offers graduate fellowships
Jefferson Scholars Foundation, the parent of U.Va.s successful
gram, has launched a new effort to attract top-notch graduate
students. This fall, the first three graduate students will join
the U.Va. community.
want to take what we do at the undergraduate level and enrich
the University community of scholars with the most promising Ph.D.
candidates, said Byron Hulsey, assistant director of the
foundation. The Universitys Jefferson Scholarships, offered
since 1980, support about 30 to 35 undergraduates a year.
& Sciences Dean Melvyn P. Leffler approached the foundation
a few years ago with the idea of a joint venture to improve graduate
funding, as well as to attract outstanding graduate students.
Donors interested in supporting the Graduate School of Arts &
Sciences have anted up $10 million half the new programs
fund-raising goal, Hulsey said. As the fund increases, the foundation
hopes to offer 10 to 12 fellowships a year and to extend them
beyond the three years. Other schools may get involved eventually,
but the major initiative is focused on Arts & Sciences.
$16,000 a year, plus tuition and fees, for three years, and a
one-time $3,000 research stipend, this is the most lucrative fellowship
offered in Arts & Sciences. Previously, the Presidents
Fellowships have been the most elite, at $14,000 a year.
of the Jefferson fellows will be in history Jaime Martinez,
a senior at Penn State University, will study the Civil War and
popular music of the time, and Andrew Witmer will focus on late
19th- and early 20th-century American cultural history. Witmer
graduated from Taylor University and has worked at National Public
Radio and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The third fellow, Dana Wheeles,
who graduated from the University of North Carolina, is an art
historian who is interested in the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
a competitive process, applicants whove been accepted to
U.Va. are invited to come for an interview and to learn more about
the respective departments. The committee of faculty and alumni
consider two main criteria scholarship and teaching potential.
In one part of the interview, candidates conduct a mini-class
about an idea important to them, Hulsey said.
of the Jefferson fellows turned down an offer from Yale
which is just the pool of students from which the committee of
faculty and alumni want to draw. We want to be successful
at luring the very best graduate students, Hulsey said.