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Academics

Get to Know: University Fellowships Office

NC State achieved a record-setting year for student scholarship and fellowship awards in 2021, thanks in part to services and support offered to the applicants by the University Fellowships Office.

Graduates at commencement.

By Caleb White, DASA Marketing Intern

The NC State University Fellowships Office (UFO) helps NC State undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni to pursue extraordinary scholarship and fellowship award opportunities, resulting in a record year in scholarships in 2021. We had a chance to speak with Ashley Morris, coordinator of UFO, to learn more about the program and how it benefits the Pack:

Tell us about the University Fellowships Office and its role at NC State.

Our mission in the University Fellowships Office is to offer assistance to undergraduate students, graduate students and NC State alumni (as resources permit) in all stages of the application process for nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships, including awards for undergraduate study abroad opportunities, graduate study (masters/doctoral), and international/domestic research funding.

What are some of the primary ways UFO supports students? When or why should a student come to the UFO for help?

Our staff works with students to ensure that they find programs and opportunities that enhance their experience at NC State and beyond. In many cases, however, there are more opportunities out there than students may realize, so we learn more about students and what they’re seeking, and we show students how to utilize databases and tools to help locate different sources of funding. 

Also, we celebrate the success of not only our award recipients but our applicants as well, and have had the opportunity to help prepare students for various award cycles. In addition to resource match-and-fit, during the application preparation process we believe that communication, both written and oral, play a critical role in a student’s long-term success. To that end, we will work to ensure that students gain the necessary skills to carry to graduation and beyond.

Tell us about some of the biggest scholarships and awards that students receive and how UFO helps students in the application process?

We just had a record year:

  • 2020-21 successes: one Marshall Scholar (Colton Botta), two Churchill Scholars (Nikil Milind and Ana Sofia Uzsoy), two Goldwater Scholarships, one Knight-Henessy Scholar, and 22 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recipients, among other awards!
  • NC State University Fellowships Office aided in breaking two university records with the 2021-22 Churchill Scholarship and 2021-22 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
  • Ana Sofia Uzsoy was NC State’s third Churchill Scholarship recipient. She will be researching machine learning and machine intelligence at Cambridge University in England.
  • Nikhil Milind was NC State’s fourth Churchill recipient. He will be researching human genetics and diseases and earn a master’s degree in biological sciences at Cambridge University in England.
  • Ana Sofia Uzsoy and Nikhil Milind were two of the 17 Churchill Scholars chosen from around the world. NC State was one of only two schools with two recipients for this year. 
  • NSF-GRFP had a record breaking 22 recipients. You can read all about our recipients here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/zCYzEndlMANun/.

Within the parameters of each scholarship, we advise students on each award and help them navigate the range of choices. We work with students on various iterations of their applications and oversee the process, including letters of recommendation. Where appropriate, we will manage a campus selection process. If students are selected for an interview as part of the scholarship competition, we will help prepare them and organize campus committees for mock interviews.

Are there any underutilized or lesser known services that UFO provides that you would like more people to know about?

The UFO’s SUPER-Curricular Seed Grants provide funding for promising undergraduate students to build on their undergraduate studies by participating in an extraordinary summer experience that should enhance recipients’ competitiveness for prestigious national and international scholarships and fellowships and admission to highly competitive graduate programs. Each year the University Fellowships Office will fund one or more projects up to $5,000 each. Undergraduate students from all backgrounds and majors are encouraged to apply.

Anything else you would like to add about UFO and how it serves the Wolfpack?

We welcome all students from any background and major at any level of their studies. Our vision is to create an inclusive, accessible, collaborative and supportive space that allows all students to explore their interests and refine their existing academic skill set. 

Whether students are searching for a way to fund their degree program, research in another country or participate in a long-term service project, we are here to help them do just that. Or, perhaps, students aren’t aware of the opportunities at their disposal and are interested in learning more. Curiosity and drive is all you need to start this process. We encourage students to visit us early and often to ensure they are as prepared as possible!

For more information about the University Fellowships Office and the services they provide, visit their website.