Faculty Involvement Leads Students to Fellowship Success

Having received the Marshall Scholarship while attending Bucknell University, biological sciences professor Sarah Bush understands what goes into earning a fellowship. That’s why when she was asked to be part of a panel to help applicants prepare to interview for fellowships like the Marshall Scholarship, it was an easy decision.

“It was a tremendous opportunity,” Bush says. “I like the idea of helping students take advantage of such opportunities. In addition, it’s fun for me to get to know students a little on a personal level.”

Bush, as well as other MU faulty members, sits on interview panels to prepare students for an actual fellowship interview. The panel asks students about their experiences, application and plans for the fellowship to evaluate whether or not they are a strong candidate.

“It’s a lot of work putting together an application and mentoring students through the application process,” she says. “It’s something the Fellowships Office shouldn’t be expected to do all on its own.”

Bush has been a mentor since 2009. She has helped students through the process by dedicating her time and sharing her personal experiences.

“From the first mock interview for the Marshall Scholarship, Dr. Bush made clear that she would make time to answer any questions I might have about the process,” says senior Fares Akremi, who applied for the Marshall, Rhodes and Fulbright Scholarships. Akremi will spend the summer in Washington D.C. on the Betty Anne McCaskill Scholarship.

“When I learned that I was a finalist for the Rhodes, Dr. Bush provided valuable insights on her own experience interviewing for the Marshall,” Akremi says.

The process has allowed Bush to meet students who are intelligent and motivated.

“They tend to be very creative and fascinating people to talk to,” Bush says “It’s the kind of thing you won’t recognize in a student if they’re just sitting in your classroom, if it’s a big class in particular. When you talk with these students at an individual level and read about their experiences and their plans in the applications they’re putting together, then you come to recognize what extraordinary students they are.”