The Gustavian Weekly

Students pursue Fulbright programs and post-graduate opportunities | The Gustavian Weekly

By Christine Peterson Staff Writer | September 28, 2014 | News

(Left to right) Libby Larson, the Gustavian Weekly News Editor is applying as an English Teaching Assistant in Norway, Mariah Wika, and Professor Amanda Nienow, the Gustavus Fellowships Advisor.

(Left to right) Libby Larson, the Gustavian Weekly News Editor is applying as an English Teaching Assistant in Norway, Mariah Wika, and Professor Amanda Nienow, the Gustavus Fellowships Advisor.

As the new school year begins, seniors are thinking about what comes next in life. One of the options is applying for fellowships such as the Fulbright Scholarship in order to keep learning and building a resume.

The Gustavus Fellowships Office was started five years ago in order to help centralize advising for students who want to apply for national fellowships.The Gustavus Website explains in detail about what fellowships are and what a student can do with them:

“Each year, Gustavus students apply for and receive these prestigious awards [fellowships], enabling them to engage in a variety of activities including: spending time overseas, conducting independent research, earning money toward their undergraduate tuition, and attending graduate school.”

Alisa Rosenthal was the Fellowship Advisor for the first four years of its establishment. She explains the purpose of this relatively new program, and how it benefits students.

“It’s both about making sure that folks know the opportunities about [Fellowships], and then working with them while they are here to prepare competitive applications and to do the kinds of things that will make them competitive,” Rosenthal said.

Some applications have a lengthy process. The Fulbright Scholarship is one such multi-step application. It first includes finding an institution abroad that will support the student’s research project and help guide them throughout the way. It also includes an application essay, three references, a student’s transcript, an affiliation letter with the institution, and an interview with Gustavus professors.

Though the process is extensive, there are many resources on campus to help an applying student with the process.

Senior Mariah Wika is currently applying for the Fulbright Scholarship and describes the large support she has felt from the professors while appling.

“I have had the support of many professors throughout this process. They have generously given their time to offer invaluable perspective, feedback, and encouragement,” Wika said.

Rosenthal explains how since the Fellowship Office has been established, they have seen an increase in students receiving fellowships.

“One of the great things about creating the office we’ve seen our number of winners of nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships go up dramatically,” Rosenthal said.

One example of a successful past Fulbright research project was breast cancer research in Iceland.

This year’s senior Mariah Wika is proposing to do her project on multiculturalism. Her thesis is on multiculturalism in American literature, and is hoping to expand this research to Norway.

“If I received the Fulbright grant, I would expand my research cross-culturally by examining the same issue in Norway in collaboration with the faculty at Queen Maud’s University College. I would also partner with a Trondheim grade school to assist Norwegian children with English literacy,” Wika said.

Fellowships are just another option for a postgraduate student, which gives students an opportunity to further their research. By establishing the Fellowships Office, Gustavus has made the process of applying and searching for fellowships more accessible for students.

Students interested in the Fulbright or other fellowship programs are encouraged to contact Fellowships Coordinator and Chemistry Professor Amanda Nienow.

-Christine Peterson