New fellowship to debut this summer

The Office of Fellowships recently introduced a new summer language study fellowship for students participating in a language study program outside of the United States. The Robert G. Wilmers Jr. 1990 Memorial Summer Language Study Fellowship is open to first-years, sophomores and juniors interested in studying any language at any level.

“This is a great thing for the College and for the students,” said Katya King, director of fellowships. “I strongly believe that there is no better way to gain a perspective on your own language and your own culture than to study the languages and cultures of others.”

The new fellowship is tied to the Robert G. Wilmers Jr. 1990 Memorial Student Travel Abroad Fellowship, which supports academic research programs that require foreign travel. Looking to accommodate the needs of students who want to study a foreign language abroad over the summer, the Office of Fellowships contacted the donors of the existing program, Robert Wilmers and Gertrude Wilmers, to establish this new language fellowship.

“I am grateful to Robert Wilmers and Gertrude Wilmers, whose continued generosity will allow us to expand the Wilmers summer travel fellowships to include language study,” King said.
The fellowship will primarily serve students interested in studying a language not offered at the College, as well as students who cannot find time in their schedules to take part in an existing language course at the College.

However, the fellowship will not be limited to such students. Students applying for the fellowship will need to demonstrate a rationale to studying the language through the specific program. The fellowship will be awarded to three students each year.

“The new fellowship will give three students opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have and, I hope, inspire many more students to investigate new ways to enhance their education and to dream a little bigger,” King said.

This year will serve as a pilot year for the fellowship; the future direction of the program will depend on its initial success this summer. King said that the success of the program will depend on the student body’s, the faculty’s and the administration’s interest in the fellowship.

Feedback from this year’s participants, as well as the willingness of the donors to continue the fellowship past its pilot year, are also factors that will be evaluated at the end of this year’s fellowship to determine if it is to be continued at the College.

Both King and Lynn Chick, fellowship coordinator at the College, said that initial interest has certainly been evident, seeing as they have already received more than a dozen inquiries only a few days after the announcement of the fellowship.

“There is strong interest on the part of students for formal language study outside of the U.S. during their summer break,” Chick said.

The applications for the Robert G. Wilmers Jr. 1990 Memorial Summer Language Study Fellowship can be found on the Fellowships GLOW site. The deadline for application is April 8, and decisions will be announced approximately two weeks after the deadline.

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