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Latest Fellowships News

Goldwater Scholarship: Campus Submission Instructions

Posted: December 7th, 2009 by Brit

Below are the instructions for submitting your Goldwater Scholarship application for the University of Vermont campus competition. In addition to submitting your application, we recommend that you keep an extra copy of your application for your own records.

By noon on Friday, December 11:

Click “submit” on your online application. If you are unsure whether your references have submitted their letters of recommendation, it is your responsibility to get in touch with your recommenders and make sure they have submitted by the deadline. Those letters will be attached to your online application once they are submitted.

Also by noon on Friday, December 11:

Submit an electronic copy as well as a hard copy of your Goldwater Scholarship essays to the Office of Fellowships Advising. The electronic copy can be in Word or PDF format and can be e-mailed to britten.chase@uvm.edu. Make sure your name is on your essays as well as in the file name. The hard copy should be turned into the Fellowships Office: 17a University Heights North.

The University of Vermont Fellowships Committee will meet during the first two weeks January and nominate up to four students to represent the university in the Goldwater Scholarship competition at the national level. You will receive word of your nomination status before classes begin.

Congratulations on your accomplishments thus far, and best of luck with the end of the semester.

50 Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Posted: October 28th, 2009 by Brit

Educated Nation has come up with a list of 50 Interview Questions (and how to answer them). Most of these questions are relevant for job interviews, but this underscores the importance of anticipating interview questions and figuring out how to answer them BEFORE you go into any kind of interview, be it a fellowship interview, a graduate school interview or a job interview.

Remember: If you prepare for your interview, you will be confident for your interview. If you are confident for your interview, it means you won’t be nervous for your interview. That increases the likelihood of having a successful fellowships interview.

Prepare for your Fulbright Interview

Posted: September 21st, 2009 by Brit

The University of Vermont campus deadline for Fulbright Grants has come and gone. The next stage of the process will be a campus review of the applications, which includes an interview with the University of Vermont Fellowships Committee. It’s important to prepare in advance for the on-campus interview; get plenty of rest the night before and show up to your interview looking professional and ready to go.

Below is additional advice on how to prepare for your interview.

A Fellowship Interview Is…

Your opportunity to engage in an interesting and intellectual conversation with a group of smart people.

A Fellowship Interview Is Not…

A painfully nerve-wracking experience, as long as you do the work to prepare yourself in advance. If you prepare for your interview, you will be cool, confident, and ready to wow the committee.

There are three things to keep in mind as you prepare for your fellowship interview:

1. Know your Application Thoroughly

2. Stay on Message

3. Be Yourself

Know your Application Thoroughly

The majority of the interview will focus on information that was in your fellowship application. This includes your research proposal, personal statement, transcripts, resume and anything else that was included. Be ready to dive into your proposal in depth. If you did a research proposal make sure you can go deeper into the issues than what is included in your proposal, and also be ready to defend the research you have done. Before your interview, talk to your professors, ask them to help you anticipate where questions may come up. Develop a list of questions that may come up in the interview and practice answering them. If your proposal included a personal statement, be sure you remember what you said in that statement.

Stick to the vision, goals, and narrative you outlined in that statement, and be ready to expand on how the vision of who you are and what you want to become has played into other areas of your life. Always be prepared to answer questions regarding jobs or activities listed on your resume, as well as any classes that may appear on your transcript.

Stay on Message

Before your interview, pick three things about yourself that you want the fellowship committee members to have burned into their brain. It should be something about who you are, what you want to do, and how this fits into the mission and goals of the fellowship you are applying for. Try to bring whatever you are talking about back to the core: you, the fellowship, and how you are meant to be together.

Be Yourself

Above all, relax and enjoy the process. Be open and honest about who you are and what you want to accomplish. Be confident in your proposal; at this stage you’ve put a lot of thought, sweat, and tears into your project, and you should be proud of what you’ve produced. Finally, be confident in yourself; you’ve put an incredible amount of work into getting this far, and you have earned the opportunity to be in front of the committee. So enjoy it.


Fall ’09 Fulbright Interviews

Posted: September 17th, 2009 by Lisa Jane Schnell

Fulbright Interviews – Fall 2009

Room 034 E – U-Heights North (Honors College Conference Room)

It is imperative that you be on time for your interview. We cannot reschedule interviews to meet your course schedule unless you have something truly pressing (an exam—that’s about it). If you need our office to send a note to a professor or employer explaining your absence, please let us know and we will be happy to do so.

Interviews will be fifteen minutes long and will be based on your application and the criteria for the Fulbright competition. Each interview committee will be composed of three or four UVM faculty members in addition to Lisa Schnell and Brit Chase from the Honors College/Fellowships Office.

Tuesday, September 22

10:00 – Sasha Fisher

10:30 – Emily Lubell

11:00 – Greta Mattesich

Thursday, September 24

12:30 – Kayla DeCarr

1:00 – Carrie Shamel

1:30 – Lee Gross

3:30 – Michelle Magin

4:00 – Katherine McClintic

4:30 – Dzeneta Karabegovic

Tuesday, September 29

10:00 – Kristin Fioretti

10:30 – Samantha Weinberg

11:00 – Alexander Darr

Wednesday, September 30

12:15 – Laura Nesci

12:45 – Ashley Holmes

1:15 – Mackenna Palmer

1:40 – Paul Blomerth

Thursday, October 1

10:00 – Brenda Hamilton

10:30 – Liz Petow

11:00 – Hannah LeMieux

Instructions for Fulbright Recommenders

Posted: September 14th, 2009 by Lisa Jane Schnell

The Fulbright competition is a particularly complex one for our office: the Fulbright office requires both online and hard copy applications and it necessitates that our office at UVM act as the clearinghouse for what amounts to hundreds of documents from the many (over twenty this year) applicants we have for Fulbright grants. For this reason, we are trying to be very clear from the outset about the procedure for referees—it’s often the recommendations that give us trouble in the last days before the competition’s deadline of October 19. To that end, it’s very important that you follow the procedure below for submitting your recommendation letters:

1. By September 18, please email a copy of your recommendation to Lisa Schnell at Lisa.Schnell@uvm.edu. In the subject line of the email please write: “Fulbright letter for (candidate’s full name)” and attach the letter (or completed form in the case of the ETAs) as a pdf or as a Word document.

2. Although you will receive instructions from the Fulbright folks about uploading your letter to the candidate’s online Embark application, please do not do this until you hear from us in early October, after the internal UVM review of the Fulbright applications. In some cases, letters have errors or are simply not appropriate for the competition (see attached Guidelines) and we like to be able to convey this information to writers before the external deadline so that they have the opportunity to make corrections (once letters are uploaded to the Embark website, it is almost impossible to get them back for those corrections). Once the Scholarship Committee has had a chance to go over the applications, our office will get in touch with you and ask you to a) upload the letter/form to the Embark site and b) print out a hard copy of your letter/form and attach it to the form provided to you by the candidate. Please be sure to sign and date the form. We then ask you to seal the hard copy in an envelope and sign across the flap. The candidate will pick up the envelope and deliver it with the rest of her/his materials to our office by October 14th.

It is absolutely imperative that your letters come in by the dates mentioned above. The Fulbright Commission does not accept late materials, and, by definition, an incomplete application is a failed application.

NOTE: If you have already uploaded your letter, don’t worry—it will be fine, and I will have access to it. We prefer to have the letters sent to us electronically via email for the internal deadline (it’s easier for us to get materials to our committee), but we will have access to them if they are uploaded even now. If, for the ETA recommendation, it is easier for you simply to upload the form now, then please go ahead and do that.

On the Eve of the Campus Deadline: Tips to Clean Up Your Fulbright Application

Posted: September 14th, 2009 by Brit

As more students stop by the Fellowships Office asking for feedback on their third, fourth, or fifth Fulbright application draft, more students are getting feedback that says something like, “Clean it up and you’re good to go.” There’s good news and bad news when you get that comment: The good news is you’re only one (maybe two) drafts away from the end of the drafting process! (Although, should you advance beyond the campus round, get ready for a whole new round of refining your work). The bad news is that it’s time to take a magnifying glass to your application; examine your work structurally, examine it grammatically and examine it punctuationally.*

Here’s three steps to ensure you have a clean application:

1. Copy edit: This is quite different from “spell check.” Your word processor doesn’t know if your Fulbright proposal is “do” or “due” on September 18, and it won’t know when you should use there, their or they’re. Read through everything you’ve written carefully. Then read through it again. Then have a friend read through it. Then maybe one more friend should glance at it. The more people that read your application, the better your chances are that one person will catch that errant typo.

2. Read your proposals and personal statements out loud: Oftentimes you read through your proposal too quickly when you’re copy editing. Having to read your proposal out loud does two things: 1) It forces you to slow down the speed at which you are reading so your lips can keep up, and 2) Listening to how your application sounds adds another sense to a process that will help you pick up on missing words or punctuation. It will also help you to listen to how your writing flows (or doesn’t flow) so you can make any sort of structural changes necessary.

3. Make sure you’ve connected the dots: You should always be thinking about how you are answering these three** things for the Fulbright Committee: What you want to do, how you want to do it, why you are qualified to do it, and how it will play into your life post-Fulbright. If you feel like you’re not addressing one of those points clearly, concisely and effectively then see how you can rework your writing to hit on these points.

3a. If you do end up changing things around, repeat steps one and two.

Your entire application is due September 18. That means: Five days, two essays, no mercy. And no spelling or grammatical errors!

*See “examine your work grammatically”

**Also remember: If you’re saying that you’re listing three points, make sure you are, in fact, listing three points.

Fulbright Submission for September 18 UVM Deadline

Posted: September 8th, 2009 by Lisa Jane Schnell

Information Sheet for Internal Submission of Fulbright Applications

This information sheet covers the procedures around the first application deadline of September 18, 2009. Early in October, we will circulate another set of instructions involving the final submission of your Fulbright application for the final October 19 deadline.

Please follow these instructions to the letter. We have many applicants this year and it is important that everyone submits in the same way and following the same procedure.

1. By the end of the day on September 18, make sure you’ve completed all parts of the Embark application and hit the SUBMIT button.

(It is important that you know that when you “Submit” you are submitting to our office, not to the Fulbright office in New York. And we can “unsubmit” your application any time up to October 19 so that you can have it back to make corrections. We can do this an unlimited number of times if necessary . . . until the external deadline of October 19. Well before October 19, you will have hit SUBMIT for the last time, and all the applications will be on our Embark screens. We will then hit our “Submit” button, which sends everything to New York.)

2. By the end of the day on September 18, make sure that all the hardcopy documents that need to accompany your specific application (which can be any of the following: transcripts, language evaluations, letters of affiliation, samples of creative work) are delivered to our office in U-Heights North in a single envelope marked clearly with your name and “Fulbright Competition.”

3. For the internal competition, all your recommenders should be submitting their letters to our offices online. But in the event that one or more of your recommenders mistakenly assumes that, at this point, you need a sealed hard copy of their letter, please pick it up and bring it in with your materials—it won’t be a problem and it will preclude things becoming more confusing for you or your recommender.

4. Once we have your application, the UVM Fulbright committee will be reviewing it and then interviewing you in a 15-minute interview between the dates of September 23 and October 2. We will be scheduling that interview with you in the next few days. The committee will be asking questions at that interview arising from your application.

A final note that deadlines are not negotiable, nor will there be a lot of flexibility in our interview schedule. It will be very important that you check your email frequently and that, when necessary, we hear back from you in a timely manner. All emails from us will have the word “Fulbright” as the first word of the subject heading.

Very helpful tips for Fulbright applicants

Posted: September 7th, 2009 by Lisa Jane Schnell

Here are some wonderfully useful tips from a former Fulbright recipient for those of you putting together a Fulbright application this fall:


by Radha Blackman, 2003-2004, Bulgaria

After carefully researching and planning a relevant, feasible and rewarding Fulbright project, the next important step is producing persuasive and high quality documents for your application. The process of writing and revision is key to not only submitting a great application, but to refining and clarifying your goals and objectives along the way as well.

It is advisable to include as many different people in this process as possible: the most critical person you know (academics and parents are often good for this); the most creative person you know (someone who thinks outside of the box); the most competent and accomplished people you know (both in your field and outside); and the best writer that you know (an English teacher can also be helpful as long as you don’t mind having grammatical minutiae critiqued).

It is also advisable to have at least three sets of eyes look at everything you submit, but not necessarily the same eyes for all documents. All of them can use the following Checklists as a guide:

Statement of Proposed Research or Study Checklist

The Statement should demonstrate that you are able to plan and implement a successful research project or course of study, and it will be your guide to completing it and meeting your objectives. It should be as specific as possible, while also being flexible enough to make the best of the reality you will find once you arrive overseas, which will inevitably be a little different than planned.

Overall, is the Statement persuasive, direct, concise and easy to read? Short (three or four-line) paragraphs are very effective!

*Does it emphasize the relevance and significance of the project from start to finish?

*Does the first paragraph answer who, what, when, where, why and how?

*Do the next paragraphs detail what you propose to do and how you will do it?

*Is the timeline realistic and specific? Does it include any pre- and post-grant plans?

*Are there clearly defined achievable goals, objectives (the activities/steps to reach your goals), concrete outcomes, and measurable results?

*Does the proposal fit within the context of your experience and skills? Save the details for your Personal Statement.

*Are the methodology and activities comprehensive, relevant, appropriate, feasible, and approved/approvable if necessary?

*Does the Statement describe with whom you will work, why, and the support that they have offered to give you in their letter of support/affiliation/invitation?

*Does it demonstrate why the project or study needs to be in the country selected, the resources the country provides, and how it will benefit from your work there?

*Does it highlight what contribution the project will make in promoting cross-cultural interaction and mutual understanding, including how it will impact the U.S?

*Does it demonstrate a commitment to engage with the host country community through volunteer and extra-curricular activities?

*Does it clearly explain your future plans and how your work will help further your academic or professional development?

*Does the closing paragraph re-emphasize what you will achieve and what makes your project exciting, necessary and unique?

Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement (PS) should narrate your personal and intellectual development. It should show how your proposal is the next logical and necessary step in your life, and how you are qualified to carry it out. It is your opportunity to illustrate what a unique and exceptional individual you are!

*Overall, is your PS interesting and easy to read? Does it show, rather than tell, who you are?

*Does your PS demonstrate your motivation and ability to work independently?

*Does it show who you are, and make the reader want to know you better?

*Do you demonstrate your experience and interest in intercultural learning and sharing?

*Do you repeat information included in other parts of your application? Omit them unless they are necessary for further explanation or emphasis.

Reference Letters

Yes, we know that you won’t write your own reference letter. But we also know that references will often request that you at least indicate what you want the letter to say, if not to draft a letter that they can edit, print on their letterhead and sign. At the very least, you should provide a summary of your proposal, qualifications, goals and your relevant experience, especially in terms of work you have done with them.

*Do the details in the letter match facts repeated elsewhere on the application? Dates, titles, etc?

*Does the letter indicate how you are prepared and able to carry out your proposed project?

*Does the letter highlight your best qualities and accomplishments? Don’t be modest!

*Does the letter give examples of how you have taken initiative, managed your time, and worked well cooperatively and/or independently?

*Does the letter speak to your emotional and intellectual maturity and ability to adapt, live and even thrive in a foreign culture?

Writing Personal Statements

Posted: September 7th, 2009 by Lisa Jane Schnell

Doug Cutchins of Grinnell College, a colleague of mine, put together a wonderfully helpful document on writing personal statements. He’s generously made it available for the rest of us fellowships advisors to share with our students. So here it is, one of the most helpful discussions I’ve seen on the personal statements all fellowship candidates (and grad school applicants) need to master:

Writing Personal Statements

Welcome to Brit Chase!

Posted: July 9th, 2009 by Lisa Jane Schnell


This month, we are excited to welcome Brit Chase to fellowships advising at UVM; she will be working with me (Lisa Schnell) to advise students across the campus in national fellowship and scholarship competitions. After graduation from Hamilton College and then from Columbia University (with a Masters in Journalism), Brit worked as a journalist before becoming the Director of New Media for Oregon congressman, Earl Blumenauer. So along with her tremendous energy, Brit also brings valuable skills in writing and communications, both of which she will put to good use in working with students on their applications for prestigious fellowships like the Fulbright, Truman, Udall, and Boren (among others).

Brit will be just down the hall from the Honors College offices, in 17A U-Heights North (just beside the games room on the main floor).

We’re thrilled to have her as part of the Honors College team!


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