Students honored as Presidential Fellows

Each year, Stevenson University administrators select 10 students to receive the Presidential Fellowship award, a full-tuition scholarship renewable for four years. These 10 students are narrowed down from hundreds of applicants.

Smruti Hariprakasha is a recipient of the Presidential Fellowship, and is honored to be a part of the program. (Photo from Smruti Hariprakasha)

Marty Schmidt, senior assistant director of admissions, said that each application is viewed by two different people, and selection begins there. The selection process includes 50 students who each receive an interview, then are narrowed down to 10 applicants who are chosen for the scholarship.

In addition to their application, students need to submit high school transcripts, a letter of recommendation, a writing sample, and SAT and ACT scores, among other examples of work.

Schmidt said, “They must reflect one of Stevenson’s core values through an essay, portfolio, or even a video.” He added that this is a way for these students to express themselves, while demonstrating at least one of Stevenson’s institutional values. Morgan Somerville, the director of student engagement, also notes that the selected individuals are overall “well-rounded students.”

Somerville and Schmidt explained the other factors they look for when deciding, such as ensuring that these 10 individuals are involved in activities outside of academics, and the hope is that their involvement will continue when they become Mustangs. Somerville said that there are a variety of students in this program, ranging from athletes to student ambassadors to those who go on Mission: I’m Home trips, adding that “we want them to be active Mustangs and to really be a part of a community here.”

The selected students attend certain events once a month in order to develop relationships with each other. One of these events is a workshop series that seeks to examine different life lessons, brought forth by faculty and staff, for the students to take away and apply to their everyday lives. According to Somerville, “They also work together to form some kind of idea, program, or project that they can bring to campus.”

Just as there are guidelines for submission, there are also guidelines for students to keep this scholarship. Fellows must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA throughout their time at Stevenson and attend meetings or events held by Morgan Somerville.

Smruti Hariprakasha, one of the current Presidential Fellows for the class of 2020, loves having the honor of being a Fellow. She believes it helps her academically as well as personally. “Being a fellow means that I should never doubt my capabilities as a student. With my hard work and dedication to the Stevenson University nursing program, I believe that being a Fellow gives me an extra boost of confidence,” Hariprakasha said. She added that being a Fellow is so much more than academics.

Any freshman who applies and is accepted into the university is eligible to apply for this award.

The students who are chosen each year gain more than just a scholarship. They gain opportunities, friendships, and lessons that will carry them through the rest of their lives.

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