Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship Application Tips

Biographical Data
  • Special Opportunity: Under Program Information, be sure to select “Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship” in the Special Opportunity field. Failure to indicate a Special Opportunity may disqualify your application from consideration for the award.
  • Grant Category: Be sure to select “Academic” in the General Category (question #4) and select the Grant Field of Study that relates to the theme or topic connected to your proposed project.
  • Complete all required fields:You should take care to accurately complete all of the required fields in this section.
  • Use proper capitalization and punctuation: This is a formal grant application and you are advised to follow the English language rules on capitalization and punctuation.
  • Provide an informative project title and summary:These sections are a quick reference for screening committees and other reviewers. They should be able to determine the basic who, what, when, where, why and how of your project by reading this summary. The project title should be informative and reference the National Geographic Theme to which you are applying as well.
Statement of Grant Purpose

Develop an intellectually-compelling and feasible project: Candidates for the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship should propose projects that focus on storytelling one or more of the eligible themes. Fellows are expected to explore their chosen theme(s) through research, observation, analysis and interviews, and relate their findings on the National Geographic blog.

Address the following points:

  • What do you propose to do?
  • With whom do you propose to work?
  • What is innovative about the project?
  • Who is your proposed audience?
  • What are the specific goals of your story?
  • What is important or globally significant about the project?
  • What contribution will the project make toward the Fulbright goal of promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding?
  • When will you carry out the project? Include a detailed timeline.
  • Where do you propose to conduct your study or research? Why was this location(s) chosen?
  • Why do you want to undertake this project?
  • Why does the project have to be conducted in the country(ies) of application?
  • How will your project help further your academic or professional development?
  • How will you benefit from the mentorship provided by National Geographic editors?
  • What method of digital storytelling will be used?
  • How do you intend to share and promote your Fulbright experience and stories with audiences, both U.S. and global, during and after your Fulbright grant period abroad?
  • How will you engage with the host country community?
  • What will Americans and other readers of the blog gain from your story?
  • What are your qualifications for carrying out this project?

Design a feasible project: You must demonstrate that your project is viable, including its content and time frame. Address the following points:

  • How will the culture and politics of the host country(ies) impact the work?
  • Will the resources of the host country(ies) support the project?
  • Confirm you have met the affiliation requirement for the program: Have you developed a connection with a potential adviser/sources in the host country(ies)? Include names, host country institutions, contacts and sources you plan to utilize during your grant program. Indicate the level of contact which has been established.
  • Do you have the requisite background to undertake the proposed project?
  • Address your language skills capacity or, if you do not have local language skills, explain how you will accomplish your goals.
  • If you do not have local language skills, and they are not necessary for your reporting, but the local population communicates in a language that you do not understand, how will you engage the community or carry out your daily activities?
  • Are there any possible feasibility concerns that the project could evoke? If yes, please address.

Proposals for multi-country projects should set forth a strong argument for inclusion of all proposed countries and address the following points:

  • Why is an exploration of the selected theme in all of these countries important? (i.e. What commonalities or differences do you expect to find.)
  • Why is it important that these commonalities or differences are investigated and reported?
  • What greater significance or impact could the findings have on the global understanding or response to the proposed topic?)
  • Do you have sufficient language skills to successfully complete the project in each country? How will your language proficiency or limitations impact your ability to successfully complete your proposed project?

Projects should be proposed to be at least three months in each country. Thus,

  • 3 country projects must be 3 consecutive months in each country
  • 2 country projects may be any combination of months per country as long as each country has at least three consecutive months.

Candidates applying through U.S. institutions are urged to consult professors in their major fields or faculty members with experience in the host country, as well as their Fulbright Program Advisers, about the feasibility of their proposed projects. At-Large applicants should consult qualified persons in their fields.

  • Be clear and concise.
  • The individuals reading the proposal want applicants to get to the point about the 'who, what, when, where, why and how' of the project. Avoid discipline-specific jargon.
  • Organize the statement carefully.
  • Don't make reviewers search for information.
  • We urge you to have several people read and critique the Statement of Grant Purpose, including a faculty adviser, a faculty member outside your discipline, a fellow student, and/or a colleague.

Adhere to the proper format.

  • Length is limited to a maximum of three single-spaced pages. Longer statements will not be presented to the screening committee.
  • Do not include any bibliographies, publications, citations, etc., except those that will fit in the three-page limit.
  • Use 1-inch margins and Times New Roman 12-point font.
  • At the top of the first page include:
    • On line 1: Statement of Grant Purpose
    • On line 2: Your Name, Country(ies) of Application, and National Geographic Theme
    • On line 3: Your Project Title as it appears in the Biographical Data section of the application
  • On the second page of the Statement, enter the same information or just Grant Purpose, Page 2
Affiliation Letter

All candidates for the Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship must meet the following affiliation requirement: Recognizing that Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows will likely draw upon a number of sources in host countries to collect their stories, applicants must fulfil the affiliation requirement in one of two ways:

  • Submit one letter of affiliation from an institution/individual in each host country with whom the applicant proposes to work. Each affiliation letter should be printed on the organization’s official letterhead and should be signed by the author. Copies of e-mail correspondence will not be accepted. Upload the letter of affiliation in Step D of the application, “Affiliation”.
  • Submit a list of host country institutions, contacts, and sources (specifying contact names) that the applicant plans to utilize during his/her grant program. This list should be as comprehensive as possible. Applicants should indicate the level of contact that has already been established. Upload the list of contacts in Step D of the application, “Affiliation”.
  • If you have both a letter of affiliation and a list of contacts, upload the letter on page 1 of Step D and the list of contacts on page 2 of Step D.

It may be useful to understand the affiliation requirements for the country to which you are applying. Affiliation arrangements vary by country, and information provided in the country summary. Examples of traditional affiliations include universities, laboratories, libraries, non-governmental organizations, and so on.

If selecting the traditional letter of affiliation, identify an appropriate affiliation for your project and that affiliation is your proposed host in the country(ies) to which you are applying. Fulbrighters have used a number of methods to contact potential hosts and solicit support for their projects. One primary method is to use the contacts, colleagues, and advisers that you already have. Ask current or former professors or colleagues to put you into contact with appropriate people in the host country(ies). It is beneficial to identify contacts in the host country who can support your research, provide access to required resources, and/or advise you during the grant period. If you elect to meet the eligibility requirement in this way, i t is your responsibility to identify, contact, and secure an affiliation from a potential adviser.

Potential avenues to identify an appropriate affiliation/host country adviser include:

  • Faculty at your home campus.
  • International students.
  • Visiting Fulbright Professors in the U.S. or U.S. Fulbright Scholars who had grants to your host country. Directories are available here.
  • Internet searches of faculty at potential host institutions with your interests, or organizations in the host country that work with issues related to your topic.
  • Other U.S. academics with expertise in the location/subject matter of the proposed project.
  • Contacts from previous experience abroad.
  • Educational Advising sections of Embassies or Consulates of your potential host country.
  • Non-governmental agencies or international organizations dealing with issues related to your project.

Start early: Obtaining an affiliation letter from overseas can be a time-consuming process and sufficient lead time must be given to receive signed affiliation letters before the application deadline.

Request the Affiliation Letter: After identifying the appropriate host institution and the individual at that institution best suited to serve as an adviser for the proposed project, make contact with the potential adviser to determine if he/she is willing to write an affiliation letter. Before requesting the letter, you should provide the author with a copy of the Statement of Grant Purpose. The affiliation letter should indicate the author’s willingness to work with you on the intended project and it should speak to the feasibility and validity of what is being proposed. The letter should also indicate any additional resources or contacts that the adviser can provide to support the work.

  • Affiliation letters must be printed on institutional letterhead and must be signed by the authors. Email correspondence is not acceptable.
  • Scanned versions of the original hard-copy letters with hand-written signatures should be uploaded into the application, and the letter writers can either send the original hard-copy letters or electronic copies to the applicants. IIE will not accept any affiliation letters via email or fax.
  • Since affiliation letters are not confidential, you will upload the letter yourself into the online application system. Affiliation letters written in a foreign language must be translated into English and both the original letters and the English-language translations must be uploaded into the application.
  • Instructions on uploading letters of affiliation are available in the online application system.
 
Resume and Digital Storytelling Portfolio

Applications must include a current, one-page résumé (strict one-page limit). In addition to a résumé, applications must also include a digital storytelling portfolio, portfolio narrative and self-assessment of digital storytelling skills (strict two-page limit for digital storytelling portfolio and self-assessment).

Résumé Format: Single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, not more than one page.

Digital Storytelling Portfolio consists of Digital Storytelling Samples, Portfolio Narrative and Self-assessment of digital storytelling skills: Single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, not more than two pages. Include examples of your multimedia work through functioning hyperlinks AND URLs for each on sites that are not password-protected. You will be responsible for ensuring that your hyperlinks work properly. In your portfolio narrative, you must answer the following questions:

  • Why did you choose each sample for inclusion?
  • What was the context for developing the sample (i.e., class project)?
  • What was your role in the production of each sample?

Samples provided in your digital portfolio should be related to your proposed project, the media which you intend to use during the grant period and should demonstrate your ability to tell a story using multi-media for a blog.

In addition to the portfolio, you must provide a self-assessment of your specific skills related to digital storytelling. Along with the narrative, respond to the following:

  • Briefly describe your experience with Audio, Video and Still Photography;
  • List any other audio/video/editing software in which you are proficient; and
  • List Still, Video and Audio equipment you currently use
Personal Statement

Make it Personal: This statement provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the screening committee members on a personal level. The style is up to you, but the content should convey your background and your motivation for applying to the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship and how this background relates to the proposed project and your future goals.

Do not repeat information from other parts of the application.

Adhere to the following format:

  • Length is limited to a maximum of one single-spaced page. Longer statements will not be presented to the screening committee.
  • Use 1-inch margins and Times New Roman 12-point font.
  • At the top of the page include:
    • On line 1: Personal Statement
    • On line 2: Your Name, Country of Application, and National Geographic Theme
    • On line 3: Project Title as it appears in the Biographical Data section of the application
Foreign Language Self-Evaluation

Applicants who are claiming some type of language competency in a language other than English are required to complete the Language Self-Evaluation (Form 7). While foreign language skills are not strictly required for the Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, the ability to communicate effectively is critical to success in any country to which Fellows will travel on this program. In some countries and for some subjects, local language skills are necessary to function effectively and successfully complete a project. It may be useful for you to review the Country Description(s) page of the country(ies) to which you are applying in the Foreign Language Proficiency section for information about language considerations that are recommended for application to the Fulbright U.S. student program. If a high level of language proficiency in a country to which you are applying is strongly recommended, and you do not have similar proficiency, then it is extremely important that you explain in your statement of grant purpose how you will overcome your language deficit in order to successfully complete your proposed project .

Applicants with relevant language skills may receive preference in the application review process. Project feasibility assessment will be based, in part, upon applicant language capabilities or their plan to successfully complete their project without local language skills. It is important that in the Statement of Grant Purpose, all applicants honestly detail how their language proficiency or limitations would impact their ability to successfully complete their proposed project.

References
  • When choosing reference writers, select the three individuals who can best speak to your ability to carry out the proposed project.
  • It is recommended that at least two of these references evaluate the applicant’s ability to produce the type of digital storytelling proposed in the Statement of Grant Purpose.
  • Do not submit character references.
  • Provide reference writers with copies of your Statement of Grant Purpose and your Personal Statement so that they can write well-informed reference letters.
  • Give reference writers at least 3-4 weeks to complete the reference letters.
  • You must register the reference writers in the online application system so that they can upload their reference letters directly into your application.
  • References must remain confidential, so you cannot upload reference letters.
  • Reference letters should be printed on institutional letterhead, signed by the authors, and then uploaded into the online application system.
  • Provide your recommenders with the Instructions for Fulbright Reference Writers. You can print these out and discuss them with the person writing the letter of reference.
  • If the original reference letter is not written in English an official English translation must be provided.  The reference letter is confidential and cannot be translated by the applicant.  The English-language translation should be printed on institutional letterhead and must include the name, title, and contact information of the translator, and it must be signed by the translator.  Both the original reference letter and the English-language translation must be uploaded into the Fulbright application. 


After the reference is submitted, it cannot be edited. However, if there is a significant error and the reference writer/evaluator agrees to edit to a submitted reference, the following process must be followed. The reference writer sends an email to Embark tech support (from the login page of the Embark Online Reference System, the same used to submit the reference/evaluation) and requests that the reference/evaluation for [name of applicant] be ‘unsubmitted.’ Applicants cannot make this request; only an email from the person registered for the reference/evaluation will be honored. Allow at least 48 hours for the request to be implemented. Once unsubmitted, the reference writer can make the edit and resubmit. Please note that national deadline for submission of references is October 14, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Applicants can follow the status of the reference/evaluation (not initiated, in progress, submitted) from the References/Evaluation page of the application. Additional details on the online submission of references/language evaluations are available in the References/Evaluation section.

Transcripts
  • You must upload one unofficial academic transcript from each post-secondary institution from which a degree was received. Additional transcripts should be uploaded for coursework and grades not reflected on degree-granting transcripts.
  • Failure to provide a complete academic history of higher education will result in your being declared ineligible.
  • Graduate-level students who do not include undergraduate transcripts will be considered ineligible.
  • Candidates recommended for final consideration will be required to submit official copies of all college transcripts in March.
  • Consult the Transcript Upload Instructions page for more detailed information.
Ethical Requirements

Applicants proposing research involving human beings or animals as research subjects who plan to formally publish the results or to use the results in a graduate program should have their projects vetted by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at their home institutions. At-large applicants should conduct an individual ethics review ensuring that their proposed projects are consistent with ethical standards for research involving humans as research participants as outlined in the National Guidelines for Human Subjects Research (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health), in the National Guidelines for Animal Welfare at the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare or other applicable internationally recognized ethics guidance documents.

Human subjects research includes: clinical investigations (any experiment or study on one or more persons which involves a test product/article, whether a drug, treatment, procedure or device); social-behavioral studies which entail interaction with or observation of people, especially vulnerable populations (i.e., as minors, pregnant women, inmates, drug-users, the mentally impaired, displaced/refugee populations); and, basic scientific research to study the biology of animals, persons or organs and specimens thereof. The most fundamental issues in studies involving human research subjects include: valid scientific questions and approaches; potential social value; favorable risk-benefit ratio; fair selection of study participants and an adequately administered informed consent process.

I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

FPA

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U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.