NJIT is looking for student nominees to apply for the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship. Eligible students should be citizens of the United States who will have earned a Bachelor’s degree by August 2018. Current seniors, juniors and recent alums are therefore eligible to apply.
Being a Fulbright Scholar gives students the opportunity to be an English language support teaching assistant, pursue a research project abroad, or obtain a Master’s degree at a foreign university while on a scholarship.
Fulbright recipient David Anderson (2016/2017 Germany), an NJIT alumnus who graduated in 2016 from the Albert Dorman Honors College with his BS in Mathematical Sciences, said that receiving the Fulbright helped him realize that he wants to work in risk management. “The Fulbright experience has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Specifically, I have a much better idea of where I want my career to go and how I intend to get there,” said Anderson.
“I will gain not only amazing knowledge of the business, mathematics, and risk management vocabulary but also be able to increase my German language level at the native speaker level,” added Anderson.
Currently, NJIT’s Akhil Dondapati, an accelerated pre-med student in the Albert Dorman Honors College, is a semi-finalist for the Fulbright Fellowship. Dondapati applied to be a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, like David Anderson; however, if he is selected as a finalist, Dondapati plans to conduct research which entails finding genomic alterations that drive lung cancer, and correlating this data to patterns of clinical outcomes and responses to therapies.
“I applied to be a Fulbright scholar because I have a passion for research and have always wanted to travel the world, especially to Europe. With the Fulbright Fellowship, I would have the opportunity to combine these interests by doing research in Germany,” said Dondapati.
Having this opportunity will allow Dondapati to enhance his education as he prepares for medical school, ultimately taking him to his professional goal of becoming a physician. He is considering neurosurgery, but is open to other specialties. “Doing research really adds a different element to being a practicing physician and so learning more about research will help me find new ways to further medicine,” adds Dondapati.
Advice for Applicants
When asked for any advice for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright Fellowship, David Anderson recommended that students learn the language of the country they want to apply for and have a plan to become fluent. It may therefore be to the students’ advantage to find faculty members or fellow students who can teach them the language in addition to utilizing online resources and classes. Most non-English speaking countries require at least novice level of the native language when starting the fellowship, although classes or research are usually conducted in English.
For applicants writing their research proposals, it is okay for the project to not go as planned. “During the application process, and even while doing the Fulbright, it is completely okay to not know how your project will go 100%. It is all part of the learning curve,” David reassured.
Lastly, Anderson recommended that students try to study abroad once in the country they want to complete their Fulbright in because it will give them a jump start and an edge in the application process—it demonstrates their cultural competency and also allows the student to have a stronger argument to be in their country of choice.
The Application Process
All applicants must receive a “letter of affiliation” prior to application. Fulbright requires that the host institution evaluate the candidate’s credentials to decide ahead of time if, should the applicant win the fellowship and enter the institution, it is likely that he/she will be successful. Students must also still apply to the host university if seeking a Master’s degree. Similarly, those intending to do research must receive an offer of support from the host institution through their letter of affiliation.
Akhil Dondapati’s biggest piece of advice is to be persistent and to never get discouraged. “I had to send emails to many professors in Germany and it took weeks before I even received one response. I did not let this discourage me and I would tell students to also not be discouraged.”
Next Wednesday, on March 8 at 2:30 PM common hour in Kupfrian Hall room 117, NJIT Fulbright Program Advisor, Dr. Shivon Boodhoo, will be talking to students about how they can apply for the Fulbright Fellowship.
Students who are seriously considering the program should follow these steps:
STEP 1: Review the website – http://us.fulbrightonline.org/applicants
STEP 2: Find the odds for your country of interest and language requirements – http://us.fulbrightonline.org/study-research-eta-statistics
STEP 3: Consider your “fit” – Please bear in mind that the Fulbright expects you to prove that you will be an excellent “cultural ambassador” so during your personal statement and statement of grant purpose you’ll need to make the case that you’re an excellent candidate for that country and that program and that major/research group specifically. Some countries have language requirements (https://us.fulbrightonline.org/countries/regions)
STEP 4: Attend the interest meeting then set up a meeting with Dr. Boodhoo.
Please note all interested students must meet with Dr. Boodhoo before April 2nd 2017 for Fulbrights that begin in Fall 2018.
For additional information on other national fellowships or scholarships, visit https://honors.njit.edu/currentstudents/external-scholarships.php. If a student has determined that they are eligible, they should do research on the fellowship, and then email Dr. Boodhoo at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.