Foundation Scholar Responsibilities


This page explains the responsibilities and time commitments required of students who become Foundation Scholars. This program is limited to students at Northwestern University who are full-time juniors.

This page provides important and useful background information to prospective Circumnavigator Foundation Scholars so they will have a good understanding of what will be expected of them if they wish to be considered for this prestigious program.

This document is divided into 7 sections covering all aspects of this program.


1. Application

A prospective Circumnavigator Foundation Scholar is required to be a Northwestern University full-time Junior returning to Northwestern for his/her entire Senior year. The student must also be enrolled at Northwestern and a full-time student during both winter and spring quarters until leaving on the circumnavigation.

During the fall of the junior year, the prospective scholar fills out an application composed of resume, research proposal that must be of worldwide importance furthering global scholarship or understanding, a proposed itinerary for this around the world research trip, faculty recommendations and a transcript. This must be submitted to the Office of the Provost for Undergraduate Studies by December 1. Details are available on the Internet. There is useful background material on previous Foundation Scholars at Scholars.html.

2. Selection Process

Northwestern University evaluates the submitted applications and selects the best three proposals in December. A committee from the Chicago Chapter of the Circumnavigators interviews these three finalists in person in January. The winner is chosen that evening and all three candidates are notified the following day.

3. Preparation

Representatives of the Chicago Chapter of the Circumnavigators Club work with the Foundation Scholar on trip plans to ensure feasibility, meeting requirements, etc. until the Scholar actually begins his circumnavigation in June. The Foundation Scholar also works with the Executive Secretary of the Circumnavigators Club. The previous yearís Foundation Scholar is expected to help mentor the current one by passing on tips and suggestions based on his experience. There is prep work to activate contacts in countries prior to the circumnavigation to ensure that the research project will proceed smoothly, and he must work with the NU webmaster and the Chicago Circumnavigators webmaster to establish dedicated pages for his circumnavigation.

4. Chicago Chapter Meetings

In April, at the regular meeting of the Chicago chapter, the Foundation Scholar is introduced to the membership, the people who fund half of the stipend the Foundation Scholar receives. Typically the Foundation Scholar will attend several meetings over the next 18 months. After his circumnavigation, the Foundation Scholar is required to give a presentation on his trip, the people he met and his research at a Chicago Chapter meeting in February of his senior year.

5. The Summer Circumnavigation

The Circumnavigation must be a minimum of 10 weeks including research in at least five countries on a minimum of three continents. It is imperative that the Foundation Scholar be back at Northwestern for the Fall quarter to act as a resource to interested prospective Foundation Scholars who will be working on their applications. During the circumnavigation, the Foundation Scholar is required to blog at least twice a week, including photographs, that will be posted on the NU website.

6. The Research Paper

Thirty days after the Scholarís return to the Northwestern campus, he must submit an outline of his research paper. Within 60 days, a summary of all expenses, such as travel, food, lodging, extras must be sent to New York headquarters. A minimum 50 page research paper must be sent to Circumnavigator headquarters in New York within three months of the completion of the circumnavigation. The Chicago chapter coordinators will edit and review this report before its submission.

7. Follow-on Activities

After the Research Paper is completed and submitted to the Executive Secretary in New York, and after the presentation to the Chicago Chapter, the Foundation Scholar is expected to complete an application and join the Circumnavigators Club.

All previous Circumnavigator Foundation Scholars report that this process of becoming a Foundation Scholar and completing useful research while making a circumnavigation of our planet is indeed a life-changing event. Many go on to apply for prestigious fellowships, such as Fulbrights, Rhodes or Luces, and/or PhD scholarship programs. All have found that their Circumnavigator Award Trips have been invaluable in furthering their careers.