New on Campus: The Office of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships Seeks to Help Students Receive Competitive Awards

Sarah Reinbrecht, Scarlet Staff

Started in Fall of 2018, the Office of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships was created in conjunction with the LEEP Center to help motivated students access scholarships and fellowships. By educating the Clark community, the office works to assist motivated students in obtaining competitive awards that will provide valuable funding and experience. The office is not intended for information concerning scholarships that help fund student’s undergraduate education, but rather information about scholarships and fellowships that potentially help the student realize their aspirations.

Before the office was officially created, Dean Robakiewicz, who is no longer at Clark University, assisted students with prestigious scholarships and fellowships. Now, Jessica Bane-Robert is the Director of the Office of Prestigious Fellowships and Scholarships and is currently the only member of the office; she intends to hire a graduate student soon. She has worked at Clark since 2007 and frequently worked with students before taking on this position. She recognizes she is still gaining familiarity with various scholarships and fellowships, but still has years of experience in helping students apply to scholarships and fellowships because of her previous work with Clark University LEEP center.

A primary part of Bane-Robert’s position is working directly with students. To apply for prestigious fellowships or scholarships, students have to receive the endorsement of their respective university; at Clark, Bane-Roberts and her office is the starting point for that process. After the initial meeting with students about their application, she continues working with them until the conclusion of their application process. Bane-Roberts views the office as in alignment with much of the LEEP centers previous work; the formation of the office is not filling a gap in the center’s services, but rather acts as an extension of the center in order to better serve students.


The office is open to all students, and Bane-Roberts is adamant that she will work to help anyone who seeks out assistance. However, particularly motivated students can benefit from the office by receiving information about applying to a variety of scholarships, such as the Rhodes Scholarship and a variety of fellowships such as the Fulbright Fellowship. The office provides information about the criteria for the application and assistance in improving upon necessary documents, such as personal statements. However, Bane-Robert stresses that the application process can be as beneficial as receiving the scholarship or fellowship because it helps students clarify what their goals are.

By working with Bane-Roberts and other staff members to create a proposal, a personal statement, a resume, and other necessary documents, students clarify their aspirations and how they want to benefit from the scholarship or fellowship. Even if students are initially unsure of what they want to accomplish, seeking out the help of the office can help them develop their goals and how the scholarship or fellowship would help accomplish those goals.

Regardless of a student’s success in receiving the scholarship or fellowship, she believes that utilizing the office’s resources as well as applying for a scholarship or fellowship can still be a valuable experience that is worth pursuing because students can still learn about their ultimate goals.

Bane-Roberts is currently working on a website for the office and intends to have it up by the end of February. It will have resources for a variety of different students, and she believes it will be a great starting point for students. She also plans on having a variety of workshops catered to sophomores and juniors to assist them in their applications. Bane-Roberts can also be reached in her office in the second floor of the LEEP center and through email and telephone.