the summer, we welcomed Marta for her internship at the Medea BabyLab. This was her first experience working in a developmental lab and it gave her the opportunity to put into practice what she learned at the University, increasing her awareness about infancy science. In addition to contributing to a specific project we developed together, she was immersed in all the lab activities. Her presence was a wonderful addition to our lab: she brought new ideas and all her enthusiasm towards our everyday’s activities. I am sure that this experience strengthened Marta’s interests for research and helped her in clarifying the goals in her future professional career.

Chiara Cantiani

Scientific Institute IRCCS E. Medea

I had the pleasure of working with Azzurra this summer on an independent project examining the role of parenting and infant temperament in infant EEG asymmetry at rest and during emotion-eliciting tasks. I was blown away by Azzurra’s work on this project! She quickly became trained in infant EEG reduction and independently reduced data from 40 infants. She also completed a thorough literature search and summarized relevant articles. At the end of the summer, she analyzed the data for her project and prepared a poster of her findings that she presented at the MU Summer Research Forum. It was a rewarding experience for me to see Azzurra grow as a researcher over the summer and solidify her commitment to pursuing a graduate degree.

Ashley Groh

University of Missouri

It was wonderful to get to know Syakira this summer — and for her to get to know our lab. She did a deep dive into children’s attention during learning events and how that relates to what children learn. Syakira could see up close how research is conducted, observe data collection in progress, and do statistical analysis of the data she generated over the summer. She will ultimately be presenting her findings at an international conference. Syakira was a fabulous lab member, and she is welcome back anytime!

Catherine Sandhofer

University of California Los Angeles

Fellowship Archive

2022 Cohort

Building on the success of the initial cohort, in the summer of 2022, ICIS paired 6 undergraduate students with mentors.  Testimonials from mentors and students show that participants greatly valued their experience. Students highlighted many benefits of the program, including learning about developmental science and gaining a deep appreciation and knowledge of a specific area of infant research. The summer fellowships inspired, educated, and enabled students in a variety of ways.

2021 Cohort

In the summer of 2021, ICIS paired 8 undergraduate students with mentors.  Testimonials from mentors and students show that participants greatly valued their experience. Students highlighted many benefits of the program, including learning about developmental science, gaining a deep appreciation and knowledge of a specific area of infant research; acquiring skills, research tools and know how in behavioral coding, brain recordings, statistical analyses, and research dissemination.

The summer fellowships inspired, educated, and enabled students in a variety of ways.

Fellows from 2021 reported that the experience gave them a greater awareness of infancy science, with experiences that were both broad and deep:

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