||Winners of Kentucky's most prestigious fellowship delve into Centre life
RELEASED: December 17, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—This fall, Centre College's first class of Brown Fellows began their college careers. And having recently completed their first term at the College, they feel the Centre experience has already exceeded their expectations.
The 10 students are the first in Centre history to have received "full-ride-plus" fellowships, which cover not only tuition and room and board but also four remarkable summer enrichment programs, field-based experimental learning opportunities, on-campus program mentors and customized leadership projects.
This past April, the College announced its collaboration with the James Graham Brown Foundation to launch the Brown Fellows Program.
The initiative is the premier undergraduate fellowship in Kentucky and is among the top fellowship programs in the nation. Centre is the only private college in Kentucky selected for a Brown Fellows Program. The University of Louisville also participates in the Program.
The opportunities of a lifetime
"Not only do I have access to the traditional aspects of the Centre Commitment, like a guaranteed internship and study-abroad experience, but I'm guaranteed an additional enrichment activity each summer to help me further my academic interests," say Kevin Sar '13 of Louisville.
Sar adds that "this was a deal I could find nowhere else. I felt like Centre, more than any other school, would help me grow into the person I wanted to be by providing me such personalized experiences."
Natalie Pope '13 of Crestwood, Ky., agrees that the opportunities available through the program are unparalleled.
When she found out she had received the Brown Fellows fellowship, she says, there was "no longer any question where I would go. I'd been given the most incredible scholarship to an amazing school—where do I sign?"
"I was initially interested in Centre because I was impressed by the quality of its students," Annie Roessler '13 of Cincinnati says. "Everyone I met was smart, friendly and helpful."
Like Roessler, Katie Smalley '13 of Pegram, Tenn., was drawn to the College because of "the abundance of opportunities available in addition to the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the campus."
Pope says that "the very personal attention, the great overseas opportunities, the fantastic facilities and this intangible feeling that Centre felt 'right'" led her to enroll in the College.
And one particular student's welcoming attitude played a significant role in the choice of Centre for Richmond, Ky., native Ibrahim Jadoon '13.
"I was on-campus for the scholarship interviews," he says, "and I was waiting for my parents. I was on the sidewalk and a Centre student happened to be strolling by. Just out of kindness, she stopped and asked if I needed any help. I said no and then we chatted about Centre for a while, like we were old friends. It was somehow perfect."
Summer enrichment in Panama
What they took away from the experience, however, included much more than new leadership skills.
"The Panama trip this summer was an amazing experience," Roessler says. "It really expanded my horizons. Going to Panama made me realize how much potential I have in the world—it encouraged me to 'dream big.' When I returned to the States, I felt this surge of confidence and optimism about the future ahead of me."
Though Sar relished every experience in Panama, including "zip-lining through a rainforest canopy, eating fresh lobster on a tropical island and swimming beneath a waterfall," he believes the most valuable part of the trip was what he took away from visiting the Panama Canal.
"In learning about the decades-long odyssey of building the canal," he says, "I realized that the challenges the world presents are immense, but not impossible. Through human will, intelligence and sacrifice, the world can be shaped to meet our needs."
The students spent much time at the Canal, yet they had time to explore many other regions of the country as well.
"I had so many amazing experiences in Panama," Smalley says. "Some of my favorite memories include the trip to the Embera village, the islands at San Blas and the coffee plantation. But the best part of the trip was getting to know all of the other students in the program."
Like the others, Jadoon enjoyed every aspect of the Panama trip, saying that the feeling he took away was that "I'm the luckiest guy alive."
The Centre experience
“So far, my experience at Centre has been wonderful,” Smalley says. “I loved my classes, and the professors are so dedicated and passionate about what they teach. And I already feel like I fit in, both as a student and a member of the Centre College community.”
Agreeing completely, Roessler says that “many of my courses were challenging, but all of them were interesting, and I’m impressed by how helpful all of the professors are. I also feel like I'm quickly becoming part of the Centre community. Because of the size of campus, I’m seeing more and more friendly faces every day. Campus feels comfortable to me now, and I’m so happy to be attending school here.”
Centre is already feeling like home to Danville native Cole Steber '13 as well. "I feel a part of the many groups and people that I interact with here, especially with soccer, which is just like having a new family."
Ten additional students will join the program at Centre each summer, and the inaugural class is prepared to set a fine example for the future Fellows.
"To be able to shape this program and to contribute to its reputation is a daunting challenge," Sar says, "but one we look forward to."
To learn more about the Brown Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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