Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Carroll Fellows Interest Drops

Enrollment in the Carroll Fellows Initiative has declined in recent years, as some students said that they are dissatisfied with the program’s focus and requirements, while one program administrator cited a change in the program’s application policy.

There are only 36 students from the Class of 2010 that enrolled in the CFI last year, whereas the Class of 2008 originally had 72 members.

The CFI, now in its 10th year, is a co-curricular research program that admits students entering the second semester of freshman year. Requirements include a two-semester forum for credit, as well as participation as a teaching assistant for the forum and completion of a thesis. All graduates receive a transcript notation with comments regarding their participation in the program.

Maryam Mohamed, assistant director for the CFI, said the decline in enrollment is a reflection of a 2004 policy change moving the application period from the summer before freshman year to the middle of freshman year.

Mohamed said that she and English professor John Glavin (C ’64), the university’s fellowship secretary, are making concentrated efforts to reach out to more freshmen this year and are ultimately looking to increase this year’s class size.

Glavin, a former editor in chief at THE HOYA, could not be reached for comment.

Numerous students who enrolled in the program said that it did not meet their expectations.

Jay Lin (COL ’09) said he joined CFI to further his leadership skills, but found the program much more oriented towards non-science majors and subsequently withdrew.

“It was not designed for science majors, and the research that it employs was not very practical for me,” he said.

Carter Lavin (SFS ’10) said he joined due to the recommendation of his older brother and an avid interest in solar power, but withdrew after finding it more oriented towards purely academic research.

“The forum is more for academic research, and my future doesn’t lie in academia,” he said. “Research in policy practices didn’t seem to be exactly what they wanted, but the program is still a really great thing if you’re interested in academia.”

Indeed, a number of students have dropped the program in recent years – this spring’s graduating class had 57 members, after 12 students in the Class of 2007 dropped the program during their undergraduate careers. Six students in the Class of 2010, one sixth of the original class, have dropped the program in less than a year.

Jose Canto (SFS ’08), however, said he embraces the fact that “the bread and butter of the program is research,” and said that he is thankful that the CFI has provided the “springboard and the supportive environment” for his thesis and his ability to compete for the Marshall and Mitchell Scholarships.

Mohamed, though, said the existing cluster system – in which groups of about 10 students who share a common research interest gather to share ideas – needs improvement.

“The problem is that [the cluster groups] fall in the space between the structured Forum and the structured thesis, and we need to better utilize these to create a sense of community,” she said.

Mohamed also said that some students who study abroad in their junior year become disconnected with the program and their cluster group and choose not to continue with the program when they return.

Mohamed said she believes that CFI seeks above all else to establish the groundwork and provide the research skills to support a student’s passions and interests.

“[Our students] need to think about where they want to head academically and we will provide them with the skills, regardless of what kind of research they go into,” she said. “In addition, we want to create a culture of mentorship for this research, and that begins with the Forum.”

The CFI offers participants the opportunity to receive summer research grants from the Georgetown University Undergraduate Research Program and to engage in other research projects.

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