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Student profile: Truman finalist Andrew DeFrank

By Kim Germain on April 19, 2017

Colgate student Andrew DeFrank ’18 was a Finalist this spring for the highly competitive and prestigious Truman Scholarship, which supports young leaders who are dedicated to public service. It is a significant achievement to reach the Finalist stage, and the Colgate community is very proud of Andrew for this accomplishment. After the process was over, Andrew spoke to me about the whole Truman application and interview experience; the following comes from those conversations and others throughout my time working with Andrew.

When I met Andrew in his first year at Colgate, during a social event for the Benton Scholars Program he is a part of, we talked about politics and his interest in public service. Given that his interests matched up well with the mission of the Truman Scholarship, I made sure it was on his radar and continued to bring it up with him leading up to his junior year, when he was eligible to apply.

Andrew is a political science major with a minor in peace and conflict studies, and as a Washington, DC, native he grew up steeped in American politics. On campus, he has been deeply involved in SGA since his first year, when he won the Golden Gavel Award and the Edward M. Stimets Memorial Award, and served as the SGA Parliamentarian last semester. During last year’s presidential campaign, he founded Colgate for Hillary and engaged many students in the campaign; he also spent last summer working as the press and communications intern for Hillary for America.  Andrew is currently studying abroad on an approved program in Buenos Aires, Argentina; his plans for this summer are to work in Virginia on a House of Delegates race.

Thinking about his future career, Andrew is determined to combat voter disenfranchisement and to protect and expand voting rights for all Americans. As he said, “Upon graduation from Colgate, I plan on working to elect progressive candidates to office in whatever opportunity is presented to me. I would like to attend law school and eventually pursue a career in public service that seeks to expand the opportunity and right to vote for as many Americans as possible. We should be making it easier to vote in this country, not harder, and I plan on dedicating my career to making that goal a reality.”

About the Truman Scholarship application itself, Andrew said: “The Truman application process has been the first time I’ve been put in a position where I could seriously consider the real ramifications of so many different parts of my future and the future of our country. By working through a policy proposal and explaining where I would like to be working 5-7 years after graduate school, I was able to spend time thinking about the future of our country as it relates to voting rights and access both inside Washington, D.C. and across the country.”

Andrew DeFrank (8th from left) and the other Truman finalists at the US Court of Appeals, Washington, DC, 3/3/2017

After working through Colgate’s nomination process with ONFS and the Graduate Fellowships Core Committee, Andrew was notified in late February that he had been named a finalist and would interview in Washington, DC, and he flew back from Buenos Aires in early March to meet the other finalists and have his time with the panel. “The interview process was engaging and stimulating. Just like many of my fellow finalists, I walked out a bit out of breath and wide-eyed, but just like the rest I certainly enjoyed the challenge of interviewing for the Truman Scholarship. I was questioned repeatedly, both on my application and on the values I shared with the committee during my interview. I found the questions intellectually engaging and the conversations with my fellow finalists warm and impactful. I’m happy to say that I anticipate becoming friends with some of the people I spent the day with.

This year, the Truman Scholarship had a near record number of applications – 768 applications from 315 colleges and universities. Of these, only 199 students (from 136 institutions) were selected for finalist interviews, and only 62 of the finalists were selected to be Truman Scholars.

About the Truman Scholarship

The Truman Scholarship is the preeminent fellowship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. It provides recipients with leadership mentoring, an optional summer job in Washington, DC, following graduation, and $30,000 toward the graduate or professional school degree(s) that fit their chosen path to public service. The Truman Scholarship is the Presidential Memorial to Public Service, named for our 33rd President. President Truman believed that a better future relies on attracting to public service the commitment and sound judgment of bright, outstanding Americans, so he built this award as a living memorial devoted to this very purpose. With the Truman Scholarship, the Truman Foundation nurtures and supports Americans who have demonstrated a commitment to public service at a young age. By the example of Truman Scholars, they seek to inspire all Americans to engage in efforts that advance the public good, and to celebrate all of those who make a difference through public service in all of its forms.


Watson Fellowship info sessions 3/30 and 3/31

By Kim Germain on March 27, 2017

The Watson Fellowship provides $30,000 to fund a self-driven year of global exploration and travel outside of the US after graduation. Projects can be about nearly anything meaningful, academic or personal, that intrigues and motivates you enough to spend a whole year pursuing that idea or issue around the globe.

ONFS is hosting two info sessions this week devoted to the Watson Fellowship: Thursday, March 30 at 12:15pm or Friday, March 31 at 9:15am in 101 McGregory.  All interested Colgate students are invited to attend.

Members of the Class of 2018 are especially encouraged to attend, as you would need to apply in the upcoming application cycle, with a deadline early in fall semester.  First-years and sophomores are also very welcome, as it’s never too early to start thinking about what you’d do on your year of global exploration!


Fulbright info sessions 3/28 and 3/29

By Kim Germain on March 22, 2017

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants that enable students and alumni who are U.S. citizens to spend an academic year abroad for independent research/study or to teach English and U.S. culture. There are also some specialized Fulbright opportunities, e.g. the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. Fulbright grants are available to over 150 countries.

The application cycle for the 2018-2019 award year begins this month, which means that current juniors who wish to do a Fulbright in the academic year after they graduate should start their applications this spring. Current seniors and alumni are also welcome and eligible to apply. Colgate provides extensive advisement to students and alumni as they apply for a Fulbright.

Want to learn more? Come to one of our Fulbright info sessions: Tuesday, March 28 at 1:15pm or Wednesday, March 29 at 10:15am in 101 McGregory. There will be Italian cookies.


New ONFS search tool

By Kim Germain on February 10, 2017

ONFS, working with ITS and Library staff, has created a new search tool to help our students and alumni find fellowship opportunities that are well suited to their interests and profiles.

This tool (click here or on Fellowships and Scholarships Search on the right-hand menu) adds over 100 opportunities that are new to Colgate, and we’ve made them searchable along many different criteria — including class year, citizenship, and many different areas of interest. Whether you are interested in social justice or scientific research or going abroad (or all of the above), you should be able to find opportunities that can help you reach your goals, both during college and beyond.

As always, ONFS is here to help you through the application process, so if and when you find something which appeals to you, please get in touch!

 


Class of 2017: Apply for the Watson!

By Kim Germain on August 30, 2016

The Watson Fellowship provides $30,000 to fund a self-driven year of global exploration and travel outside of the US after graduation. Projects can be about nearly anything, academic or personal, that intrigues and motivates you enough to spend a whole year pursuing that idea or issue around the globe.

From solar energy to surgery, climate change to community radio, technology to textiles, the Watson Fellowship provides graduating seniors with a remarkable year to explore their deepest interests on a global scale. Fellows create original projects, execute them outside of the United States and embrace the ensuing journey.

Approaching their half century mark, today Watson Fellows comprise leaders in nearly every field, inspired by a ‘dream year’ that continues to shape the arc of their lives and those of others.

The Colgate campus deadline is now October 5 — coming up soon, though there is still time to apply. All interested seniors are highly encouraged to contact ONFS for valuable advisement and application feedback prior to the campus deadline.

You can download application materials right here: Click Watson campus application form 2016 for this year’s campus form and instructions, and click Watson Recommendation Form for the questionnaire that must be completed by your recommenders and submitted by them to ONFS by the October 5 deadline.

The Watson Foundation is hosting a webinar for all interested parties on Friday, September 9 from 3-4pm. Click here to register for that webinar. More info available at the Watson website here.

Additional details: Candidates must:

  • Be in their senior year at the time of application
  • Receive a bachelor’s degree prior to Aug. 1 of that year
  • Create a project for a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel
  • Be nominated by Colgate. Nomination decisions will be made by our Watson Committee after review of application materials and campus interviews, which will take place soon after the campus deadline above.

The Watson is a unique fellowship opportunity that is only available to students at top US liberal arts colleges. If exploring the world for a year after graduation sounds like a good idea to you, then you may be an excellent candidate. Contact ONFS about your ideas. The world awaits!


Fulbright Info Sessions 3/28 and 3/30

By Kim Germain on March 22, 2016

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants that enable students and alumni who are U.S. citizens to spend an academic year abroad for independent research/study or to teach English and U.S. culture. There are also some specialized Fulbright opportunities, e.g. the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. Fulbright grants are available to over 150 countries.

The application cycle for the 2017-2018 award year begins this month, which means that current juniors who wish to do a Fulbright in the academic year after they graduate should start their applications this spring. Current seniors and alumni are also welcome and eligible to apply. Colgate provides extensive advisement to students and alumni as they apply for a Fulbright.

Want to learn more? Come to one of our Fulbright info sessions: Monday, March 28 at 1:30pm or Wednesday, March 30 at 4:30pm in 101 McGregory. There will be cookies.

 


Alumni profile: Marshall finalist Chris Looney

By Kim Germain on January 13, 2016

Colgate alumnus Christopher Looney ’13 was a Finalist this fall for the highly competitive and prestigious Marshall Scholarship. It is a rare honor to reach the Finalist stage, and the Colgate community is very proud of his accomplishments – both those that got him to this point and those yet to come. After the process was over, Chris spoke with me about this experience; the following profile comes from those conversations.

Path to the Marshall

Christopher Looney '13

Chris Looney ’13

After he graduated in 2013, Chris took a research internship with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, where he worked on their Transnational Threats Project, with a focus on extremist groups in the Middle East. This opened the door to a research analyst position in Turkey, where Chris reported as a journalist along the border with Syria, where he interviewed combatants and refugees as well as monitoring humanitarian organizations there. He subsequently joined the Peace Corps and has been in Burkina Faso since June 2014, where he leads educational initiatives.

Fellowship Application Process
Building on the academic interests he pursued at Colgate as a double major in International Relations and History, Chris applied for the Marshall, which would fund two years of graduate study in Britain. Able to select from nearly any UK university and graduate program, he selected two one-year programs: the MSc in Conflict Studies at the London School of Economics and the MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response at the University of Manchester. “The Marshall first attracted me because of the wide breadth of academic programs available in the UK and the ability to merge two master’s programs to focus specifically on a narrow academic interest. I wanted to look at refugee issues, but not in the classical sense that views the topic on humanitarian terms. Instead, I was interested in integrating refugee studies with post-conflict studies and analyzing how refugee policies undertaken during a war impact the reconstruction process,” said Chris.

While in Burkina Faso, Chris worked remotely with me, the Assistant Dean for Fellowship Advising in the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships, to secure Colgate’s nomination for the Marshall. “The process was long, time-consuming, but ultimately very rewarding,” said Chris. “You are forced to think very deeply not just about graduate school, but the trajectory of your career in the long term. In that sense, it was a bit like a 6-month journey of self-reflection.” Candidates for the Marshall and other similar awards work closely with me and Colgate’s UK/Ireland Fellowships Committee over a period of many months to tell the story of their academic and career interests, conduct research about academic programs in the UK, and build their application dossiers.

Nationwide, 32 Marshall Scholars were selected out of 916 candidates endorsed by their universities. Only 17% of endorsed candidates received finalist interviews nationally in this year’s competition. It was even tougher in the New York region, where only 20 of 166 endorsed candidates (12%) were granted finalist interviews, so it is a very great honor for Chris to have reached that level. The last time Colgate had a student reach this level in the Marshall competition was Fall 2007.

The Marshall Commission flew Chris back from Burkina Faso to interview in New York City on November 10; he was able to get a full week off, which helped him get acclimated to our time zone.  Chris came to campus in the days prior to November 10 for two days of intensive interview preparation with our UK/Ireland Committee and other faculty members.

Chris said: “The interview was a great experience, and I received an incredible amount of support from the University and faculty through mock interviews, discussions, and their critiques. During the actual interview in New York, I was asked about everything from the effect of the influx of refugees on German national identity to my favorite Bruce Springsteen song. The panel was made up 5 incredibly intelligent and accomplished professionals, and was more conversational than anything. I actually had fun, which I definitely did not expect going in. Despite not receiving the scholarship, the application process was very enriching and helped me clarify where I want my career to take me.”

Future Plans
Even if it’s not through the Marshall, Chris plans to pursue a similar path in conflict studies and refugee issues in graduate school, and he is currently looking into a number of programs in addition to the ones he found through the Marshall process, including the option of law school with a focus on legal rights of refugees. He also hopes to return to Turkey to get back in touch with what’s been happening on the ground vis-à-vis the Syrian conflict. Chris’s future work should have a positive impact on the lives of people in conflict and post-conflict zones.

About the Marshall Scholarship
Founded in 1953 by an Act of Parliament, Marshall Scholarships are mainly funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan. They express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts. Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study at the graduate level at a UK institution in any field of study. As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging, and their time as Scholars enhances their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programs contributes to their ultimate personal success.


Fall 2015 fellowship deadlines

By Kim Germain on September 3, 2015

Here is a handy guide to Colgate’s fall semester deadlines for some significant external fellowship opportunities, with eligible class years noted in brackets. I encourage you to contact ONFS about any and all of these that interest you — the earlier the better!

September 15: Fulbright*, Rhodes*, Marshall*, Churchill*, Mitchell**, Gates Cambridge [all of these open to seniors, alumni]
September 15: Glamour’s Top 10 College Women [juniors, seniors]
October 1: Schwarzman Scholars** [seniors, alumni]
October 2: Watson* [seniors]
November 1: Soros Fellowship for New Americans [seniors, alumni], Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) [juniors]
Early November: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (deadlines vary by academic discipline) [seniors, alumni]
November 12: St. Andrew’s* [seniors]
November 17: Carnegie Junior Fellows* [seniors, alumni]
November 23: Critical Language Scholarship [any class year]
December 1: Goldwater* [sophomores, juniors], Truman* [juniors], NIH-Oxford-Cambridge [seniors, alumni]
December 11: Boren Scholarship* [any class year]

*Applicants must go through Colgate’s required campus review and application/nomination process, all of which is overseen by ONFS.  The deadlines noted for opportunities in italics, therefore, are internal campus deadlines.

**Only current students must secure a campus nomination and must therefore submit complete materials by the campus deadline noted here.  Alumni apply directly and do not receive a university nomination.

See the Fellowship Listing page on the ONFS website for further information about these awards, including eligibility criteria and links to the foundation websites.


Seniors: Apply for the Watson Fellowship!

By Kim Germain on August 20, 2015

The Watson Fellowship provides $30,000 to fund a self-driven year of global exploration and travel outside of the US after graduation. Projects can be about nearly anything, academic or personal, that intrigues and motivates you enough to spend a whole year pursuing that idea or issue around the globe.

The campus deadline is October 2 — coming up fast. All interested seniors are highly encouraged to contact ONFS for valuable advisement and application feedback prior to the campus deadline.

Download application materials:  Click Watson campus application form 2015 for this year’s campus application form and instructions, and click Watson Recommendation Form for the questionnaire that must be completed by your recommenders and submitted by them to ONFS.

Additional details: Candidates must:

  • Be in their senior year at the time of application
  • Receive a bachelor’s degree prior to Aug. 1 of that year
  • Create a project for a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel
  • Be nominated by Colgate. Nomination decisions will be made by our Watson Committee after review of application materials and campus interviews, which will take place soon after the campus deadline above.

Watson website

 


Moving on up: ONFS office move

By Kim Germain on August 18, 2015

ONFS is moving upstairs. As of Weds., August 19, ONFS will move from the basement level of McGregory, where it’s been since 2013, to the suite in 105 McGregory that houses the associate deans of the faculty.

Kelly Snyder, in 105 McGregory, will provide administrative support for ONFS.  Students and alumni who wish to make appointments with me can contact Kelly directly at ksnyder@colgate.edu, or in person in 105.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new space as soon as the dust settles!

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