With the new Prestigious Fellowships program developed by the College of Arts and Sciences, Marquette will be following in the footsteps of the Ivy League by assisting its students in applying for 17 different prestigious scholarships for graduate school. Prestigious Fellowships cover the costs of graduate education through different programs and projects around the globe. These fellowships honor undergraduate students based on academic merit rather than on financial need, according to Dr. Amelia Zurcher, an English professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Zurcher, who helped to develop this program for Marquette, explained that because the fellowships are for continuing education, the applicants must show that they thrive in an academic setting.
The Prestigious Fellowships program was started “to raise awareness [of the fellowships] and assist students in applying for fellowships,” said Dr. Heather Hathaway, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, who has provided a lot of the impetus for starting the fellowship program.
And apparently Marquette does need to raise student awareness. “In comparison to other schools of similar size and ranking, Marquette came nowhere near the other universities’ numbers of fellowship recipients,” Zurcher said.
The most important aspect of the program is to put students in touch with faculty members who are familiar with each particular scholarship. “Individual faculty advisors have been appointed to each fellowship to advise students from all corners of the University,” said Hathaway.
Kaye Wierzbicki, a senior Literature major, is in the process of applying for three of these Prestigious Fellowships. She says that having an established program to help in the application process will be extremely beneficial.
“I am thrilled with what Dr. Hathaway and the fellowship advisers are doing in order to make the process more streamlined, with a greater focus on mentoring.”
But to Wierzbicki, the application process is only one step towards realizing her dream of studying out of the country after she graduates. Because the fellowships can give her this opportunity, she believes that applying for them is definitely advisable. “I think that having an intense immersion experience in another culture is always worthwhile. These fellowships provide an interesting and intellectually challenging option to learn within another university system.”
But even if she does not receive any of the fellowships, Wierzbicki says that “the application process has still been extremely beneficial.
“I had already done so much work in preparing my statements and proposals for the fellowships, that it was not too difficult to tailor them to my regular graduate school applications,”said Wierzbicki.
Although it may seem that these fellowships are geared toward students in the College of Arts and Sciences, members of other colleges can gain great opportunities with these fellowships as well. Zurcher explained that once a student has completed the time of study provided for by the fellowship, many prestigious universities and businesses will pursue that student because they want to be associated with fellowship recipients. So Harvard Medical School may be calling after the two to three years of the fellowship are over.
According to Hathaway, all Marquette students are welcome to apply for any of the scholarships, because “as more students apply and win these fellowships, that will obviously shine a positive light on Marquette University.”
The Prestigious Fellowships program reception is Wednesday, October 10 at 4:00 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union – Ballroom A/B. All are welcome to attend.