Congratulations to Fulbright Academic Grant to Germany Awardee Jessica Armstrong! Here are some of her thoughts on Fulbright and its application process:
What do you hope to get out of the opportunity that Fulbright affords you?
With the opportunity to conduct research in Germany, I hope to become a more well-rounded and independently-thinking scientist. The experience of performing chemical research while immersed in a culture other than my own will give me a broader perspective of the ways in which research is conducted before beginning my PhD in the fall of 2018.
How and why did you choose your recommenders, and what is your relationship with them like?
All of my recommenders are professors with whom I have taken at least one class. I have taken two classes with two of my recommenders. I have also been working in a research lab for over three years with one of my recommenders. In general, my relationships with all of my recommenders are good; I have done well in the classes I have taken with them, they know my work ethic, and they are acquainted with me outside of class.
What motivated you to apply for a Fulbright?
The summer before my senior year at William & Mary, I was conducting research in Germany through the DAAD RISE program. While abroad, I received an email about Fulbright and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to return to Germany with full funding to continue research.
How did you choose your country?
I have been studying the German language for several years and I love the culture, so it was a natural choice.
What did you realize about yourself throughout this process?
Throughout this process, I realized that I am capable of writing successful applications for big-name fellowships. Completing an application for Fulbright is intimidating, but I am much more confident in my abilities to propose research and explain my motivations after having done so successfully.
What are you most proud of in your application?
I am most proud of the support I received from my future advisor through the letter of affiliation. After working with him over the summer through the DAAD RISE program, it was really meaningful for him to express strong support for me to return to his research lab.
If you could do it all again, what would you change about the process?
If I were to go through the process of applying to Fulbright again, I would start working on my application sooner. I didn’t realize that I wanted to do Fulbright until mid-way through the summer before the application was due. For that reason, I did a lot of the work on the application during the fall semester and it was difficult to complete it along with doing coursework and beginning the graduate school application process.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to future Fulbright applicants?
Reach out and use your resources. The PSAs are phenomenal, so you should ask them to look over many drafts of your application. You should also work with your recommenders and your potential advisor (if pursuing an academic grant) on the concept for your proposed project and make sure they know you so that they can write you successful letters.
Congratulations again to Jessica, and all of W&M’s other Fulbright awardees! As always, if you have any questions about Fulbright or other scholarships, don’t hesitate to visit Scholarship Search or come to the Charles to ask a PSA Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Thanks for reading and good luck on your applications!