A Little Help From AAUWApril 11, 2012
“I get by with a little help from my friends” is the tune running through our heads as we anticipate posting the list of our 2012–13 AAUW fellowship and grant recipients. These women will receive more than a little help — $4.3 million in funding — from their friends, the thousands of generous AAUW donors who passionately support our prestigious fellowships and grants programs.
On Friday, April 13, we will announce the new class of AAUW fellows and grantees and welcome them into an extraordinary group of inspiring women. We look forward to meeting them, learning about their careers and experiences, seeing them join this exclusive group, and sharing their stories with you. We know they’ll be excited! As we’ve gotten to know our past recipients, we’ve loved hearing the stories of how honored they felt when they were selected for their AAUW awards.
The University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division’s website profiled 2011–12 American Fellow Naomi Ondrasek after she received her award. In the interview, she described the morning she found out about her fellowship.
“The night before that date, I didn’t sleep very well,” says Ondrasek, whose dissertation research is on the mouse-like rodent known as the meadow vole. “Like a lot of other graduate students, I was feeling anxious about my funding situation for the upcoming year.” The next morning, she “literally rolled out of bed and walked straight toward the computer. I pulled up the AAUW website, and bam! The recipient list was up.” Although sleepy and reluctant to face the results, “I figured I should treat it like ripping a Band-Aid off — just do it and deal with the emotional consequences later.” She opened the list and “scrolled down for what seemed like forever, didn’t see my name, and felt deflated.”
“Then I realized I was looking under the wrong award, so I scrolled farther down, and there I was!” (At this point, her tale briefly takes on a sitcom aspect.) “I was so excited to tell someone, I ran from the computer, threw open the door to the bedroom, and scared the daylights out of my husband, who had been sound asleep. He sat bolt upright in bed, asking what was wrong and if someone had broken into the house.”
Ondrasek’s story is a great reminder of how important AAUW fellowships and grants are to the recipients. Alumnae of this program have told us that AAUW gave them a chance when they had lost hope in their studies or were not advancing professionally, or that their awards opened academic and occupational doors that they had never expected. We certainly hope that no one is losing sleep over our upcoming announcement, and we look forward to welcoming all awardees into the AAUW family!
This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Elyssa Shildneck.