Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship

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The fellowship is named for the late Mingma Norbu Sherpa, a pioneering conservationist in the Himalaya who served as an official with the World Wildlife Fund. A protégé of Sir Edmund Hillary, Mr. Sherpa believed that “saving nature need not take place at the expense of the people,” and as example of that, he developed an 800-square-mile conservation area surrounding the 28,169 foot tall Kangchenjunga (behind Everest and K2 in height). He and 23 others died in a 2006 helicopter crash just after they left a ceremony giving control of the area to the local residents.

The 2015 Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship was presented to Andrew Koltun for his work with To the Last Drop: Water System Quality Studies in Rural Uganda. Koltun will travel to four Ugandan villages to test several springs for contaminants. The data collected will be used to decide how to mitigate contamination in the future.


Eligible applicants must be:

  • undergraduate or graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • continuing their studies at UNC-Chapel Hill in the semester following their fellowship

Submission Guidelines

The online application asks for the following information:

  • a concise description of the project and how you will carry it out;
  • specific outcomes and how you will measure them;
  • a statement of the eventual impact and value of the project;
  • an approximate timeline you will follow; and
  • a project budget that does not request more than $1,250 and describes the sources and amounts of any other funding.

If the project will be conducted in cooperation with or will receive financial or other support from a governmental agency or private sector organization, the application should include, in addition to a proposal, a letter of commitment from each such agency or organization.

Applications for the Sherpa Fellowship are currently closed.