Finding the Fellows: An Inside Look at the Selection Process

April 17, 2014

Every April we announce our fellowships and grants for the upcoming academic year. The money we give is an investment in outstanding women and the organizations that serve them.

But how do we choose these recipients?

We couldn’t do it without our selection panelists. Distinguished in their own educational and professional achievements, our selection panelists volunteer their time to review fellowships and grants applications and make recommendations for potential awardees to the AAUW Board of Directors.

Kathleen Wood Laurila, an AAUW member since 1968, illustrates the achievements and commitment of selection panelists. As the recipient of both an AAUW Community Action Grant in 1982 and a Career Development Grant in 1988, she understands the value of receiving a grant. She has also served as president of her AAUW Des Moines (IA) Branch. Her other AAUW branch and state board positions include AAUW of Iowa division president and international affairs director.

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Kathleen’s motivation to serve as a panelist results from her confidence in AAUW grants as a great opportunity for state and branch involvement in national projects. As a panelist, she has come across fewer applications for branch-sponsored projects, but she noted that this is not necessarily a bad thing. “We are a victim of our own success, to some degree,” she said. “Women are out doing other things, not sitting at home looking for ways to channel their energies and knowledge.”

Kathleen speaks highly of her experiences serving as a panelist, recognizing that it is just one of the many ways members can be involved in AAUW. The opportunity to participate at the regional level, to participate as a panelist, is what distinguishes AAUW from other national organizations. “Of course not everybody goes on and does these things, but the opportunity is there,” she said.

She believes in our branches, and her participation as a panelist is another way she has maintained a strong involvement with AAUW.

We’re grateful to Kathleen and to all of our members, panelists, and lifelong supporters for their hard work pursuing women’s empowerment. Together, we’ll continue to invest in extraordinary women on trailblazing paths.

This post was written by Fellowships and Grants intern Emily Carroll.