Written by Genesis Garcia ’22
On Tuesday, October 20th, 2020, Fellowships at Wesleyan held an informative panel to discuss the application process for prospective applicants. The panel consisted of Lizzie Edwards ’21, Rodrick Edwards ’19, Benjamin Martinez ’21, Susannah Greenblatt ’16, and Fitzroy “Pablo” Wickham ’21, who are all current fellowship applicants for Fulbright grants and the Watson Fellowship. The five of them offered insights into the different projects that can be explored, the challenges, and the amazing opportunities that come from applying for a fellowship.
Pablo Wickham, an international student from Jamaica and a neuroscience and theater double major, is one of Wesleyan’s nominees for the Watson Fellowship. The Watson supports a year of purposeful exploration in multiple countries outside of the US; it is open to graduating seniors of all citizenships.
Lizzie Edwards, Rodrick Edwards, Susannah Greenblatt, and Ben Martinez applied for Fulbright grants. These grants support independent research, graduate study, creative projects, and English teaching in ~140 participating countries. Lizzie, an anthropology and environmental studies double major, applied to teach English in Vietnam. Rodrick, who completed a double major in environmental studies and theater, is pursuing a creative writing grant to South Africa to research and write a play about how Black South Africans learn history. Susannah, who majored in history, applied for a creative writing grant to Spain to work on her novel about two medieval Spanish mystics. Ben, an astronomy and physics double major, proposed to conduct extragalactic magnetic fields research in Norway.
Each panelist was coming from a different perspective and they all have a desire to travel to be students of the world. In conversation about fellowships the applicants addressed various aspects of the process from first steps to general advice. Here are some highlights from the panel:
“The first intentional thing that I had to do was reach out to Magda [Assistant Director of Fellowships] and talk to her to make sure that I knew everything that was happening… really think about what it is I wanted to do within the year if I were to get the Watson and researching… making sure that this is something that I cared about because I think it shows through in your application, your essays if you actually care about something.” Fitzroy ‘Pablo’ Wickham ‘21
“The first thing I was really worried about were the affiliations. When you do a research project you have to have an affiliation with an institution over in the host country; so, I think that was the very first thing after like I opened the application that I started working on.” Rodrick Edwards ‘19
“I can’t recommend enough how helpful it really is to visualize yourself getting it and doing it when you’re writing your application. You know, picture what research you would really do, where would you really go, how would you really spend your time, and the project being that real for you will definitely translate into your application.” – Susannah Greenblatt ‘16
“Whenever I felt really stuck in a draft, is I would talk to my friends and explain like why I was feeling stuck and I found that often they were really helpful in getting me out of my writer’s block.” -Lizzie Edwards ‘21
“I wrote my essays or my first drafts I think pretty early in the summer and I [looked over] them on my own but I never sent anything to Magda… I think it was because I wanted it to be as good as possible before I actually sent it… I had to make a lot of changes right before the deadline so I think my advice would be to send things to Magda early… it doesn’t need to be perfect.” -Ben Martinez ’21
To get more advice about fellowships come to our event on Monday, November 16!