Students who want to pursue an international internship, participate in an academic competition or a myriad of other experiences are now eligible to apply for funding to offset their expenses.
For the past two years, Franklin College has offered aid to students through the Elba L. and Gene Portteuss Branigin Engaged Learning Fund from a $100,000 grant from the foundation.
The program was created to give students the opportunity to connect their liberal arts education with the application of their knowledge to real life situations. It also allows them to pursue something they may not have been financially able to do on their own.
“We deeply appreciate the Branigin Foundation’s generosity and commitment to higher education in Indiana,” President Thomas Minar said in a college press release. “Franklin College encourages its students to be engaged learners, rather than passive recipients of information. This type of grant enables students to put their liberal arts education to work in a positive and meaningful way.”
Students may recognize Brooke Worland, assistant provost and dean of engaged learning, as the person sending reminders about the money available to students via email this semester.
“We want to see students take advantage of these opportunities,” Worland said. “Sometimes they’re truly transformative, and maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity, and could be—and often is that—very thing that separates you from others.”
Students—and their faculty advisers—have until the 15th of every month to submit applications for awards.
Individual students, a group of students or an entire class can all submit an application. Applicants must have a faculty member sponsor them, and they must explain their expected outcomes for what they are asking to be funded.
Applications are evaluated by a board of eight members. Worland, the director of professional development and employer relations; Jill Novotny, Assistant Dean of Students; Director of Career Services Kirk Bixler; and five professors hold positions on the board.
Worland said if a student misses the deadline and needs the money by a certain time, the board will discuss the application by email or a special meeting.
Benjamin O’Neal, an assistant biology professor, is a supporter of the program.
He said 20 of the students he has worked with have already used the fund’s money, and he encourages students to use the program because it offers them the chance to grow as people while having fun doing something they are passionate about.
“The monetary support of this program enables my students to dive head first into some of the most meaningful experiences of their entire college career and even their lives,” O’Neal said. “They gain professional skills, develop relationships with individuals in their field, distinguish themselves as candidates for graduate school and the marketplace.”
The school is currently developing a website to showcase the experiences of the students who received money from the program with the goal of encouraging other students to take advantage of it.