Fulbright Scholarship 0215-2015 Award Year Competition

The A&T deadline for this year’s Fulbright competition is September 15. Applicants are strongly urged to contact the camps Fulbright Program Advisor, Ms. Anna Whiteside (Honors Program, 110C Academic Classroom Building, 336-285-2030).

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the US Department of State. It provides students and faculty with funding to study, research and teach abroad.

The program is only available for graduate studies and research, so this will be an opportunity for current seniors and recent graduates only. In order to apply for a Fulbright, you must be a US Citizen, and you may not have earned a doctoral degree.

The Full Grant is the most widely offered grant. Usually, these grants are designed for an academic year of study in a single country. In order to receive one of these grants, applicants must design their own course of study. Applicants must also secure an affiliation in the host country (these affiliations are usually universities or other research institutions).

The ETA Grant is a teaching assistantship, and this is a grant for students whose primary interest is in teaching rather than conducting research. These are available in 65 countries and vary from a few months to an academic year in length. These grants also vary in terms of language requirements. While some countries do require that you have intermediate to advance proficiency in the language (South America, Western Europe), others (namely Asian and Northern and Eastern European countries) do not have language requirements. This is a good option for students who would like to live and work abroad but who may not have a specific research interest.

Scholars with ETA grants may pursue research interests. Some countries may provide additional funding for this. The grants do not require applicants to secure affiliations; these affiliations will be secured for you, if you are awarded a grant.

ejohnson-back(Pictured above, A&T’s first Fulbright winner, Emmanuel Johnson. Emmanuel completed an MSc in Robotics at the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). He is currently interning with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Following this, he will begin his PhD in robotics at the University of Southern California, which he will do as an NSF Graduate Fellowship Recipient. Check out Emmanuel’s blog here.


Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program


Program Overview


The Whitaker International Program provides funding to emerging U.S.-based leaders in biomedical engineering/bioengineering to conduct a study and/or research project abroad, with the underlying objective of increasing international collaboration in the field of Biomedical Engineering (BME). Grant projects – including lab research, coursework, public policy work – are intended to enhance both the recipient’s career and the field. Founded in 2005 by the Whitaker Foundation (now closed), the program is administered by the Institute of International Education.


Whitaker International Program grants are awarded based on an activity/project proposal that is relevant to biomedical engineering.  Note that not all aspects of the project have to be strictly BME related, but the applicant should showcase how the award will enhance his/her future goals in the bioengineering field.  The program also allows for non-BME majors to apply as long as the candidate has relevant experience and interest in BME. 


We anticipate offering about 50 grants, but only the highest-quality applicants are offered awards. In the last three competitions, 40, 60 and 50 grants were awarded. There is no limitation on number of grants awarded and there is no quota on number of grants to a certain country. 


All eligible students who are exploring the idea of going abroad for a post-graduate/post-doctoral project are encouraged to apply.  It is recommended that any post-graduate coursework be combined with a research project or an internship.  Aside from the personal and professional benefits to the individual grantee, benefits to the home institution also accrue, as new university partnerships have developed with hosting institutions overseas; collaborations have developed between U.S. bioengineers and their academic counterparts worldwide; and U.S. labs have benefited from having their students learn and bring back new and, sometimes, cutting-edge technologies and procedures.


Awards have included research in heart blood flow, improved prosthetic leg design, development of affordable oral cancer screening tools, and investment in BME research. Projects occur worldwide, and have taken place in many European countries, as well as in such places as Australia, Bangladesh, China, South Africa, Vietnam, and many more.


Types of Grants


The Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program has two categories:

·         Fellows –   Graduate-level applicants, from graduating seniors through current PhD students. Fellows receive a stipend for one year, and are eligible for tuition reimbursement.

·         Scholars – Post-doctoral applicants, who recently received their PhD.  Scholar awards can be for as little as one academic semester or as long as two years, depending on their needs. Second year funding is contingent upon demonstration of progress made during the first year.


Website & Online Application



The online application is now open with a January 21, 2014 deadline. The website listed above has all the information pertaining to the program, including eligibility requirements, examples of potential host institutions, and former grantee profiles.

The Proposal

Many awards will require that you write a proposal that details what you plan to do with the resources allotted to you through your fellowships – whether this be research funds, graduate school funds, or a stipend for a time spent performing service. Think of it this way: you are asking someone for money, so you have to tell what you are going to do with it. The proposal is your chance to argue about why an investment in you would be an investment in the fellowship committee’s goal (research? cultural understanding? the future of foreign policy?)

Even knowing this, students often have trouble knowing what to put into their fellowship proposals. I usually suggest that students begin by writing lists detailing what they plan to do. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

1. Where are you planning to go? If this proposal is for a particular university, you need to explain what this university has that is uniquely suited to help you achieve your goals. If you are proposing to go to a university in another country, you should also explain why this country is significant to you, culturally and academically. If you are planning to do research in another country, you must explain why it is essential that you go to that country to perform your research. As you write, anticipate the question: why can’t you do this at home in the US?

2. What do you plan to do? If you plan to pursue a graduate degree, what do you plan to study? What courses did you plan to take? Will you be undertaking research? If so, what do you plan to research?

If you are planning to conduct an independent research project, you need to outline the question you are seeking to answer and explain your methodology. You should also provide a hypothesis. If any of your work will require special skills or knowledge, you should use your proposal to show that you have the skills and knowledge required to help you complete it.

For either graduate work or independent research, you need to provide a rationale for your work. How will this work help you reach your academic, personal, and professional goals? How will your work advance knowledge in your field? What is new and innovative about your research? Are you building on the research of others? If so, explain this. If you are applying for an award that stresses cross-cultural understanding, you should discuss how your proposed research will help develop this.

This is also your chance to address any problems and challenges you might anticipate and to explain how you will handle them. You should also address any special research permission you might need and how you plan to get that.

How do you plan to document your research? Do you plan to present your findings in an academic paper or via another source? Many fellowships, such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, expect you to detail how you plan to disseminate your findings.

3. Who are you working with? If you are applying for a Fulbright, you should have an affiliation. If you are applying for a graduate program, you should have identified faculty members who are doing the kind of research or work that you would like to do. What resources will these sources be able to provide you with? (Also, if there are tools or resources that you will need in addition to what the grant or host institution is able to provide you with, you will need to be able to tell how you will be able to fund that). For the Fulbright, you will have to show documentation of your affiliation, so keep track of all your correspondences.

4. Why is this work so important? This is more of the fuzzy and abstract part, but it is still important. You need to explain why this project is so important to you and why it should be important to the wider world. What is so significant about your project, in other words? Is this project timely – what are the current issues that it addresses? Why is this project important to your host institution? Why is it important to the US?


Be prepared to do a lot of revisions to your proposal, and be sure to get many different people to look over it. For the Fulbright as well as for other awards like the NSF, you likely won’t be afforded an interview to be able to answer questions about your project. Therefore, everything should be perfectly clear, and you should anticipate any concerns a selection panel might have. Again, if you are an A&T something, this is something that I will work with you on!

Other Resources to Check Out:

Yale’s Writing Fellowship Proposals and Essays

Columbia’s How to Write a Compelling Fellowship Application

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s How to Win a Graduate Fellowship

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Grant Writing Tips for Graduate Students

The Social Science Research Council’s Art of Writing Proposals

William and Mary’s Dos and Don’ts for Writing Fellowship Proposals

University of Minnesota’s Writing Arts and Humanities Proposals

Amherst’s How to Write a Good Fulbright Proposal

Alexander Lang’s NSF Fellowship Guide (with examples)

Carleton College’s How to Write Effective Proposals.

NCSU’s Applying for Graduate Research Fellowships

Indiana University’s Applying for Artistic Grants and Fellowships

Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE)

Each year, outstanding engineering students are selected to spend nine weeks in Washington, D.C., learning about the public policy process, including how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions.  The WISE Program is ranked as one of the best Internship opportunities in the U.S. by the Princeton Review.”

DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship

“The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (SC) established the DOE Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE SCGF) program in 2009 to support outstanding students to pursue graduate training in fundamental research in areas of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer and computational sciences, and environmental sciences relevant to the Office of Science and to encourage the development of the next generation scientific and technical talent in the U.S who will pursue careers in research critical to the Office of Science mission at DOE laboratories and in academia.

The DOE SCGF is a three-year award, providing partial tuition support, an annual stipend for living expenses, and a research allowance for full-time graduate study and thesis/dissertation research at a U.S. academic institution. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and either a first or second year graduate student, or an undergraduate senior at the time of applying, and must be pursuing or plan to pursue graduate study and research in areas relevant to the science programs supported by the DOE Office of Science. Applications are subject to rigorous peer review by external experts based on established merit review criteria.”