Dr. Vicki Johnson Featured on The Education & Empowerment Podcast

Sep 02, 2021

The Education & Empowerment Podcast, hosted by Bakhtiyor Isoev, recently interviewed ProFellow Founder Dr. Vicki Johnson to get her take on full funding opportunities and ProFellow’s role in helping students and professionals be empowered through education. Listen to the episode here!

They began by diving into Vicki’s inspiration for founding ProFellow. Through a lot of research (and a bit of luck!), Vicki found, applied for, and participated in several fellowships–including the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowship in Public Policy, the New York City Urban Fellows Program, the German Chancellor Fellowship, and the Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship–after graduating from Cornell University. When she would speak about her work, people often would approach her, asking how she found out about these opportunities. Sensing a gap in the market, she and her husband Ryan founded ProFellow.com, a database of fellowships where anyone–and not just those in elite circles–could find out about these opportunities.

Vicki eventually realized that she needed a graduate degree to progress and her career, and one opportunity that she was not aware of was fully funded PhD programs–and so she immediately narrowed her search to master’s programs, eventually taking out a significant amount of loans. It was not until she was doing a Fulbright in New Zealand and offered a fully-funded PhD slot Massey University during her time there that she began to discover that there were a number of options for graduate funding. Since then, she has expanded ProFellow to include information on fully funded graduate programs, and is the creator and director of Fully Funded, an award-winning course tailored to graduate school applicants aiming for full funding.

Vicki has now been in this field for over ten years, and she’s picked up a lot of helpful advice (and ProFellow success stories!) along the way. She and Bakhtiyor talked about things that aspiring fellows and graduate students should do, including customizing applications for each program and focusing on how what you bring to the table can help further the goals of the fellowship or graduate program.

They also considered what a fruitful mentor and mentee relationship looks like as well have how to find a mentor. Vicki noted the importance of having a personal relationship with someone who mentors you as well as recognizing the many people who are likely already in your life who can help you navigate when you have big decisions or a difficult situation. She also suggested that it’s important to remember that mentors offer advice–not foolproof measures of your potential–so even if someone says that you aren’t capable of getting an award that you really want to apply for, as someone once did to her, go for it anyway!

They also touched on the value of networking, the advantages of fully funded experiences, and offer practical advice on being successful in academic and professional contexts.

ProFellow would like to thank Bakhtiyor Isoev and The Education & Empowerment Podcast for inviting Vicki on!

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