Students granted prestigious scholarships
Bowdoin College's Career Planning Center is advertised in the College's tours, website, and admissions pamphlets. According to the website, the Career Planning Center "provides services to help Bowdoin students make informed decisions about undergraduate and postgraduate plans." It can aid students in finding internships, fellowships, and graduate school information, or their first postgraduate job.
Based on the recent accomplishments of several seniors, it is apparent that Bowdoin students are taking advantage of these resources and opportunities. In the past two years alone, four Bowdoin students have been awarded three of the country's most prestigious fellowships. Two seniors recently were honored with the Keasbey Memorial Foundation Scholarship. Norman Joel Moser '04 received the Truman Scholarship and James Wilkins '04 was honored with a Marshall Scholarship.
Every year, the Keasbey Foundation chooses four colleges out of a roster of 16 that can nominate students for the scholarship. This year Bowdoin, Middlebury, Wesleyan, and Haverford could all nominate up to three students for the scholarship. Of the 11 applications the Foundation received, only two received the actual scholarships, both of whom were Bowdoin students. The scholarship funds two years of graduate study in England along with a stipend for living expenses and travel.
According to the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation's mission statement, "the mission is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the non-profit or advocacy sectors education or elsewhere in the public service."
Of the 635 applicants from 305 colleges, 76 scholarships were awarded. The president of the foundation is Madeline Albright and the trustees that review the nominees' applications include United States senators, government officials, and members of the judicial system.
Moser applied for the scholarship last year while he was studying for 11 months in Berlin after being nominated by Bowdoin's faculty representative of the scholarship foundation. Although he feels that the ten-page application was "incredibly strenuous," he credits the CPC with making the whole process less stressful. He even flew back two weeks before his regional interview in Boston to do a series of mock interviews with the center.
The scholarship gave Moser $3,000 for his senior year and $27,000 for graduate study. He also gets preferred admission at many of the nation's top schools and hopes to attend law school after spending between six months to a year abroad and working in national security for a year or two.
Moser is working on a proposal to get an internship with a national intelligence agency at the Truman Summer Institute Program at Brookings Institute in Washington D.C., another program available to Truman Scholars. Last summer he attended a weeklong leadership program in Independence, Missouri for all Truman Scholars.
"The Career Planning Center was so helpful. Even though I was so far away from Bowdoin, I still felt comfortable applying for a National Fellowship," Moser said.
Senior Gil Barndollar, who also participated in the scholarship application process, said, "I applied for four scholarships, but was helped with my essays and did mock interviews with the Career Planning Center. By the time my last application was due, my essays were refined and I felt confident with my interviewing skills."
The Marshall Scholarship was created by the British as a measure of gratitude for the United States' assistance under the Marshall Plan during the Second World War. The scholarships are $60,000 each and are granted to American students who have proven exceptional in academic scholarship and also allows them to further their studies at a British university of their choice for two to three years. Past Marshall scholars have gone on to become Supreme Court Justices, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, administrators at prestigious American colleges and universities, and inventors.
Wilkins hopes to use his scholarship toward a two-year master of science research degree at Oxford University. According to the Bowdoin Sun, Wilkins said, "The application process for the Marshall Scholarship was a tremendous learning experience and I had an amazing amount of encouragement from the Bowdoin faculty."
The Career Planning Center has only been working with students to get fellowships and scholarships for the past two years. The Planning Committee of Fellowships and Scholarships, chaired by Barbara Weiden Boyd, is a one-year committee of faculty members that makes recommendations to the faculty about how Bowdoin can better enable its students to become recipients of prestigious fellowships and scholarships.
Two years ago, when Anne Shields became director of the CPC, the committee decided to get the CPC involved in the process and has had remarkable results.
"One of the ways we've been able to have some success is by working collaboratively with alumni, Res Life, and faculty," Shields said. She pointed out that because some students choose to attach a cover letter and resume to their Res Life applications, for example, students are coming in earlier in their Bowdoin careers to learn about these skills that will then help them when applying for fellowships and scholarships for graduate study.
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