The national fellowship house at Salisbury University has quite the reputation for pumping out Fulbright scholars, and this year is no different, with the university being named a top producer of scholars by the U.S. Department of State and "The Chronicle of Higher Education."
The Fulbright Scholarship allows students to apply for various opportunities in research, teaching or simply studying in over 100 countries around the world. The scholarship also offers graduating students an adventure of the lifetime come gradation.
Senior communications and English major Jaycee Scanlon was unsure about her future past graduation. That was, until she heard about the Fulbright Scholarship.
She made the decision to apply for the scholarship after speaking with Kristen Walton, director of the Nationally Competitive Fellowships Office.
Scanlon applied to a teaching assistantship in Israel to teach English. She is now a semi-finalist.
Besides the potential to get a huge post-collegiate opportunity, Scanlon said the application process itself was very rewarding.
“I think the application process itself is really beneficial,” Scanlon said.
The fellowship office has assisted in helping send out at least 100 applications since the office was established in 2012.
Dr. Sally Perret, a modern language professor at SU, also assists with the application process. She stressed that students don’t have to know what comes next.
"I wish more students would come through our doors,” Perret said.
The Fulbright Scholarship offers the student a very unique opportunity that stands out to future employers.
This year, SU has had fifteen semi-finalists out of the twenty-two applicants that applied earlier this year.
Austin Dabbs, a senior chemistry major, says he was persuaded by his friends and Walton to apply for the scholarship.
“They both approached me about a Fulbright,” Dabbs said. After some conceiving, Dabbs decided to apply in October.
He is another semi-finalist produced by the university. Dabbs is hoping to do research in Germany.
Some of the Fulbright opportunities require applicants to learn a language in order to get accepted into the program.
Dabbs' program in Germany requires students to reach a novice level in German.
“I am still currently learning German," Dabbs said.
Those who apply must not only have a strong application, but they must also receive sponsorship with the Fulbright commission in the country they applied for.
“For the Fulbright, you have to make a connection with the country,” Scanlon said.
It is important that the student expresses why a particular location is important to them on more than just an academic level.
The entire application process can take several months.
“The process of writing an application for a Fulbright is not going to take you a week. It is going to take you, like, four months," Dabbs said. "It is extremely long and difficult and requires coordination among people who are in different countries."
The application is not one and done; it requires multiple edits.
“Ultimately, a lot of Fulbrighters go through 10 to 20 drafts,” Dabbs said.
Those at the SNCFO are always ready to help students applying for scholarships.
“They walk you through the whole entire process, down to giving a back-and-forth of your drafts that you write,” Dabbs said.
But no matter how much prep the students and staff of the SNCFO do, the results are always a mystery until applicants receive a notification.
“So much of the actual results are out of our control,” Dr. Perrett said.
Those who are finalists will be notified as soon as mid-March. However, this varies from country to country, with some not being notified until the end of May.
Both Dabbs and Scanlon are currently awaiting their response this spring.
By ANNIE GEITNER and KRYA WILKINS
News editor/ Staff writer
Featured Photo: Yale University Image.