A Letter on Fellowships from Dr. Calcagno
Before the Fellowship Office was established at Loyola in 2008, students interested in prestigious national and international scholarships and fellowships commonly asked me: “Can Loyola students win such awards?” My internal response was: “Not if they don’t know about the awards” (which was a challenge to the Fellowship Office and all faculty for greater outreach), and “Not if they don’t apply” (a challenge directed at interested students). My verbal response was that I would stack my best students up with the best students anywhere in the country, so yes, of course, Loyola students can win such awards.
Fortunately, a few years later, I stopped hearing that question, due to a strong track record of Loyola students earning prestigious awards on an annual basis. Anthropology majors were especially successful in this regard. Such success was not due to Anthropology being the best major to win awards, nor due to any bias within the Fellowship Office favoring Anthropology majors. Instead, I firmly believe it relates to Anthropology majors being more likely to hear about these opportunities from Anthropology faculty in their classrooms and offices. In addition, I often commented that the best advertising in the fellowship world is having a fellow student win an award. The outreach part of the equation improved, as did the perseverance of students to follow through on demanding applications.
Although I stepped down from my position as the Founding Director of the Loyola Fellowship Office in August 2018, outreach efforts still continue throughout our Department of Anthropology. To further build upon past success, I would like our current undergraduate students to think about potential applications in the future, using the best advertisement possible: Anthropology majors who have won awards in the past decade. Fortunately, Alexis (Lexi) Martinez has made this process even more enjoyable, after producing a video based on her experience with a Gilman Scholarship that allowed her to join a summer bioarchaeology field school in Italy. In addition, as you will see, Loyola students have earned highly competitive Fulbright Awards to conduct research overseas after graduation, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to fund their graduate school education, Gilman Scholarships to study abroad while at Loyola, Critical Language Scholarships to build their language skills overseas, and leadership awards to enhance positive social policy change.
I hope you will take a moment to review what past and current Anthropology majors have accomplished, and then accept my invitation to contact any Anthropology faculty member, as well as the Fellowship Office (https://www.luc.edu/fellowshipoffice/index.shtml) for more information regarding your potential application. You can use this resource to consider which awards interest you most, and then seek our guidance on how we can help to make your application a reality. Just don’t ask any of us “if” Loyola students can earn an award! Hopefully we can add your name and information to this file in the near future.
Dr. James Calcagno