Students will have the opportunity to apply for the fellowships through the Michael P. Metcalf Memorial Fund. Past recipients have performed at a classical music festival in Rome, done a medical internship in Tanzania and volunteered at a Costa Rican orphanage.
Margaret-Amelia Crook received $4,440 to participate in the GoEco.org’s summer Wildlife Cat Sanctuary Program in South Africa. The University of Rhode Island business major’s daily activities included chores like feeding, cleaning and spending quality time with the animals.
“The biggest shock for me was when one volunteer mentioned that we had the opportunity to spend the night with a cheetah (Zena). Zena was rescued from a family who kept her as a pet and therefore she is unable to regulate her own body temperature. At night, she either sleeps with the project leaders or two volunteers,” Crook remembered.
“Sleeping with Zena was like sleeping with a dog-sized cat; she purred, cuddled and gave kisses. Although it was amazing being with her, the whole reason why we had the chance was because she was taken from the wild,” Crook said.
The Fund’s goal is to broaden student perspectives and enhance personal growth. Permitted uses include travel in this country and abroad as well as participation in internship and public service programs. Grants cannot be used for standard semester-abroad programs or for post-graduate travel.
Applicants can attend out-of-state colleges and universities, but must be legal residents of Rhode Island. Grants are not intended for purchase of equipment or other capital expenses. Applications must include a thorough description of the proposed activities, demonstrate clear purpose and show financial need.
Criteria for evaluating applications include clarity and thoughtfulness, creativity, motivation, evidence of self-direction and initiative and financial need. At the conclusion of their project, recipients must submit a final report describing the value of their experience in furthering their long-term goals.