Jacqueline Tello, a Binghamton University senior double-majoring in political science and history, is one of 12 college students nationwide to receive the American Political Science Association (APSA) Minority Fellowship, which is awarded based on academic excellence, for the 2011-12 academic year. This is the second consecutive year a BU student has won the award.
The competitive fellowship includes a grant of $4,000 given in two payments of $2,000 each, one at the end of the recipient’s first year in graduate school and the other at the end of the second year, so long as high academic standing is maintained. The APSA’s director also writes letters of recommendation to all graduate schools to which the honored students apply.
The students were notified they had won the award during the first week of December, and recommendations were completed on their behalf by the APSA’s director the following week, Tello said.
“It’s rare for any college university to get any student for this award, and this is actually the second year in a row Binghamton has had a student achieve the honor,” said David Cingranelli, a political science professor and mentor to Tello. “Two years in a row has put Binghamton in quite an elite group. She has done so much for herself and the University.”
According to the APSA’s website, the fellowship is awarded based on factors such as GPA, extracurricular activities, GRE scores, a personal statement and letters of recommendation.
“It was a very holistic process, making sure each part of the application was representative,” Tello said.
Tello said she felt another important determining factor was whether applicants possessed a clear direction in their plans for future pursuits.
“I think they were really looking for students demonstrating interests in research, what specific topics they are engaged in, what their future research could be and what they wanted to pursue,” she said.
For Tello, the process of looking at her options for graduate school began at the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RSBI), a five-week program at Duke University, which simulates the graduate-school experience by aiding 20 students in post-bachelor’s degree preparation, providing resources and helping make difficult graduate school selections.
Following RBSI, she participated in the Ronald E. McNair Summer Research Program at BU under the supervision of Cingranelli.
Only 10 students were chosen to present their political science research at an annual conference sponsored by the APSA held in Washington, D.C. in September. Tello’s research looked at how U.S. foreign aid affected human rights in Latin America from 1981 to 2001. According to Tello, the students sent to the conference were greatly encouraged to apply for the fellowship.
While at BU, Tello has worked on research addressing the human trafficking market with Cingranelli. Tello plans to pursue a doctorate in political science focusing on international relations and comparative politics with a regional concentration on Latin America, according to information from the APSA.
“She is a very dedicated student and always does beyond what is necessary,” Cingranelli said. “She has stood out in every way possible during her academic career at Binghamton.”
Tello credits Cingranelli and fellow political science professor Benjamin Fordham with providing her extensive academic support.
“I am very indebted to both of these professors,” Tello said. “They have both been so generous with resources, tailoring applications and making sure that I know about all my options. I would not have been able to come this far without Cingranelli and Fordham’s help.”