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Welcome to the Office of Scholarly Development, located in the Office of the Provost. Our mission is to foster an appreciation of the pursuit of knowledge as each student reaches for the Magis, the more. Our office develops student scholars by educating them about opportunities for fellowships and grants that support domestic and international experiences before and after graduation. Opportunities include fellowships for formal degree studies, independent research funding, teaching placements abroad, and support for public service and creative arts projects, among many other possibilities.
Margaret M. McClure
Associate Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship
Psychological & Brain Sciences
Program Coordinator, Scholarly Development
The Office of Scholarly Development encourages faculty and student collaborative research and supports student projects through the INSPIRE Fund (INovative Student Projects for Immersive Research and Exploration). Funded by generous donors, the INSPIRE Fund enables undergraduate and graduate students to seek funding to pursue creative research projects. Through the Fund, students collaborate with faculty mentors to develop creative research projects that extend from the classroom to the world.
Student research is a hallmark of Fairfield’s academic and Jesuit educational mission. The INSPIRE Fund extends our students’ learning and supports research initiatives locally and globally. INSPIRE grantees have distinguished themselves by receiving nationally competitive awards such as the Fulbright fellowship and Goldwater scholarship, and have continued to pursue prestigious graduate programs. Funding is awarded twice a year through a competitive application process.
Whether at home or abroad, locating our learning within the Jesuit commitment to global citizenship informs these collaborative experiences and contributes to our vibrant research culture.
The deadlines to apply for INSPIRE Grants are October 15 and March 8. For more information please contact Program Coordinator Kim Baer.
Innovative Research Symposium
Fairfield University celebrates innovative student and faculty collaborative research projects every April at our annual Innovative Research Symposium. Students share the outcomes of their intellectual efforts with our campus and wider community through poster sessions, video presentations, and other creative works and demonstrations. This exciting day showcases the diversity of intellectual and creative expression that marks our commitment to innovation and academic excellence rooted in our Jesuit values.
Nationally Competitive Fellowships
The Office of Scholarly Development assists members of our community – from current students to Fairfield alumni — with the application processes for various competitive awards such as the Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, and Rhodes fellowships. Winners of these awards typically receive funding to pursue advanced research or graduate studies in a field of their designation — often in locations outside the United States. These fellowships reflect the Magis, reaching for the more by taking the Fairfield experience beyond graduation and the United States.
These awards give students the chance to grow as scholars and individuals. Undertaking creative or adventurous research gives students a deeper understanding of their intellectual and professional preferences while introducing them to new research or career options. See the full list of opportunities below in order to learn more about the specifics of each program.
Some of these awards require institutional endorsement and our office’s involvement in your submission. We invite you to meet to discuss these opportunities and how we can assist you.
For more information, please contact Kim Baer, Program Coordinator at email@example.com.
Find a Fellowship
The Office of Scholarly Development assists students with the application processes for various competitive awards such as the Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, and Rhodes fellowships.
Students are invited to browse the following list of opportunities to learn more.
Fairfield graduating seniors from 45 majors and 19 interdisciplinary minors ranging from biology and nursing to philosophy and politics have won Fulbright Awards. Fairfield seniors from all disciplines are invited to apply.
The Application Process
It all starts with a conversation. Writing an application for a competitive grant, scholarship, or fellowship starts with you and we look forward to getting to know you so we can suggest opportunities that might be a good fit. It's entirely focused on you as an individual and your spark of an idea. That idea can lead to a focused program of study, a supervised research project, a fellowship to teach English in another country, or a year-long research project. Your idea is as unique as you are, and there is no linear, one-size-fits-all path. But there are some things all successful applications have in common.
Step 1: Start Early
Build your academic resume
Nearly all fellowship programs require a strong record of academic achievement. Other eligibility requirements will vary, but many programs require some or all of the following:
- High cumulative GPA
- U.S. citizenship or permanent-resident status
- Endorsement by university community
- Strong standardized test scores
- Extracurricular leadership
- Sustained record of community involvement
- Consider a research project
- Consider studying abroad. Global Fairfield can help you plan educational experiences abroad that often are the spark that inspires your project.
Put your mind to what matters. Volunteer, intern, go on a service trip, seek out intriguing educational programs, or find ways to conduct independent research. Such experiences often lay the groundwork for nationally competitive awards applications.
Think about what inspires you
- What makes you want to spend hours and days working on a problem?
- Stay informed. This applies to both your field of study and to current events, especially those matters touching on the project you propose to undertake. Stay up-to-date with relevant current events in the United States and, if applicable, foreign countries where you hope to conduct research.
- Know the trends in your field, research the graduate programs, and find out who is conducting groundbreaking research.
- Consider a collaborative research project. Learn about our Research and Travel Grant Program (PDF).
Talk to your professors
- Enrich your studies by getting to know your professors and supervisors, and help them get to know you. Go to office hours, stay after class, discuss your ideas and goals, and ask for guidance. The strongest recommendations emerge from real and sustained relationships.
- Work with your professors and academic advisers and join the conversation of scholars who are working on your ideas.
- Maybe a fellowship isn't really what you want. Your professors, advisors, and the Office of Scholarly Development can help you find supervised study and research opportunities.
- Ask questions. What work has been done? By whom? How did they do the research? What has not been done? What can you add that is new and meaningful?
Track your progress
Keep an ongoing record of all your courses, extracurricular projects, and volunteer service assignments, as well as any special initiatives, research or internships you do. Update your resume periodically. This will come in handy when filling out application forms and considering topics for your personal statements. It will also help your recommenders as they write letters of support for your applications.
Step 2: Meet with a Fellowships Adviser
Our office is happy to provide resources and guide you through the process step-by-step. Our goal is to match your aspirations with a fellowship. We will guide you as you solicit letters of recommendation, write essays, revise essays, file applications, prepare for interviews, and plan your next steps.
We work with all Fairfield University students—undergraduate, graduate, and alumni—from all colleges and programs.
Step 3: Find a Fellowship
Whatever your interests may be, there is a fellowship for you.
Step 4: Apply
Applying for a fellowship is a creative process. It starts with your idea, something you care deeply about. All applications are different, but they all ask you to do pretty much the same things.
First, you need to state your purpose.
- What do you want to do? This question is the fundamental part of the proposal, and it needs to be original, complex, and doable.
- What work has already been done? This is like a literature review, meaning that you are expected to craft a project that is informed by work already done and that identifies an area that has not yet been explored, or not explored in a particular location or in a novel way.
- How do you plan to do this? What methods and resources will you use? Who will you work with?
- What expertise do you bring to this project? How has your course work, internships, study abroad courses, foreign language fluency, and work experience prepared you to carry out this project?
Next, you need to talk about yourself and why this matters so much to you. This is the link between you and your ideas.
- This is not a resume, it is a brief introduction to why you want to do this.
- What problem, book, film, event, issue, or work of art inspired you?
- What events in your own life may have prompted you to want to know more about this problem or issue?
Consult with The Writing Center.
- Schedule an appointment with the Writing Center.
- Work with a tutor. Receive feedback as you reflect and revise.
Finally, you will also need to provide letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your intellect and your expertise – your professors, internship director, mentors, and employers. Be sure to allow reasonable time for recommendation letters to be developed and provide details about the fellowship you are applying to. This will allow your recommender to tailor the letter to the award and describe why you are the ideal candidate.
The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier award for undergraduate students who plan to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences, or engineering.
Physics Major Jimmy Vizzard ’23 Awarded Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship
Last month during the concluding ceremony of the annual Innovative Research Symposium, Vice Provost for Scholarly and Inclusive Excellence Jocelyn Boryczka, PhD, recognized Jimmy Vizzard ’23 for his recent achievement of being named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship recognizes top college sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. In his research, Vizzard studied the projected changes in the magnitude and frequency of extreme precipitation over the Northeastern United States through the end of the century using state-of-the-art climate models.
Nicholas Richardson ’22 Receives Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for Physics Research
Nicholas Richardson '22, a physics and computer science double-major, has been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship for excelling in both his academics at Fairfield and for his research in physics, specifically in condensed matter theory.
"This award was the culmination of so many people's hard work, such as Kim Baer and Dr. Van Dyke for mentoring me during the application process, Dr. Boryczka and the Provost's Office for overall support, Drs. Biselli and Nazarian for nominating me for this scholarship and advising me academically, and Drs. Pantelides and O'Hara at Vanderbilt for advising my research. Without each of these people, this award would not have been possible."