Buckman Fellowships

Buckman Fellowships for Study Abroad  

The Buckman Fellowships for Study Abroad provide opportunities for outstanding students from any academic discipline to study abroad for a semester or an academic year.  The award is in the amount of $10,000.  Interested students must make an appointment with a Buckman Center staff member well in advance of the application deadline.
To be considered for the Buckman Fellowship, applicants must complete each of these items by the scholarship deadline:
1.      Buckman Fellowship Application through the Online Portal
2.      Off-Campus Study Application through the Online Portal
3.      Application to the program provider
Create your Buckman Fellowship Application here

Characteristics of a Buckman Fellow

The Buckman Fellowship is highly competitive and merit-based.  While there is no single formula for winning a Buckman Fellowship, the successful candidate should:

  • Demonstrate outstanding performance in the classroom (though scholarship selection is not based solely on the basis of GPA)
  • Choose a program which well complements his/her major (or minor) area of study and/or personal and professional goals
  • Be able to articulate the reasons for his/her particular program
  • Understand current political, cultural, and economic debates relating to the host site
  • Possess the willingness and ability to adapt to their new situation/environment and the flexibility to rise to unexpected challenges if such challenges present themselves
  • Maintain the ability to represent Rhodes as a study abroad student and serve as an ambassador for both study abroad in general and the Buckman Scholarship in particular

In typical circumstances, the Buckman Fellowship will support students who have conveyed a compelling connection between their proposed study abroad program and their primary academic field of study at Rhodes.  However, in the event that applicants seek to pursue a study abroad program that does not closely fit with the student’s current program of study, applicants will be expected to clearly articulate how their interest and purpose in differing from their Rhodes course of study while abroad will contribute to their personal growth and new area of academic study.

Student Qualifications and Application/Selection Procedure

Qualified applicants will maintain sophomore, junior or senior standing (at the time the applicant plans to study abroad) with a minimum grade point average of 2.75.  By the time of application, applicants need to have read and understood all Rhodes policies regarding Off-Campus Study, including the Rhodes Travel Policy for countries on the Department of State Travel Warning List.  Successful candidates will also have discussed their study abroad plans with both their academic advisor and their primary faculty sponsor for the purposes of studying abroad.  Applicants must submit their complete Off-Campus Study Application with all components by the scholarship deadline.  Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered. 
Two important components of a Buckman Fellowship Application are:
1. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members. One of these faculty members will be identified by the student as their "primary faculty sponsor"
2. A formal letter of interest from the student applicant
Primary Faculty Sponsor and Faculty Reference
From the two faculty recommendation letter writers, a Buckman Fellowship applicant will designate a "primary faculty sponsor" with whom the Fellow is expected to maintain regular communication prior to and throughout the study abroad experience. Students should confirm a faculty member's willingness to act as a sponsor well in advance of the application deadline. A faculty sponsor is expected to be one of the two recommendation letter writers and to mentor the student through the study abroad experience, facilitating the reflection process.
Formal Letter of Interest
A. Provide a rationale for the chosen study abroad location, specific study abroad program, and program provider
B. Articulate the steps taken to prepare for this particular off-campus program/ experience
C. Detail the skills and personal goals hoped to be attained from the experience. Detail the skills and personal goals hoped to be attained from the experience
D. Identify the primary faculty sponsor
Helpful Information regarding Faculty Letters of Recommendation
Academic references should be faculty members. The most appropriate faculty referees will, in most cases, be those professors who can speak about your motications, maturity, and independence, as well as those from whom you have received high grades. You will, therefore, be best served by selecting referees who know you fairly well. One of these letter writers should be designated as the applicant's primary faculty sponsor.
Students who do not know their potential referee(s) well should visit them during office hours to discuss your interest in the award. Providing the referee with a resume or short biography will give your referee a definite idea of what your goals are. It will also allow the referee to understand what the award is and why you are applying for it.
Finally, make certain to give the referee adequate time to complete the letter. Referees who do not have ample time may neglect valuable details when writing the letter or may fail to submit the reference on time. It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to check in with your referee prior to the deadline to inquire about the status of your letter. You can send a friendly reminder, voice mail, or drop by their office hours to ensure that your letter arrives on time.
Selection - Five Ways to be Competitive

  1. Program selection: The committee wants to see that you've chosen a program that is a very good fit for your individual academic and future goals.  You must know your own academic goals and select a program that best meets those.
  2. Formal Letter of Interest: Answer each part of the prompt concisely, thoroughly, in such a way as to let the committee get to know who you are and why you've selected this program.  They will not be impressed simply with an interest in experiencing another culture.  This is a merit-based, ACADEMIC fellowship that you're applying for. 
  3. References: What your faculty members have to say about you matters a great deal.  Select referees who know you well and are willing to articulate their enthusiasm for your plans to study abroad on your selected program.  Read more about selecting faculty references below.
  4. Interview: Finalists will be invited for an interview.  You need to know about your program, the country, the city, and the issues you're hoping to encounter while abroad.  Inform them about why you have selected this program of study.  The interview is your chance to convince the committee that you are a Buckman Fellow.  
  5. Your Application: On time, and complete.  Don't let this be the thing that eliminates you.

The pool of applicants will be evaluated on the strength of their written application.  From these, finalists will be chosen for an in-person interview.  Since this is a highly competitive fellowship, not all applicants will receive an interview.  After the interviews are completed, Buckman Fellows will be chosen based on the strength of both their written application and their interview.  All finalists will be informed by email of the outcome of the selection process.
Expectations for Buckman Fellows
As part of the Buckman Fellowship, recipients will be expected to make contributions at several junctures of the study abroad experience, including prior to departure, while away studying in the host country, and upon return to the Rhodes campus. Buckman Fellows are expected to complete the following tasks:

  • Maintain a regular communication with the primary faculty sponsor both prior to and throughout the study abroad experience regarding the course of study.
  • Attend a pre-departure session led by a member of the Buckman Center staff to prepare for the study abroad experience. 

During the Study Abroad Period

  • Represent Rhodes College and themselves with the highest standards of personal and professional conduct and integrity.
  • Report on their study abroad experiences to the broader Rhodes community in either a one-time event such as video cast using Skype or on a regular basis by posting blog entries to the Buckman Center website.  Reports are intended to be reflective in nature, with the intention of helping the Buckman Fellow to articulate their ongoing inner reflection and interpretation of the host culture, courses, and experiences abroad.

During the Immediate Semester of Return

  • Make a scholarly presentation to the Rhodes community to convey one academic/scholarly aspect of the study abroad experience.  This presentation may occur during a regularly designated student presentation time or during the annual URCAS symposium. 
  • Submit a 1,000 word written description of the academic experience encountered while abroad.
  • Participate in at least one promotional event for the Buckman Fellowship.  For instance, returning Buckman Fellows may make a presentation to visiting parents and families during Parent’s Weekend; to fellow students at the SACK fair; and/or to the entire Rhodes community during a specially scheduled study abroad informational program. 
  • Serve as an ambassador for the Buckman Fellowship through willingness to speak with other students about the study abroad experience.