FSU launches effort to help students get national fellowships

Florida State University’s top students now have an additional advantage as they compete for the nation’s most prestigious fellowships and scholarships. The new Office of National Fellowships will help graduate and undergraduate students develop the skills they need to compete successfully for more than 50 different fellowships, including the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman and Goldwater scholarships.

That’s why FSU has set up the new Office of National Fellowships to help graduate and undergraduate students develop the necessary skills to successfully compete for more than 50 different fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman and Goldwater scholarships.

FSU alumnus Jody Spooner, the new director of the office, knows how it is done. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his master’s from Florida State University, he spent a time away from FSU as a college professor. He has returned to his alma mater with a wealth of knowledge about national fellowships and a strong desire to help students explore their options.

“I came back because I love the school and because this is an opportunity to help talented students discover themselves and achieve their goals,” Spooner said.

The new office is designed to encourage students to take advantage of the special opportunities available at FSU and nationwide. Spooner’s tasks include identifying students interested in the awards and preparing them from their initial inquiry throughout the application process. In addition, the nature of the program requires maintaining an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of the national fellowships and scholarships at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The competition is arduous. Students must be aware of the requirements and begin preparing early in their academic careers because the process takes a lot of commitment.

“There is a lot of time and effort that goes into putting together an application package, and it needs a lot of determination and energy on the part of the student,” said Spooner. The office’s main purpose is to give students individual attention, so the staff gets to know them as people, finds out what interests them and measures their passion for these opportunities, Spooner said. Candidates will also have access to advisors and workshops that allow them to refine their interpersonal skills in a competitive environment.

“Of course we want the students to win, but we found that the most rewarding part of this process is that they understand better who they are and they discover their career and life goals. We challenge the students to be curious about themselves, to take advantage of this office and what we have to offer,” said Spooner.

Currently, faculty, administrators, admissions, University Communications and Spooner are working together to raise awareness of new opportunities as well as publicize students’ achievements. Some of the opportunities include the Marshall Scholarship awarded to students in their last year of college, the Goldwater Scholarship designed for science, math and engineering majors, the Truman Scholarship directed at students pursuing careers in public service and the Rhodes Scholarship, which gives students the chance to study for two years at Oxford University.