Presidio Graduate School Seminar, September 18, 2014

Presidio Graduate School Seminar, September 18, 2014

This week we kicked off our Fall 2014 University Seminar Tour at the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. During the tour, I am sharing insider tips on how to find and win professional and academic fellowships. I also provide students and staff an overview of a variety of fellowships for different career levels in the U.S. and abroad. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship in Germany, the Alfa Fellowship in Russia, and the Cultural Vistas summer fellowship abroad, among many others.

The Presidio Graduate School offers MBA, MPA and dual degree programs in Sustainable Management. The graduate program attracts domestic and international students from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, including Fortune 500 corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies. We were pleased to have the opportunity to share how fellowships can provide graduate students and mid-career professionals opportunities to expand their experience and skills in sustainability.

Our next stops on our tour include Mills College, UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Also, Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service will be sponsoring a special Esteemed Fellows Dinner on October 28th for San Francisco Bay Area fellowship alumni and aspiring fellows from the Stanford community.

If you have questions, please contact us. We hope to see you there!

Global Health Corps Fellows

Global Health Corps Fellows in Jinja, Uganda

The Fulbright U.S. Student Grant is one of the most well-known and competitive fellowship programs for study and research abroad for recent American graduates. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. The awards are geared towards graduating seniors and recent bachelor’s-degree recipients, Master’s and doctoral candidates, and young professionals, including writers, creative and performing artists, journalists, and those in law, business, and other professional fields who have up to 5 years of professional study and/or experience in the field in which they are applying.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Grants are offered in more than 155 countries. For countries with high numbers of applicants like the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Kenya, and South Africa, less than 5% of applicants are awarded a Fulbright grant. Due to the small numbers of spots available in some countries, we often recommend that applicants consider applying to countries that have lower applicant-to-award ratios such as Austria, South Korea, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Mozambique.

There are also several other funded fellowships that serve as comparable alternatives to the Fulbright award, including:

The Luce Scholars Program in Asia: The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program established to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia. The deadline to apply is November 1, 2014.

Princeton in Africa: Princeton in Africa develops young leaders committed to Africa’s advancement by offering yearlong fellowship opportunities with a variety of organizations that work across African continent. Approximately 30 paid fellowships are awarded each year. Fellowships are awarded on a needs-blind basis. Graduating seniors and young alumni from any accredited U.S. college or university are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is November 2, 2014.

Princeton in Latin America: Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) seeks to connect recent college graduates with one-year, service-oriented positions at NGOs and community based service organizations in Latin America. For most positions, some knowledge of the local language (Spanish, Portuguese, or French) is necessary. PiLA is currently open to graduating seniors and young alumni of Princeton and other universities. The deadline to apply is November 3, 2014.

U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Graduate Research Grant: The U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security graduate research grant program supports exceptional graduate students who are interested in developing a component of their graduate research in a developing country setting. All topics that relate to food security (e.g., agriculture, nutrition, ecological resources, poverty) and are linked to the research strategies of the Feed the Future initiative are admissible. The grants have a value of $15,000-$40,000 for 6-month to 2-year long international research stays. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2014.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals in Germany: The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a fellowship funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress, and administered by Cultural Vistas, that annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals the opportunity to spend one year in each others’ countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2014.

Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program: During each two-year fellowship cycle, 12-15 Leland Fellows are placed with international development organizations that include international and local NGOs, U.S. government agencies and multilateral organizations. Fellows work on a variety of food security issues, such as agricultural development, nutrition, natural resource management, agribusiness development and women’s empowerment. Includes a monthly stipend, health insurance and travel expenses. The deadline to apply will be in January 2015.

Boren Fellowships: Boren Fellowships provide up to $30,000 to U.S. graduate students to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. Boren Fellowships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East, with a focus on studying less commonly taught languages. Boren Fellowship awards are made for a minimum of 12 weeks and maximum of 24 months. The deadline to apply is January 27, 2015.

William J. Clinton Fellowship in India: William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India is a 10 month leadership fellowship that pairs a select number of young professionals with credible NGOs and social enterprises in India in order to accelerate impact and create effective projects that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable. Applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 34 and completed an undergraduate degree. AIF provides a round trip ticket to India, insurance coverage, and a monthly stipend to each Fellow. The deadline to apply is February 1, 2015.

Global Health Corps: Global Health Corps is mobilizing a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. We place talented individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds in paid, high impact roles in NGOs and government agencies in sub-Saharan Africa and the US for one year. During the fellowship year, fellows collaborate, innovate, and create sustainable and impactful change. Applicants from a broad range of sectors and disciplines can apply for up to 3 positions that match their interests and skills, from project management to monitoring and evaluation, engineering, communications and more. The deadline to apply is February 3, 2015.

Rotary Peace Fellowships:  Each year, Rotary selects individuals from around the world to receive fully funded master’s degree fellowships at premier universities in fields related to peace and conflict resolution and prevention. Locations include Japan, UK, Australia, Sweden and the U.S. These fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship/field study expenses.  The deadline to submit completed applications to Rotary International is July 1, 2015 for academic study beginning in 2016.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

Fulbright-Clinton Fellow Roushani Mansoor with  local children in Comilla, Bangladesh

Fulbright-Clinton Fellow Roushani Mansoor with local children in Comilla, Bangladesh

The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship aims to build mutual understanding among nations by providing opportunities for U.S. citizens to serve in professional placements in a foreign government ministry or public sector institution in select countries. During their 10-month placements in countries such as Haiti, Kosovo, Peru, Samoa and Bangladesh, Fulbright-Clinton Fellows serve as a “special assistant” for a senior level official. Fellows work in public policy areas such as public health, education, agriculture, justice, energy, the environment, public finance, economic development, information technology, and communications. The goal of the professional placements is to build the Fellows’ knowledge and skills, provide support to partner country institutions, and promote long-term ties between the U.S. and the partner country. Fellows also work on an independent study and research project. The program seeks candidates with a Master’s or Doctoral degree and at least 2 years full-time work experience in policy-related fields. The deadline to apply is October 14, 2014.

To learn more, we interviewed Roushani Mansoor, a 2012-13 Fulbright-Clinton Fellow in Bangladesh, about her fellowship experience and her fellowship application tips.

1. What inspired you to apply for the Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship?  

I applied for the Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship – then called the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship – because it was an incredibly unique opportunity to gain professional experience abroad in a public policy capacity. It was then, and still is now, unlike most other available fellowship opportunities. I applied during my last year of law school where I focused primarily on public international law. The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship seemed like an exceptional opportunity for me to put theory into practice. I had spent three years in school learning about the law in a public policy context and now I had the chance to use what I had learned in the real world. I wanted to gain hands-on experience working in challenging contexts abroad, and this fellowship offered that. And as someone just graduating from school, I looked to this fellowship as the beginning of my career. That’s a great thing about the Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship – it’s a fantastic opportunity for individuals at every stage of their career, whether at the beginning or mid-career, those with very specific experience in one area or those starting to explore a certain field.

Roushani with women from a legal awareness class outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Roushani with women from a legal awareness class outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh

2. What have been some of the most eye-opening moments during your fellowship?  

Working as a foreign national in another country’s government is eye-opening in and of itself. I worked in the Ministry of Law in Bangladesh and helped with a couple of legal reform projects. For example, the Government of Bangladesh is looking to incorporate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms into its justice system – processes like arbitration and meditation for both civil and criminal cases. I assisted with designing and implementing trainings hosted by the U.S. Embassy or international donors for Bangladeshi legal professionals on these topics. I spent my days working closely with my supervisor and other colleagues at the Ministry of Law assisting where I could; some days I spent reviewing draft legislation amending the criminal procedure code while other days I spent making phone calls and setting up meetings. You can be given very different tasks on any given day, and I appreciated the opportunity to help where I could. My most unique experiences, however, came when I was able to leave my office and talk to Bangladeshis about their experiences with the justice system. I watched a workshop hosted by a local NGO that focused on legal awareness for women. The women who attended the training were all from the same village, brought their children with them, and discussed the issues that affected their daily lives. The point of the workshop was not to drone on about specific laws, but to raise awareness about their rights under the law and what they could do if they felt their rights had been violated. Hearing these women talk about how much more empowered and confident they were now armed with a bit of information was inspiring. It solidified, for me, the importance of rule of law development at both the structural and grassroots levels, and my desire to work in this field. Being in Bangladesh on this particular fellowship afforded me the opportunity to have these enriching professional and personal experiences.

Dancing with students from the Girls Secondary School in Satkhira District, Bangladesh

Dancing with students from the Girls Secondary School in Satkhira District, Bangladesh

3. What tips would you give others applying to the fellowship?  

I think, like for any application, a competitive applicant will highlight their unique experiences and skill sets that will help them be a successful Fulbright-Clinton Fellow. I think this fellowship is looking for dynamic and determined individuals who are eager to work and make an impact, large or small, in the countries available to apply to. The application process itself is fairly straightforward. There is an application due in the fall – this year, it is October 14 – that includes a resume, some short written responses, and recommendation letters. Selected applicants have an interview that generally includes some individuals in the U.S. and some posted in the country you are applying to. After all interviews are completed, finalists are selected. There is a pre-departure orientation at the end of summer, and then most people leave for their host countries in the fall. In my application specifically, I repeatedly highlighted my previous experiences with Bangladesh and my desire to work on several legal issues there. But I was also realistic in my application and underscored my willingness to assist whatever ministry or agency of the Government of Bangladesh I was placed in. Again, I think a successful applicant highlights the reasons why they are applying to a particular country and what they can bring to the table. I think, also, there should be an emphasis on contributing to long-term development processes in the potential host country. Past Fulbright-Clinton Fellows have contributed to their host country in a number of different ways, all of which have made some sort of impact on the development of that country.

Roushani Mansoor was a Fulbright-Clinton Fellow in Bangladesh from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a Special Assistant in the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs. Currently, Roushani works as a Justice Advisor in the Office of Criminal Justice Assistance and Partnership in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

These interview answers are personal opinions of the interviewee and do not reflect the official views of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

The 2012-13 John D. Solomon Fellows (photo credit: New York City Office of Emergency Management)

The John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service  is a unique fellowship for New York City area graduate students devoted specifically to emergency management. Each year, the program provides nine fellows with the opportunity to complete a nine-month, paid fellowship in a New York City government agency or a nonprofit organization. Fellows have the opportunity to work on projects that involve collaboration with individuals from their own agencies, other City agencies, and various community organizations. Sponsored by the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the program was established by the family and friends of the late John D. Solomon, an accomplished journalist on homeland security and a devoted public servant. To learn more about this opportunity, we interviewed Luis Daniel, a 2012-13 John D. Solomon Fellow at NYC Digital. 

1. What inspired you to apply for the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service?

I actually happened upon the Solomon Fellowship by being in the right place at the right time. The previous summer I had started an internship with NYC Digital, then housed under the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (now at the Mayor’s Office). NYC Digital focuses on making New York the nation’s number one digital city. By the end of the summer I had enjoyed the internship so much, I decided to stay through the following year. At this point, one of the existing Solomon Fellows was in the process of moving out of NYC, leaving a vacant spot for the fellowship. My boss encouraged me to apply and I did. My research and work had focused on social media and the various ways people can use it to improve their lives. This included the use of social media during humanitarian crises and disasters, which fell in line with the type of work done by NYC’s Office of Emergency Management which sponsors the fellowship. It just so happened that this was the year Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City. Social media played a crucial role in preparing New Yorkers for the storm and disseminating information during and after the hurricane.

2012-13 John D. Solomon Fellow Luis Daniel

2012-13 John D. Solomon Fellow Luis Daniel (photo credit: NYU)

2. What are the benefits of the fellowship?

The biggest benefit of the fellowship is the unique experience. My experience was particularly unique because I was there during Hurricane Sandy. But even if you’re lucky enough to spend your fellowship just preparing for a disaster, there is a lot to learn by working with the largest municipal government in the US. Not only do you get to work alongside and learn from the people who run the City, but you are also tasked with very meaningful and impactful work. I worked for Rachel Haot, then Chief Digital Officer for NYC, and she was a great mentor. While working there, I created resources that are tangible and lasting. For example, I created the first official Spanish language city government Twitter account (@nycgob), which provided crucial information in Spanish during Superstorm Sandy. Also, the Fellowship comes with a stipend.

3. What tips would you give others applying to the fellowship?

You have to be committed to the cause. The John D. Solomon Fellowship was made in honor of the late John D. Solomon, who was an active member in his community and a big advocate of emergency preparedness. The Solomon family is involved in the application process and finding someone who shares John’s qualities is a big part of what they’re looking for. Be sure to read the information about the fellowship itself, and don’t miss out on John’s blog: In Case of Emergency, Read Blog. You can also get a better sense of other fellow’s experience by reading the Solomon Fellows Tumblr.

Luis Daniel is originally from Monterrey, Mexico and is now a Research Fellow at The Governance Lab at NYU. He is also a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School of the Arts in NYU. He worked as a Solomon Fellow at NYC Digital where he created and ran New York City government’s first official Spanish Twitter account, @NYCgob. During his time in graduate school, Luis focused on ways technology could help alleviate the problems Mexico faces because of the War on Drugs. In his previous job before coming to New York, Luis worked on oil rigs in South Texas as a field engineer for an oilfield services company. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

On August 14th, we had the pleasure to participate in ProInspire’s 5Year Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco. ProInspire’s Founder and CEO Monisha Kapila and Bay Area Executive Director Gene Kunde hosted the event. ProInspire features a unique fellowship program that aims to build the next generation of nonprofit leaders by expanding the talent pipeline, developing professionals, and increasing diversity.

The ProInspire Fellows

The ProInspire Fellows

ProInspire recruits outstanding business professionals with 2-5 years of business experience who want to use their skills for social impact.  Fellows spend one year working in an analytical or strategic role at a nonprofit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area or Washington, DC. In the past five years, ProInspire has succeeded in matching and supporting 100 ProInspire Fellows placed in 45 partner organizations in San Francisco and DC.

ProInspire Bay Area Executive Director Gene Kunde and Founder Monisha Kapila

ProInspire Bay Area Executive Director Gene Kunde and Founder Monisha Kapila

Organizations that have hosted ProInspire fellows include Kiva, Tipping Point Community, Share Our Strength, and the National 4-H Council, among many others. In addition to the experience gained through their work placements, Fellows participate in retreats, monthly workshops, coaching, and leadership development projects and receive career and graduate school support.

The 5 Year Anniversary Event at Bluxome Street Winery included graduation of the current cohort of San Francisco Bay Area Fellows as well as presentations from two recent alumni, Andrew Wu, a 2012 Fellow from SingleStop USA, and Sherry Ezhuthachan, a 2013 Fellow from San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center. As a Fellow, Andrew worked on a variety of strategic projects including the expansion of funding support for Single Stop in California, the development of new digital marketing strategies and tactics, and the creation of new collaboration and training methods for Single Stop sites. At the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, Sherry managed public and private relationships and provided the project management required to bring the multi-year Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) initiative to fruition.

ProInspire Fellows Andrew Wu, Sherry Ezhuthachan and Adrienne Gvozdich

ProInspire Fellows Andrew Wu, Christine Wang, Sherry Ezhuthachan and Adrienne Gvozdich

It was great to meet so many Fellows and great partner organizations that work with ProInspire.  Check out their programs – the ProInspire Fellowship and Managing for Success.  Applications for 2015 programs will be out in December!

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The 2013 Baltimore Mayoral Fellows

The 2013 Baltimore City Mayoral Fellows

Seeking a summer policy fellowship in city government? The Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship provides a 10-week full-time placement in a mayoral office or Baltimore City agencies, during which Fellows are placed in agencies based on their background, interests, and the needs of the agencies and departments. Under the direction of senior level government officials, Fellows are assigned to projects that focus on myriad public policy issues and challenges. Mayoral fellows also participate in weekly brownbag lunches with officials and community leaders, to discuss issues such as business development, housing, crime, civic engagement, education, health, and community redevelopment. Fellows also participate in teambuilding, networking, and social activities throughout the summer. Eligible applicants must have completed the junior year of their undergraduate degree by the start of the fellowship program. Fellows receive a stipend of $4-5,000. To learn more about this unique program, we asked recent Mayoral Fellow Michelle Rau about her experience on the fellowship and her fellowship application tips.

1. What inspired you to apply for the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship?

I applied for the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship to explore a city planning career on the east coast. I discovered my passion for urban policy as I embarked on a college career in Eugene, Oregon, a small college town bent on the Willamette River, Douglas firs, vintage Shwinns and local everything. I grew up in Los Angeles, the city of sprawling freeways, tract homes and not enough aqueducts. It wasn’t until leaving my hometown that I realized the immense amount of strategy and decision making required to support millions of people’s every day and community needs. I received my first internship in the City of Eugene Planning Department where I got my first insights on economic development, transit-oriented development and community engagement. Post internship, I decided to follow my lifelong dream of discovering east coast cities with a focus on public policy. I saw the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship as an exciting challenge as the city is on the cusp of overcoming a myriad of challenges that can be solved through strategic policy-making.

2. What are the benefits of the fellowship?

Baltimore City Mayoral Fellow Michelle Rau

Baltimore City Mayoral Fellow Michelle Rau

The Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship was an incredible opportunity because the program offers much more than a valuable professional experience. Primarily, fellows are handpicked to take on high profile policy issues the city faces and offer compelling and actionable solutions. Fellows dive in to the issues with full support from their agencies and experience firsthand challenges and triumphs working in local government. Fellows have the unique experience of being both a fly on the wall, gathering any and all information, and an active agent of change putting together research and analysis on a 10-week deadline. Throughout the program, fellows are encouraged to reach out to high level decision makers for project support and ultimately present their findings and policy recommendations to the Mayor and senior staff.

In addition, fellows have weekly opportunities to meet with the city’s senior staff and agency heads, corporate executives and community leaders to engage in conversation about the city’s top initiatives. Some of my favorite events were a tour of the city’s past and present via bicycle, a tour of the iconic Domino Sugar Factory and an all-night police ride-along. Lastly, fellows experience the fellowship as a cohort of young, driven and talented 20-somethings from the region and beyond, striving to make the City a better place. Having moved from across the country for the fellowship, I was thrilled to get to know the other fellows I found so inspiring and make long lasting friends and memories.

Lastly, the objective of the Mayoral Fellowship is to acquire and retain young talent working for Baltimore City. For individuals seeking careers in public service, the Mayoral Fellowship is the ideal platform to get your foot in the door. Some fellowship alumni that have continued to work for the city are amongst the most influential people in the city.

3. What tips would you give others applying to the fellowship?

To others seeking the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship, I would advise that applicants have strong skills in research, policy analysis and most importantly, garnering support amongst stakeholders. In local government, it’s all about relationships. Anyone interested in breaking onto the scene is going to need some skills in navigating the political scene, so it’s critical to make connections and foster relationships. Applicants should focus on experience with project management and decision making, whether in the local government field or not, in their application and interviews. While fellows will focus on a single issue, coordination and managing priorities are essential skills for the fellowship. Above all, prospective fellows should be passionate about local public policy issues and eager to embrace a new challenge. A shout-out to the Ravens or Orioles will probably also go a long way!

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michelle Rau has a passion for urban policy. After studying planning & public policy at the University of Oregon, she spent nearly a year with the City of Eugene to implement key economic development initiatives in the city’s newly adopted 20-year plan, Envision Eugene. Since her Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship, she has continued to work for the City of Baltimore as an Analyst for the Department of General Services.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

Carleigh Morgan, 2013-14 Fulbright ETA in Turkey

Carleigh Morgan, 2013-14 Fulbright ETA in Turkey

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) is a unique opportunity for recent college graduates and young professionals to spend 6 months to 1 year in schools overseas, where they supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in classrooms. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level. In addition to providing language instruction, ETAs serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. In most cases, Fulbright ETAs are placed outside of capital cities and are integrated into the host community, often an area with limited access to native English speakers and that may not have interacted with Americans before. To learn more about the experience abroad on this particular Fulbright grant, we caught up with Carleigh Morgan, a recent Fulbright ETA in Turkey.

1. What inspired you to apply for the Fulbright ETA in Turkey?

The landmass of Turkey has historically been a site of confrontation, invasion, occupation, and conflict. Since the earliest civilizations imprinted their mark on the area known today as Turkey, the region has witnessed thousands of years of culture gestate, grow, decline, and fade into memory preserved in the crumbling or partially excavated relics that dot the countryside. I have an academic interest in the way that emerging political identities position themselves to this multitudinous historical narrative, particularly since so many of the civilizations that have left their impact in Turkey were historically at odds or in direct opposition as competing cultural influence. As far as nations go, Turkey is a unique model of an industrializing nation that is still grappling with its own historical legacy. Turkey is struggling to reconcile a deeply entrenched nationalism with connectedness to an international political community.  I wanted to teach in an area of the world that operated within this complicated and dynamic sense of history and that was still figuring out how to position its larger cultural identity into the framework of a global community that so often has looked at Turkey as the “bridge” between East and West. I especially wanted to investigate how Turkey acts as an unpredictable or irregular pendulum between East and West, rather than as a static open link allowing for an equitable exchange of tidy cultural customs. The prospect of visiting Turkey’s spectacular museums and historical sites, particularly Pergamon and Efes, was a compelling reason for me to go there because I have a longstanding interest in art and architecture, and the opportunity to explore the artistic legacy of Minoan, Phrygian, Lydian, Greek, and Roman culture was too enticing to ignore. I also have a particular fascination with St. George, and the larger-than-life legend of his mission to proselytize in Cappadocia, which led me to visit the underground cities, fairy chimneys, and gorgeous carved churches of one of Turkey’s most breathtaking regions during my fellowship. Ultimately, my main objective was to teach English. I had the tremendous opportunity to establish and expand Usak University’s first intensive English language program for engineers and university faculty. Teaching basic English was a chance for me to refine my teaching skills, gain work experience, and contribute substantially (both personally and professionally) to developing teaching programs abroad and encouraging intercultural awareness and curiosity.


2. What has been the most eye-opening experience during your fellowship?

Turkish hospitality has a particular reputation, and from my experience, it is well earned. I was invited to strangers’ homes for chai on a regular basis, and though I arrived not knowing any Turkish, by the time I left I was saying farewell to a network of friends and colleagues whom I consider family. The most significant difference between Turkish values and American values deals with timeturkey10 management, specifically where people and goals intersect. Part of the reason that Turkish hospitality is so famed is because the social network is a fundamental part of workplace culture, so people and conversation are prioritized over accomplishing long-term goals or short-term tasks. In this case, I had to reevaluate my own values as an American and respect the Turkish way, which seemed to be an inversion of the social code I had been raised in and was accustomed to. Whereas prior to arriving I would have found it strange to delay pressing tasks with an immediate deadline, once in Turkey I learned that flexibility is crucial, spontaneity and innovation in the workplace is a necessity, and that people are always more deserving of your attention than paperwork. It encouraged me to slow down my working pace in order to develop more substantial relationships with colleagues, strangers, friends, and students. The ritual of preparing tea and sipping it together slowly over the course of several servings is a rite that binds and fortifies social relationships in Turkey, and I learned to savor the slowness of everyday life and the rich, rustic flavor of tea as red as the Turkish flag.

3. What tips would you give other candidates about adjusting to life abroad?

If you’re interested in some tips that I have exclusively for adjusting to Turkey, feel free to check out my post on the education blog Melibee Global. If you’re looking for more general advice, I can say two things. First, be prepared to radically reorient your sense of personal space and private boundaries. You will develop relationships with people and interact with strangers everyday who have lived steeped in social traditions different from your own, whether that difference is slight or severe. If you are travelling alone, you tend to be much more approachable and should learn to maintain your composure and warmth when people cross into your personal bubble. By no means lower your guard or become overly inviting, but learn to recognize when the cultural tenants of your native culture create friction with the cultural tenants of your new home, especially where boundaries of personal space are concerned. As an American with an inherited sense of individualism, I had to shrink my personal boundaries for space when I arrived to Turkey because the notion of self-identity and integration is much more communal.


The second main point is this: never be afraid to advocate for yourself, even if you think no one can understand you. As a single, foreign female living in a remote Turkish village, I was the only native English speaker and my Turkish was non-existent at the beginning of my teaching fellowship. I learned to exercise my agency, claim my space, and advocate for myself in English knowing that my messages would disintegrate at the language barrier but that my tone, facial cues, and body language would adequately speak for me. Don’t ever give up your personal power or relinquish control in unsafe or uncomfortable situations just because you think someone won’t understand your words. In fact, I highly recommend learning a few commanding words, like “stop” or “help” or “police” in a second language so that you can navigate questionable situations and compensate a little bit for the linguistic disadvantage. Expressing your discomfort, fear, or concerns is a far better thing to do in your native language despite the misunderstandings that might occur than to remain silent and expose yourself to harm.

 Carleigh is a falconry-obsessed artist who loves testing the permeable boundary between adventure and danger. She holds honors degrees in English Literature and Philosophy from Wake Forest University, and will continue her education at King’s College, London in the fall of 2014. When she’s not scrubbing ink off her nose from having it pressed into the crinkled pages of an old book, she explores open-air museums and archaeological excavations, hikes, creates hip-hop choreography, and studies Gaeilge and Spanish.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.

If you’re working on your Fulbright application this summer, it’s good to get advice from the pros! The Fulbright Program – Official Group LinkedIn page recently hosted a discussion for the question, “What was the best advice you got when applying for the Fulbright?” Below is some great advice from former Fulbright grantees:

The best advice I received came from a staff member in Turkish Fulbright Committee at the very first social gathering where they introduced the program. She told us to work on the essays – as a part of the application – very hard and make them sound personal and real. That was very helpful for me at the time because even though I was a sociology graduate and had written many essays by that time, I was stressed about those two essays. I chose to write with an open, honest and passionate tone of voice. I underlined the vitality of the scholarship and the program I wanted to be educated in for my future goals. And it worked! Good luck.

-Nazlıhan Eda Erçin, Performer/Researcher – PhD Candidate in Performance Practice at University of Exeter

Work the application from both ends. In other words, get a foreign university to be interested in you and, in the best of all possible worlds, obtain a letter from that institution in which they express their interest in you and your field of expertise. And then submit their letter of interest to the CIES. Good luck.

-Craig Beles, JD, LLM, MCIArb, Experienced Independent Arbitrator & Mediator/ Fulbright Specialist in International ADR

If you are applying for a teaching Fulbright, do not overemphasize what you can do for them. Instead, balance this with some of the many things you’ll learn while you’re there and what this will enable you to do for others upon your return.

- Ann Garry, Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Los Angeles

Having been a reviewer for Fulbright, what we look for is a strong proposal with clear goals and feasible outcomes. The better that you summarize that in the upfront introduction, with clear research or teaching goals, showing how your proposal will impact work with other scholars, contribute to an ongoing area of research or help with developing approaches to certain types of scientific, educational, economic, cultural, political or environmental issues, the more likely your proposal will be considered to move forward. Provide some background academic references or past work that supports your proposal, but be succinct. I know that many people write proposals with long detailed prose about why they are drawn to a particular country. Have a real reason that your research must take place in the country you are proposing such as facilities, the groups your are working with are only in this country, you have a relationship built with colleagues and you need to spend a significant time working in-person or that your research subject is in-country. Please do not include that it’s your life dream because you saw a movie or read a book.

- Anonymous

If you’re seeking additional advice on the Fulbright fellowship application process, check out ProFellow’s Step-by-Step Guide For A Competitive Fellowship Application, as well as our articles and interviews providing Fulbright application tips.

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved.


This weekend, we hosted an Esteemed Fellows Brunch in San Francisco for current, former and aspiring fellows. The brunch brought together a cross-disciplinary group of leaders in their fields. Over a bottomless buffet of Southern-inspired comfort food at Ironside in SOMA, fellows discussed their latest projects and experiences, including innovating government services through technology, programming for an upcoming LGBT seminar series at the Commonwealth Club, and one fellow’s experience researching her new book, “Part of the Family?: Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights.” Business cards were exchanged, stories and experiences were shared, and fellows left the event with ideas and new contacts.

The Esteemed Fellows events are organized by our International Fellows Network, which is a rapidly growing professional networking organization of more than 800 current and former fellows from all over the world. We have also held events in Washington, DC, New York City and Berlin, Germany. Through the IFN, current and former fellows can connect for advice and information on fellowships, jobs, events, graduate programs and collaborative opportunities. If you are a current or former fellow and would like to get involved, please sign up for our fellowships database, and we’ll be in touch by email!

July 2014 attendees:

  • Ayushi Gummadi, Fulbright ETA to South America
  • Karen Kwok, National Urban Fellow
  • Kenneth Cunanan, Code for America
  • Michael Fernandez, Marshall Memorial Scholar
  • Ryan Johnson, Cofounder, ProFellow
  • Sheila Bapat, Butler Koshland Fellow
  • Vicki Johnson, Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy (New Zealand)
  • Wes McGaughey, aspiring fellow/MPP-MBA candidate at Mills College
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2014 Rangel Graduate Fellows

2014 Rangel Graduate Fellows

Guest author Adam Kong provides his insights on the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, a unique fellowship that prepares graduate students for careers in the U.S. Foreign Service. 

By Adam Kong

Diplomacy as a job? Language learning and foreign travel a requirement? The State Department’s Foreign Service is the United States leading foreign affairs agency with its Foreign Service Officers stationed in more than 270 embassies, consulates and missions around the world. The job of a Foreign Service Officer is to be on the front line of diplomacy by representing the American people, advocating for U.S. interests, and promoting security and prosperity abroad. As a result, the job attracts some of the most qualified and talented individuals in the country.

The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program offers a Graduate Fellowship, a unique program with a mission to promote diversity and excellence in the Foreign Service. Similar to its sister programs, the Pickering and Payne Fellowships, the Rangel Program chooses twenty fellows (potentially more) in a highly competitive nationwide selection process and supports them through two years of graduate study, internships, and professional development. Each Rangel Fellow is required to complete a master’s degree at any institution of his or her choice so long as the degree is relevant to the work of the Foreign Service. During their studies Rangel Fellows go through the Foreign Service selection process and are awarded an appointment upon completion of the program. The program especially encourages members of underrepresented groups and those with financial need to apply.

What’s particularly alluring about the Fellowship is the financial benefits during the two year program. Each fellow is awarded $35,000 annually to help cover the costs of tuition and stipend. On top of that they are given a stipend during their internships and have other costs such as transportation paid for. A unique element of the Rangel Fellowship, though, are its university partners listed here. These universities have pledged a certain amount of scholarships and financial aid to any Rangel Fellow who attends their programs. This can be anything from a $20,000 annual scholarship to a full ride plus stipend. Therefore, depending on the school and their scholarship, the overall benefits of the fellowship can easily exceed $100,000. After graduating from school, Rangel Fellows are required to serve at least five years in the Foreign Service.

What makes a competitive applicant? There is no perfect mold for any application process but the Rangel Program’s website provides good advice on how to prepare a competitive application. A strong personal statement, high grades, and a passion for public service and international affairs can help make your application competitive. Most important, though, is a candidate’s desire to serve abroad as a Foreign Service Officer. The graduate study, stipend and other benefits should be second to an applicant’s real interest in joining the Foreign Service. Ideally, the best candidates are those who intend to make a career out of diplomacy and potentially be the next leaders in the U.S. State Department.

Is the Foreign Service right for you? If you believe that diplomacy is your calling, consider applying to the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program! The Rangel Graduate Fellowship application deadline is typically in early January.

2014 Rangel Fellow Adam Kong

2014 Rangel Fellow Adam Kong

Adam Kong is a current Rangel Fellow at Columbia University pursuing a Master’s in International Affairs. He is a former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Gilman Scholar, and aspires to become the world’s greatest Pokemon trainer.  

© Victoria Johnson 2014, all rights reserved