International Affairs Alumnus Shares Tips for Scholarship Success

(Photo courtesy Karen Adams, Associate Director of the Fellowships Office.)

Dr. Nabil Wilf has received a medley of international scholarships during and since his undergraduate studies at Georgia Tech: Fulbrights, a Boren Fellowship, and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, among others. How did the 2006 graduate of Biology and The Sam Nunn School of International Affairs score so much funding for world travel and research?

Wilf visited campus in September to talk with students. He has received a number of internationally prestigious grants and scholarships to futher his studies, among which include:

  • Fullbright Critical Language Enhancement Award, Syria, to study Arabic
  • Fulbright Scholarship, Kuwait, to study views of women's rights among youth
  • Gate Cambridge Scholarship, University of Cambridge, U.K., to study biochemistry
  • National Security Education Program (Boren) Scholarship, American University of Cairo, Egypt

He has a few suggestions for those applying for similiar opportunities.

"I think it is important to have a clear vision of your goals and how you plan to achieve them. In the interview stage, it is important to convey confidence in your abilities while maintaining a modest disposition," Wilf recommended. "The best of piece of advice I heard was that you are competing with no one but yourself. Although there is a finite number of awards and scholarships, the real aim is to push yourself to realize your innate potential. Continually make an effort and be proactive and see where it takes you."

As an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, Wilf participated in the International Plan, requiring students to take internationally themed coursework, obtain six months of international experience (research, work, or study abroad), and learn a second language to a level of proficiency.

"My most valuable experience at university was studying abroad in Egypt and travelling in the region, which helped me gain an appreciation for the unique opportunities that exist in the US, as well as provided a chance to learn about other societies and peoples," Wilf said.

A Gates Cambridge scholar, Wilf received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge, U.K., in 2011. He now works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Cambridge Centre for Chemical and Synthetic Biology at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, and he looks forward to future applications of what he's learned while an undergraduate at Georgia Tech.

Wilf thinks his international affairs studies in particular "has certainly broadened my horizons and increased my understanding of the political, social, and economic developments in the world."

"With every passing year since graduating from Georgia Tech I'm more and more grateful for the excellent education I received with the support of the HOPE scholarship as a Georgia resident," Wilf said.

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  • Nabil Wilf with President Bud Peterson

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Rebecca Keane