UT’s ONSF Makes Changes to Serve Growing Student Interest

UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships has made some changes to better serve the growing number of students interested in applying for major awards.

Nichole Fazio-Veigel has been named director of the ONSF, and Professor Michael Handelsman continues to serve as senior faculty director.

In an effort to increase visibility and be more accessible, ONSF—which has its main office in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy—now has a satellite office in Hodges Library, Room 220K, with the Student Success Center. Meetings, workshops, interviews, and seminars are held in Hodges.

“We are seeing more students who are thinking strategically about applying for scholarships and fellowships and beginning their preparations earlier in their college careers,” Fazio-Veigel said.

“I am now confident in saying that among undergraduate students, the ‘scholarship culture’ is growing,” she said. “In addition to a marked growth in the number of Fulbright applicants, we have noticed a telling increase in the quality of our applicants. This is due, in large part, to students’ willingness to work with us throughout their process.”

The office is also seeing increased interest in students applying for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Critical Language, Goldwater, Udall, and Truman scholarships. UT had its first Amgen Scholar and its first Humanity in Action Fellow in 2014.

“We have also noticed interesting rise in supporting students through other niche opportunities like the Clinton Global Initiative University, Princeton in Asia, the Japanese English Teaching Program, Teaching Assistant Program in France, and the Rangel Fellowship in Foreign Affairs,” Fazio-Veigel said. “This is indicative of the fact that most of the advising we do is entirely focused on the individual student’s process as opposed to just outcome.”

To better serve the growing student interest, ONSF is launching some new initiatives:

  • The ONSF Exploration Grant program is available to help undergraduate students plan for, research, and establish connections for nationally competitive scholarship opportunities such as the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, postgraduate funding programs in the United Kingdom and Ireland like the British Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes, the DAAD programs, the Whitaker Biomedical Fellowships program, the Schwarzman Scholars program, and other recognized national scholarship opportunities that support postgraduate experiences. For details, visit their website.
  • Increased information about “gap year” opportunities. The ONSF is increasing the information it provides for students interested in pursuing scholarship and fellowships after they graduate but before they enter graduate school or start working. For details visit their website.
  • Faculty Fellows program. The office plans to enlist up to five faculty members spread across the colleges to serve as fellows. They will help promote opportunities, identify, and support UT candidates, and contribute to the growing culture of scholarship. Faculty are also being recruited to serve on committees to screen applicants and guide students through the process.
  • Partnership between ONSF and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Fazio-Veigel is working closely with Marisa Moazen, the new director of undergraduate research, to help identify students who would be good applicants and ensure they are getting the best experience possible. Research experiences can greatly enhance an applicant’s chancing of winning a national award.
  • Partnership with UT Libraries. A Scholars Wall in Hodges Library will go up in January to showcase five UT students’ journeys, including engagement with national scholarship processes. The ONSF is partnering with resources available through Hodges and working on ways to further support other units across campus.

A full list of students who won national scholarships and fellowships can be found on their website.