Student Spotlight- Hawasatu Dumbuya


  • Name: Hawa Dumbuya
  • Field of Study: Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology PhD student
  1. What type of fellowship opportunities have you been involved with during your time as a graduate student at Brown?
    The Ford Foundation’s mission is to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. The Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research, and who are prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

    2. How did you find out about this opportunity?
    I learned about this fellowship by one of my former peer mentor and alumni from the Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology program,Dr. Teresa Ramirez ’14Dr. Ramirez, who was a 2009 Pre-doctoral Ford Foundation Fellow. She encouraged me to apply to the fellowship since my first year.

3. What is your favorite part about being a Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral fellow?
This fellowship is different from other fellowships. Not only does it financially support you (three years of graduate study support and expenses paid to attend at least one conference of the Ford Fellows), but as a fellow you have access to an amazing network, compromising of previous and current fellows. Every year, the ford foundation plans the Conference of the Ford Fellow, where current and previous Ford Fellows (pre and post-doctoral) reunite. Attendees get the opportunity to present their research, attend academic and professional development workshops, obtain one-on-one meeting with assigned advisor/mentor, and most importantly the opportunity to network! In order to stay connected, they have designed a Ford Fellow Listserv, where individuals’ accomplishments are celebrated, and various job openings are shared.

I attended and presented my research at the 2015 Conference of Ford Fellows, which took place at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C. in late September. 


4. How has being involved with this fellowship shaped your future goals and plans?
As mentioned the Ford Foundation’s mission is to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties. This mission aligns well with my long-term goals, which are to narrow the scientific communication gap that exists between the scientific community and the rest of the society, particularly underrepresented communities. I want to contribute knowledge within the scientific community and to disseminate this knowledge to diverse audiences, through my passion for basic research and community engagement.


5. Any advice for students looking to apply for fellowships?

My advice for students is to apply and start early! Make sure to really understand the guidelines for completing the entire application successfully; to really work on the personal essay, and research proposal (if required); to be very picky in choosing references. Pick individuals who can talk about different aspects of you so that the selection committee can have a full picture of who you really are; and lastly, do not give up if not successful, re-apply!



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