The NIFS has been busy this winter. They assist students with nationally competitive scholarship applications. Several MSU students have been nominated and/or named as finalists so far this semester.

It is a busy time of year for the National and International Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS) office at Michigan State. This office is responsible for assisting interested undergraduate and graduate students to pursue major national and international funding opportunities by providing information and direct support throughout the competitive application processes. The office is administered by the Honors College.

The typical process for awards involves many stages. MSU provides informational presentations to all students who are interested in applying for awards. MSU's NIFS office then works with the potential applicants to prepare materials for the respective scholarship committees. MSU chooses the nominee(s) that will be put forth for each award and submits their nomination materials. From there, the national or international programs evaluate the nominees, along with the nominees received from other universities and colleges. Students who are chosen for the next round are named as finalists, and MSU is notified when one of our nominees has made it to the final round for their respective award. The final round typically includes an interview, either in person or via a phone call or Skype. MSU's NIFS office works to prepare any MSU students who have been named finalists so that they can succeed in their interview round. This includes preparing sample questions and helping the student(s) to work through potential answers. In some cases, the NIFS office works with the University Scholarships & Fellowships Advancement Office to identify alumni who may be willing to serve on practice interview panels so that the student(s) have the most accurate practice sessions possible. After the interview round, the committee chooses their recipients and MSU is notified if any of our nominees has received the award.

It is not uncommon for many awards programs to be in process at the same time due to the timing of the academic calendar and its impact on the funding cycle for awards. The NIFS office has been very busy lately, as the beginning of the calendar year is one of the key times in the awards process. Here are just a few of the announcements relating to NIFS awards this past month.

Udall Scholarship

The Udall Foundation awards scholarships to college sophomores and juniors. Awards are made based on "leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or to the environment." Students nominated by their college/university compete nationally with other nominees. MSU has produced nine Udall Scholars in the past. You can read more about MSU's nominations on the MSUToday website. This year MSU has nominated four students for the competition:

  • Joseph Brennan, an Honors College junior majoring in political theory & constitutional democracy in the James Madison College
  • Eamon Devlin, an Honors College sophomore majoring in environmental studies and sustainability and fisheries & wildlife in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Clara Lepard, an Honors College sophomore majoring in zoology in the College of Natural Science
  • Shelbie Shelder, an Honors College junior majoring in nutritional sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Beinecke Scholarship

The Beinecke Scholarship pays for graduate studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences. This year MSU has nominated Joshua Schnell for this nationally competitive award. Schnell is an Honors College junior majoring in anthropolgy in the College of Social Science and religious studies in the College of Arts and Letters. Click here to read more about the Beinecke Scholarship and MSU's nominee.

Carnegie Junior Fellows Program

Varsha Koduvayur was named as a finalists for the nationally competitive research assistant fellowship through the Carnegie Junior Fellows Program. This program is within the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Koduvayur is an Honors College senior majoring in international relations and comparative cultures and politics in the James Madison College and Arabic in the College of Arts and Letters. MSU has previously had one Carnegie Junior Fellow. More information on Koduvayur and the fellowship program is available on the MSUToday website.

Harry S. Truman Scholarship

Two MSU students have been named finalists for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship offered by the Truman Scholarship Foundation. This award "recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to affecting change through public service." MSU has produced 16 Truman Scholars in the past. Raziel Lavalais and Florence Otaigbe were nominated by MSU earlier this academic year and chosen as finalists in February. Lavalais is an Honors College junior majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy in James Madison College. Otaigbe is an Honors College junior majoring in international relations in James Madison College. Both have received scholarship support for their studies at MSU. More information is available on the MSUToday website.

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