Courtney Santos

Director, National & International Fellowships

Courtney Santos

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

How did you gain experience when you were a student?

As the first to attend college in my family and a low-income transfer student, I participated in the work-study program for the School of Humanities Dean’s office and learned valuable administrative skills. I also became a Writing & Reading Center peer tutor, which illuminated how I could use my experiences to support peers in learning to navigate higher education and achieve academic, personal and professional success. I found that writing skills, higher education, and my own upward mobility journey were closely linked.

How did you become a career development professional?

After earning a master’s in Creative Writing, I learned grant-writing skills as an administrator for two research teams: a biomedical engineering laboratory and an interdisciplinary digital media and learning research group. Interacting with faculty and student researchers taught me about discipline-specific approaches to innovation, the role of mentoring in life-long learning, and the influence of writing skills on professional lives and adventures around the world. I realized the importance of the undergraduate experience in establishing the communication strategies and confidence necessary for later success. Today, as a fellowship advisor, I encourage and mentor undergraduates as they develop effective grant-writing skills and greater understanding of their career paths while competing for national and international scholarships.

Who is someone who impacted your career development?

Several amazing mentors helped me to navigate higher education environments and learn new genres of communication. In particular, Professor Michael Jayme taught me about the power of narrative writing and the representation of identities and communities; Professor Enrico Gratton imparted the fundamentals of research proposal writing; Lindy Grishkoff illuminated the hidden infrastructure of universities and policies that support positive faculty, staff, and student interaction; Michelle Tsai brought me into the fellowships community and empowered me to develop creative new resources for scholarship applicants; Sue Cross modeled how to support and collaborate with advisor and tutor colleagues, and Dr. Rose S. Jones helped me to understand my potential as a leader and develop a vision for my impact on student success.

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