Erica Broadus was at home in Indianapolis when she got the call that she was an awardee of the Provost’s Diversity Fellowship. She would now be able to enroll in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, as a new student in the Gender and Social Policy subfield of the Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration program. Today, she and 10 other Provost’s Fellows are completing their doctoral coursework in subjects ranging from cognitive neuroscience to hominid paleobiology.
The Provost’s Diversity Fellowship Program, created in 2011, is part of GW’s effort to sustain and strengthen a student body of the highest caliber, drawing from a wide range of diverse backgrounds and interests. The fellowships, for full-time incoming doctoral students studying on the Foggy Bottom campus, help recruit and retain a diverse graduate student body.
Open to academic departments in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, School of Business and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the program assists departments in their efforts to bring together students from a broad range of cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds to explore their interests, discover new academic and extracurricular pursuits, and learn from each other. The fellowships also provide a way to improve access to GW doctoral programs for students who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to successfully pursue graduate study.
In her application to GW, Broadus, a first-year doctoral student, indicated that her academic and career goal is to “research, design and improve sustainable models to alleviate poverty by empowering women and girls through cross-sector collaborations.” Her nominators highlighted her strong academic credentials, preparation for doctoral studies and passion with which she approaches her volunteer work.
“I’ve been impressed with how supportive the professors are,” said Broadus. “They have an honest and genuine interest in my work and have helped me to mold that into the larger landscape of my program.”
Breana Carter, a third-year doctoral student studying cognitive neuroscience, says the resources provided by the fellowship have given her the opportunity to focus on her research, present more frequently than her peers and attend more conferences. She also credits her advisor Sarah Shomstein, associate professor of cognitive neuroscience, with helping her learn how best to navigate the academic landscape.
“I’ve had more time to sit and talk with my advisor about exactly what type of things I can focus on and what areas and questions are reasonable to ask,” Carter said. “Because of the fellowship I think I’ve been able to shape myself as a better scientist.”
Fellowship nominees add to the diversity of the student body for their program or have a demonstrated interest in studying some dimension of cultural, racial or other related differences in their academic discipline.
The current Provost's Diversity Fellows are Laura Reyes, Jennifer Hill, Breana Carter, Joselynn Hawkins, Vance Powell, Rachel Breslin, Lara Rodriguez-Delgado, Lauren Kidd, Aubrey Harrison, Erica Broadus and Eve Boyle.
The five-year, merit-based academic award includes an annual stipend and/or assistantship of up to $24,000, health insurance assistance and full tuition. Applications are considered in January, February and March. It is anticipated that GW will award up to four new fellowships for the 2015-16 academic year.