About Banneker Institute


Why Banneker?

The program and its name are a nod to Benjamin Banneker, a surveyor best known for accompanying Andrew Ellicott in his original land survey of what would become Washington, D.C. Banneker was also an accomplished astronomer, which drove the success of his series of almanacs. As a forefather to Black American contributions to science, his eminence has earned him the distinction of being the first professional astronomer in America.

Who should apply?

We target undergraduate juniors from backgrounds historically marginalized from academia and the astronomical sciences in particular. While there is a preference for students of color, we welcome applications from students of all backgrounds. Our application review process considers historical injustices and the tendency for traditional application practices to reproduce racial disparities in academia.

Are there any restrictions on who can apply?

The only restrictions are on foreign nationals and year of graduation. Applicants must be an undergraduate (1) US citizen (or person with work authorization, including those with DACA status) and (2) must on track to graduate after completing our program.