As I write the title of this blog I realize that it is eerily similar to the subject line of emails that typically end up in my SPAM folder. Trust me, this is not SPAM, and in fact if you are a current undergraduate applicant to Johns Hopkins University or planning to apply in the future this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on. The $10,000 for conducting your own research that I am referring to is the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship that freshmen applicants to Johns Hopkins University are eligible to apply for. Details on applying can be found here: http://apply.jhu.edu/wilson/wilson_form_2011.html.
The Woodrow Wilson fellowship is one of the unique opportunities at Johns Hopkins University that I always enjoy speaking to prospective students and families about for a number of reasons. First, people often have never heard of it. Second, the idea of funding research, especially for first-year students, represents the vision of the university so well. And third, the various Wilson projects are some of the best stories to tell about Hopkins students and their achievements. Just in the past few years, Wilson research fellows have:
- Written, produced and directed a full-length play that enjoyed a successful run in Chicago.
- Investigated female circumcision and obstetric fistula in Africa
- Researched the potential uses of adult neural stem cells
- Traced the iconography of an unclassified tile from the Archaeological Museum
- Explored the viability of high speed rail systems in the U.S.
- Studied gene expression in Down syndrome
- Filmed a documentary about the Jewish community of Malta
- Analyzed the rise of megachurches in the U.S. and the U.K.
- Investigated the causes of childhood blindness
- Explored the history of Baroque music and original Baroque instruments
- Studied the best practices of organ donation around the world
- Compared maternal and neonatal health in the U.S. and India
What might you have in mind? The specifics: the fellowship is a $10,000 stipend over four years to spend on research costs, which may include travel, equipment, and use of archives or laboratories. Students are assigned a faculty mentor to help as they select a topic, create an action plan, and pursue their research project. Fellows may choose to work within one field or undertake projects in diverse areas of study. In their senior year, Fellows publicly present their work to the Johns Hopkins community.
The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship website has extensive information about the program and the accomplishments of past fellows: http://krieger.jhu.edu/woodrowwilson/. I encourage checking out the following pages:
- Woodrow Wilson Fellows in the News: http://krieger.jhu.edu/woodrowwilson/news/
- A selection of completed projects over the past few years: http://krieger.jhu.edu/woodrowwilson/completed/
- Completed posters from the Class of 2011 Fellows: http://krieger.jhu.edu/woodrowwilson/completedposters/
This is truly a unique opportunity and one not replicated at other colleges and universities. Don’t take my word for it though. I asked a few current Fellows I know well to speak on what the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship means to them and their connection to Johns Hopkins University:
Tess Thomas – Sophomore (Class of 2014) – History major
I think I would have ended up at Hopkins even if I hadn’t been offered the Woodrow Wilson Research Fellowship, but it certainly made my decision an easy one. Who could pass up the allure of $10,000 to be spent on any project of your choosing? Additionally, the fact that this fellowship is not limited to student studying the natural sciences confirmed for me the university’s commitment to the humanities. I couldn’t believe that as an intended history major I had been offered this amazing opportunity. I am planning to use my funding to study the effects of the 2012 Olympics on British nationalism. My research is taking me to London this upcoming summer—a trip that is completely covered by the Wilson Fellowship. The WWP has allowed me to combine two life-long dreams of mine: studying abroad and attending an Olympic Games.
Noah Guiberson – Sophomore (Class of 2014) – Biology, Neuroscience majors
For my Wilson, I am currently working with a post-doc at the School of Medicine, doing research in neuroprotection and studying the mechanism and consequences of a particular microRNA’s over-expression and knockout. What we’ve found thus far is that when the gene is over-expressed, excitotoxic cell death in a hippocampal stroke model is diminished by as much as half compared to the control. Another interest that I intend to pursue as a Wilson Fellow is the use of optogenetic techniques in the treatment of cancer, and the development of tumor-specific delivery mechanisms. The Wilson Fellowship provides me with the funding I need to conduct my research, as well as the mentorship and administrative support I need in order to conduct it most effectively.
Ruthie Chen – Freshman (Class of 2015) – English, Spanish majors
The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship definitely played a significant role in my decision to attend Hopkins. After meeting some senior Fellows at SOHOP in April and hearing about their current research endeavors, I realized that this fellowship was truly unique in the breadth and variety of opportunities that are so readily available to us. I was particularly struck by the passion and sense of academic and personal fulfillment that each Fellow shared. From tracking an archaeological tile to Tunisia to studying the international reception of The Great Gatsby in various European countries, the research projects are so intensely varied and intriguing that, as a freshman, I’m still a little overwhelmed by how many different avenues I can pursue in my next four years as a Wilson Fellow.
If you want even more information about the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, here are additional links:
- JHU Gazette article from this past spring about 2011 Woodrow Wilson fellows presenting their findings: http://gazette.jhu.edu/2011/04/25/at-journey%E2%80%99s-end/
- Former Hopkins Interactive student blogger JHU_MichelleB and 2008 graduate details the finale of her Woodrow Wilson fellowship: http://hopkins.typepad.com/michelleb/2008/04/woodrow-wilson.html
- A 2010 graduate of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and current student at the School of Advanced International Studies, Nicole Overley discusses her Wilson project researching “the comparative impacts of monopolistic versus competitive religious ‘economies’ in the US and the UK:” http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/guest/2011/04/my-five-years-at-hopkins-from-homewood-to-SAIS/
- Class of 2011 Biology graduate Neha Deshpande discusses her Wilson research and Intersession experiences in India: http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/guest/2010/04/best-of-the-guest-blog-vi-Intersession-in-india/
Don’t miss out on your chance to get a lot of money to establish yourself as a bona fide researcher.