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Student Interviewers to Tap Alumni Perspectives Through New Presidential Fellowship Program

The student presidential fellows who will be conducting alumni interviews this summer pose with Dickinson College President Margee Ensign.

The 2019 student presidential fellows pose with Dickinson College President Margee Ensign.

Summer fellowship is win-win for student-researchers, college

As Dickinson launches a yearlong effort to harness the power of the college’s global community, a select group of specially trained students will travel across the country to conduct alumni interviews, bringing new perspectives back to campus.

The Presidential Fellowship is part of the Presidential Discovery Initiative, which will help college leaders better understand how Dickinson has shaped alumni lives and what our alumni community’s hopes are for the college’s future. This paid fellowship presents exceptional students with an opportunity to conduct original research that will better inform Dickinson's strategic planning while gaining marketable skills in the social sciences, communications and nonprofit development. Twenty-nine students, representing a variety of majors, were awarded the fellowship at the close of the spring semester.

Demetria Ruhl ’20 (French & francophone studies) enjoys talking with people about Dickinson as a tour guide, so this position seemed a natural fit. Wringing the most from her three years at Dickinson so far as a varsity swimmer, Alpha Lambda Delta honor society member, John Dickinson Scholar and student-researcher who studied abroad in Toulouse, France, she’s excited to hear about the experiences of fellow Dickinsonians who graduated before her. “I love the concept of reaching out to the alumni community, because I think it has the potential to improve our alumni relations and make a positive impact on the future of the college,” she says.

“This program has the ability to show how important alumni are to the success of Dickinson as a whole,” agrees Emily Padalino ’20 (political science), a varsity basketball player, Title IX peer educator, Dickinsonian writer and Vincett House (Kappa Kappa Gamma) house manager. “I’m most looking forward to forming these meaningful relationships with the alumni I get to meet.”

“This is unlike any other project I have worked on,” says Michael Murphy ’20 (neuroscience, health-studies certificate), a student-athlete, research intern and resident advisor who decided to pursue a career path in behavioral and decision sciences after studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, last fall. “In my opinion, reaching out to alumni to inspire them to steer Dickinson's future is as important as ever. I think the Presidential Fellowship, along with the Revolutionary Challenge, will be crucial to helping us lead the next big thing in higher education.”

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Published June 18, 2019