Scholarships Galore: National Fellowships Office

The National Fellowships Office tends to be one of the many underutilized resources available for Loyola students. But just what are national fellowships, and why aren’t many students accessing “free money?”

“For our purposes, think of fellowships as scholarships. They’re targeted opportunities that help you achieve your academic and career goals. And there are fellowships for every class year or any major,”  said Dr. Terre Ryan, associate professor of writing and the director of Loyola’s National Fellowships Office. 

Fellowships are available for both graduate and undergraduate students in a wide variety of subjects for students interested in international or language study, science, research, public policy and more. A good start for students interested in fellowships is to visit the department website, but Ryan is always coming across new scholarship opportunities. 

“It would be impossible to list all opportunities available to you, but there are opportunities for all different kinds of things. I want nothing more to connect Loyola students to opportunities. Come talk to me and we’ll see what’s available,” Ryan said.

According to Ryan, many Loyola students are in a good position to apply for these scholarships. For example, 15 Loyola students last year won funding for their study abroad programs through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. Many students, however, are not aware of the many opportunities offered through the National Fellowships Office or even that the National Fellowships Office exists on campus.

Ryan has advertised unique new scholarship opportunities in the last couple of months through LoyolaToday, Loyola’s internal announcement platform, which is delivered through email on Mondays and Thursdays. These opportunities featured scholarships for business and technology students, funded by the RSM US Foundation, as well as the Voyager Scholarship, an outstanding new scholarship for sophomores interested in public service funded by a partnership between the Obama Foundation and THE CEO of Airbnb. Ryan said that despite these fantastic opportunities, not all students check their emails- and fewer still read LoyolaToday.

“I met a Messina section the other day and told them ‘You got an email!’ and they were quickly checking, ‘Oh yeah!’ You know, they had gotten an email a week earlier and hadn’t opened it yet. I post things on LoyolaToday and students tell me all the time, ‘I never read that.’”

She suggests that students currently interested in learning more about and applying for fellowships access the website and visit her office to get started. But for students who are considering applying for fellowships in the future or who aren’t at the stage of confidence yet to apply, there are a couple of things that make an application stand out. Community service is one such highlight. 

“Do community service here. We have the Center for Community, Service, and Justice here at Loyola, which has opportunities for you all the time. Fellowship funders love to see that you are working to make the world a better place,” Ryan said.

Good writing is also essential to a good application. Ryan helps numerous students write their application essays every year, as solid grammar and proper flow are often critical to impressing scholarship committees. She encourages students not to dismiss any scholarship opportunities outright and to take advantage of all application help available, including feedback from her, another trusted professor, or other members of the National Fellowships Office.

“Opportunities like these open doors. All scholarships open doors,” Ryan said.

It is Ryan’s dream to connect as many Loyola students to opportunities as possible, even if they don’t know where to start.

“I’m in Maryland Hall 043J. You could just walk over to my office and, if you show up in my office, you get a free granola bar. And maybe that’s all you want is the granola bar, that’s fine, you don’t have to stay and talk about fellowships,” Ryan said. “But if you’re interested in scholarships and fellowships, please, please come talk to me.”