Whitties Take Home Top Fellowships and Grants
From Watsons to Fulbrights, from Critical Language Scholarships to National Science Foundation grants, Whitties earned 32 of the nation’s most prestigious awards during the 2016-17 academic year. Many focused on leadership skills, community service and professional development.
“I’m delighted that another large, tremendously talented group of Whitman students and alumni have earned the country’s top fellowships, scholarships and grants,” said Director of Fellowships and Grants Keith Raether. “The application process for these programs isn’t for the faint of focus, so their achievements reflect clear intentions, great commitment and smart, hard work.”
Only 40 college graduates earn Thomas J. Watson Fellowships per year after a rigorous evaluation of their creative project proposals, academic credentials and faculty recommendations. Whitties nabbed two of them—and the accompanying $30,000 for travel and exploration on a global scale. Biology-environmental studies major Nina Finley ’17 and sociology-environmental studies major Samuel Perkins ’17 will work on emerging wildlife diseases and megacity wildfire management, respectively.
Finley said she was excited about her travels. “I can’t wait to step on the ground, smell the plants, listen to the birds and meet people.”
As a previous recipient of two Udall Scholarships, the Goldwater Scholarship, the Hollings Scholarship and a Fulbright Scholarship, Finley exemplifies the success of Whitman’s growing fellowships and grants program, Raether said. Her adviser, Senior Lecturer of Environmental Humanities and General Studies Don Snow, agreed, calling her “the archetype of the liberal arts student—interested in everything, willing to try new intellectual adventures, exceedingly versatile.”
In addition, six Whitties were accepted into the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to teach English internationally. Three received Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. Department of State for foreign language immersion. Two garnered National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and another earned the Goldwater Scholarship for study in STEM fields.
Plus, six Whitties were named as alternates and two achieved honorable mentions in various scholarship programs. And 37.5 percent of all Whittie recipients represent underserved or diverse populations, according to Raether.
This brings the total number of Whittie Fulbrights to 97 since 1987; Watsons to 44 since 1970; Critical Language Scholars to 14 since 2009; National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows to 29 since 2003; and Goldwater Scholars to eight since 1990.