By Eric Geller
After spending almost two decades working at Kenyon, former Dean of Academic Advising and Support Jane Martindell has transitioned into a new role as director of the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships. Martindell will devote her time to scholarship and fellowship outreach, spreading the word about the options available to Kenyon students and the benefits of pursuing them. This position change is part of Martindell’s plan to retire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.
“To say that you’re a Fulbright Scholar or to say that you’re a Rhodes Scholar ﾅ on your application for a job or your resume, [that] immediately moves you to the head of the pack,” Martindell said. Students, she said, “should take time for this, because it’s going to make everything better in the long run.”
“I don’t think we have to do that very often in our lives: talk about ourselves in a very positive way, not boasting but confident,” she said. “That helps students when they go on for job interviews or grad school [applications] or anything they do in the future. It’s going to be helpful to them to have articulated how they got to this point in life and what they want to do and why they’ll be good at it. It’s a great learning experience.”
Martindell hopes to start holding twice-a-week sessions in Peirce to highlight specific fellowships for which students can apply. “I’ll have a table, I’ll try to make it more visible, so people will see it as they walk by and begin to talk about it,” she said.
She plans to increase her office’s outreach to student groups and sports teams. “I’m also going to talk more with faculty,” she said, “spend[ing] more one-on-one time letting them know what we’re looking for [when they’re] helping me identify students.”
Martindell said that in previous years she has done “reach-out” meetings with sophomores, but now she wants to expand that series to include early meetings with first years. “I want to do some little coffee things,” she said. “[I would] invite some students that have done well academically and fit the profile of what these fellowships are looking for, and just say, ﾑHave you thought about it? Start thinking about it now.'”
First years, she said, “could start, in the summertime, doing an internship that will actually build their resume for a fellowship.”
Kenyon has been a national leader in the Fulbright Program for the past decade. “We’ve been in the top 10,” Martindell said. “Most of the time we’re in the top five.” Kenyon students have also received fellowships, scholarships and awards from the Marshall, Mitchell, Luce and Boren programs.
There has not been a Rhodes Scholar from Kenyon “for quite some time,” Martindell said. “I think that’s because some of our really top, top students haven’t had this on their radar screen. They’ve [thought], ﾑI’m going to go here, I’m going to excel and I’m going to go to grad school,’ and the fellowship thing never got in their mind. And we didn’t get to them in time to change that mindset.”
Martindell said that one of her goals was to “early on get some of our top scholars to think about this and at least put it in their options. It may not be the ﾅ one they choose, but let’s put it in their options.
“One of my primary goals is I want to get more students to go through the process,” Martindell said. “I believe the process is so valuable for students, whether they win or not, because you have to articulate who you are and what you want to be when you grow up and why you’ll be good at it.
“I really want to get that message out there for faculty, administrators and students. … This is a really valuable thing for our students to go through,” she said. “The more we can get to do it, the more we enrich their lives regardless of what they do.”
In addition to the College’s fellowship committee, the faculty liaisons, her planned presences on Twitter and Facebook, and her outreach to coaches and student organizations, Martindell will be working with Chris Kennerly, associate dean of students and director of multicultural affairs, to bring in applicants with more diverse backgrounds.
“I want to make it as campus-wide as I possibly can,” Martindell said. “The fact that I now have time to get out there and sell this and get more people aware of it has me very excited.”
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