Spring 2010, Vol. 18, No. 2 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Warren Center Graduate Student Fellows Program
Expands to Include Visiting Student from Belfast


Gail McConnell

The Warren Center’s annual Graduate Student Fellows Program awards support to seven Vanderbilt graduate students from various disciplines in the humanities and qualitative social sciences, enabling them to focus on completing their dissertations during the year without the need for employment. One afternoon a week the nascent scholars—armed with dissertation excerpts and a pot of coffee—meet at the Warren Center both to critique and support each others’ research and writing.

The Warren Center has recently entered a new three-year agreement with Queen’s University in Belfast to expand the seminar to include one graduate student in the humanities or qualitative social sciences from Queen’s in the annual program. The selection process for the visiting graduate student fellow includes a committee from Queen’s University in addition to the Warren Center’s Executive Committee. The participation of a student from Queen’s will give the young scholars the opportunity to create scholarly global connections at an early point in their careers.

Gail McConnell has joined the Graduate Student Fellows Program this year as the first visitor from Queen’s University. McConnell is a doctoral student in English literature; her dissertation examines religion and theology in contemporary northern Irish poetry. McConnell is very grateful for the receipt of the fellowship and for her time at the Warren Center. “You’re exposed to interdisciplinary perspectives that enrich the way you read and write,” she commented. The Warren Center looks forward to a fruitful partnership with Queen’s University, Belfast, and the trans-Atlantic collaboration that will ensue.

The Warren Center’s Graduate Student Fellows Program, now in its fourth year, has been a tremendous success and is one of the most sought-after fellowships in the humanities and the qualitative social sciences in the College of Arts and Science. “Dissertation writing can be a very lonely process,” says Gesa Frömming, a 2009-10 graduate student fellow and a doctoral candidate in German. “You are alone with your thoughts, with your adviser as your only reader. As a fellow, you have to be comfortable making your work clear to others, which is a huge help in clarifying what you are thinking.”

Immersion in the center’s larger interdisciplinary scholarly community is also an integral part of the fellowship: graduate students may co-direct or join seminars, study groups, and workshops with faculty members in multiple fields of study. The fellowship program concludes with a valuable professional experience as each Graduate Student Fellow presents a widelyadvertised public lecture during the spring term.

Currently, three of the Graduate Student Fellowships are named: the Mary and Joe Harper Fellow; the American Studies Fellow; and the George J. Graham Jr. Fellow.

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For more information, contact the Center's executive director, Mona C. Frederick.

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