Emory Report
June 11, 2007
Volume 59, Number 32

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June 11, 2007
Training, mentoring program results in national student awards

by beverly clark

Winning an elite competition is no effortless feat, whether it’s the Olympics, the National Spelling Bee or the Rhodes Scholarship. Practice, training and dedication is required, and for Emory’s top students, the University’s National Scholarships and Fellowships Program is the equivalent of a scholars’ boot camp.

The program advises Emory undergraduate students and alumni applying for prestigious national awards and competitive internal awards, and is responsible for managing the internal selection processes for scholarships that require University endorsement. Associate Dean Joanne Brzinski and Program Director Dee McGraw work closely with Emory students to help them finesse their essays, fine-tune their applications and learn how to negotiate their way through interviews and other aspects of the process.

Their work is paying off for students and the University. This past year a total of 81 students applied for national scholarships and fellowships, resulting in 27 finalists and 14 awards, including a Rhodes Scholarship, a Beinecke Scholarship, and five undergraduate Fulbright grants (two students in the Graduate School were also awarded Fulbrights through a separate process). The numbers are similar to the 2005-2006 academic year, and reflect a jump in applications from 2004-2005, when 68 students applied, resulting in 11 awards.

“The quality of students at Emory is amazing and the range of our students is stunning. We’ve put effort into getting more students to apply and to take advantage of opportunities they may not be aware of,” Brzinski said. “Ultimately, we can’t control who wins, but we can help students give their best to the competition, and we can recruit, train and prepare more students.”

The program has been in existence for several years to advise students and guide them through the process. In the past decade, as competition has become even more fierce, the process has grown more formalized, both at Emory and across the nation, Brzinski said.

The National Association of Fellowship Advisors was formed in 1999, and “there began to be a national recognition that these services were valuable to students,” Brzinski said. This past year at Emory, the director’s position was moved from part-time to full-time.

Ultimately, the process is an invaluable learning experience for students, McGraw said. “The process of applying gives students an opportunity to be reflective about their education and experiences, and really makes them think about goals and possibilities,” she said.

2006-07 Scholarship winners
Emory's National Scholarship and Fellowship Program advises Emory students and alumni applying for prestigious national awards and for selected competitive internal Emory awards.

The following award winners worked with the program:

Beinecke Scholarship: John Devlin

Fulbright Fellowship Program:
Charles Harrison, Whitney Hostetter, Stephanie Malak, Nathan Meeks and Ryan Plocher

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship: Saranya Selvaraj

Samuel Huntington Public Service Award: Elizabeth Sholtys

Rhodes Scholarship: Zachary Manfredi

Morris K. Udall Scholarship:
Gillian Locascio and Sarah Parsons

Bobby Jones:
Robbie Brown, Steven Haag, Caitlin Lyman and Andrew McCrary

Charles Elias Shepard Scholarship:
Plamena Milusheva and Richard Novak

Sonny Carter: Randahl Palmer

Dean Joanne Brzinski and Program Director Dee McGraw are located in 300 White Hall and work closely with Emory students on their essays, applications and other aspects of scholarship competitions. Students can schedule an appointment with one of them by calling 404-727-6160.