About The Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize


What is the Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize?
The Milton (PhD ’69) and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize encourages and supports recent Caltech graduates who would like to explore careers and gain practice in professional development pursuits outside of academia. It provides funding to recent alumni to take a career sabbatical and support compelling and innovative projects that enhance the awardees’ skills and careers. We encourage projects that have the potential to make a meaningful and positive impact on society. In this first year of the program, each graduate and undergraduate recipient of the Chang Prize can receive up to $65,000 in funding to fearlessly explore careers outside of academia and support their proposed project. 

Who is eligible to apply?

  1. Recent Caltech alumni who have received their BS, terminal masters, or PhD from Caltech within the past ten years, with a preference for those who graduated in the past five years.

  2. Current Caltech students who will receive their degree by the application deadline.

What types of projects does the Chang Prize support?
The Chang Prize is meant to enable Caltech alumni to explore career experiences outside of universities or labs. It is designed for alumni who are willing to take risks, looking to change career paths, pursue unique or unusual careers, volunteer, or solve problems within or outside their degree or field. Alumni are encouraged to use their imagination when thinking about what to do, but whatever project is proposed should  provide an opportunity for the applicant to pursue new career experiences and learn new skills.

How do I apply for the Chang Prize?
The proposal period for the 2018 Chang Prize has closed. We will begin accepting proposals for the 2019 Chang Prize in February. Applicants are asked to provide information about themselves along with a project proposal including what they intend to do should they receive the prize, how they plan to spend the associated prize money, what skills they expect to gain and use in the process, what they hope to achieve, and how they plan to share this experience with students and alumni.

What information should be included in the project proposal?

  • Project Title & Abstract/Executive Summary

  • Project Description
    A detailed explanation of what you intend to build or do.

  • Goals & Objectives

  • Intended Outcome
    What problem are you solving/what do you intend to achieve?

  • Potential Impact
    Does your project have the potential to make meaningful and positive impact on society?

  • New Career Experiences
    What will you learn by completing this project? What new career experiences do you expect to have in the process?

  • Professional Development - Skills & Strengths
    What strengths will you develop by completing this project, and what skills will you apply or gain in the process?

  • Timeline
    What you intend to complete and when. Chang Prize recipients are expected to complete their project within 6-12 months.

  • Budget
    How much money are you asking for, how do you intend to spend it? What additional funds (if any) are needed to complete the project, and do you have access to those funds?

  • Statement of Need
    Would receiving this prize make a substantial difference in your ability to explore a new career path and complete you project? What will these funds will enable you to do that you would not have otherwise been able to do on your own?

  • Communications
    Share some examples of the ways that you will document, record, and share this exploration with current students and alumni. We want to follow your journey from start to finish. Your communications should be visual, accessible, and easily understood by a broad audience.

You can upload a PDF, Word document, or PowerPoint presentation of your project proposal to the online application. 

When is the submission deadline?
Submissions for the 2019 Chang Prize will be accepted online until 11:59 PM Pacific Time on August 15, 2019.

How will submissions be evaluated?
Submissions will be evaluated based on the quality of each proposal and according to the following criteria:

  • Merit: Is the proposed project compelling and innovative?

  • Knowledge Gained: Will the applicant gain valuable experience, engage in professional development, or pursue a career path outside of academia by undertaking this project?

  • Feasibility and Risk: Allowing for a generous amount of risk-taking, could the proposed project realistically be completed by the applicant within a year given their available time and resources? Will the applicant be able to fulfill all of the obligations that come with winning the Chang Prize?

  • Need: Would receiving this prize make a substantial difference in the applicant’s ability to explore a new career path, take a risk, and complete their project?

  • Impact: Does the project have the potential to make a positive impact on society?

Are there any obligations for winners of the Chang Prize?
Recipients of the Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize are expected to share the journey of their exploration through storytelling and creative documentation. Awardees will provide regular updates on process, progress, challenges, and learnings through words and photos for both a student and alumni audience. A majority of the communication of your experiences will take place by using social media and blogging. After your project is complete, we would like you to come back to campus in person to talk with students and alumni. Chang Prize recipients agree to:

  • Share their experiences, perspectives, and learning with Caltech alumni and students throughout the project by sharing photos, social media content, and a monthly blog post on the Caltech Alumni website and social media streams.

  • Be willing to participate in a career-building workshop or webinar hosted by the Caltech Alumni Association.

  • Speak with alumni about what they accomplished and learned by participating in a webinar, live-stream, or other virtual event organized by the Caltech Alumni Association.

  • Submit a report upon completion of the project to the Office of Alumni Relations detailing what they have done, how the prize funds were spent, how their progress and experience was communicated with students and alumni, and the things they were able to accomplish with the support of the Chang Prize.

  • Return to campus within 6 months of completing their project to talk with students and alumni about their experience (your travel expenses will be paid).

  • Be willing to provide feedback three years after completing the project in the form of a report, blog post and/or a video for publication on the Caltech Alumni website, reflecting upon the value of the prize in allowing the recipient to take their career in new and more productive and engaging directions.

  • Adhere to the Caltech honor code.

Additional Rules and Regulations:

  • An individual alumna or alumnus may submit only one project for the Chang Prize each year.

  • An individual alumna or alumnus may receive the Chang Career Exploration Prize only once.

  • If fewer than two alumni projects are deemed viable, one or no prizes may be awarded in a given year.

  • If funding is available more than two prizes may be awarded in a given year.

  • All application materials must be submitted through the online form. We do not accept mailed or emailed applications.

When will the winners of the 2018 Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize be announced?
Winners of the Chang Prize will be announced by the end of October 2018.

If you have any questions about the Chang Prize, contact Liz Rauer at changprize@alumni.caltech.edu