ITS creates new fellowship database

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A Yale Information and Technology Services group began work Tuesday to create a campus-wide database of all Yale-funded and Yale-administered fellowships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional school students. The Office of International Education and Fellowships will be the chief administrator of the database.

IEFP Programs Director Barbara Rowe said she hopes the database will be available for student use this fall, but it will not be completely finished until the spring of 2005.

Rowe said she has seen the need for a centralized listing of fellowships since taking her post at IEFP.

“When I came to Yale three years ago, my staff said that there was money all around, but no central location for it,” Rowe said. “We were constantly finding new pockets: colleges, funds. Our goal was to create a central location.”

Hundreds of fellowships, ranging in monetary value from $500 to $300,000, will be included in the database. The database incorporates fellowships available from Yale College, the graduate school, seven professional schools, the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, and the Office of International Affairs.

The database will be searchable by keyword, allowing students to find fellowships or grants that suit their specific needs.

“We want [the database] to be truly one-stop shopping,” YCIAS Associate Director Richard Kane said. “The goal is to make it easy for college students to find information and opportunities. We don’t want to have any grant money wanting because people didn’t know how to apply.”

The database will also serve as a useful administrative tool, administrators said.

“Sometimes students change their plans and don’t need money that was awarded to them anymore,” Kane said. “Sometimes, a student won’t even come pick up their check. We want to track better what’s happening, so that we can identify who is next in line.”

The database could be used to identify and track down Yale students using fellowships to study or work abroad in the event of an emergency, Kane and Rowe said.

“Suppose there was a terrorist action in a country,” Rowe said. “We can know quickly who is there and see if they’re okay.”

The project has been in the works for several years, but had trouble finding sufficient funding until this January, when Rowe and Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead convinced Tom Berry ’66 to donate a subpart of a monetary gift that he had made to Yale in 2001 to the project. Berry’s donation funds two annually awarded fellowships for a work-study program in a developing country.

“I’m glad to help. When I was at Yale, the alumni helped me,” Berry said.

Money from Berry, the Office of the Secretary, YCIAS, the Law School and the Graduate School became available to ITSMed, the development group building the database, last month. All the parties confirmed their commitment to the project at a meeting Tuesday.

The searchable component of the database should be available by fall 2004, when most students will be beginning to look for funding opportunities, Rowe and Kane said. Other, more administrative components will be implemented on a rolling basis into next spring. The project’s organizers said they anticipate continuous changes as people begin using the database.

“No one thinks that this will be the ultimate, absolute best version,” Kane said. “But we’re excited that development has begun.”

The professional schools listing fellowships in the database will be the School of Architecture, the School of Art, the School of Drama, the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Law School and the School of Medicine.

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