Once upon a time, a Northwestern sophomore sat in office hours with a history professor who told her that she should attend graduate school and that she should win a fellowship to pay for it.  Soon after, that same sophomore received a letter from a journalism professor who invited her to learn about British Scholarships.  Not long after, she headed off to spend her junior year in Germany, her mind filled with images of ancient English universities and dreams of the future.

Upon her return, this student wrote her first resume and then a personal statement, eventually finding herself at the end of a long table with intimidating faculty, who interrogated her on her intellectual foundations as well as her life goals.  With the help of the same two professors, the now senior refined and prepared her application and headed to the UK Consulate for a terrifying interview with total strangers.  At the end of this long process, she received an exciting phone call to announce her selection as a Marshall Scholar.  She had won her fellowship!  Three years spent among the brilliant minds and beautiful architecture at the University of Cambridge followed.

That long-ago Wildcat was yours truly.  The journalism professor was Roger Boye, who then chaired the British Scholarship Committee and for whom Northwestern’s Boye Oxbridge Bursary is named.  

In 1998, then President Henry Bienen took Professor Boye’s advice to centralize fellowships advising.  Northwestern created the Office of Fellowships and recruited inaugural director Sara Anson Vaux to inform students about and help them apply for fellowship opportunities.

Under Dr. Vaux’s able leadership the Office grew from one woman who received interested applicants in an office the size of a closet to a fellowships powerhouse staffed by five full-time, dedicated advisors, who assist students and alumni from all the schools of the university.  

It is never too early to meet with one of our staff.  From discussing a first-year undergraduates’ inchoate dreams to a final-year doctoral students’ funding needs, we are here for you.   

We match aspirations with foundations.  From your first draft to your final interview, the Office of Fellowships offers resources for Northwestern students and alumni to conceptualize and achieve their ambitions.

We can’t wait to meet YOU!

Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, PhD

Director, Office of Fellowships