We’re pleased to announce that ProFellow.com just registered its 100,000th subscriber today! It’s a major milestone for the ProFellow community. So we just want to take a moment to thank our supporters and reflect on our humble beginnings and journey.
How it all started
We founded ProFellow.com in 2011 with the simple goal of helping more people discover the extraordinary world of professional and academic fellowships. As a four-time fellow, I had stumbled upon fellowships throughout my career and used these unique funding opportunities to live and work abroad, gain professional experience in government, public policy and international relations, and earn my PhD. I wanted more people to do the same!
Just before moving to New Zealand in 2011, where I would be pursuing a Ian Axford Fellowship, my partner and husband Ryan Johnson and I created a simple blog on the URL profellow.com, wrote our first article, and set about the task of figuring out how to create the world’s best database of fellowship opportunities and provide guidance to aspiring fellows on how to win these unique awards.
Needless to say, this was no simple task.
We started with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in New Zealand, and through the support of family, friends, colleagues, and strangers, we raised $10,250 to start and grow the site. As promised, we plunged ourselves into the frigid Wellington harbor to celebrate our success in meeting our goal. Thank you again to founding supporters!
We also joined several New Zealand business plan competitions and came in first in the Education category in the 2011 Bright Ideas competition. Throughout this time, we got picked up in the New Zealand press, including an article with this cringe-worthy photo. But believe me, we were happy for any and all press!
Slowly, but surely…
Despite the early fanfare, our userbase grew slowly. Over the first several years of ProFellow’s existence, we had a very basic site and database, and it was certainly nowhere near the “world’s best” to start. But we stuck to our guns and took user feedback seriously. Like all things pursued with a focus on small, incremental successes, the ProFellow brand and its popularity among fellowships seekers globally began to gather steam.
We also grew our International Fellows Network of current and former fellows and set up in-person events so that fellows could meet and network across programs. Our International Fellows Network dinners in Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco and Berlin, Germany have been a huge success (and with the leadership of a new IFN Community Manager, we have more planned coming up this year!)
The Big Upgrade
In 2014, we unveiled an all-new ProFellow website at Stanford University. At that time, we had just 13,000 subscribers. Yet, we thought we were already on top of the world!
Thanks to the high-quality content of our writers, our university network, and word-of-mouth hype, we kept attracting more and more fellowship seekers, fellowship alumni and fellowship advisors to the ProFellow community. And due to that, we’ve built hundreds of incredible partnerships with fellowship organizations and universities who now promote their programs on our platform to our unique readership of fellowship seekers. See our latest calls for applications!
100K+ and growing
ProFellow has grown in many ways in just the last few years.
- Beyond our 100K subscribers, ProFellow.com receives more than 90,000 unique visits per month to read and share our fellowship-focused content.
- We’ve grown our mailing list to more than 65,000 readers who enjoy our popular newsletter ProFellow Insider. (Not on our mailing list? Join here!)
- We’ve been invited to the TED conference, were accepted into Nasdaq’s Milestone Makers program, and started new fellowship industry collaborations.
- We now provide a wide variety of courses and workshops teaching skills on how to write a killer personal statement, successfully interview, or fully fund graduate school, among other topics.
- And, this year, we unveiled ProFellow Academy, a free, private platform where you can get expert advice on the competitive application process.
A Big THANK YOU!
We just want to thank you – our readers and supporters – for helping us build this community to support aspiring fellows who strive to do something exceptional. Here’s to the next 100K members!
Dr. Vicki Johnson
Founder & CEO, ProFellow