A group of high-achieving students joined faculty to celebrate a year of accomplishment at the National Fellowships Celebration. Undergraduate and graduate students who applied for or won fellowships were recognized.
The reception was held by the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs, which guides students towards applying and earning scholarships for all kinds of endeavors from graduate programs to research.
"There are hundreds of national fellowships out there which is why I think it's really helpful for students at USC to have an office," said Jennifer Bess, the fellowship coordinator.
The office not only assists students with finding fellowships like the over 200 options on their online database, but also through application and interview advising. Students are guided through the process from discovering the best fit in fellowships to having their applications sent in.
"They're just great people. They listen to you," said Kayla Gardner, a third-year marine science student and winner of both the Hollings and Goldwater fellowships.
Gardner, who will use her fellowship opportunities to study monk seals in Hawaii, said that the process of applying for fellowships was almost as valuable as winning.
"I've learned so much about myself and what I want to do in the future just through going through the process," Gardner said.
Another fellowship winner is Nicolas Ferguson, a first-year student in the international business and global supply chain operations management program. Ferguson found out only the night before that he was awarded the Boren scholarship, which provides $20,000 to study abroad.
"I'm in the IBCE (International Business and Chinese Enterprise) program so I'll be in Hong Kong for twelve months," Ferguson said when asked how he will use the money. He added that the Office of Fellowships and Scholars Programs was essential to every step of the application process.
"The fellowships office really helped with editing essays, making sure my application was all together. You have to make a budget with scholarship and really explain what you'll be doing while abroad," Ferguson said. "They definitely help you polish all that and make sure that everything was good to go."
The office provides personal help and attention for all students who wish to apply.
"That's one of our favorite parts of the job, is those one-on-one conversations, because it's really in getting to know the student and talking about what they're interested in that we can help them best find a fellowship that fits," Bess said.