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Student Experience: Fellowships
CHESTERTOWN – From Washington to London, from Smithsonian museums to national parks, a cadre of top Washington College students were fanned out summer 2012 to work at leading cultural and historical institutions. Thanks to grants awarded by the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, nine students had paid, full-time jobs doing everything from unearthing the identities of 18th-century slaves, to researching a forthcoming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery or helping plan the celebration of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.
The students’ experiences were made possible by the Starr Center’s Comegys Bight Fellows Program, established in 2003 by Drs. Thomas and Virginia Collier of Chestertown. In 2012, thanks to partnerships with major institutions and the additional support of new donors, the Center was able to launch a new, greatly expanded version of the program.
“I’m thrilled that we can help some of Washington College’s top students gain the kinds of positions that few undergraduates – or even graduate students – at other colleges could hope to get,” said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. “It’s exciting to think that for some of these students, including graduating seniors, the fellowships may even be launch pads into future careers.
The Starr Center’s staff networked with directors and curators at distinguished institutions to secure potential positions for qualified students from Washington College. They also worked with donors to obtain funding. Then they paired individual applicants with specific positions based on each student’s background and interests. The Comegys Bight funds will be paid directly to the students as hourly wages for their summer work.
Along with the continuing generous support of the Collier family, this year’s Comegys Bight fellowships were made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Helen Clay Frick Foundation, as well as gifts from several individual donors.
“We’re tremendously grateful to these benefactors,” says Goodheart, “as well as to faculty members in various departments who encouraged their top students to apply. I just wish we could have offered fellowships to more of the two dozen applicants, but I hope that in future years, the Comegys Bight program may continue to grow.”