Letter to the editor

Being GW-centric isn’t an endorsement prerequisite

It was with great surprise that I read Andrew Pazdon’s misguided attack of the Center for Undergraduate Fellowships and Research in the column, “GW’s skewed endorsement criteria” (Sept. 29, p. 4).

Director Paul Hoyt-O’Connor’s team works tirelessly to encourage students who wish to pursue what are often very competitive scholarships. With Hoyt-O’Connor’s guidance, I was awarded two different German Academic Exchange Service fellowships, a Fulbright grant and was a finalist for a Marshall Scholarship.

Contrary to Pazdon’s assertions, being GW-centric is not a prerequisite for receiving the school’s endorsement – I spent a summer and an entire year abroad and I was never particularly involved with campus life. Hoyt O’Connor encouraged me to be well-rounded, to grow intellectually and to push myself. He was also an honest critic, who pointed out holes in my resume so that I could fill them. That criticism was always constructive. 

It is regrettable that Pazdon found his fellowships journey to be less fulfilling. That is, however, not due to faults on behalf of Hoyt-O’Connor or the office he leads.

Not every GW student is a strong candidate for every fellowship. 

­Clayton M. McCleskey, a former Fulbright scholar and Hatchet columnist is a 2009 Columbian College of Arts and Sciences graduate.

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