Developing Scholars the UB Way

[Speaker, Jon Bessette] Winning the Fulbright really meant a lot to me. To be able to represent UB in Scotland was a fantastic experience. It really related to what I was trying to do here, with engineering and then with art, trying to incorporate the two. [Speaker: Walker Gosrich] I won the Goldwater during my junior year. It was great to feel that UB was preparing our students for that sort of thing and that we were competitive on that national scale. [Speaker: Elizabeth Colucci] We know that we have amazing students at UB that are capable of winning these awards, and what they need is information on how to apply and how to become competitive. We have a freshman/sophomore program called “Spark,” where we ask faculty and staff around campus to nominate, identify, share with us, names of students who have a spark of something special. [Speaker: Michael Brown] The Spark program allowed me to connect with student role models who have gone through this process before, and one of the speakers has even become my close mentor over the past two years. [Speaker: Walker Gosrich] You really walk out the door and you're like wow, UB really has some incredible students and I can never hope to do that. But you get a little bit of inspiration from that. [Speaker: Elizabeth Colucci] The Fulbright program is a way for Americans to go abroad. One way that we share information about the Fulbright program is by having a development program each spring. [Speaker: Erika Ruhl] When I walked into my first Fulbright meeting, I was there to check out to see if it was a good option for me. By the second or third meeting, I had a draft ready that I could start getting ready to submit. [Speaker: Jon Bessette] One of the most difficult things, at least for me, was to talk about myself. And they really helped identify different characteristics that made me unique and distinct for the program, and that was really helpful and very important. [Speaker: Elizabeth Colucci] Our second development program for juniors and for graduate students is called the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Development Program and that is targeted toward students that want to go on and do a research-based PhD [Speaker: Walker Gosrich] I'm looking for a PhD in robotics. We're really living in a time where robots are going to be absolutely critical to how our society develops. So I think it's really important to be involved in that. Right now, two of the programs that I've been accepted to that I'm most excited about are University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. [Speaker: Elizabeth Colucci] The Office of Fellowships and Scholarships started a boot camp for graduate students that we hold in winter session. We want to change the culture for graduate students to encourage them to be looking for external funding. Because every mark of external funding is a mark of excellence [Speaker: Erika Ruhl] They've seen this before, they know what works, they know what doesn't and they do a wonderful job of coaching people into doing the right things in the right order. [Speaker: Elizabeth Colucci] Our development programs, our Spark program, our NSF, our Fulbright have direct correlations between those students who participated and those students who apply and then those students who win.