Smith ranks second for Fulbright recipients in 2010-2011
Published: Thursday, November 4, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 17:05
In the past nine years, over 100 Smith students have received coveted Fulbright Fellowships. A recent report indicates that this is no passing trend: Smith students won 13 of the fellowships awarded for the 2010-2011 academic year. The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest international exchange program available in the U.S., spanning over 155 countries. The program gives students chosen for academic merit and leadership potential the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
"Fostering leadership, learning and empathy between cultures was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program," stated Fulbright Program founder, Senator J. William Fulbright on the program's Web site.
The scholarships consist of two separate grants - research and study - along with English Teaching Assistantships. All three award categories are typically granted to graduating seniors, scholars and professionals.
"There's nothing to compare with the Fulbright," said Donald Andrew, Fellowships Adviser at Smith College. Bolstered by Andrew's recruiting efforts, Smith now boasts a pool of 40 applicationts for fellowships in 30 countries, spanning from Iceland to Namibia and Kazakhstan.
This year, students submitted a total of almost 800 pages of application materials and contacted about 70 potential research advisers and foreign institutions willing to endorse their projects, according to Smith's Fulbright Web page. Twelve candidates are in the running for Teaching Fulbrights.
Despite an acceptance rate of 18 percent for this year's applicants, Andrew maintains a positive outlook on Smith students' competitive prospects.
"We have a good program and know what it takes to win," he said. "We have students who are keen and willing to work hard.and we have so many faculty members who are willing to support students."
Jade Bowden '11 is one of the Smith's 40 applicants. After a year in Florence, in addition to time spent abroad in high school, Bowden hopes her passion for Italian will elicit an acceptance from the Fulbright committee. Bowden's proposal details her plan to continue her academics in Italy and pursuing research on the subject of "maintaining Italian identity in increasingly diverse early childhood schools."
Bowden emphasized the rigorous nature of the application process but felt Andrew's system will give her application a competitive edge.
"Andrew's program is designed for success. It's also a very arduous process to go through and often made me want to pull my hair out, but I think that's what makes our applications so thorough," she explained. "Most other schools don't have such lengthy application reviews."
Bowden also said that success depends on individual students.
"We're Smithies, so we're naturally the over-achieving, hard-working, go-getting type. We're smart and we know how to be successful," said Bowden.
Smith College will host the launch of the New Fulbright Season on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the new Conference Center. For more information, visit Smith's "Fast Track to Fulbright Candidacy" Web site at www.smith.edu/fulbright/index.php.