Sheela Lal graduated from MU in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics and International Studies. She applied to be a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka and was awarded a full scholarship from 2012-2013. After arriving in Sri Lanka and doing initial research of Sinhala and Tamil films, she found a common theme of gender-based violence (GBV) and decided to “quantify GBV in Sinhala film and understanding the root of this behavior in Sinhalese Sri Lankan culture.” Sheela has been working since November 2013 for a social enterprise firm in India that focuses on underprivileged communities. In May 2014, she talked with the Fellowships Office and reflected on her experience with the application process and her time in Sri Lanka.
Now that you have some fellowship opportunities that spark your interest, you wonder: What is the application process really like?
Students of diverse backgrounds and disciplines have come through our doors. They dedicate months of time and effort into preparing for and applying to internationally and nationally competitive fellowships. Some have received awards. Some have not but learned about themselves through the process. They used the skills, knowledge and drive gained through this experience to get accepted into graduate school, Peace Corps, and other opportunities that have enriched their lives. Here are a few of their stories.
Noah Myers is an active community member whether in Columbia or Colombia. While a student at MU, Noah studied abroad in Argentina and back in Columbia, he applied his passion for the Spanish language as a tutor on campus and a volunteer in the community with Centro Latino and Columbia Free Skool. His initative and clear focus led to his acceptance to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program in Tunja, Colombia.
The process of pursuing a fellowship can be daunting. While applying for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, Jaclyn Herr says she gained an “even-worse-than-before addiction to coffee and maybe some minor hair loss.” Through her sincere efforts, she gained greater self-confidence and a clearer idea of what drives her academically. Jaclyn has used these experiences to apply to doctoral programs and is now at Boston University in Classical Studies.
Founder of Dream Outside the Box nonprofit, Kam Phillips was active on the Mizzou campus and was selected for the prestigious Truman Scholarship in 2011. She also attended the Truman Scholarship 2012 Summer Institute in Washington, D.C.
After applying to Rhodes, Mitchell, and Marshall, MU alumnus Marc Canellas used the understanding gained through the process in many other areas of his professional life, including a graduate program in Engineering with full funding through the National Science Foundation.
Brian Pellot served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Dubai, received the William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship at the American University in Dubai, and was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco and Jordan. He sought both the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships; he was named a finalist for the Rhodes and selected to receive the Marshall to complete a master’s degree at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.
Upon completing his BA at Mizzou in December 2011, Derek Frankhouser moved to Braunschweig, Germany to conduct research in 2013-2014 as the recipient of a Fulbright Study/Research Grant.
The Fulbright program awarded Paul Flo a year-long English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia because of his experience working for Teach for America in Hawaii, his education and extracurricular activities at Mizzou, and his drive to teach in the U.S. and abroad in the future.
Shortly after returning from studying in Argentina, May 2013 MU graduate Rebecca Taylor successfully secured a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. This endeavor took her to Colombia where she taught in a small university-level institution of about 150 students in the country’s capital, Bogotá. Rebecca has now been offered a full-time English professorship at this institution. She plans to stay in Colombia for two years following her Fulbright Program and then return to the States for law school. Rebecca majored in Spanish and earned an English minor while attending Mizzou.
Xavier Billingsley graduated from the MU College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources in 2013. Xavier’s accomplished undergraduate career, including his role as Missouri Students Association President, qualified him to receive the prestigious Charles Rangel International Fellowship. Now he studies at Cornell University to prepare for a career in foreign affairs.
Ryan Branson, a Fulbright U.S. Student Program applicant and Mark Twain Fellowship finalist, believes students reap many benefits from pursuing a fellowship, regardless of the outcome. Through applying for multiple fellowships, Ryan spread awareness about male eating disorders. He says this accomplishment defines his success.