UGA's Premier Undergraduate Scholarship Program
The heart of the Foundation Fellowship beats in the Honors Program’s Moore College on The University of Georgia’s North Campus. But that same heartbeat often finds itself in out-of-the-ordinary locales, including England, South Korea, and Tanzania, to name but a few.
Consider the example of Chris Chiego (’09), who majored in international affairs and history. “As a Foundation Fellow, I have studied abroad in Dubai for a semester, taken a cross-country geology and anthropology road trip that featured professors lecturing at different national and state parks across the nation each day for an entire summer, had breakfasts and lunches with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, conducted field research on political violence in Kenya, interned at the Clinton Foundation, studied ecology and sustainable development in Australia, and taken spring break trips to Bosnia, Italy, Egypt, New York, and Washington, D.C. All of this was fully funded by the Fellowship, in addition to tuition, room, board, and books every year,” says Chris.
Founded in 1972 by The University of Georgia Foundation’s trustees, the Foundation Fellows Program is the university’s foremost undergraduate scholarship, placing students in a community of similarly dedicated scholars, offering a stipend that approximates the cost of attendance, a post-first-year Maymester study abroad program, individual travel-study grants, group travel-study opportunities each spring, research and academic conference grants, dinner seminars with some of the university’s best minds, and a mentoring plan that matches Fellows with professors who share their interests.
Beyond the obvious scholastic benefits, the Foundation Fellows Program also emphasizes fellowship, sharing of resources and ideas, and lifelong friendships. Peer mentoring (Big and Little Fellows), dinner seminars, cultural events, annual retreats, the Fellows Library in Moore College, and group travel promote a sense of community among the Fellows. Christina Faust (’09) notes, “The other Fellows and Ramseys are by far the best thing about the program. A close second was waking up at 5 a.m. in a tropical rainforest in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) to hear the calls of the last wild troop of howler monkeys. It was almost like we were in one of David Attenborough’s documentaries, only even more beautiful and moving.”
Complementing the Foundation Fellows Program is UGA’s Honors Program, one of the oldest and most respected programs in the country. Established in 1960, the program provides some 2,300 students with the resources – including 300 Honors classes a year with an average class size of 17 students, expert advice from Honors and faculty advisors, independent research opportunities, mentoring, internships, lunchbox lectures and book discussions with faculty, and coveted spots in the Myers Hall residential community – to make the most of their higher education experience.
The Honors Program affords numerous opportunities for local, national, and global civic engagement, including the Roosevelt Institution, a student-run think tank. Housed in Honors, Roosevelt@UGA opens doors for students to interact with local city officials beyond the “four walls” of campus to help community residents with key areas of concern. Roosevelt students work with Athens officials and the OneAthens Campaign to give voice to those living in poverty and to address their very real concerns.
Promote Africa, another student-run organization housed in the Honors Program, partners students and patrons with Namibian artists and musicians to promote African culture and with community development partners to foster social empowerment and economic development. Foundation Fellows and Honors students also staff the student selection committee of the prestigious Delta Prize for Global Understanding, whose past recipients have included Dr. ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
An important component of the Honors Program is the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO), which pairs students with premier research faculty members on investigatory projects that not only augment classroom study but also provide important research-related experience that can help meet the demands of graduate or professional school, or those of any contemporary career. Undergraduate research opportunities abound across the curriculum, from laboratory science to the humanities and fine arts.
Among the on-campus benefits provided to Fellows is access to Honors staff members, including the Major Scholarships Coordinator, who is available to provide important counsel for a variety of pursuits, including interview practice, finding the best scholarship vehicle for postgraduate study, and developing personal statements, resumes, and research proposals for scholarship and postgraduate applications. Fellows have been extraordinarily successful in national scholarship competitions. The University of Georgia was the only public university with at least one 2008 Rhodes, Truman, Udall, and Goldwater scholar.
Beyond Campus the First Year
Beyond campus, the opportunities for academic and personal enrichment stretch around the globe. Group travel is a hallmark of the Foundation Fellows Program as first-year Fellows take an annual spring break trip to New York City and Washington, DC – where they are able to interact with everyone from the titans of policy, government, law, industry and trade to the behind-the-scene folks who are the unsung heroes of Broadway – and also enjoy a month-long Maymester sojourn to Oxford, England to take classes at Oxford University, where the university has its own residential facility, the UGA at Oxford Centre.
Beyond Campus the Second, Third, and Fourth Years
As they advance in their academic careers, Fellows take part in fully funded spring break travel-study programs designed by senior faculty that come complete with pre-trip seminars and faculty talks. In recent years, Fellows have been part of travel-study programs in the Galapagos Islands, Borneo, Bosnia and The Hague, Egypt, South Korea, and Costa Rica.
In addition, students receive individual travel grants to pursue their own areas of professional and academic interest, and they are eligible for academic research and conference grants to conduct faculty-directed research, attend and make presentations at professional conferences, and advance their career goals through internships.
Says Marlee Waxelbaum (’09), “In my four years as a Fellow, I’ve met with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and had an honest discussion about right to privacy, gone out to breakfast with Newsweek editor and American Lion author Jon Meacham, and have had multiple get-togethers with Paul Begala, a former Clinton advisor and CNN political expert. And that’s outside the classroom – don’t even get me started on what happens inside the classroom.”
Clare Hatfield (’09), an international affairs and Romance languages major and a presenter at three national conferences, including the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago, recognized that “to participate in the growing dialogue with foreign intelligence and security agencies” she needed “to study abroad and engage in research to better understand issues of global security.” To that end, she interned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterintelligence Division and interned with UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security. Clare also conducted quantitative and qualitative policy research on the behavior of violent and nonviolent actors in South Asia and followed her research pursuits to the West Bank and Israel to study counterterrorism tactics.
Participation in the Foundation Fellowship and Honors Program has made Clare’s goals – and the goals of many students before her – a reality.
Sarah Caruana ’10