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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Grad Center names 24 university fellows

Nick Smallwood

UA graduate student Patrick Ploschnitzki poses in front of the camera on September 13, at the Learning Services building on UA campus. Ploschnitzki is among one of the new grad students appointed into the University Fellows Program.

The UA Graduate Center recently announced its 2016 University Fellows cohort, a diverse group of 24 students from different ethnic backgrounds.

Representing a wide range of disciplines and origins, the cohort has fellows from South Korea, Germany and the Navajo Nation.

Through the program, the fellows will be given financial aid, professional development and community leadership opportunities, all while being immersed in their particular disciplines.

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“Every one of us has to do some kind of community service,” said Ryan Endsley an astronomy doctorate student. “We also have to mentor either an undergraduate student in the honors school or work with elementary kids, and that’s a really great experience.”

The vision of the UA Graduate Center, which formed the program in 2014, is to help produce leaders through these types of engagement. The program is supposed to provide resources for the graduate students to establish relationships that benefit them throughout their studies and hopefully beyond.

Patrick Ploschnitzki, a transcultural German studies doctorate student, said the experience will open him to relationships with other students of different backgrounds.

“It has been a truly wonderful experience so far,” Ploschnitzki said. “It’s an amazing opportunity, not only because I meet people with so many different backgrounds I would probably never meet. … it is just great to see how much knowledge all of us can actually share and apply to our individual fields.”

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The UA Graduate Center provides professional development and workshops that help the students discover the best way to find and complete grant applications to the best of their abilities.

“The fellowship has a grant-writing workshop, so they’re teaching the best way to write grants,” Endsley said. “We’ll apply for the ones we’d like to work on together and hopefully that will turn around some more money for us to use next year, to keep doing what I’m doing.”

The graduate center, deans, graduate studies directors and program coordinators are all part of the process of selecting the 24 new fellows. Only newly admitted doctorate students entering a fall semester are eligible to participate.

They must have a “stellar” record, academically or creatively, throughout their time completing an undergraduate or master’s degree.

Students must also actively have participated in exchanges with other disciplines, mentored and been involved in different communities.

“I feel like in choosing to be a UA graduate fellow, I made a decision that will hopefully lead to more benefits in subsequent years in my program,” said Dylan Barton, a psychology doctorate student fellow.

Communication is important throughout the process of nominating new applicants.

First, the graduate college announces the program to deans and program coordinators throughout UA. Graduate program directors then prepare their ranked list of their best applicants to the dean. Lastly, a ranked list of the nominees is sent from the dean to the UA Graduate Center program coordinator.

The Graduate Center director will finally inform finalists of the award and work together to recruit the new student fellows throughout the different UA programs.

The program lasts at least three years where a student can receive a first-year award package that includes $30,000 in fellowship funding, base graduate tuition coverage and health insurance comparable to that of a graduate assistant.

Juan Mejia, a musical arts doctorate student, said this fellowship will open doors for him as a professional musician.

“This fellowship is tremendous help for graduate students,” Mejia said. “The generosity of the stipend makes the student’s life easier by allowing them to fully concentrate in their area of specialization.”

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