Demystifying Graduate Fellowship Awards

This webinar, designed for first-gen students and alumni, opened with Rebekah Westphal, Assistant Dean of Yale College and Director of Fellowships and Funding, defining what is meant by fellowships, or post-college academic and international exchange opportunities. She also covered the nuts and bolts of the application process and resources within the Yale community. Attendees were encouraged to access the website and to take advantage of advising offered by the Office of Fellowship Programs.

Then Rebekah dug into some questions with a panel of four Yalies:

• Sarah Pitafi ’22, Fulbright, Sherwood Silliman, and Richter Scholar
• Laura Plata ’19, Rhodes Scholar and Mellon Mayes Fellow
• Brian Reyes ’21, Rhodes Scholar and Mellon Mayes Fellow
• Alison Gardy ’88, Fulbright, Bates, and Bildner Scholar

According to the panelists, the post-graduate experience provided them with opportunities to:
• explore what they wanted to do with their life
• take advantage of the Yale network – professors, past recipients of fellowships, and fellowship advisors
• consider post-graduate timing – a gap year can be valuable to build a sense of self and gain confidence
• take advantage of this reflective process and learnings
• not be afraid to share their personal story
• apply for several fellowships

Alison Gardy ’88, a Fulbright scholar, noted that “People tend to be hard on themselves and often edit themselves out of the application process for fear of rejection. The Fulbright Program is eager to enable U.S. citizens of all backgrounds – geographic regions, races, ethnicities, and varied economic means – to have a meaningful experience abroad. Your diversity enriches the representation.”