LEND Fellows may come from all walks of life. Some are graduate students at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Some are post-doctoral candidates based within University of Minnesota departments or research centers. Many other Fellows are self-advocates, family advocates, or community-based professionals. 

All MNLEND Fellows are selected for their outstanding skills, leadership potential, lived experiences, and they must show a commitment to developing themselves, via LEND, to improve the quality of life outcomes for children and young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.

In partnership with 16+ University of Minnesota academic departments and research centers, MNLEND promises Fellows an enriching and challenging year-long training to ensure they collectively grow their leadership skills and knowledge base to work comfortably within interdisciplinary and collaborative settings.

MNLEND awards approximately 30 fellowships a year.

Fellow Benefits

There are many benefits to being a LEND Fellow.

  • Opportunity to participate in a year of multidisciplinary clinical and community training experiences, with one-to-one mentoring
  • Unique chance to learn with a group of Fellows from many disciplines and diverse lived experiences about neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Stipend payment 
  • Focused training on enhanced leadership skills and the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau's twelve MCH competencies
  • Connections to LEND Fellows and faculty across the United States who share an interest in both neurodevelopmental disabilities and advocacy

Fellow Requirements & Opportunities

Below is a sampling of Fellow requirements and opportunities. 


  • Attend Late August two-day mandatory orientation and person- and family-centered thinking training
  • Participate in weekly thematic modular sessions on Thursdays, following the University academic calendar (Early September to Mid-May)
  • Take the Disability Policy and Services course (OLPD5356)* - This course is part of the Disability Policy and Services Certificate. The complete 12-credit certificate is optional for Fellows. *An alternative Policy & Advocacy training could be substituted for OLPD5356, if the class cannot be taken for tuition credit
  • Observe and learn at clinical sites, such as the University of Minnesota ASD/NDD Clinic and other campus and metro-area interdisciplinary clinics
  • Receive a Families as Teachers experience - Fellows take time to learn directly from families and self-advocates with disabilities
  • Take online self-paced training modules for supplemental learning and self-development
  • Join team-building activities, special events, conferences, and additional optional trainings
  • Complete an Individualized policy-, clinical-, community- and/or research-based project under direction and support of a MNLEND faculty-mentor

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