Press "Enter" to skip to content

New head advisor of scholarship office aims to diversify applicant pool

Photo courtesy of Dr. Danielle Abdon
Dr. Danielle Abdon (‘12) seeks to empower more diverse applicants through initiatives such as partnering with the Tutoring & Writing Center.

The Office of External Fellowships and Scholarships is undergoing permanent staff changes and expanding its outreach this fall. 

While the director position has shifted since Dr. Jayashree Shivamoggi stepped down last spring, a permanent Fellowship advisor, Dr. Danielle Abdon (‘12), was appointed over the summer. 

Shivamoggi was the office’s founder and former head of office. She left the position after 15 years due to the department’s restricted budget

Dr. Gabriel Barreneche, associate dean, temporarily filled the position but left Rollins in June to pursue opportunities at Berry College. 

Since Barreneche’s departure, Dr. Amy Armenia, professor of sociology, has been serving as associate dean for Advising. After searching all summer for a permanent advisor and director for the office, Armenia hired Abdon, who began Aug. 7.

Abdon is a Rollins alumna with a masters and PhD in art history. She has seen both sides of the application process, including reviewing candidates for awards. 

She is interested in working with students in a more personal and engaging capacity. 

During the search, Dr. Kimberly Dennis, professor of art history, stepped in to temporarily advise students. Over the summer, she held one-on-one appointments with students, helping them with Fulbright scholarships, personal statements, and more. 

The office’s primary goal is to help students apply for funding opportunities that will give them experience in the field they want to pursue. 

This year, Armenia said that one of the office’s additional goals is to engage in more outreach. 

“We think there is a lot of talent across campus, and we want to see a more diverse pipeline of students getting these opportunities and advising,” said Armenia. 

She said that, this upcoming school year, the office will be more well-known than ever to students and faculty. 

In previous years, leaders of the office tended to choose students in the Honors and Alfond Scholars programs. 

However, Abdon wants to make sure the department diversifies its student candidates by reaching out to students from various places on campus, including Rollins College Conferences (RCCs) and faculty. 

Students who may not know that they would be great candidates for fellowships will now have the opportunity to pursue it, said Armenia. 

To further outreach, Abdon wants to create strong and stable connections with departments on campus such as the Tutoring & Writing Center. 

Writing consultants can be trained on how to write personal statements so that students have a free resource on bettering their applications. 

“Essentially, our main goals of this office is helping students become strong candidates for these fellowships, identify students from across campus, to diversify the pipeline, and raise awareness among students about the types of opportunities that might help them reach their goals,” said Armenia.

The new, permanent leadership of the office will provide students with more resources, giving them a chance to achieve their dream careers.

Comments are closed.